A religious group has canceled plans to burn incense-doused cannabis oil during Monday's solar eclipse, after being told they would be stopped by security.
Leaders of Rhode Island's Healing Church said they are backing out of the plan at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, about three miles from the U.S. Capitol, after being assailed by counterprotesters during a free speech rally in Boston.
The Saturday rally featured an ideologically diverse set of speakers, including some who were perceived as being white supremacists. That led to a massive 40,000-person counterprotest and 33 arrests over the weekend.
"Men in black attempted to kill us twice right in front of the police yesterday and they were throwing cups of urine at the police," church leader Anne Armstrong said Sunday. "No way I'm taking the chance of that happening in the basilica."
It was unclear from the beginning whether Armstrong would be able to lead the unsanctioned service inside the basilica, which she hoped would usher in a new era of peace. She had floated relocating to nearby Catholic University and inviting "all the kids to join" if she was asked to leave.
Fellow activists had expected a decent turnout for the event, which was to culminate in parishioners exhaling pot smoke through large horns.
Armstrong and her congregants, who believe there is an ancient connection between cannabis and Christianity, will gather instead at a well in Rhode Island that they believe is referenced in Revelation, the final book of the Bible.