Saturday, November 13, 2010
On Tuesday, a group of religious extremists who call themselves Pinpoint Evangelists is going to be at Volunteer State Community College, preaching a gospel of hell and damnation in front of the library. They claim to have been called to save lost souls who will be cast into the deepest pits of hell if they don't repent. Who are these lost souls? These are equal opportunity bigots. They are targeting Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Roman Catholics, Jews, single mothers, divorcees, homosexuals, fornicators, drunkards, rape victims...
Rape victims? Yes. According to this group, every one of them caused it themselves. I suppose in their eyes, that includes little children, too. The victim is always at fault, they say. Especially if they're female. Women are to be silent and subservient, especially in church.
Vol State has to let them do this because the campus is public property. They will not be allowed to use bull horns or loudspeakers. People who witnessed this group's performance at MTSU recently said they were very noisy. They probably don't even need a sound system.
There is great consternation about this at Vol State, especially in light of all the recent gay teen suicides. It seems outrageous. It greatly violates the school's diversity policy. It may be free speech, but when "free speech" actually puts someone's life in danger, I think a line must be drawn. Inciting a riot and yelling fire in a a crowded theater are not "free speech."
At first we were planning to go to VSCC to protest, but as people thought about it, the best course seemed to be to give this group as little attention as possible. Protesting will only focus a spotlight on them which is want they want. They are looking for attention and giving them what they want is counterproductive. The plan now is to simply ignore them.
I was thinking about the obnoxiousness of this group and the Fred Phelps "God Hates Fags" people and it dawned on me that their hate messages are actually self-canceling. Their extremist ranting is so repugnant to most people that it renders their words impotent. Their extremism has the opposite effect from what they hope for: it exposes their bigotry for what it is. People see their own irrational prejudices reflected in the warped fun house mirror these groups provide, and as a result, they leave those prejudices behind. Their evangelism works -- just not the way they hoped it would.
Photo image: Pinpoint Evangelists