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Small Town, Big Problems MAG
I've grown up around gaysand lesbians, and some of my best friends are gay, so I support them. One day Iwas on my way downtown after school and saw a crowd. I figured it was anotherpeace march since it was only a week after September 11th, but itwasn't.
My friend and I were sitting on the wall in front of Jimmy Johnsand talking when our friend, Mary, ran up to us.
"You guys shouldcome and help us out. They're protesting against gay people and saying Goddoesn't love us," she said.
As we joined our friends across the roadfrom the Christian protesters, I thought back to church and remembered mypreacher saying that God loves everyone. A guy came over and told us theprotesters were from out of state and were here because ours was one of thelargest gay communities in the country. I thought, I wish we were the gayestcommunity, all happy and stuff.
My friend grabbed my arm and pulled measide, saying, "We have to stand up to this. We should make our ownsigns." I agreed, and we headed to a shop we often visit. I made a sign thatsaid, I'm not gay, but I love my gay friends.
On our way through thecrowd, we saw the pastor from the church. She said she wanted three people to gowith her to talk with the protesters, and be kind to them. Great, I was chosen. Iwalked with my head held high, listening to their screams of hate. This wouldn'tbe easy, but maybe someone would listen.
I approached a young guy holdingtwo anti-gay signs. One said, AIDS cures fags, the other proclaimed, Fag sin isfilthy.
"Hey, would you mind explaining to me the purpose of all thishate?" I asked, thinking he would be really cute if he weren't holding thosenasty signs.
"This town needs help," he replied.
"Do you really believe that God hates?" Iasked.
"Yes, He does," he said, and showed me a Bible verse thatread, "God hates the work of iniquity."
"Yes, but not theworkers. He loves everyone," I countered.
"No, you aremistaken. Go ask a preacher," he said, sounding angry.
I was confusedand couldn't understand why they were preaching God's word with hate. I walked onand happened to find their pastor, standing silently, holding his Bible.
"Do you believe God hates the sin or the sinner?" Iasked.
He replied, "God hates the sinner." I couldn't believethey believed God would hate his own children.
I thought back to Sundayschool in my Pentecostal church. Sister Bell asked if I had taken a piece ofcandy and I said no, even though I had.
"It is a sin to lie,"she told me.
"Does God hate me for sinning?"
"No,God hates your sin, not you," she answered. Now these protesters were tryingto tell me something different.
The next day, they were back. I went backto make another sign: If these are the type of people in heaven, we would ratherburn in hell. As we walked around the protesters, a train formed. Chuck and Iwere the leaders, but at the same time we were all equal. As we marched aroundthem, we sang: "Jesus loves me, yes I know, for the Bible tells me so. AndJesus loves all the little children of the world, red and yellow, black andwhite, gay or straight."
Our words and actions amazed the peoplewho said God hates, and they left. They probably thought I was gay, but my onlypoint was that I love my gay friends, and so does God.