On Saturday morning, I went to counter protest the Westboro Baptist Church. (Google them if you are curious. I'm not going to link to them here.) They are a bunch of extremists whose basic premise is the God hates homosexuals so much that he is destroying America for its tolerance of them and blacks, Jews, and pretty much everyone else who is not like them. (Where people get the idea that God and Jesus are white and the Bible was originally written in English is beyond me. I won't even get into their missing the point of Christ's message of universal love.) They came to Denver for a long weekend to protest various places and on Saturday (the Jewish sabbath, I'd like to point out) they decided to protest at several Jewish temples and community centers.
Here's how I got into the counter protest:
Hot Chick, Janiece, posted about her interest and ambivalence in going. On one hand, conventional wisdom is that one should not reward inappropriate behavior with attention. On the other, is being silent the equivalent of being complicit in their behavior? There was much discussion on Janiece's blog and I decided to join her when she decided to attend.
The day of the protest arrived and our ranks had swelled to four, including Janiece's Hot Daughter and our dear friend, Stacey. It was a cold, damp day and the WBC group was small and included a couple children. We followed them around to their various locations, stopping for coffee and then a delicious sandwich at the Spicy Pickle during the intermissions. Janiece gives a great summary of the day on her blog (with pictures!), so go there for more detail, but suffice to say, we felt successful at the end of the day. At the third venue, the WBCers left halfway through their allotted time (as specified in their protest schedule on their blog). I never thought that would happen!
Why did I end up doing it? Because I wanted the targets of the protests and the people who saw us by the side of the road to know that I don't agree with the sentiments professed by the WBC, and furthermore, that I cared enough to speak out against it. This is unusual for me, as I generally tend to live my beliefs, not try and change others minds, but I guess it was a confluence of circumstances -- me feeling more extroverted than usual, having friends I wanted to support, and a ridiculously wrong group (I find most groups to be varying shades of gray, but not this one) coming to Denver. And finally, I went because of what one of my favorite protest signs said, "Thanks Westboro, You're Only Bringing Us Together!"
And I'm glad I went. Otherwise, I'd never had found out that Godfrey is Love.