How Did the Protest of Pastor Mark Driscoll Go?

It slipped my mind that today was the day the University of Georgia Atheists were protesting Pastor Mark Driscoll‘s event… until I started seeing 349723 comments coming in from Christians trolling the informational post.

So how did it go?

Well, they caught Driscoll’s attention. He even told his fan club:

If you read through those comments, you’d get the impression the atheists were trying to start a riot… which they weren’t. They just wanted to inform the attendees at the LoveLife Conference about the awful things Driscoll says and believes, the things that tend to get looked over by casual Christians who don’t really know him because he puts the word Pastor in front of his name.

Check out some of the comments from that thread (spelling left unchanged):

  • Sorry atheists, messages of God are louder than the stopping of feet and the gnashing of teeth…
  • It would be funny if Westboro showed up too, then you would have the “you hate fags” and “God hates fags” groups protesting against you, and eachother. Seriously, praying for you for wisdom in speaking to them if you do, as well as your seminar. We wish we could have been there.
  • And we too will suffer persecution for righteousness… Keep sharing God’s truth.
  • We all need to take into consideration that there are some groups that do protest for the wrong things, not because what they’re protesting against is right. Like that church that protests against vets funerals because they believe war is bad.
  • Welcome to the dirty South, Mark. Sorry we have so many idiots.
  • They count hatespeech only if it refers to a living human. Atheists like my own brother will constantly say rude things about my God and my Jesus, but defend that by claiming that they don’t exist. It’s very sad.
  • I read the article someone posted about what the priest is about… I have to say, though soundings I disagree with mark, every quote that was in that article (being used against him) was dead-on for being biblical. So, the protest is really against the Bible, not mark. But, they can’t protest the Bible, so they slander those who believe in it instead. (also, in response to what it says at the end of the article: JESUS ISN’T DEAD. Leave it to an atheist to bash a book (s)he hasn’t read.)
  • You know you’re doing something right if you can get people out of bed that early just to make total jerks out of themselves.
  • The protesters are standing up for gays and feminists as if THIS is the moral high ground in 2011. They choose what is right to them so they become their own gods and cast judgment on others. The veil is so thin. Their pride is their idol. Their deepest satisfaction is the abuse of their own flesh. And they will never know Him apart from his wrath.
  • Irony is a bunch of atheists having moral outrage about anything.
  • Its just a bunch of jackass athiest from the local u … There opinion doesn’t matter.
  • Satan doesn’t attack what he doesn’t fear! I say, Bring It!
  • What the heck man! It’s like you’re Hitler or something!

Meanwhile, here’s how protest organizer Lisa Lansing described to me what they did… surprise! It’s a world of difference from what the commenters made it out to be:

We had around 10-15 people show up, and maintained a peaceful protest atmosphere. We passed out fliers, copies of sermons, and had a few discussions with attendees and people walking by the Classic Center. Most of the attendees refused to acknowledge his sexism, even when presented with evidence taken directly from his church website. The local churches who hosted the event even invited us in to listen to Driscoll preach, [but] we declined and told them we had listened to and read hours and hours of sermons, and seeing him in person [didn't] change our position against bigotry.

A few more pictures are below. Click on them for larger versions:

Looks like the atheists were able to get out their message and their mere presence was enough to get Christians to label them as some sort of hate group. Despite the fact that many of those posters contained direct quotations from Driscoll.

I’d call that a pretty successful protest.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://twitter.com/emergingchrist Emerging Christian

    Wish I could have been there as a Christian standing in solidarity with the atheists…

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    This made me laugh and it is from Mark Driscoll’s facebook page.

    Scott Harness : For every action there’s an equal and oposit protest.

    Other than laughing I have no clue how to respond to that.

  • Bart Wang

    Yeah, there might be some significant surprise at the number of Christ-followers who think Mark is very wrong in his views.  Bart Wang is one of them.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I’m glad they tried. Maybe a few mustard seeds of doubt were planted, and some people might later become uncomfortable with Driscoll’s bigotry.

    I know that the protesters were trying to use Driscoll’s own words against him, and that is a good strategy. Maybe some people would read them on the handouts, but I wonder if his words on the signs were simply not seen by many people.

    I don’t know what it was actually like as the attendees walked by, but I wonder if several of those signs suffer from a common problem in protest or demonstration signs, TLCR. Too Long, Can’t Read. If I were of an opposing viewpoint, I would be hesitant to stand close to a protester in order to read a long message on their sign.  Too scary for me. I’d rather just walk by.  The top picture shows one sign that works, and four that do not work. Keep your message short, and MAKE THE LETTERS BOLD. Thick. Fat. Even if the letters are one foot high, they’re invisible from just a few feet away if they’re drawn in thin lines. Also, draw the words lightly on the sign in pencil first, so you don’t run out of space at the right edge.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if a silent majority disapproves of what he says. I try to believe people are inherently good, and I think most are, but people like Mark Driscoll…they just give you guys a bad name.

    Maybe it isn’t my place to say this, but I think it’s the silent majority staying silent that enables this sort of behavior. If more Christians such as yourself publicly stood up and spoke out for the rights of others, there would be a smaller tendency for people such as Mark to go around putting down others verbally. On the other hand, thank you for not being bigoted like Mark.

  • http://www.facebook.com/catherine.backus Catherine Backus

    Out of the fifteen or so of us, we had four or five Christians! That was somewhat over looked in Mr. Driscoll’s reactionary comments…

  • Lisa Lansing

    Thanks for the advice!  We’ll make better posters next time.

