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Anti-Gay Protest Backfires at Howard University

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A group of students pose for a picture during a counterprotest against Westboro Baptist Church members (not shown) on the campus of Howard University. Church members were on campus protesting Howard University School of Law’s organization for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender and queer students. (Shenarri Freeman/HUNS)

A group of students pose for a picture during a counterprotest against Westboro Baptist Church members (not shown) on the campus of Howard University. Church members were on campus protesting Howard University School of Law’s organization for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender and queer students. (Shenarri Freeman/HUNS)

 

By Rachel Kersey
Special to NNPA from Howard University News Service

WASHINGTON – Westboro Baptist Church, the infamous unaffiliated church known for its hateful, unorthodox protests, especially against homosexuality, brought its hate speech to Howard University – and the university’s students and staff fought back.

Armed with picket signs, the organization, which has been denounced by the two largest Baptist denominations, Friday, April 10, gathered on 6th Street on Howard’s campus to denounce OUTlaw, Howard University School of Law’s organization for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender and queer students.

“AMERICA IS DOOMED,” “MOURN FOR YOUR SINS” and “GOD H8S FAG MARRIAGE,” the signs read. One sign featured a depiction of anal sex.

“It is a shameful sight to see the way that these young people behave, and the parents teachers and preachers have done that to them,” the church said on its website in explaining why it came to Howard. “They have no chance when they stand before the Great White throne on Judgment Day. We come in hopes that one little lamb is out there and may be called to repentance by the Lord their God.”

 Howard students met the signs with their own. Dressed in all-black or rainbow colors, the students held signs that read “HOWARD <3s OUR LGBTQ,” “ALL BLACK LOVE MATTERS” and “GOD LOVES EVERYONE.”

Nearly 100 students gathered at the flagpole and marched to the corner of 6th Street and Howard Place, where they promptly turned their backs on Westboro.

With fists raised in defiance, the sea of students sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and more than one student shed a few tears. Only 20 minutes after starting, Westboro headed down the hill to the taunts of Howard students, who turned around to send them on their way.

“I thought it was perfect,” said Nia Johnson, a junior economics major. “I definitely felt the love and I felt proud. I was actually happy it ended early. Our power showed them that it wasn’t worth it here.”

Amber Mason, president of OUTlaw, agreed.

“This sort of hate filled rhetoric is not condoned on our campus, and we want to show them that through a show of solidarity,” Mason said.

“That’s now how we think here at Howard. We are inclusive, we’re accepting and their kind of speaking and behavior will not be condoned.”

Lydia Durfler, the organizer of the student protest, said she did so because LGBT community at Howard is often slighted.

“I don’t think it gets enough outright support from the Howard community, especially where the administration and faculty is concerned,” said Durfler, a senior political science major and an Amnesty International intern.

“And if we had a group on campus saying derogatory things about black folk and we weren’t doing something to build ourselves up in the midst of that, that would seem pretty crazy. The same goes for the LGBTQ community.”

Joshua Narcisse, president of the Chapel Assistants, an interfaith organization with Howard’s Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, said his organization stands against Westboro Baptist Church.

“One of the dominant themes in Christianity is love,” Narcisse said. “So, at the end of the day, whether it be Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism, this love or respect for humanity is at the center of the work that the chapel does. And this is really just a part of us affirming that.”

Tyleah Hawkins, a senior broadcast journalism major, also objected to Westboro’s belief and its tactics.

“I’m a Christian, but I’ve always been an advocate for gay rights,” Hawkins said. “I don’t agree with preaching hate. I am a proud Christian. I love Jesus . . . and I feel like Jesus would be out here protesting with me.”

In the end, the protest – both sides – was one chapter of the rich social and political saga of the university, and there is undoubtedly more to follow,” said the Rev. Bernard Richardson, dean of the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel.

“This is Howard University,” Richardson said. “Protests and all the other things are what happen here at Howard. It’s part of our legacy. It’s part of our history.”

Advice

Culturally Deprived or Entitled

We all are contributors to the greater being, through exercising our God-like characteristics. God doesn’t create the issues — God shows up with the solution to issues. So, as we practice His characteristics, we then will demand and experience all of what we are asking for today.

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Our solutions to our current plights can be simple actions of kindness, forgiveness and empathy.
Our solutions to our current plights can be simple actions of kindness, forgiveness and empathy.

These are questions that we must ask ourselves as a country, city, state and community. We all have become victims of one or the other’s perspective. As a people, the current social climate, has stripped away our core values and sensitivities to properly acknowledge life’s differences. Life itself would have no spice, if it was all constructed with the same images, narratives, hopes, challenges, geography or gender. God’s presence would lose it purpose, behind our definition of social-cultural equalities. Everything can not be the same, but the differences can be a significant part of the whole.

Maybe our real issues are living inside of ourselves, as we look outside of ourselves to find our social and emotional purpose. Culturally, we often credit those voices that have large constituencies or media profiles, instead of those that have a fearless passion for the truth. Let’s not look to judge these efforts, but to hold ourselves accountable to our own truth that is aligned with God’s truth. Within this effort , I think we will emotionally land in a place, that we can start to heal.

Once we can embrace our cultural truths without jealousy, embarrassment, insecurities , bias and most important without fear. We can start to transform our social-emotional challenges. The solutions to our current plights , can be simple actions of kindness, love , empathy, forgiveness without judgement and acknowledging the love for humanity. These are God like social practices.

Let’s remember our greatest competition is our attempt to reach our own potential. It’s not looking to the left and the right, or seeing black and white, but looking comfortably within. This allows for a great collective outcome, because its our unique gifts, that contributes to life’s whole. We all are contributors to the greater being.. God doesn’t create the issues, man’s fears and bruises do. So, as we practice God’s characteristics, we will see a social emotional transformation occur. A culture of spiritual inclusion.

