The night before the [Friday morning] peaceful protest, we went to a meeting to plan it. At this meeting, there was a guy from Christian Peacemaker Teams (Tim Nafziger). He said a lot of things, but one of the things that stood out to me was when he said something about doing this not out of hate, but out of love for the people who had different beliefs than us. That kind of resonated with me because I hadn’t really considered that angle of it. So, when we were standing in the delegate meeting, holding our signs, I for a minute felt myself getting annoyed because it seemed as if not only were people not getting upset, but a lot of people appeared to be simply ignoring us. Usually, I would want people who think differently from me, or people who I don’t agree with, to get angry. Because honestly, as someone who can be a bit confrontational at times, it can feel good to see someone that you strongly don’t agree with get angry or upset. But, after remembering what Tim had said, this experience made me start to realize that that is not the point of an action such as this. The point is not to make people angry or upset, it is to make them realize that what is going on is unjust and that everyone, even they, should be treated equally and fairly. Just as they should learn to love and accept everyone, we need to remember to love and accept everyone, even people who don’t agree with us. Even people who may say or do hurtful things are still people, and if we want them to be inclusive towards everyone, I realized that we also need to be inclusive towards them.
First Mennonite Church of San Francisco
Interesting observation. While I agree with the sentiment that making someone with whom you disagree angry is not conducive, I wonder what is accomplished when they can sit and simply ignore us. I mean, the Church has ignored lgbtq voices since 1986. They have censored our voices by disenfranchising people who speak out, discrediting those who support us from the pulpit or by disciplining supportive congregations, if not completely cutting them off from the Conference. Do we then just sit and play a game of you’re ignoring me, and so I’ll ignore you. Whoever can hold their breath the longest wins? How do we engage people when we don’t share equal footing. I don’t know, I struggle with this.
I found the Friday morning action to be particularly meaningful. As more and more persons in pink came quietly into the assembly and others stood, one could not help but notice. You may have felt ignored, Abby, but you were certainly noticed!
I also was impressed with the quiet, reflective, loving manner of the protest. This was non-violent social action at its best, in my opinion. Well planned and well done!