I’m only a part time San Francisco resident these days. But I’ve still — as Tony Bennett would say — left my heart there. Lately the far Right likes to demonize all things San Francisco, as if this isn’t one of the most beautiful, special places in America. You want to find the best in “American Values” — those values of tolerance and freedom so many of us only pay lip service to — you’ll find them here. Here’s a shining example:
A few weeks ago, the infamous Fred Phelps of Kansas’ Westboro Baptist Church decided to target Bay Area schools to protest their stated policies of tolerance to religions, sexual orientation and other *sneer* Liberal Values. Phelps, you’ll remember, is the minister who thinks being a Christian is about showing up at the funeral for a dead US Marine and screaming “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” at the grieving family as they lay their son to rest. (Phelps contends that God is killing our soldiers because we tolerate Gays, or some such twisted thing.)
Apparently two schools at two ends of the Bay Area were targeted by Reverend Phelps for his brand of “Christian Love”. He was incensed, among other things, at the schools stated policies of tolerance. Phelps especially wanted to spew his invective on Jews and Gays.
In both areas, a community decision was made to give as little publicity to the event as possible, which is probably why you haven’t heard about it and these videos are just now available. But the kids in both schools felt such hatred couldn’t go remarked upon. Instead of meeting hatred with hatred, the kids of Gunn High School in Palo Alto organized a sing-in where they organized peacefully to sing Spirituals, old protest songs, and wear T-shirts with slogans of acceptance. They were joined by teachers and parents who were equally non-violent, in a show of support for all people who would be targeted by Phelps’ hate:
Up in San Francisco, perhaps inspired by a certain group’s love of old Hollywood musicals, the students at Lowell High School, staged a “Dance Away Hate”. Again, parents and teachers showed up in full support:
Folks, that’s how we do it in San Francisco and the Bay Area. We may not all be Christians, but this, my friends, is how Christian Love is done. Tea Baggers are welcomed to take notice.
These people who hate in the name of “god” are just about the scariest thing I can think of
This makes me proud to be a California native. Sometimes it’s hard – to hear everyone talk about the “fruits & nuts” – but I’ll take them any day.
Great post, Lisa. “We may not all be Christians, but this, my friends, is how Christian Love is done. Tea Baggers are welcomed to take notice.”
Big difference between proclaiming to be a Christian and actually behaving like one. Phelps may say he’s a Christian, but I beg to differ.
I’m trying to keep this blog non-political. ‘Cause, you know me, it would all end in non-stop rants. But the maturity and humanity of these kids just touched me. This is what living in a Liberal place like The Bay Area is all about. I respect the fact that they wanted to keep this out of the media — as a way to keep any extra publicity from Fred Phelps — but with all the San Francisco bashing, I thought it was important to give it a little “air time”.
Awesome post! New Orleanians can certainly identify with San Franciscans as targets of this kind of ignorance and hate. Kuddos to these wonderful kids and the adults that raised and support them.
Outstanding, as always, Lisa…
The Phelps clan showed up in Bakersfield a while back to disrupt the funeral of a fallen local soldier. They came to the wrong town. The funeral procession was escorted by loads of motorcycle clubs and citizens shielding the service from the likes of Phelps. The entrance to the cemetery was guarded with swarms of local citizens protecting the family from their dreadful time of grief.
Phelps is a fairly old boy and is scheduled to meet his judgment soon. He’ll learn soon enough just how forgiving my God is.
Yes, we do make fun of San Francisco here in the central valley but love it too. If I had to live in any city in the entire world (and I do not want to ever have to live in a city) San Francisco is my number one pick.
I’m glad to hear the local local motorcycle clubs showed up. The good cycle clubs don’t get enough credit — and most of them raise a lot of money for charity. The infamous “One Percenters”, for the one percent who are trouble-makers, get all the press. I’ve never had a roadside breakdown or situation where a motorcycle club hasn’t stopped and offered to help. Good people.
Nice one Lisa , and it ‘s not political really , just life. LIVE AND LET LIVE. JtB
For those who are unaware, JtB is John the Baptist who is featured frequently here at Left Coast Cowboys.
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