The Pittsburgh 9.12 Project, a grass-roots conservative group, was forced to seek a new home after complaints about a North Hills church's decision to allow them to use their meeting room.
The group, an affiliate of the movement promoted by Fox commentator Glenn Beck, had staged a series of gatherings in St. John Lutheran Church of Highland. The church's meeting room was also to have been the site of a similar conservative group, the Pittsburgh Tea Party movement, last weekend, but that session was canceled due to weather.
The decision came after a blog post on the liberal website Daily Kos criticized the church's decision to hold the gatherings and suggested that the conservative group's views on issues such as global warming were at odds with the views of the Lutheran Church.
"As a Lutheran, I was very alarmed that a church of my own denomination was hosting such [an] event. I have since come to learn that this is not the first time the church has hosted such an event," said the author of the post, identified as mph2005.
Pastor William Diehm of St. John's declined to comment on the decision. In an e-mail, McKay Sailer, a leader of the local 9.12 group, said that the Daily Kos item "was the impetus for multiple complaints and threats of lawsuits, so they decided to dissolve the relationship with us."
Mrs. Sailer insisted that the meetings, which were not sponsored by the church, did not pose any threat to principles of church-state separation.
"However, we have no recourse and we certainly do not want to bring any harm to the church," she said. "That being said, this type of bullying and restriction of free speech is business-as-usual for the uber-progressive left."
The initial Daily Kos post on the meeting prompted an extensive series of comments, some sharply condemning the church, others dismissing such concerns an overreaction.
The next meeting of the group, on Sunday, will be in a Franklin Park Borough activities building.
Politics Editor James O'Toole: email@example.com or 412-263-1562.