westboro baptist.

about a week ago, i learned that the Westboro Baptist Church was going to be coming to NJ [and yes, that really is their web address]. via their website description, it seemed that they were largely on an anti-jewish tirade, and one of their visits was going to be to the Rutgers Hillel jewish student group, because:

"Rutgers Hillel - You have two mascots? God H8s Fags already 93 College Ave Why does New Jersey have to be so friggin' weird about everything? These guys have two mascots at this college. Is that in case one of them is offensive to someone? I'm just sayin'! WBC needs to have a few words with these young people because all of the people who ever had any influence over them - LIED! What did you do that for? Why did you lie to those kids. Oh well, they're all grown up now, so they must find out for themselves that God is NOT a liar, like you told them He is. Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? So, here we come - behave yourselves appropriately, keep your mouths shut, your eyes and ears open. You never know, you might learn something. Praise God! AMEN!"

yea, didn't really make any sense to me either. if you read up on some of the other 'reasons' for their pickets, i think you'll find them more humorous than offensive -- because it's just. so. ridiculous.

i've known about these folks for awhile -- picketing funerals and such. it's one thing to push your agenda, it's a whole other thing to disrespect and demean.

so i wanted to go see this event with my own eyes. they were slated to arrive at Rutgers Hillel at 8:45 and stay for a half hour. i got there pretty much right at 8:45. and, sadly, this is the only view i got of them:

because they were back on their bus and leaving within 15 minutes of arriving. apparently, they arrived at 8:40, stood out on the sidewalk for about 2 minutes, went back to their bus, and were pulling out by 8:55. come on -- i mean, even spider man came out for the counter-protest:

but seriously. it wasn't disappointment that i felt. it was curiosity. i was curious why a group that has mouths and convictions as large as they do, seemed to have scampered away with their tails between their legs. why would they have bothered? are they simply pot-stirrers with barks much worse than their bites? do they really have any deep-lying passion for what they preach? or are they just after the publicity in order to sustain their ridiculous propaganda?

the plus side, is that they successfully spurred the people of rutgers toward a bit of a unification against hate.

i was excited to see the students and Hillel making the counter-protest against hate. this could VERY easily been an 'anti-christian' counter-protest -- or 'anti-conservative-christian'. i'm encouraged by the way the counter-protest was handled -- maturely, and without irrational stereotypes and hatred. it also could have easily been laced with hatred toward Westboro Baptist. and it wasn't. there were a number of articles/editorials in the Rutgers newspaper over the past week encouraging people to be thoughtful about their reactions. the second reformed church of new brunswick resides across the street from Hillel. they were present and in full support:

anywho. just wanted to share my account. it provoked a lot of thoughtfulness in me this past week about my own convictions -- and what they are rooted in -- so i'm thankful for that. i encourage you to take some time for your own convictions this week -- remind yourself of them, think about them, test them. peace...

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