A tiny, insignificant group of small minded hate mongers came to my home town this weekend. We brushed them off as if they didn't exist. Truth be told, they would have had slim to no impact if we didn't show up en mass to shut them up. But, the point was made that there were hundreds of people who were willing to stand in 18 degree weather for an hour to say that hate is not ok.
The crowd was a mix of high school students and older residents too. There were gay and lesbian residents and even church members who are not pro-gay but are very much anti hate. The throng of 300 plus included a few who mugged for the cameras and some who didn't get the idea of a "silent protest" and shouted back at the 13 in bread Kansas hicks. Some of the older protest veterans sang Amazing Grace to drown out the chants of the Westboro Baptist Church as they walked by at the end of the demonstration. The younger group chanted "na na na na, na na na an, hey hey hey. Good bye!" It was a nice effort but would have worked better at the end of a York Suburban High School Basketball win, not a community response to the WBC's protest of the schools production of The Laramie Project.
In the end, however, I could not have been more proud of York. People took different paths to show their disapproval of the so called church that came to our town, but they showed it, and that is all that matters. Some had funny signs like "God loves everyone, including pirates" and some just stood with their big rainbow umbrellas open, pointed at the WBC's bakers dozen. One college aged guy got laughs when he implored the leader of the WBC to stop all of this nonsense and acknowledge their gay love. "After you fucked my ass you told me you would love me forever" he shouted. Good work out of all involved, and a worthy way to spend a freezing hour, even though it looked like Inky might loose some toes at one point.