The real intention to deploy emotional equality is beyond the “Color Code” , gender biases, social -economic redlining or the constitutional governance of humanity. It’s simplifying the re-engineering of the processes that blocks the social transparencies of truth.to be realized.

Now which side do we sit on is the question to ask ourselves, are we culturally deprived or are we entitled? The acknowledgement of truth starts with you.

 

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COMMENTARY: Want God’s Best: Trust and Rest

NNPA NEWSWIRE — When we trust in ourselves, it’s easy to make bad decisions and even do things that go against God and what’s best for ourselves. The challenge of being tired and weary is that we don’t always make the best choices. What would happen when we know that we are tired and worn out, if we went to God instead of doubting, complaining, or taking things into our own hands to solve?

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Trust and rest go together. We must believe that God is able to give to do this for us, but it is contingent upon our willingness to surrender. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Trust and rest go together. We must believe that God is able to give to do this for us, but it is contingent upon our willingness to surrender. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

Faithful Utterances

By Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew | Texas Metro News

I’m so looking forward to my weekends. During the State Fair of Texas, my colleagues and I work seven days a week for almost a month. I don’t think you realize how precious something is until you have less of it, or it’s gone. Long work hours can leave you tired, irritable, and yearning for sleep. Although it’s temporary and something I was prepared for, it doesn’t remove what you experience physically, mentally, and emotionally. I think that’s the case for our lives. I think we realize that life will be hard and filled with challenges. We know that with our heads but when it happens, our hearts, emotions and even our bodies don’t often align.

We know the pain we endure is temporary but at the moment, the pain supersedes everything. It is so easy to complain and whine about our circumstances because of how we feel versus what we know to be true. We know God is able and yet, we will doubt God’s ability to make things happen for us. We know that God is the Creator of heaven and earth and yet, we act as if God is not in control. We know that God cares for us but when something happens to us that is not what we expected, we believe that God forgot about us or is punishing us. It’s easy to begin to place more confidence in ourselves than in God. When I focus solely on what is in front of me, I can miss all the things that are going on around me.

I can find myself sad about a situation without seeing God’s goodness and the multiple blessings around me. Trusting my limited vision has set me up for disappointment. The Bible tells us that there are consequences in solely depending on ourselves and our limited vision. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” (Proverbs 3:5-8) When we trust God’s plan, put God first, we can rest in knowing that God will make things work out not because of our wisdom but knowing that God’s plan is greater than our own.

When we trust in ourselves, it’s easy to make bad decisions and even do things that go against God and what’s best for ourselves. The challenge of being tired and weary is that we don’t always make the best choices. What would happen when we know that we are tired and worn out, if we went to God instead of doubting, complaining, or taking things into our own hands to solve? The part of this scripture that isn’t emphasized is that there is a healing and rest that takes places when we trust God. I don’t think we equate trusting God to rest and healing. Doubt is often the result of disappointments that happen repeatedly causing anxiety.

Can I really trust God with taking care of this for me? Just as there is a physical exhaustion, we can become mentally and emotionally exhausted affecting our relationship with others and with God. God knows the importance of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual rest. It is a matter of trusting God to be our source of replenishment when our tanks are low, and we can’t go further.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Trust and rest go together. We must believe that God is able to give to do this for us, but it is contingent upon our willingness to surrender. “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2) Trusting God is necessary for our rest. This has been such a difficult season for so many of us. We can not allow the pain of the past to rob us of the possibilities of our purpose.

If God repeatedly shares the importance of rest, there are lessons for us to know that it is a part of our journey if we truly want to experience God’s best for our lives. “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.” (Hebrews 4:9-10). Want God’s best? Trust God and Rest.

Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the Founder and CEO of Soulstice Consultancy, Specializing as a Partnership Broker and Leadership Expert for companies and organizations to thrive with measurable and meaningful impact. She also is the VP of Community Affairs and Strategic Alliances for the State Fair of Texas.

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Community

Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church Serving West Oakland for 100 Years

In 1968, the church became a United Methodist Church by denominational merger. Taylor Church has continued to grow in its membership and service to the Greater Bay Area Community. 

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Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church is celebrating its 100th anniversary this month.

Taylor Memorial Episcopal Church was the first African American church of its denomination in Northern California. The Charter granted on Oct. 29, 1921, was the direct result of years of prayer, sacrifice, and determination by the 22 founders.

These devout men and women from throughout the United States had come to Oakland seeking a better life for themselves and those who were to follow.

The impact that Taylor church had upon the community is a testament to the Founders’ hard work and religious status in Oakland, the state, and the nation.

In 1968, the church became a United Methodist Church by denominational merger. Taylor Church has continued to grow in its membership and service to the Greater Bay Area Community.

Throughout its many years of service, Taylor has been blessed to have spiritually uplifting pastors, dedicated Christian members, and outstanding religious services and programs.

Taylor Church is still located on its original site at 1188 12th St. in West Oakland. The church is named for Bishop Williams Taylor, one of the first missionaries to Africa. The Founders, 11 men and 11 women, had originally named the church the “Bishop Jones Literary Society.”

The first minister of Taylor Church was the Rev. Albert L. Scott. To date, Taylor Church has had 11 ordained, highly qualified, and deeply religious ministers.

They have provided excellent leadership and many effective programs.

Taylor’s dedicated membership of approximately 400 persons is a cross-section of persons from all walks of life. Most of the present members have supported the church with their tithes, prayers, and talents. Taylor Church is currently led by the inspirational and dedicated Pastor Rev. Anthony Jenkins, Sr.

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