Protestors against Mars Hill Church make things worse

Carla Axtman

When it was announced that the anti-gay Mars Hill church was opening its doors in SE Portland, I figured there would be some sort of reaction, probably a demonstration, to express neighborhood support for the gay and lesbian community.

Clearly, somebody didn't think this one through. Or maybe they did, intending to look so ridiculous, mean and stupid that the local media would have no choice but to cover the story.

Steve Beaven, The Oregonian:

Black-clad demonstrators gathered in front of the Mars Hill Church in Southeast Portland this morning to protest the church's stance on homosexuality.

About 20 protesters lined Southeast Taylor Street carrying flags and shouting obscenities as church-goers left when the service ended.

"Shame on you bigots," one woman yelled at worshippers as they left. "Shame on you homophobes. You're not welcome here. You're going to burn in hell."


The hand painted sign with the strap-on graphic and brass knuckles added an extra special element of nasty.

If the point is to drive these folks out, this isn't going to do it. The Mars Hill folks are well aware of the neighborhood and what they're getting in to. This won't force them out and it won't change their opinion. In fact, I suspect shouting profanities at little kids hardens their position and reinforces all the bad notions they have of those of us who believe that gays and lesbians are entitled to the same rights and privileges as everyone else.

Those of us who support equality are better than this and we should hold ourselves to that higher standard.

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    I agree, Carla!

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    Agree 100%. Best thing to do is ignore them. If people in the neighborhood don't support their views (which they almost certainly don't), they won't succeed. This kind of protest is exactly what they want.

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    Huh. While it's not the approach I would have taken, I do think it's funny that people feel sorry when homophobes get treated this way. They say turn about is fair play. Seems like just the sort of thing similar folks have been doing a gay pride parades for years, and more recently, at the funerals of American servicepeople.

    Maybe we need to require citizens to take a 'Civil Society' class before allowing them to leave the house in the morning.

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      Has Rev. Phelps changed anyone's mind with his horrible protests at gay pride parades and the funerals of military personnel?


      If the goal is to yell nasty things at people and make them even more certain of the rightness of their abhorrent views, well, then the protesters at Mars Hill Church have succeeded.

      But if the goal is to actually change their minds, well, other approaches would be worth exploring.

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    You had a voice to speak about Mars Hill and you chose to denounce the people that came out to speak out against them.

    If you want a protest to look a specific way, you should get out there and organize one. At least these people went out and took care of business instead of infighting on the internet.

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      They didn't "take care of business". Not even close.

      They'd have been better off staying home and "fighting on the internet".

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    I have a theory that these protestors are nothing but agent provocateurs. That they were actually members of the church dressed up to protest themselves. I mean, people yelling at others that they will "burn in hell?" who uses language like that- except for regular church goers who fervently believe in heaven & hell and that others will burn for their sins...?

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      Kyle, much like Patriot Guard Riders are really Westboro Baptist Church members in biker garb? Really? I understand your fervant hope that the demonstration was self-staged, but in reality, progressives can be just as insensitive and boorish as any other group.

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        Kurt, my tongue was only slightly nestled within my cheek. Although there are plenty of examples of agent provocateurs joining a crowd of protestors or demonstrators to help turn it into a violent mob which would then generate the bulk of press attention opposed to the original message they were protesting, in this case it is only a theory with nothing to back it up. I just found it interesting that the use of such language is more what you'd expect from fervent church goers who believe in such quaint notions as heaven & hell, opposed to godless atheist progressives...

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