Folks who follow me on Twitter will have already heard this, but I want to say it again: I am so proud, this morning, of the collective witness that George Masons students and staff and local community members gave against the message of hate proclaimed by the protesters from Westboro Baptist Chuch.
Yep, Fred Phelps' gang came to protest Mason for being the denizen of "fag enablers"
as we began our week long celebration of Pride Week. Maybe they decided to stop by because of our homecoming (drag) queen, or maybe they were feeling the love and joy radiating from our campus as we prepared the honor the experiences and voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer and ally people. We got wind of the protest a few weeks ago, and a counter protest emerged from the student body instantaneously.
So, here's what I am proud of, at the beginning of this holy week before Holy Week. I am proud that so many people from the Mason community got up at seven in the morning and came to support their LGBTQ friends and fellow students. I am proud of the Mason police for keeping the peace. I am proud of the people who made signs and t-shirts and dressed in drag. I am proud of my friends, who stood at the front lines of WBC's abuse. And I am proud of and truly touched by all of the Christians who were there witnessing to the love of God that embraces all people, that calls us to care for and be responsible to all people. I wish I could remember all of the loving words on signs and shirts that my Christian friends displayed in solidarity with a community that many of the Christian groups on campus, frankly, do not support (the glowing exceptions, as far as I can see, at Lutheran Campus Ministry and United College Ministries, who will be having a Pride Week worship service on Wednesday). I was proud of all of the area churches who came to support GMU, especially proud of the wonderful folks from the Metropolitan Community Church of Northern Virginia, who preach good news and with whom I made signs yesterday after worship.
Happy Pride Week, everybody! May it be a week of blessings and peace for all people, at Mason and in all places, for those who can see the grace of God around them and for those who have different names for the gratuitous love of the One who is in covenant with all creation. AMEN.
And for a full listing of Pride Week events, check out http://pride.gmu.edu and http://lgbtq.gmu.edu.