California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Peace activists finally stand up to Westboro Baptist Church

Gay rights have been a hot topic for debate over recent years. More legislation is being proposed in order to create equality for all. Gay rights activists have taken important steps toward achieving their goals.

CLU sophomore Skylar Vasquez believes that their time for equal treatment has finally arrived.

“We are in the middle of a huge fight for equality,” said Vasquez. “This is the civil rights movement of our time.”

Many organizations have put forth tremendous efforts to support the gay rights movement, but there is always another side to every debate.

One organization that is against gay rights has made themselves very well known, not just in the United States, but around the world.

The Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., has made itself known through its opposition of gay rights.

The Westboro Baptist Church has been controversial in many ways. They have been known to protest at the funerals of fallen U.S. soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming that God was punishing those on earth for allowing homosexuality.

The church’s most recent protest happened just after the Newtown, Conn., shooting when the church claimed that the shooting was an act of God.

“It pains me to see such protest happening in our country,” said Vasquez. “People are too quick to judge others when they have no right to do so.”

But the church’s radical protest and their famous “God hates fags” signs have not scared or discouraged gay rights activists. In fact, they have motivated the movement.

Aaron Jackson, co-founder of the nonprofit organization Planting Peace, has decided to join the fight for gay rights. Planting Peace is an organization that seeks to spread awareness about global issues and promote peace around the world.

Jackson wanted to do something for the thousands of kids who are bullied for being who they are, so he made a clear statement to the Westboro Church.

He decided to purchase a home across the street from the church, but what he did with the home has received worldwide attention.

Jackson painted the house the colors of the rainbow, an iconic symbol of gay pride.

Many people are applauding Jackson for his bravery, including California Lutheran University sophomore Taylor Rofinot.

Rofinot is the vice president of CLU’s BGLAD, a club that works to advocate gay rights on campus.

“It takes a lot of guts to do what he did,” said Rofinot. “To be able to stand for what you believe in, directly in front of its greatest opposition, it shows that he truly cares for the equality movement.”

Some people have said that this is invading the rights of the church, but Jackson has done nothing illegal. So what rights have been invaded? They have their privacy; their church was not the one that was painted to resemble a rainbow.

The church is still just as free to state their opinions, just as much as those who support gay rights are.

Some claim that the painting of the house is an attack on the people of the church, a way to purposely make them uncomfortable.

I am in no way supporting intentional “attacks” on anyone. However, I do believe it is important to stand up for what you believe in. CLU senior Shannon Streeter believes the same thing.

“You can’t fear how others view you,” said Streeter. “You can’t fear speaking up or what you believe in. You just have to be you.”

Society today is making great strides by promoting peace and equality and hopefully will continue to be successful in their efforts.

 

Graham Jameson
Staff Writer
Published April 10, 2013

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