Some of you may have heard about the anti-homosexual, hate-filled picketers that will be outside Hughes Stadium before the Homecoming football game versus Wyoming on Oct. 12. If you haven’t, let me fill you in.
The Collegian has received multiple press releases from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., saying they will lead picketers before the game “in a celebration of the fourth anniversary of Matt Shepard’s Entry into Hell.” The release says CSU and the University of Wyoming are to blame for the brutal murder of the openly gay Shepard four years ago because of their “pro-gay lies.” Fred Phelps, the pastor of the church, has been organizing these hate-filled pickets for years. Westboro picketed Shepard’s funeral and run the Web sites www.godhatesfags.com and www.godhatesamerica.com.
Obviously this man and this church have the intention of getting people angry. I think the reaction of 99.9 percent of this campus is one of extreme anger and disdain for the people who would promote such hate and pass it off as part of being a good Christian. However, the question students should be asking is how should we react to these people?
The first option is one of direct confrontation through the use of language and/or violence. I’m sure that many of us feel like pulling a Jay and Silent Bob and kick everyone’s ass who wants to “celebrate” Matthew Shepard’s death and ridicule homosexuals. However, I think it’s pretty obvious that this is not the best solution. I’m sure CSU police will be out in force before the game and if you beat up a picketer, you most likely will get arrested for people who aren’t even worth a second look.
The next option is to stage a counter picket to promote the ideals of homosexuality and peace loving Christianity. If a gay/lesbian or a Christian organization decides to hold a counter protest, I am in total support and I would applaud their effort to turn attention away from Phelps and Westboro. But if a counter protest is held, however, is that not showing that the opinions of these people actually matter to us, and that they are so important that we feel we have to organize a counter protest?
These people obviously are set in their ways and are not prepared to have a real discussion about what the Bible says about homosexuality. For instance, the release uses a verse from Leviticus in the Old Testament to show why God condemns sodomy. However, many Christian religions and religious leaders have discounted pretty much all of Leviticus, as it was the law of the Jewish priests at the time of Moses and is irrelevant today.
There are Web sites on both sides of the issue that actually discuss what the Bible says and means instead of holding signs that say “God hates fags.” Moreover, just about every major religion teaches that God is the judge of humans and humans should not pass judgment on one another.
Because of Westboro’s instance on ignoring this, I think students and fans should ignore them. Just like the Ku Klux Klan, these people crave negative attention and get covered because people yell at them. I think nothing would make them more upset than if nobody paid any attention to them at the game. I don’t even like mentioning them in this column, but I think the reaction people give them before the game is crucial. If our reporter that the Collegian sends to cover this picket sees most people ignoring what’s going on, we probably won’t even write a story about it.
So my plea to everyone going to the game Oct. 12 is to ignore these people. Remember, this game is our Homecoming and the Boarder War game. So go to Hughes, tailgate, shake your keys (which by the way should only be at the start of each half and after a RAMS score), enjoy Homecoming and most of all, ignore the morons with signs, they are not even worth our time.
I also want to know what you think. Write a letter to the editor or e-mail me, the opinion editor or the editor-in-chief. All of our e-mail addresses are on page two of the Collegian everyday. Let us know what you think students should do and if you are organizing a counter protest.