Andrew Marin, a Christian who tries to bridge the gap between the church and the LGBT community, notes that a group of protestors in Illinois stood outside a Catholic church on Sunday to oppose the “anti-LGBT bigotry of the Catholic hierarchy.” They wanted equal rights in Illinois (the recently passed civil unions bill simply wasn’t enough) and they didn’t want taxpayer dollars going to churches that practice anti-gay discrimination.
A Christian group also showed up — to protest the protestors.
So what is Andrew upset about?
Not the bigotry of the Catholic church or the agenda against equal rights spouted by the Christian group.
He’s mad that anyone was protesting at all (emphasis mine):
You should have seen the ridiculous 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:
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 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? You don’t. You just look like hateful idiots who are solidifying the Church in thinking they’re doing the right thing.
There was a time when I would’ve agreed with Andrew — that dialogue was preferred to public dissent. But it’s very clear that no church wants to have that conversation.
To say the GLBT group was “hateful” because they want equal rights? That’s ridiculous. They got attention for their cause — our cause — by protesting near the heart of where the hate stems from. They didn’t stop anyone from going to church. And if people are made to feel uncomfortable because they belong to a religion that preaches against love between two consenting adults, that’s just too bad for them. Did they change the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality? Of course not — Andrew’s right; that’s not going to change — but this wasn’t just about the Church. It’s about forcing religious people to defend their irrational bigotry.
(To his credit, Andrew also blasts the Christian anti-gay protestors, but since he personally refuses to openly support the equal-marriage agenda, this “even-handedness” doesn’t do much for me.)
A dialogue is fantastic when you’re discussing an issue where compromise can be had. Or if you want to learn about the other side.
I don’t see Cardinal Francis George making any attempt to learn about gay people. He already thinks he knows everything he needs to about them — they’re going to hell and they shouldn’t be allowed to get married.
I don’t know what GLBT activists can gain from meeting with the church officials, either. A polite explanation as to why they shouldn’t be allowed to marry? Fuck that.
So, to the protestors, I say, “Right on.”
Keep fighting the good fight.
Protests only look bad when they’re in support of something awful. You want to protest against civil rights? You want to protest in support of more concealed weapons? Go right ahead, but don’t be surprised when your movement backfires.
Andrew later reaffirms his stance that “protests are worthless”:
Can someone give me a tangible example of something productive for both communities that happened recently because of a protest? I literally can’t name one thing. And if you can name one, I’d love to hear it and will listen with open ears.
Egypt. Enough said. (Oh wait… one side didn’t benefit from that protest? Ah well. I’m not sad about that. The right side won out, at least in the short term.)