Friday, May 06, 2005

Love Conquers Hate

Tonight I went to see a production of The Laramie Project put on by my old high school, Durham School of the Arts (DSA) (which has a PHENOMENAL theater program).

Wait, let me back up. I'd known for a few months that DSA was putting on a production of the Laramie Project and had full intentions of attending. A little over a month ago, though, I learned that Fred Phelps was going to be there and hold a protest as people went in to see the production. Now Fred Phelps does not give off a very loving vibe; in fact, it's quite the opposite that he's after. He preaches HATE. He's a Baptist preacher from somewhere in Kansas (I think it's Kansas) and he travels around the country protesting things and preaching hate (and basing it in the Bible), and that God hates some people and puts them in Hell for it.

In talking to others about this upcoming event, I found that many people reacted with anger and a sort of returned hatred. To me, this does not feel right - we're all equal, everyone has Light within. My reaction to Fred Phelps is to love him back and feel pain for the hatred present in his life. What he preaches is so incredibly outrageous that I cannot even begin to take it seriously (if you look at his website,, you might see what I mean).

So tonight I went to see this production of the Laramie Project, at which Phelps and followers were protesting. I did not really know what to expect of this, but I knew that I did not want to react to him; I wanted to just walk past and not let them get any reaction from me. As I walked down the sidewalk past the anti-gay protesters with my arm around a good friend, I did not feel affected by the Fred Phelps protest - as I mentioned before it was too outrageous for me to take seriously. What did strike me greatly was the counter protest across the street. There were 20 or so anti-gay protesters, and at least 100 counter-protesters packed like sardines between the street and the building across the street. I felt an immense loving vibe from them, one person was holding a large sign that said "God is Love", which warmed my Spirit. There was no violence, just a great amount of love.

In watching the production of the Laramie Project I was reminded of the vigils around the world for Matthew Sheperd and his family and the vast out-pouring of love. Despite all the violence and pain in this world, there is so much LOVE, and it's so easy to become distracted from it. Responding to hate with more hate only provokes the problem, two wrongs don't make a right. As the cliche statement goes, love conquers hate, and it's so true.

I do not know what moves Fred Phelps, but despite his efforts he probably inspires more love in his actions than hate. There is always love, everywhere - you just have to remember it.


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