And the kids sang, “All you need is love.”
Friday January 29th 2010, 10:18 pm
Filed under: History,Life

Amazing.  It looks to me like they accomplished what the grief counselors tried to. The God who loves has the infinite wisdom to be able to make use of the worst that is in man as well as our best.

I wasn’t going to write about them.  Silence–the act of turning one’s back on them and walking away without a word–was the most they personally deserve.

But our children deserve more.  Our children deserve to know that the adults in their lives stood up for them, and so I add my voice here to the crowd.

There is a group whose name will not sully my blog who fancy themselves Christians.  They support themselves by screaming their hate, trying to provoke people into confrontations, hoping to be able to sue to make money.

As one reporter noted, zero degrees windchill factor in January where the group lives, or California sun, well, now, hey, let’s go on vacation.

So they came here. They filed a report with the police.  They intended to protest at our high school and then over at Stanford University’s Taube Hillel House: to wave placards and yell at our children at their school that they were all going to hell for being tolerant of Jews and gays, and that the loss of their friends at the railroad tracks was very much what they rightfully deserved by the wrath of God.

The high school immediately announced school would start late today. No child had to go through that. No child had to face pain deliberately inflicted by those who sought power over them in their most vulnerable and most painful moments.  They encouraged people to have the thugs speak to the wind alone.

Sage advice, that.

And yet.

Silence can also, at its worst, convey assent.  And that absolutely could not be.

Children from other schools came, even from as far away as the other side of the Bay.  Parents came. Teachers came.  Grandparents came.  Children of our own town came.  Signs were hoisted in peaceful counter-protest, with most folks staying on the high school’s side of the street, avoiding any possible charges of physicality with the haters (remember, assault means fear of being hit, battery, actually being hit; they could claim fear simply by someone coming close.)

On our side, placards read “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” “God loves everybody, even hatemongers.” And one sign later at Stanford asked, simply, “Got Love?”

Listen to one of the thugs’ ugly response:

“You’ll be in front of the train next! God laughs at your calamity!”

No, He doesn’t.  And you, ma’am, don’t know what any one of those children at that school believes–but if you notice, they were preaching and exemplifying the best Christian values to you.  Love. Tolerance. Understanding.  Again, “God loves everybody, even hatemongers.”

Who were facing them across the street.

Our students: “After all we’ve been through, it’s wrong for them to be here.”

“It really helped pull us together. There’s a real solidarity at our school.”

Our children saw human faces that were evil. That took satisfaction in their suffering and hoped there would be more.

Thank you dear God, I think our train tracks just got a lot safer.


23 Comments so far
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Hi Alison–This story made me shiver. To think of those kids being able to hang onto their beliefs while being hurt like that. . .I just came from watching my kids act in a (slightly belated) Martin Luther King Day assembly about nonviolent resistance, and while there’s no comparison between that experience and something as scary and challenging as what you describe, I do think that when you have the experience of standing up for love and nonviolence while you are young, it never leaves you.

Comment by Amy S. 01.29.10 @ 11:53 pm

Forgot to add, G-d bless them.

Comment by Amy S. 01.29.10 @ 11:53 pm

They should know that they cannot stand in judgement it is sad to hear of such cruelty.
Our God is a loving God and we all are his children.(((Hugging You))))Darcy

Comment by Darcy 01.30.10 @ 12:21 am

Oh my goodness. What an incongruity, those people calling themselves Christians. No wonder the word has such a bad reputation.

Borrowing Wm Paul Young’s idea (he wrote The Shack, and it’s fabulous), if people ask me if I’m a Christian, I tell them, “Define Christian and I’ll tell you if I am one”.

There’s no way I would align myself with a group like that. They are the antithesis of what true believers ought to be.

Comment by Mokihana 01.30.10 @ 12:52 am

I’m glad to see someone standing up for the good name of Christian, what I’ve always believed the name should stand for and what it so rarely does these days. Thank you.

Comment by Alison 01.30.10 @ 7:50 am

If it was the same group — I’m not willing to look it up frankly — about a year ago, they were to protest at my husband’s military base. The base announced this was happening and to that while they would not be allowed to get very close, there could be shouting and such as the guys reported for duty. (I ought to note that the base is in the middle of nowhere — who they were going to sway with their special brand of hate — the men and women who WORKED there? Doing what they believed in? Oh, maybe it was the families that give up everything to follow their spouses around the country/world just to support them and remind them that some one thinks the good they bring is important?)

So, I called my husband on the day of the protest and asked — so how was it? The response: “Oh, it appears that if you hate that much, you can’t read a map — they got lost. Protest, failed.”

I wish they had failed for you too. But I sent up thanks to God for stopping that protest that day.

