On July 26th, amid the Democratic National Convention, the LGBT community and its supporters took to the street to defend the Mazzoni Center from the protests of the Westboro Baptist Church. Quetana Honore of the FLC Girls Youth News Team spoke with some of the attendees.
“We’re here today because there was a protest by the Westboro Baptist Church in front of the gay community center,” said Patrick Rodgers, a local Philadelphian. “I wanted to be part of the counter-protest to show them that we don’t accept that kind of hate here in Philadelphia and to let them know they’re not welcome here.”
Rodgers was not the only one with opinions on the event. Local Harpist, Delling Dedanaan, also shared his motivation for attending. “There’s those Westboro people that in no shape or form do I hate them at all. I want them to have as much peace as anybody else and a harp is usually an instrument of peace for everyone so I just brought it down to calm everybody and make everybody as happy as I can.”
The Westboro Baptist Church is known for outlandish acts against the LGBT community. These acts often result in other groups publicly uniting to fight against them. Rodgers agrees, “Any sort of bigotry or hate does well when people don’t speak out against it and when we don’t speak out against them.”
While speaking with protesters, we found many people who think Westboro Baptist Church is a poor representation of their religious beliefs. Another local Philadelphian, Dottie Baumgarten, argues “I’m Christian, so if you’ve got a group that is using Christianity as a form of hating people, I’m going to say ‘No, you’ve got it wrong.’ And so if you’ve got somebody who is protesting their existence, I’m going to block that negative protest.”
Despite the negativity from the Westboro Baptist Church, the love and positivity of the counter-protest could be felt throughout the streets.
Author: FLC Girls Youth News Team