Tea party members have shown up at every Occupy Springfield event but I wonder if today they found themselves with strange bedfellows. Are Tea Party members homophobes? I wouldn't have automatically thought so...
Lively's group was handing out flyers to passerbys with big red letters at the top and bottom saying, "Arise Lies" and "Tell Arise to Apologize!" I won't type the whole thing, but a few lines should give you the feel and I'll add a few comments (and the bizarre punctuation, which I will replicate, is theirs, not mine):
Arise for Social Justice is a Marxist Front Group that Hates Biblical Truth and Persecutes Bible-Believing Christians. (I wonder if the Christians in Arise feel persecuted?)
Like the Communists of Soviet Russia, and their Fellow Traveler Saul Alinsky, Arise uses Lies and Deceptive Propaganda to Destroy Their Enemies. (Wow! Didn't know we had that much power! Usually we just go for the systemic change approach.)
Arise has Promised to Drive Pastor Scott Lively Out of Springfield because he Holds to Biblical Truth About Homosexuality. (Completely wrong on this one. Just like the radioactive material in a decommissioned nuclear power plant, we would much prefer for Lively to remain in our community where we can keep an eye on him.)
Arise LIED to Portray Pastor Lively as a Heartless Monster and put his personal Safety At Risk.
So let me stop right here on this line because while today's event had its humorous moments, homophobia is deadly serious. Lively's safety at risk? The hate crime statistics for 2010 were released just three days ago, and according to the figures, " roughly 1.5% of all hate crimes in the United States in 2010 were against Christians while 19% were against gays. That means that lesbians, gays, and bisexuals were more than twelve times likely to be the victim of a hate crime than a Christian." LezGet Real. And of that 1.5% of hate crimes committed against Christians, how many were perpetrated by gays?
Homophobia's effects don't stop with hate crimes, of course. Nearly 400,000 gay and transgendered youth in this country are homeless. Gay youth attempt suicide three times more often than straight youth. Joblessness is higher. Discrimination is still a daily experience. Just whose personal safety is at risk?
But OK. Today wasn't about being a victim. Today was about facing down hate and homophobia and taking back our power. We WILL not live in fear, we will not fail to confront hate.
Springfield's own Joe Olivero took this great video that says it all.