Sunday, March 3, 2013

Westboro Baptist Church in Santa Monica

In this post I would like to do a little bragging as well as a little bit of reflection on the nature of queer rights activism in our society today. On Monday February 25th The Westboro Baptist Church protested my alma matter Santa Monica High School because of its prominant GSA and tolerant atmosphere twords LGBTQ students. In response to this protest, over a hundred members of the Santa Monica community as well as many students and faculty members at Samohi organized a counter protest right across the street from where the WBC was stationed. First of all I am very proud to be part of a community that stand up for it's queer members, but I also have a slight qualm with the nature of this counter protest. If you are not familiar with the WBC, it is a cult that uses certain passages in the bible as well as their own twisted views on society to justify publicly demonizing everything from LGBTQ individuals to war veterans to catholic priests to athiests. In coloquial terms they hate everybody but themselves. I have been fascinated with this cult for many years now and have watched several documentaries on them. What stuck out to me most from interviews with members of the WBC is that they use the attention they get from having their protests broadcast in the media in order to recruit more members. Essentially for them "Any press is good press." This is what fuels my internal debate about the public attention their rally received at Samohi. They see it as a win if they have people yelling back at them and getting all riled up by their actions. So, while the counter protest at Samohi was a peaceful one it was exactly what they wanted. However, I can not fully criticize the actions of my hometown because by showing up with giant rainbow flags and signs they did make a public stand for Santa Monica's queer youth which is such an important cause. I posted this story and my perspectives on it in order to open up a dialog about the WBC and hopefully hear your insights onto the matter. I hope this fuels a lively debate. Here is the link to the Huff post article about the protest including a video shot by my friend as Samohi student Ben Ross.

No comments:

Post a Comment