WASHINGTON, DC – The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) is calling on Wilmington, Delaware’s Elsmere Presbyterian Church to reconsider offering its pulpit to a bully. CCF has learned that convicted Animal Liberation Front arsonist Rodney Coronado is scheduled to speak on Sunday, January 19, at Elsmere. Yesterday, CCF research director David Martosko faxed a letter to Elsmere pastor Thomas Stout, urging him to reconsider opening up his church to an unrepentant terrorist like Coronado.

Specifically, Martosko informed Stout that Mr. Coronado “has demonstrated that he has no interest in expressing remorse or atoning for his crimes. In fact, the sole purpose of his current speaking tour is to encourage other animal rights activists to engage in violent, illegal activities.”

In a November 30 speech in New Jersey, Coronado admitted to four arsons and three other destructive break-ins, all in connection with the Animal Liberation Front, an organization that the FBI considers America’s most serious domestic terrorism threat.

Mr. Coronado has received over $70,000 in direct funding from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in the past.

In addition, Coronado encouraged his November audience to mount a revolution against the United States government, telling them to “tear the whole damned thing down and start all over again.”

For more information about Rodney Coronado, PETA, and other contributors to animal rights terrorism, visit www.ConsumerFreedom.com.

CCF’s letter to Elsmere Presbyterian pastor Thomas Stout follows.

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January 6, 2003

Thomas Stout, Pastor

Elsmere Presbyterian Church

New Road And Ohio Avenue

Wilmington, DE 19805

Dear Pastor Stout,

It recently came to my attention that Elsmere Presbyterian Church is planning to host a speaking engagement on Sunday, January 19, at 3:00 pm. The scheduled speaker is Rodney Coronado, and his appearance is being promoted by two animal rights organizations: “Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty” (SHAC) and “Delaware Action for Animals.” A Wilmington resident named Marion Smith is also promoting the event on Internet animal-rights mailing lists.

I urge you to reconsider allowing Rodney Coronado to use your church as a platform for his violent message. Coronado is a convicted felon who spent over 4 years behind bars for the animal rights-related arson of a research laboratory at Michigan State University. In addition, he has publicly admitted to other acts of arson, theft, and willful private property destruction, all in the name of animal rights.

Many churches, of course, minister quite legitimately to those with criminal backgrounds, and I don’t mean to suggest that Coronado’s crimes alone should disqualify him as a speaker at Elsmere. But such a ministry usually aims to showcase a speaker’s penitence, allowing the congregation to learn an appropriate moral lesson in the process.

Rodney Coronado has demonstrated that he has no interest in expressing remorse or atoning for his crimes. In fact, the sole purpose of his current speaking tour is to encourage other animal rights activists to engage in violent, illegal activities. Five weeks ago, at a similar event in New Jersey, Coronado told an audience of 400 activists: “I wish I didn’t have to stand up here and talk about and justify and encourage direct action – encourage breaking the law, encourage burning down buildings…. But I do.”

Coronado continued: “A lot of people think that – oh my god, that’s going too far, you know. People can support bringing animals out of labs, but they can’t support arson. Well, I’m sorry. I’m not here to please people.”

In the course of Coronado’s 60-minute November 30 speech, he admitted to four arsons and three other destructive break-ins, all in connection with the Animal Liberation Front, a criminal organization that the FBI considers America’s “single most serious domestic terrorism threat.”

In addition, Coronado encouraged his audience to revolt against the U.S. government: “From day one, the United States has been about oppression…. I don’t believe that we can change that government. I think we need to just tear the whole damned thing down and start all over again.”

I would be happy to send you a videotaped copy of Coronado’s November 30 speech, so that you may make an informed determination about whether his promotion of terrorist violence is an appropriate theme for your church’s support. Please consider my offer seriously.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

David Martosko

Director of Research

The Center for Consumer Freedom