Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hate-speech

Just yesterday I was told I wouldn't like a book because it was “religious.”

Read: It takes a lot to get me riled up when it comes to religion.

On Tuesday in Charleston, the Westboro Baptist Church had a protest tour. They succeeded. They riled me up.

Walking towards College of Charleston's Jewish Studies building, the eerie chanting of one of the church's most recognizable faces set a tone of discomfort and disgust. The group's bold-faced signs--”The Jews Killed Jesus” and “America is Doomed”--only deepened it.


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On the walk over, a friend said, “I would be curious to know their goal. If they want to convert me. But if God hates me, why should I?”

It's an interesting question. Totally logical to question their motives. This is the group with the website godhatesfags.com. The ones who picket the funerals of fallen American soldiers. And what exactly do those two things—among their hundred other offensive tactics—accomplish? That's all the Westboro Baptist Church spawns. Not converts, but questions. The main one being: Really?

College of Charleston organized an anti-protest. The plan was to remain silent, down the street. Basically to make the hate-speech unheard. It, understandably, didn't go off as planned. Genius signs were made in retaliation. “Even Voldemort Hates the WBC.” “God Loves Lady Gaga.” “Everybody Loves Raymond.”













Those just couldn't go unseen.

And in the face of a group who makes their money from lawsuits, pulling at heartstrings so even the even-keel lose it, who could stay completely silent? Hey, if college kids are up at 8 a.m., they want a show.

Adding to that show was C of C student Arsenio McCormick. McCormick says his first reaction to the protest was, “This is gonna be fun!” From the crowd he chanted “Jesus had two dads!” and “We got healthcare!” He started out light-hearted, but his attitude changed to “really being proud of the people.” The over 200 people who showed up to take a stand for love. McCormick added, “The core of it is that hate is not in religion.”

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