Words really cannot explain how proud I am of the Belmont community today. For those of you who don’t know, Westboro Baptist Church is widely known as a hate group that has been involved in actions against LGBTQIA people since the mid 1900s. They protest all over the United States and, today, they chose Belmont. Basically, Westboro Baptist Church was protesting against the existence of Belmont’s LGBTQIA student organization, Bridge Builders. They were trying to convince us that the members and supports of Bridge Builders are going to hell and should not be allowed on campus, especially at a Christian university. They protested around our campus with signs saying things such as “God hates fags” and other hateful things against the LGBTQIA community. I don’t know about you, but I personally find this kind of thinking to be repulsive and horrifying.
We could have protested back with shouts and signs and hatred today, but we didn’t. Instead, we collectively chose to have a prayer service at the bell tower. The student body stood behind Bridge Builders and the LGBTQIA community without hesitation. We could hear the shouts of Westboro Baptist Church members as they found their way closer to campus down Belmont Boulevard, but we didn’t stop. In prayer, uplifting messages, and song, we drove away Westboro’s hate with the exact things that they claimed we don’t have: love and faith.
When a community brings itself together in the way we did today, it extinguishes all differences that we may have. For almost an hour, we forgot about anything that may have divided us, and came together in solidarity. Despite the hate that was surrounding our campus this morning, we gathered in peace and with love to show Westboro that they have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about. So today, I am proud, more proud than I think I have ever been, to be a part of the Belmont community.
John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” No one should ever feel as though they are less of a human being for any reason. Who you fall in love with or want to be loved by does not make you any less of a person worth of dignity and respect. Please, please, please remember this.
**If you ever find yourself in need of a listening ear or an ally, please contact me. I’m more than willing to listen, understand, and respond if you need it. Just remember, you are loved and you are important.