Planting Peace and Shocked Rants

Hi gang. I want to talk about a couple of news items that caught my eye yesterday.

In entertainment news, singer Michelle Schocked decided to end her musical set over the weekend with an anti-gay rant, according to those in attendance at Yoshi’s in San Francisco. Ms. Schocked, an alternative/folk singer who had some success in the 80’s and 90’s, has previously danced on the edge of coming out. In 1990, she talked to Outlines, a Chicago gay newspaper, about having her first relationship with a woman.

By 2008, Shocked seemed to struggle with her identity, as quoted in the Dallas Voice: “According to my Bible, which I didn’t write, homosexuality is immoral. But homosexuality is no more less a sin than fornication. And I’m a fornicator with a capital F. I like the sound of being called an honorary lesbian and the comparisons to black disco divas. But right now, I’m a dug-in-the-heels fundamentalist who’s not too happy about it.” In 2012, Shocked has apparently decided to take up the banner of hatred in the name of fundamentalist religion. Over the weekend, she ranted at her show, reportedly telling the audience she feared gay marriage would “destroy the world”, and they could go on Twitter and say, “Michelle Shocked hates fags.” She mostly emptied out the club at that point. Shocked herself Tweeted later, “Truth is leading to painful confrontation.”

I wonder if she was talking about the crowd or her own internalized homophobia? I don’t personally care if she’s gay or straight, but can somebody tell me why every time one of these “converted” born-again Christians speaks, they have to launch into such vile and hateful language? Are they trying to convince themselves or everyone else? I’m going to Tweet to Michelle: Don’t hate yourself, God loves you either way.

In more uplifting news, did you see that the Westboro community in Topeka Kansas has a new Equality House? That’s right, and it’s located right across the street from the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, run by the fundamentalist homophobe Fred Phelps. Planting Peace is a diverse charity organization with projects ranging from environmental causes to opening orphanages worldwide that rescue children from the street. Planting Peace has now opened the Equality House in Phelp’s own neighborhood.

Aaron Jackson, one of the group’s founders, said, “I read a story about Josef Miles, a 10-year-old kid who counter-protested the Westboro Baptist Church by holding the sign that says ‘God Hates No One,'” Jackson told The Huffington Post “I didn’t know anything about the church or where they were located, but that story kept popping up. And one night I wondered, Where is this church? I got on Google Earth, and I was ‘walking down the road,’ and I did a 360 view. And I saw a ‘For Sale’ sign sitting in the front yard of a house. Right away it hit me, Oh my gosh, I could buy a house in front of the WBC! And immediately I thought: And I’m going to paint that thing the color of the pride flag.”

Today, volunteers are painting the Equality House in rainbow colors. Yes, the sound you hear is the crowd going wild. Phelps is in the business of intimidation and bullying. In my experience the only way to stop a bully is to stand up to them. Let’s see how Phelps and his hate-mongering followers handle a neighbor who isn’t going to cower in their presence, or worse, ignore them in the hopes they’ll go away. The sign hanging on the Westboro Baptist Church states the same message Michelle Shocked proclaimed: God Hates Fags.

No. God hates hate. Clearly, these adults are not smarter than a fifth grader.

We shouldn’t be shocked by either of these stories. There will always be people like Phelps who use religion to justify their bigotry and hate, and sadly, their will always be those like Shocked who internalize the twisted message and lash out as a bizarre defense mechanism. I feel sorry for them because hate only breeds hate and what you give always comes back to you. Be the change you wish to see, right? Planting peace. What a concept.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading~

12 thoughts on “Planting Peace and Shocked Rants

  1. Y’know, I followed Michelle Shocked’s career when she burst onto the scene in ’86. She was part of the “wave” of alt-rock feminist singer/songwriters (or so it seemed at the time) and we all thought she was a sis-tah. I remember when she mentioned the affair with a woman, and I thought, oh, right on. She IS a sis-tah, whether lesbian or bi. Then around ’94 she started talking about getting married to a man. And then she kind of disappeared. As it turns out, she had fallen back into a religious kind of thing (she was raised Mormon), and went majorly Christian. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, people. But religion, seems to me, should be used like spirituality: to raise people up and make yourself and others feel good.

    Michelle Shocked isn’t getting either of those things through religion. She started to claim homosexuality is a sin, and then at that crazy-time rant at the San Fran concert, she allegedly said that she’s deathly afraid the world will end if gays are legally allowed to marry (note to Michelle: Gays HAVE been legally marrying for years now in other countries and in some US states. World hasn’t ended.). I think she’s having issues with her own self over sexual orientation and who knows what else. She has said that she was raped years ago; presumably that terrible-ness is still playing a role in her life. Regardless, she had some kind of melt-down onstage, and the toxicity she’s been holding onto burst out. I can only hope that she manages to get herself together and that she can find some peace and happiness. If she were truly happy, she wouldn’t spend time lashing out at others.

    And the Equality House? LOVE.

    • Hey Andi! Thanks for your thoughtful response. “But religion, seems to me, should be used like spirituality: to raise people up and make yourself and others feel good.” Spot on, Sista! Phelps isn’t getting any of it from his brand of religion, either. I can’t wait to see the final pics of the Equality House once the paint job is complete.

  2. Your Blog is so right on! Thank you for posting this in such a concise and relevant way. I was shocked by Shocked! It makes me wonder what could have possibly happened to her to make her change so drastically. It would be a blessing if the fundamentalists could hear the hate they are spewing and realize that no God or Jesus would ever teach hate. Period! This is another hit to the message of peace, love, compassion and that we are all One in the bigger picture. We just have to battle on. Thank you for being a soldier of Peace.

  3. Well, my thoughts are this – If your marriage is threatened by 12% of the population, you have bigger problems. As for Michelle Shocked, she is at the end of an obscure career and probably thinks that there are more Christians out there who will support her lack-luster existence if she screams such vitriol.

    Gay and Lesbians are one of the last groups that it is okay for ALL groups to hate, tell jokes about and make anti-LGBT statements with little to no flashback to the bomb thrower. We see it happen in sports, schools, institutions of higher learning, and through-out the media. There is no safe place for us, so we must stay vigilant and understand that the enemy may just be living in your own family.

    Another day in the life of a Lesbian. Be ever aware of your surroundings and you will never be surprised or scared.


  4. I really believe ppl who speak this way are mentally ill. I think the most honorable thing to do for these ppl is to act kindly. That westboro fellow? He’s a victim of his own hate. Shocked? She’s a victim of a type of Christianity that seeks to divide us. I think religion is a very unhealthy way to follow a road to evolution of mind and spirit. But it is the easier way. There are so many who want to be led. So many who love the power of leading.

    I’m going to celebrate Rachel Maddow and light a candle for these other two.

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