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Ohio Church Attacked With Molotov Cocktails Over Proposed Drag Show

A drag queen is seen from behind, moving a stage curtain aside to look at the audience.

In a small town of about 8,000 people, a proudly inclusive Ohio church announced its plans to host a drag bunch and storytime hour. And some incredible bigots simply couldn’t handle it.

The Community Church of Chesterland, Ohio had their outside signs ripped down and Molotov cocktails thrown at their building after promoting the drag events that they were holding in order to fund their safe space program and Pride events. After they received threats on social media that were intended to bully them into canceling the events—threats that were reportedly ignored by law enforcement officials—the church was then attacked physically.

According to Minister Jess Peacock (whose Facebook bio reads “Queer, tattooed, vegan, progressive clergy. Don’t like it? Stay mad.”), the church’s “sign was destroyed, outdoor light fixtures broken, and Molotov cocktails thrown [were thrown at the church], which houses a pre-school. So they’re obviously ‘thinking of the children.’ We were fortunate that when this hate crime occurred, it was raining, which probably prevented the fire from catching. Small mercies.” Thankfully, the church was unoccupied at the time, so no one was hurt by these actions.

After the incident, Chester Township Police Chief Craig Young issued a statement in which they strongly encouraged the church to cancel both events in light of the violence they endured. In his words:

“​​We actually support the idea that this is occurring. For us as a police department and for me really as a police chief, it’s not just that event for me; I have to protect and make sure all the residents are safe and everybody passing through this community is safe,” Chief Young said. “That’s the ultimate challenge. Based on the intelligence information we’re getting, based on some of the information that we are getting from the event organizers, there are concerns associated with this event.”

Young definitely had the right to worry about the event’s safety precautions, especially after it was revealed that the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, had announced that they were going to attend the Chester drag storytime to protest it. The Proud Boys are extremely violent and love to terrorize any drag event they can find. They back extremist, racist, and homophobic/transphobic people like Donald Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene, so having them attend an event like this would be nothing but trouble for the church.

However, despite all of the mud being thrown at the event and its organizers, the church doubled down on its commitment to hosting this event. “We are unwavering in our commitment to not only put on these programs but we are unwavering in our commitment to the LGBTQ+ within this community,” Minister Peacock told the local ABC News affiliate.

And it’s not just Peacock and the event organizers who feel this way about the events. Residents of Chester have taken to social media to voice their support for the church and their actions. One such resident, Dr. Kevin Leichtman, posted a video to TikTok, voicing his disgust at residents in his town who were posting vile messages to the town’s community Facebook group. Leichtman revealed that some residents were blaming the church for the vandalism they suffered because they were hosting any kind of drag event and, even more horrifying, trying to link the church’s drag event to the mass shooting in Nashville where the shooter was reportedly transgender.


Where do we go from here? I did not have a mass shooting as a rationalization for bombing an lgbtq inclusive church on my 2023 bingo card… #schoolsafety #inclusive #lgbt #dragshow

♬ original sound – Dr. Kevin Leichtman

As Leichtman correctly pointed out, we, as a society, cannot peacefully coexist with people who go to great lengths to “rationalize what they think and feel so they can think and feel those things out loud in dangerous ways.” The Community Church was simply trying to hold a cute, fun, empowering event for its members and guests, but was then viciously attacked by those who claim to be on the side of “family and children.” The Proud Boys and other community members who opposed these wholesome events are extremely rich in their hypocrisy. You can’t claim to be upholding “God’s words” and then be totally cool with a church almost being set on fire. It’s incredibly pathetic. 

However, this story does have a happy ending. Not only did the Community Church go forward with its sold-out drag brunch/storytime, but the “counter-protest” turned out to be a single masked person dressed in black who “did nothing,” according to

It’s always a good time to see a bigot fail so spectacularly. You just love to see it.

(featured image: Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

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Kayla Harrington (she/her) is a freelance writer who has been working in digital media since 2017, starting at Mashable before moving to BuzzFeed and now here at The Mary Sue. She specializes in Marvel (Wanda Maximoff did nothing wrong!), pop culture, and politics. When she's not writing or lurking on TikTok, you can find Kayla reading the many unread books on her shelves or forcing her friends to watch some random video she found. She's also a world class chef (according to her wife) and loves to try any recipe she can find.