Friday, February 18, 2011

Counter Protest - Fourth and Final Part...

Prophet H. Walker is questioned regarding True Light Pentecostal Church's picket permit.
A final post on the Counter Protest to Westboro Baptist Church's scheduled picket of the screening of Anatomy of Hate...

As we now know, Westboro Baptist Church was a no - show, though we happily went ahead with our counter protest. However, there were evidently some individuals who showed up in SUPPORT of Westboro, which is something I have never heard of occurring before. Not to say it hasn't, but I sure have never heard of it, or seen pictures of any other church or organization ever supporting or turning out to join Westboro's infamous hate filled picket lines. Until this past Monday. 

True Light Pentecostal Church  showed up with eight people to support Westboro.“We're protesting because we're against these rallies that the sodomites (and) lesbians have. We're trying to show another side of America — the true side of America,” said Prophet H. Walker, overseer of True Light.

One wonders if they even understood the original reasoning Westboro scheduled to turn out? The Phelps picketers scheduled their protest to oppose Anatomy of Hate; Dialogue of Hope because it, rightfully so, identifies them as a hate group, not as a direct protest of anything GLBTQ related. True Light's statement referring to our counter protest as a rally of sodomites and lesbians is utterly ludicrous, given that the percentage of GLBT in the crowd of students was actually very low - most were straight, and a fair amount were both GLBT and straight identifying Christians. Also, based on all the photographs and information I have been able to turn up, True Light appears to be an African American Church. Anatomy of Hate opposed racism of the most virulent sort - the Aryan movements that would despise and seek to destroy a church like True Light. Over all, this very much boggled my mind. True Light, it must be pointed out, does have mission projects that house and feed the homeless and the hungry, and despite their extremely conservative stance on scripture, appear to be a positive influence in their venues.

It was still disturbing to realize that my area of the world produced a picket line in support of Phelps and Westboro's virulent hate message, particularly since it was obvious that they had not truly researched what they were protesting in actuality. It kinda blows my mind, actually. 

I also learned that money was raised based on the public's counter protest! The money, totaling $550.00, went to  Piedmont Care, a local AIDS non profit advocacy organization and for Upstate Pride, the local organization for the Gay Pride in this area. This is excellent. So...lets see...a hundred or so students on the campus counter protesting, a hundred or so counter protesters from the local community and surrounding colleges also taking a stand, a packed out showing of Anatomy of Hate, funds raised toward two excellent organizations, Westboro was a no show, and even though it disturbed me that they showed at all, only eight very mistaken picketers for Westboro. 

All in all...I am proud of my community and very glad to have been a part of it that Monday night! 


  1. ...?
    The silliness of some things just boggles the mind. Don't mind me though. I'm really just jealous,you see, because the town I live in is so uptight we'll never have a reason for WB to picket us. Alas, no counter protest for Gabe!
    Wish I could have been with you brother! :)
    So proud of you!

  2. Something that really strikes me about both the local group who protested and the Westboro group is that women are expected to cover their heads. I find churches that require women to cover to be extremely disturbing. As if we are so offensive, so dangerous, so corrosive to male power that we can't even let our hair swing free. Worse, I'm horrified by the women who choose to follow such proscriptions, restricting their power and becoming submissive.

    Perhaps, for me, covering women's hair is akin the dead pig. It's all about power. Who has it, who's denied it, who must submit.

    For me, I prefer the end runs around such power plays. Like the $550 donation. Like the movie that exposes hatred and hope. As the movie says, the answers are with communication. In seeing each other rather than labels. In the joy of coming together, in the sorrow of grieving together, in the hope of words exchanging.

    I watch the current explosion in the Middle East and I'm struck by the power of communication, of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, of blogs like this one to facilitate communication and hope.