Right-wingers crawling out of the woodwork
|Right-wingers crawling out of the woodwork|
by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid -
SGN A&E Writer
I didn't start out last Saturday with the statement, "today I'm going to go toe to toe with some homophobic, right-wing Christians in downtown Seattle." Nor did I expect my Saturday afternoon to end up galvanizing my determination to 1) start my own church somewhere, soon, and 2) become more of an activist in the GLBT community, as a minister, but that's what happened. Or, in the speak of the street, wha' happen was I left another friend after making sure she was able to see a show she wanted to see (which was the real reason I got out of bed before noon on a Saturday), and after taking care of the body's needs at Pacific Place, found myself drawn to Westlake Park, thinking I heard a protest going on, and the reporter in me was curious. It turned out to be folks selling Girl Scout cookies on both sides of the street, so I wandered on, and as I walked into Westlake Park, saw a Gay, male friend who I thought was just standing near some guys with a sign listing the "seven deadly sins" (though the last time I looked - and keep in mind, I am a minister - "free sex," as the sign read, wasn't one of the seven) and ogling this strange little group.
It turned out, as we chatted, that he was actually doing a one-man protest against these guys who were preaching anti-Gay rhetoric to passersby, trying to make a case that "homosexuality is a sin, and you need to repent or be burned in hell." The same nonsense Lon Mabon, Rush Limbaugh and Anita Bryant before them spout and spouted, and which has been used as an excuse by bashers to defend their violent acts of cowardice and hatred.
So, out of loyalty to my friend, I stood with him and we together started to question who these guys thought they were, why they felt God (who I believe is caring, tolerant and bigger than these little, petty men who stood there with their ridiculous sign on a Saturday afternoon trying to foster hatred and intolerance) would choose one group to punish over any other. The comments we got back ranged from things like "why don't you think homosexuals are sinners?" to "I rebuke you, you need to repent," to one guy getting so close I had to keep remind myself I am a minister so I didn't punch his lights out, and asking me if I "knew what metanoia meant."
I at this point found myself doing a sermon, mixed with a lot of angry but calm comebacks quoting other biblical choices like "love thy neighbor" and "turn the other cheek" (this to the getting in my face, and their reaction to me calling them idiots by yelling more inanities), and, my favorite, "love thy brother as thyself." None of which sunk in with them. So, why do I tell you all of this, you who are reading this?
Because a lot of folks seem to actually believe that the fight for GLBT rights is pretty much winding down, and now that Obama is president, we can stop worrying about the right wing, because we've "won."
Well, my dear, naive friends, I have to say, after that exchange with those guys (who kept insisting that I, and everyone I treasure, who is Gay, or Lesbian or Bi or Trans, should "change our ways, lest we be cast into the lake of fire" - their exact words, no foolin'), I know the fight is far from over. And, believe me, their numbers downtown are growing, worse, more and more folks are stopping to support their hateful message. Not everyone's on board with the change represented by having a black man in the White House, and they're certainly not ready to invite us to the table for a piece of the pie that's our birthright as human beings. Even as I write this, in the safety of my apartment, living on Capitol Hill, I shiver a bit remember the hatred and attitude of presumption of righteousness in the faces of those guys. Our battles are far from won, and our lives can still be disrupted, snuffed out, or put in peril at any given time, on any street corner, even in supposedly safe Seattle.
We were only two people, my friend and I (eventually joined by one other brave soul, who stopped by to give us support), but I honestly think the rest of the community needs to meet this little enclave of bigots with a show of unity and strength. I propose a march to Westlake - peaceful and orderly, because nothing is served by sinking to the confrontational level of these fools - to show them we are not going to bow down. That we are strong, beautiful and powerful. Activists, I hope you're listening, and someone, let's get the media there, because even a little intolerance on a quiet Saturday afternoon is too much, and we must not let this little seed grow into a crooked, huge tree of hatred, but nip it in the bud, now.