Some Republicans Outraged Over Garner Church Rally
Posted November 4, 1996 12:00 a.m. EST
GARNER — Organizers of a Garner church rally say it was simply a forum for stirring people to get out and vote, but some Republicans say it was an illegal, partisan, political event.
The Poplar Springs Church of Christ was the site of a service where organizers say they simply explained voting procedures and urged parishioners to vote.
Speaking at the rally was Atlanta mayor and Raleigh native Bill Campbell.
Campbell and others at the rally say they were energized by seeing so many people now understanding the importance of voting. But, while they were energized, Charles Campbell, a Republican, says he was outraged.
Charles Campbell says during the rally he watched as several preachers stood in the pulpit insulting Senator Jesse Helms, Fred Heineman, Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole, all of whom also are Republicans. One of the men he claims endorsed their Democratic opponents was Reverend William Simmons.
Rev. Simmons says he simply explained voting procedure. Simmons also says Charles Campbell was disrespectful when he stood up and interrupted the service.
Campbell doesn't deny that he did that.
Poplar Springs Rev. Charles Brooks says Charles Campbell was invited to speak at the church two weeks ago. He did speak then and Brooks says he was openly invited back.
Brooks was not present at the Sunday night rally. He says his church was simply the host site.
Brooks said a pamphlet from the Christian Coalition, supporting Republican candidates, was made available to those who attended the rally.