Friday, February 05, 2010

Witness to Love

This week, I was privileged to be part of a unique, grassroots event. On Wednesday night, Judy Shepard spoke at Austin Peay State University. Fred Phelps and his followers from Westboro Baptist Church were planning to be there spreading their hatred, so a group of students organized a counter protest, welcoming Judy Shepard to Clarksville and witnessing to the fact that not all followers of Jesus are have hatred and fear as their primary motivation. I went, wearing my clerical collar to represent all the loving, tolerant pastors who couldn't be present.

The crowd was fairly diverse, and since it included lots of college students, there were a number of creative and somewhat snarky signs. Here are few of my favorites:

This last photo is my favorite, because it shows a small portion of the crowd, but it gives a sense of just how many folks showed up. It was very peaceful, and organized entirely by the students. Those of us who were older and out of school were very impressed!

Even though they've been following Judy Shepard around the country, Fred Phelps and his followers didn't show up to protest. I was a little disappointed, because I wanted to see that circus in person, but I was overjoyed to see how the crowd stuck around for the purpose of affirming something and someone, and not just protesting against a particular group.

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