Comment by Patricia 01.30.10 @ 8:04 am

Thank you for writing. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

Comment by Barbara-Kay 01.30.10 @ 8:07 am

All I can think of is “WOW”. It’s hard to believe people with such hate exist; how can they grow up in the same world I did and not see the beauty and goodness? Thanks for the blog

Comment by Janet Kelley 01.30.10 @ 8:39 am

‘Birds of a feather flock’ together, and it appears that a flock of (insert adjectives and noun of choice) flew into your area. I googled the news reports to read more about how remarkable the local loving counter-protest was. I wish that particular “opportunity” to unite and demonstrate respect and tolerance wasn’t necessary at this especially sad time, but oh, how well your young people handled themselves!

Comment by LynnM 01.30.10 @ 9:23 am

I know who they are — we have had random visits from them here where they pull this obscene behavior at the funerals of soldiers

Our children are amazing in their ability to stand for the right in the face of such evil

And it’s sad that our politics has now taken such a turn that these kind of hateful outbursts are considered part of the main stream

Got Love indeed!

Comment by Bev 01.30.10 @ 9:47 am

Whatever happened to the Golden Rule? Sigh. Thanks to everyone who put the safety and emotional well-being of the children first.

Comment by Channon 01.30.10 @ 10:22 am

Alison, you beat me to it. I was going to write about this on my blog, but your comments are much more than I was going to say. I have just two things to add to all this: I thought the most appropriate sign by the high schoolers was “Love thy neighbor as thyself”. And the funniest, I thought, though part of the sign was hidden, was, “Now we know why Dorothy left Kansas”. Oh, one more thing — I thought it was just marvelous that the school faculty chose to use this incident as a learning experience.

And here I think a bit of humor is appropriate —

“My laptop computer is driving me nuts,” complained one person. “The A, E, and I keys always stick.” A friend diagnosed the problem: “Your computer is suffering from irritable vowel syndrome.”

Comment by Don Meyer 01.30.10 @ 12:44 pm

We must support their right to freedom of speech, since we demand it for ourselves, but they also have the right to remain silent, and we wish they would USE IT. At least everyone else has the right not to listen, and that right was well used. Meanwhile, they had to leave without what they came for–somebody to sue.

Comment by LauraN 01.30.10 @ 2:04 pm

somehow I bet this is the same “Christians” who protest at the funerals of local soldiers killed in Iraq here …

I picture God getting them in one big room and telling them how sad he was that they got it wrong that he loves everyone

Comment by rho 01.30.10 @ 2:27 pm

Are they evil, or are the people who scared them so badly about an imaginary danger of (immigrants, gays, Jews, women, insert your favorite here) the evil ones, and they are the sad and scary result? I won’t try to answer, but I will join you in celebration of those who rallied in love.

Comment by twinsetellen 01.30.10 @ 5:22 pm

Unbelievable! It’s amazing how much hate some people can put out there and in the name of a god that’s about love. Just unbelievable – how do they look at themselves in the mirror every morning?

Love what your community did. Just wonderful.

Comment by Lene 01.30.10 @ 6:05 pm

Once again I see hope for our next generation. What beautiful children in that school, and what a wonderful administrator for using this as a teachable moment. He’s really amazing, and that school sounds like a gift to the community. Thank you for sharing this remarkable story, Alison.

Comment by Pegi 01.30.10 @ 7:20 pm

How sad that those individuals would inflict more emotional pain on those kids. Bless those kids and the school administrators for being so strong.

Comment by Joansie 01.30.10 @ 8:17 pm

those people are not Christians. In no way, shape or form do they have the right to call themselves such.
Now, the kids and community? That’s some good, good, people there. If I had been anywhere close, I would have joined in, and trust me, I don’t get involved in anything remotely religious. I just would have been a sign of solidarity with kids that needed support.

Comment by Sandra 01.30.10 @ 9:25 pm

may all Blessed be.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 01.31.10 @ 8:48 am

To paraphrase: “And the children shall lead them.”


Pity those so-called Christians will never truly follow the teaching of their god, and will only cleave to the false teaching of hate. They clearly do not see that love is stronger than hate. I feel so sorry for people who have such warped beliefs, truly it is the devil who controls their minds and souls. So sad.

Comment by Margo Lynn 01.31.10 @ 10:58 pm

I am sorry you all have had to go through this. I like your take on it though: the tracks might be left alone from now on.

Sending prayers of peace and strength to you and yours.

Comment by Suzanne in Mtl 02.01.10 @ 6:56 am

I know who you are talking about. They came to our high school, too, and the community came together in a counterprotest (more like proclamation of God’s love).

Comment by karin maag-tanchak 02.03.10 @ 7:51 am

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