Monday, March 31, 2008


"Well, their numbers didn't reach a million, but approximately 400 people gathered Sunday in Topeka's Gage Park, near Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church for the 'Million Fag March' I posted about in February. The march was a symbolic demonstration against the WBC, who have for years targeted public gatherings, and more recently, military funerals, with their 'God Hates Fags' message.

"KSN reports: 'People of all ages, races, and sexual orientation were present. The group of more than four hundred people marched throughout Gage Park, but were not allowed to cross any streets without a parade permit. The organizer of the march, Chris Love says he wants to show the Westboro Baptist Church there is an opposing voice equally as powerful. Other marchers feel the same. 'We don't agree with him talking about hatred and how God hates this god hates that,' marcher Angi Boetta said. 'We're just here to show him who we are and we're not going away no matter what you say or do.'...'All the haters and stuff they need to know that its not all about that, its about positivity and we're trying to create a positive influence towards gay people,' marcher Joshua Burch said."

[For the full article, see here.]

In my March 21st post entitled, "Some Thoughts On The 'Million Fag' March," I wrote the following which is excerpted from that post:

"To march on Fred Phelps' territory is relatively safe and relatively meaningless. Why not take on homophobic denominations and churches that do enjoy a credibility they do not deserve? Actually, Phelps, currently a toothless tiger, has inadvertently done a great deal to help our cause by his hateful, over the top, rhetoric and by his and his family's picketing of soldiers' funerals so that even most homophobes resent him for casting their position in 'a bad light' in the eyes of many Straight people.

"These people who are eager to participate in 'The Million Fag March' are unwitting subversives and agents provocateurs, who seem to seek to further entrench LGBT people who feel comfortable in referring to themselves and to each other as 'fags,' into their own compounds where they can revel in their being 'outsiders' and 'sexual outlaws,' and in further alienating all LGBT people from mainstream society whereby, and only from which, they can acquire full and equal civil rights.

"By participating in this march, they are not only reinforcing a demeaning and hateful label onto themselves in the eyes of potential allies, but they are elevating Phelps' credibility in the eyes of the public by even suggesting that Phelps is a force that is even worthy to contend with."

Since that time, I have had no reason to change my mind! This is an edited response that I wrote to a friend of mine today, after he sent me the above article:

"This march has only served to get Phelps back in the news, and give him the exposure that he wants. Even them saying 'million' when they knew there would be far fewer who would appear also shows them to be politically naive and lacking in media savvy. And that's all on top of their use of that epithet that merely reinforces 'deviance,' 'abnormality,' and 'otherness' in their minds and, more importantly, in the public's mind."

How does any mature, reasonable person expect that by one's referring to oneself as a "fag" is going to move the cause of full and equal civil rights forward by one iota? Indeed, it can be seen to go a long way toward retarding the acquisition of those rights!

How can one reasonably expect to be taken seriously, and be viewed as being every bit as deserving of dignity and equality as heterosexuals, when such a hateful epithet as "fag" is publicly used as a self-identifier? Why waste time and energy fighting a toothless tiger like Phelps? Why waste time and energy on such a march when it's very likely that even most homophobes themselves are embarrassed by Phelps and his family?

Chris Love, the organizer of the march said, "At the least, we hope to hold an event that will bring both homesexual and heterosexual people together for a united cause for one day. And in Kansas, no less."

That's certainly a laudable goal and one that should be acted upon, but for far more than merely one day. Also, far more mileage would be gained by using the appropriate designations for LGBT people, being assertive in regularly picketing homophobic churches and legislatures, soliciting increasing numbers of Straight allies in joining in those picket lines, writing letters to the editors of major, regional, and local newspapers, etc., and focusing on the real threats to the acquisition of full and equal civil and sacramental rights, rather than the pathetically hateful Phelps and his clan who have so alienated themselves from most all Americans (For the most recent example, see here.) that protesting against them is largely meaningless and, in this context, counter-productive.

When Phelps and his family celebrated the deaths of soldiers killed in Iraq, they shot their wad with most all of the American people. By having "The Million Fag March," the credibility of Phelps was somewhat elevated by placing him on the same level as the marchers by affirming that he has the clout that he doesn't possess.

It would be desirable if all that energy exhibited by those marchers were translated into meaningful activism that would help, rather than retard, the acquisition of full and equal civil and sacramental rights, and hasten that day when same-sex love is seen as being just as valid, and just as Godly, as is heterosexual love.
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