What we can learn from the Westboro Baptist Church
For those of you who follow me on FaceBook or who know me from any number of websites have by now no doubt seen one of my rants about the Westboro Baptists... This morning I found out they are coming to a town near me, and frankly, I'm disgusted by it! And I have made it very clear that I will happily go counter-protest this... It should NOT be welcome here...
However, after my third or fourth rant this morning I decided to move on and get ready to go to the show tonight. While I was in the shower I started thinking... "What makes these people do this? Why do they make themselves a target just to spread hate?" My first and gut answer (which still may not be so far off) was "They are a bunch of nutbags!" but then I thought about it, and I don't think that's really what's going on here.
I think this is a case of just the opposite... These people are doing something, which although hateful and disgusting, should in some ways be respected. - No, I didn't lose my mind, keep reading - These people are not doing this out of hate, out of disgust so much as they are standing up to do what they honestly, wholeheartedly believe is right.
Through the 60's and 70's it wasn't terribly uncommon to see sit-ins or picket groups for positive reasons, Peace, Love & Tolerance. However, today, we tend to ONLY see picket groups such as the WBC, and other hate groups. Groups which want to limit freedom, squash tolerance and abolish love have become the norm while those of us who have a firm belief in such things sit back and HOPE it happens and HOPE no one listens to these groups.
Which begs the question, what are we supposed to do? Well, I don't know that their is really a right answer. Obviously I would never support what the WBC is doing. On the other hand, the fact that these people are willing to make themselves a target simply because they choose to stand up for their beliefs (no matter how warped I find those beliefs to be) is admirable and something I have to have respect for.
I am very proud of who I am, of what I am and I am very secure in my beliefs, as you all know. However, I don't know that even I could muster the guts to travel the country, standing on a street corner with a sign boasting those beliefs... Does that make me bad? I sure hope not. Do I like what they are saying? NO! But I wish there were more groups who were willing to get out there and stand up for their beliefs - Of course I hope that there would be more people out there who would stand up for positive things rather than to spread hate and intolerance...
Point is, for all their bigotry, all their hatred, all their intolerance - there is something to be learned here. The lesson may seem hidden, but it's clearly there, we should all be so proud of our beliefs and lifestyles to stand up for them, even if we have to stand alone!