Monday, May 24, 2010

The Protest Protest, or: Here's What Jesus Would Do — Turn the Other Cheek to Westboro Baptist

Posted By on Mon, May 24, 2010 at 8:00 AM

I'll admit, I was already a little weepy after going to the park and then listening to "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" — which, I swear, is the grown-up equivalent of "Puff the Magic Dragon," in that when you hear it, all you can do is bawl. But what I saw Sunday morning made a mess of me.

I was driving across Old Hickory Boulevard from Lowe's when I saw a bunch of cars parked along the creek — which is unusual, to put it mildly. And then, I saw the police, standing in groups of two and three in front of the church. And then, all along the north side of the road, was an enormous crowd of boisterous, cheering people in bright colors, with big signs. I rummaged through my purse, trying to dig out my camera.

And then I saw the signs up closer. "God does not hate," one said. The car ahead of me slowed way down. The police officer in the road yelled sharply and pointed for the car to get moving. I couldn't find my camera.

I craned my neck to try to catch a glimpse of the Westboro Baptist folks, but there looked to be only a handful of them. The protesters protesting them looked to outnumber them 10 to one.

It made me cry. It was so joyful, the sight of them all, smiling and waving their happy signs. I waved back. The police officer glared and pointed me firmly towards home.

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