Monday, June 1, 2009

Brother Micah Protest

I had the opportunity to run up the street this afternoon and check out the UC protest of Brother Micah, the incendiary fire-and-brimstone preacher that visits college campuses to stir up trouble preach.

The event was well attended. Brother Micah (abbreviated "BM" from here on out) was cordoned off for his own safety and for his own free speech, as was the group of activists that organized the counter protest. According to Lt. Ken Lewis, the reason for the physical separation was because technically they were two events. Because of the nature of the two events, they thought it was best to provide some physical separation, but only enough so that they could shout back and forth to each other. However, if you were not on the "counter protest" side, you had to mostly stay quiet unless you were engaging BM in meaningful dialogue.

The protestors, with rainbow flags and signs, were not there for meaningful dialogue.

No single group on campus organized the event, but was, instead, organized from the ground up by local activists. The UC groups assisted in promotion but it was no one person's baby. The crowd grew and shrunk as college students passed by between classes, and I would say that there was probably, at the largest point while I was there, a good 250-300 total individuals listening, and probably a good 100-150 counter protestors. There were some in the listening group that were there against BM, but they had to keep quiet.

I had a chance to speak to Kevin Wallen, a freshman at UC who is a devout Methodist and a reformed atheist, who was against BM. Why? "Because he preaches out of context to make it sound like Jesus is not accepting."

"It's blasphemous," freshman Mike Butler, freshman and Catholic, added. It was Butler's cross necklace that drove me to ask them their thoughts. They are, for the record, very much against the work of BM simply because of his judgmental nature and his blanket statements telling people they are going to hell. "You cannot say you are without sin," Butler added, moments before BM started quoting Matthew 7 -- "Judge not, that ye be not judged." Ironic, perhaps.

For their part, the "homoclub," as BM called them, were loud and raucous. They shouted jokes and taunts to the streetside preacher. I wonder, though, how helpful some of their ongoing commentary was -- asking BM when the last time he "fucked his wife in her ass" probably doesn't sit well with a loving and open movement. Nor do jokes about Jesus, for the record. The crowd did cheer everytime he said the word "homosexual," and they began chanting "No more hate" near the end of my time. BM responded, "BOOOOORING!"

Oh, Brother Micah? 

It was an interesting experience, there on the campus, and I left feeling uncertain and unsure. The attendance was strong, the crowd was engaged, it seemed like a lot of fun, and there were some great signs and protestors... but, I wonder if there wasn't a better way to handle it. I bristled when the obscenities flew because I felt like it wasn't the best method. However, for their part, the UC students rocked it out today and I have to give 'em credit...

...they sure did give BM the hell he deserved. 


Anonymous said...

I totally agree. I don't think he (BM) is being very Christ-like. HOWEVER, it isn't much better to yell profanity at someone and makes jokes about Jesus. Instead, I'd like to see some people make allies with the Christians that are fighting for GLBTQ rights. They are out there.

Devin Rodgers

Anonymous said...

The entire demonstration played right into this guy's hands. How many folks stopped to listen simply because of the spectle created? Most of them, probably.

Very tempting to meet this with hate -- also quite counterproductive. The best way to deal with this guy really, really, really -- is to just ignore him. Like the KKK marchers walking through a deserted town -- it would be devastating.

The Seeker said...

Our motives behind our protest were to have a peaceful gathering of queers. For the most part, that happened, but we can't control everyone..
To say that the best way of getting rid of him is ignoring him is true, but impossible. There's always a myriad of students that go watch him to ridicule him, and there always will be. If we can't beat 'em, we join 'em! Admittedly, I agree with Barry, but only to an extent: There were only 3 or 4 of the queers that weren't being very respectful, and most of the hate being thrown back to BM on our side of the caution tape was actually coming from loud straight (or so we think) people, just like the ones on the other side of the tape... They just had to come to our side because the UCPD made them... (see my blog post shortly for a tad bit more on that...)
I had fun though!
*and for the record, I was the one that made the sign saying "I respect your right to beliefs and an opinion. Can't you respect mine?"

Anonymous said...

It is simple if you read your Bible within the context. There were Old Testement Rules. People sinned daily, even the revered prophets. Sacrificing animals for all the sins was becoming a waste. Christ died as the ultimate sacrifice for all of the sins past and future. If the sacrifice of God's own Son is not sufficient to cover sins for one who believes, then BM blasphemes that which he says he believes. He is going to feel awful when he sees homos going to heaven because they were thankful and believed Christ's message of forgiveness, brotherhood, charity, and love.

How this gets interpreted after Christ was resurrected is human thought, opinion, and needs to be taken within the context of that situation and time.