A few weeks back my organization, The Marin Foundation, was called by a Catholic church in Chicago. They were calling because they got word that a gay activist group was going to be protesting their church on behalf of all the LGBT people who don’t like the Catholic church’s stance on gay marriage. Over the last few weeks we have tried to work as best as we could to help set up a private discussion between the Catholic church and the activist group. That private discussion never happened – and it wasn’t because The Marin Foundation wasn’t willing.
When the day of the protest arrived an interesting thing happened. An anti- same-sex marriage organization from the suburbs showed up and started protesting the protesters. It was a freaking mess. Who does that? What good is coming out of protesting a protest? It’s like two dumb, blind donkeys walking in circles in the dark threatening each other with nothing other than the smell of their own butts.
There are few things that get me more heated than people on both sides of this topic who, for no greater good at all, stifle peaceful and productive dialogue that produces reconciliation by only wanting to hold nasty signs at each other and yell into their megaphones.
You should have seen the scene at that church: People coming in and out of mass met on the church’s steps by hateful LGBT people with signs and megaphones and then looking two feet in the other direction and a group of hateful conservative Christians with signs and megaphones protesting the protest. And not one person in either of those groups had any personal connection to that Catholic church. Amazing. Here’s a quick letter to the protestors:
Open Letter to the Conservative Christian and LGBT Protestors:
Dear Protestors Who Believe You Are Doing The Right Thing,
You are not doing the right thing.
Jesus said that wisdom will be proved right by her actions. If Jesus’ words are true, then you all must have not a drop of wisdom in you. Try investing even a quarter of the amount of time and energy you currently use to promote dissent into seeking dialogue and relationships of ‘loving your enemy’ and watch how productive you can actually be. I guarantee it will be a zillion times for productive and you won’t even have to go to all of the trouble to do so much coloring of signs.
And to those conservative Christians there protesting—I have a hard pressed time even believing you are a Christ-One (literal definition of Christian). God says to Isaiah:
“These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder. The wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”
And to those LGBT people there protesting: You think your signs and megaphones make one ounce of difference to that Catholic church, The Catholic Church or any of the people in it? They don’t. You just look like hateful idiots who are solidifying the Church into thinking they’re doing the right thing.
Next time, instead of picking up your sign pick up your phone and schedule a time to sit down with ‘the other’ and have a conversation focused on trying to understand each other.