  • Drew M.

    I agree wholeheartedly. Silence is the same as tacit approval, even when those who are silent disagree.

  • Timothy

    “I disagree with mark, every quote that was in that article (being
    used against him) was dead-on for being biblical. So, the protest is
    really against the Bible, not mark. But, they can’t protest the Bible,
    so they slander those who believe in it instead.”Who says we can’t protest the bible?  I protest the bible in every way shape or form, from the regular bible that you read in church, to the picture bibles parents by for kids that are obviously heavily edited so you don’t scare the piss out of your 3 year old. And calling people on the stupid shit they say is not slander.  Just cause What he says is dead on biblical, doesnt mean we should follow him.  Cause if he was talking about bringing back stoneing for working on the Sabbath would you still defend him?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1149275904 Charlie R Frey

    I agree about Christians being silent.  We (as Americans in general) expect moderate Muslims to stand loud and proud against extremism.  When they don’t, or even if they do, but we don’t hear it, we tend to lump them in with the bad faction.  Come on Christians.  Don’t let these extremist Christian’s speak for you.   :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1149275904 Charlie R Frey

    I agree about Christians being silent.  We (as Americans in general) expect moderate Muslims to stand loud and proud against extremism.  When they don’t, or even if they do, but we don’t hear it, we tend to lump them in with the bad faction.  Come on Christians.  Don’t let these extremist Christian’s speak for you.   :)

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I admire your courage and caring, Lisa.

  • Anonymous

    I’m loving the comments…

    And we too will suffer persecution for righteousness… Keep sharing God’s truth.

    There’s a very peculiar Christian notion that if people are protesting you, that makes you more right and more holy because “Jesus said we’d be persecuted”. This habit is taken to somewhat hilarious cartoonish lengths in the US, where Christians are such a crushing majority holding so much power that they have to resort to pointing at billboards and peaceful protestors as signs of “persecution”.  Oh and guys? About the Westboro Baptist Church you’re comparing us to? Those are CHRISTIANS and they derive their opposition to homosexuality directly from the BIBLE. You also oppose it, you’re just less annoying about it. Oh and they too point to the Bible and say that the opposition and hate directed their way is a sign that they are better Christians. Doesn’t make their message better and it doesn’t do a thing for yours either.

    They count hatespeech only if it refers to a living human. Atheists
    like my own brother will constantly say rude things about my God and my
    Jesus, but defend that by claiming that they don’t exist. It’s very sad.

    Yes, hate speech only applies when the target of such speech can be shown to actually, you know, exist. I can and will comment on the evil of Sauron just as I will the God who drowned every single human baby and child in a flood because he got pissed. Mind you, “hate speech” tends to refer to targetting groups or targetting an individual solely because they are a part of that group. You can say all the shit you want about Hitler, but if you start saying that Germans are all evil, that’s a different matter.

    JESUS ISN’T DEAD. Leave it to an atheist to bash a book (s)he hasn’t read.

    PROVE IT! Many of us have read the Bible, and atheists have been shown to have better working knowledge of religion than Christians. But thanks for the gender inclusive language! Not very Biblical, but very kind :-)

    The protesters are standing up for gays and feminists as if THIS is the moral high ground in 2011.

    Yes, we stand for equal rights regardless of gender or sexual orientation. What is the world coming to eh? I suggest you print and frame that comment. I’m sure you’re grandchildren will approve of your stance and won’t find it bigoted at all in 20 years.

    Irony is a bunch of atheists having moral outrage about anything.

    Idiocy is a religious bigot spouting venom against atheists yet feeling no fear at being around people he/she claims have no morals and hence no particular impulse to not kill him/her. Check prison stats by religion and come again another time.

    Satan doesn’t attack what he doesn’t fear! I say, Bring It!

    Satan? Really? A bunch of friendly folks with colorful signs is Satan? Most. Pathetic. Videogame. Boss. Ever.

  • Anonymous

    I am also thinking that the same “mustard see of doubt” might have been planted in a few of the commenters that swarmed the original post.  For some of them, this might have been the first time they encountered an honest-to-goodness atheist.  Maybe most of them were oblivious, but perhaps there were one or two for whom something we said actually clicked. 

    I also agree on the signs.  Make them bold, keep them short.  I like format of the “Mark Driscoll is a bigot” sign.  Big, bright and eye-catching.

  • Remus

    You. Are. Awesome.

  • Anonymous

    Christians are some of the only real Satanists. They actually believe in the guy. Most “official” Satanists are actually atheists.

  • S S

    Actually, I think Driscoll is probably gay. He wears tight t-shirts and looks somewhat effeminate. He preaches against homosexuality, and usually whatever a preacher preaches against the most is the very thing he has trouble with. So it wouldn’t surprise  me at all if Driscoll is gay.

  • Lei Dani

    Please don’t link Mark and Grace Driscoll with Christians. They are promoting a fake JESUS who is unloving and buys Grace her designer shoes and outfits she wears to promote herself. Just look on Mark’s Facebook page which is not promoting Jesus, but himself and his wife’s new hairstyles and designer shoes. What a joke! Please remember that the REAL JESUS was loving and did NOT sell books, conferences or have a wife who is addicted to fame, fortune and manipulating her pastor husband who is a sex addict.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X