Pagan Pride festival upsets Catholic Youth Organization


Two very different cultures met on one large open field and it led to some tense moments Saturday afternoon.

On the fourth Saturday of September every year, Broad Ripple Park becomes home to Pagan Pride Day. But last Saturday, Broad Ripple Park was also home to the Catholic Youth Organization fall cross country meet.

The meet for the Catholic Youth Organization involved hundreds of kids and parents. It turns out the festival rented the field for the day and the CYO participants had to run around the festival.

Some CYO parents were upset to see the festival going on. David Dessauer thought he would have a relaxing morning watching his children compete.

"They have got a right to it someplace else and I have got a right to be outraged about it and I'm gonna tell anybody and everybody that I'm outraged by this," he said.

Tom Jones is a pagan and organizer for Pagan Pride Day.

"We have been through the special use committee for the Indy Parks. We do this by the book legally every year for the past 14 years," said Jones.

Jones says it comes down to space.

"It was not about religion. It was about space and it was about sharing space and finding out how to get everybody what they needed," he said.

For Dessauer, it is about something else.

"They're just kind of silly people to me. They worship themselves," he said. "They can pagan themselves to death at the Statehouse lawn; south side of the Statehouse lawn. They can do it someplace else. It is inappropriate here. It is embarrassing and I was outraged by it."

The irony was not lost on Jones, who is a graduate from a Catholic high school.

"I didn't have anybody come and say, 'You cannot be here.' I did have people that were intentionally rude," said Jones.

"You have a constitutional right to believe what you want and that is part of the freedom from religion," he added.

Both parties reached an agreement on how to make best use of the space.