There is a man standing in front of you, and he hates you. He hates you to the point where all other instances of hate you've experienced now seem to require a different, lesser word, because they're a different, lesser emotion than what this man feels for you at this moment.
Rep. Andy Gipson is likely a good man. In this instance he just said some really thoughtless, hurtful things. I realize again that so often it isn't the person so much as the ideas that we need to reject in our society. To wish harm on this man is to repeat the mistake he made.
I was amazed to discover that the insidious ideas I held about the LGBT community dissipated as I got to know the individuals that made up that group. I learned that the best way to destroy a prejudice was to have the courage to encounter those we have learned to prejudge.
Following Newt Gingrich's victory in the South Carolina primary, Timothy Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church spoke with me about gay marriage and, among other things, which candidate their church endorses in the 2012 presidential election.
Though the Westboro Baptist Church never showed Friday night at Syracuse University's Carrier Dome, all was not lost.
As a young gay man, I looked at the pictures of Matthew Shepard's face and could see my own. His life and death inspired me, as I'm sure it did many others, to become involved in the fight against hate, bigotry and inequality.
I found myself in a symbiotic relationship with Westboro. Their goals were served by my drawing attention to them. And I had found an ideal "villain" whose positions are utterly unpalatable.
Smith uses shock-and-awe violence in "Red State" to bring viewers into the fullness of his commentary on the nature of belief, religious fanaticism and insipid hatred masked as piety.
If you believe in freedom of religion but don't understand the irony behind your anger at a mosque being built near ground zero, then you are the number one culprit of dumb nationalism in 2011.
I can imagine that great day when Westboro heads out to protest and Americans shrug their shoulders. If a protest of my funeral takes them one step closer to future obscurity and irrelevance, then do your worst.
Gay Marriage, Extremists, Bible Edits, Religious Reading, Jewish Wisdom, and Praying with the President - It's been a busy week on HuffPost Religion.
Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe. Photo Credit: God Hates Protesters/Yout...
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The First Amendment reflects a uniquely strong aversion to government censorship of any kind. Galliano, if he lived in New York, could not be prosecuted for giving vent to his bigoted views.