Omaha pastor testifies against drag show ban bill

An Omaha coffee shop and church received bomb threats last week over its drag story hour.
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 5:52 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A hearing was held Friday in the judiciary committee for LB371, a bill that would ban minors from drag shows.

Debra McKnight, a pastor of a coffee shop and church called Urban Abbey testified against the bill after receiving bomb threats for hosting a drag story hour.

Last weekend, story time at Urban Abbey turned into something much more dramatic.

“The threat was made against homes including mine and some other staff members,” McKnight said.

Someone emailed bomb threats Saturday and Sunday, angry about the shop’s drag story hour.

“We had people who disagreed and didn’t like what we were doing for sure, but I have never had someone threaten my life and my staff,” McKnight said.

Mcknight blames the current political climate and bills like LB371.

“I want to face Sen. Murman and the committee and let them know that they have created harm,” McKnight said.

Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh took it one step further by directly blaming the senator who introduced LB 371 on the unicameral floor.

“The legislation that Sen. Murman introduced (says) that it is okay to call a bomb threat on a story hour that I take my children to,” Cavanaugh said.

Murman said Friday he reached out to McKnight condoning the threat. He then brought up a bomb threat at a UNO Catholic center that advocated pro-life legislation.

“This sudden rise in intimidating Christians for their political, religious and personal values is deeply troubling,” Murman said.

Despite the bomb threats, McKnight said she’s not going to stop hosting her drag story hour.

“Make sure our community can gather with assurance and make sure we are creating a safe space,” McKnight said.

Omaha Police determined the threats were not credible. LB371 now has an amendment filed -- instead of banning minors from all drag shows, it would ban them from drag deemed “adult entertainment.”