Yesterday, the news broke that 31 year old Glee actor, Cory Monteith, had been found dead in a Vancouver hotel room. Cory had spoken with searing honesty about his past addiction to drugs and at the age of 19, he had spent time in rehab. Whilst the cause of Cory's death is currently still unknown, earlier this year, the star had checked into rehab for a second time. Now, there will always be narrow-minded people who claim that any death that may have even the slightest connection to substance or alcohol abuse is somehow less important the death of a "clean-living" person. That the deceased person "had it coming." But Cory Monteith was open and honest about his issues with drugs and had sought help. He was 31 years old and, according to rumours, hoping to marry his long-term girlfriend and Glee co-star, Lea Michele. He most certainly didn't "deserve" to die.
Try telling that to the Westboro Baptist Church. Yes, yes, I know. The Westboro Baptist Church are despicable maggots, crawling on the face of our planet and polluting it with hatred, bigotry and intolerance. Their words are to be taken no more seriously than the words of Tinky Winky, Dipsy, La La and Po in a particularly silly episode of The Tellytubbies. However, they have a large platform and their disgusting words reach a big audience. And even more dangerously, they honestly seem to think that they're right. So this is how they chose to announce Cory's death to their followers on Twitter:
"STRUCK DOWN BY GOD." Yes, according to the WBC, Cory died because he was a "fag enabler." He had gay friends and was part of a TV show that appealed to gay people and which featured gay characters. So far, so pathetically predictable. But wait... What is that underneath the words "STRUCK DOWN BY GOD?" Ah yes. They tweeted this to Lea Michele. Let's rephrase that in nice, big words, shall we?
These parasites tweeted the grieving girlfriend of a man they never met, in order to inform her that the person she loved and was hoping to marry had been killed by God. On purpose. And that they plan to picket his funeral.
Now I know what you're thinking. I'm giving these useless excuses for humans the oxygen of publicity just by writing this blog. But you know what? If we don't make our voices heard against them, then theirs become the only ones shouting. And of course, all reasonable, well-adjusted people know that the WBC are just shouting ridiculousness. That their words are vile, ludicrous and not to be taken even slightly seriously. So maybe we should leave them to yell obscenities into the ether for all eternity.
Or maybe we shouldn't.
Why should we allow anyone a platform from which to preach hate? Is it because this group calls itself - laughably - Christian, that we feel no need to intervene? If this was a Muslim society, would we be quicker to pour scorn over their words?! Why is that fair?
For a start, the WBC is as far removed from true Christianity as lard is from freshly churned butter. For all their anger, vitriol and bigotry, here's what the Bible actually says about God's forgiving nature in Psalm 103:8-12:
"The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the Heavens are above the Earth, so great is his steadfast love..."
Now, I'll admit here and now that I'm not particularly religious, but even I can see that that psalm doesn't point towards a vengeful God who will STRIKE DOWN a man purely because he has gay friends. Yes, the Bible famously contradicts itself, but I still see no reason to believe in the God that the WBC claim to be serving.
The WBC however, opted not to stop at that first tweet. They then sent this one:
So, in case you didn't get it the first time, Lea, that guy you're devastated over losing? These people are thrilled to bits about his loss. So happy, they feel the need to tell you personally. I actually don't have words for how abhorrent this is. I can't even go down the "what if someone tweeted YOU to tell you that YOUR partner deserved to die?!" route, because these people are so utterly unable to see beyond their own atrocious opinions that they'd simply tell me that their family members are pure and perfect and will sit in God's Heaven for all eternity, pissing on gay people from on high. Or something.
They didn't stop there, either. The above tweet was sent to every actor on Glee. Every producer, director and assistant they could find. Every fan page. And in case you weren't aware of it, Glee has some pretty young fans. Fans who would have been mortified to discover that their beloved "Finn Hudson" was gone. The Westboro Baptist Church was sending this message not only to Cory Monteith's family and friends, but to children.
The WBC then took to using the name of the show that made Cory famous, in order to further express how pleased his demise had made them. Phrases such as "we are GLEE-ful!" made an appearance. Because God hates fags, but he just loves a pun...
Still, this was as low as they could stoop, right? Right? Wrong.
In case this tweet/photo causes any confusion, let me explain: An organisation, claiming to be a CHURCH OF GOD, has tweeted a woman whose partner died less than 48 hours earlier, encouraging her to COMMIT SUICIDE and just for added extras, encouraging her fans (some of whom, to reiterate, ARE CHILDREN) to do the same.
There are many, many more tweets of this nature, even including messages suggesting that George Zimmerman murdered Treyvon Martin because we live in a world that "allows fags to exist" (don't even get me started on them bringing that case into their shitty little world of hate) but if those reading this blog are anything like me, they will have been shocked, saddened and disgusted enough for one evening. I don't need to post any further evidence that these inhuman parasites are dangerous and morally wrong.
So I'll say again: To give the Westboro Baptist Church the oxygen of publicity is no good thing. To draw attention to their hate is negative. But to stand back and do nothing is worse.
I'm aware that I may be inviting hatred on myself. But hey, I've been stalked online this year and had malicious lies written about me already, so it's nothing new. I would rather stand up and shout back than sit down and keep my mouth shut. It's not good enough to quietly say "I disagree with that" when you see something wrong. It's not enough to shake your head and watch as minorities are treated with contempt and disgust. We need to do more than wring our hands over racism, sexism, homophobia and all other forms of bigotry. We need to speak. We need to stand as one and speak with our voices united when we say we will NOT accept hatred. We will NOT accept intolerance. We will support those who need justice, we will encourage those who want and deserve equality and we will comfort those in need. Because, Westboro Baptist Church, if there is a God, that is what he'd want.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgement you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Matthew 7:1-5