Guest Post — Sept. 23, 2013
Note from Dan: Traci Nagy moved to Roanoke seven years ago. Here’s her report about some conflict at Pride in the Park. It sounds like the cretins from Westboro Baptist paid a visit. Anybody know who these guys are>
By Traci T. Nagy
I attended Pride In The Park on Saturday and won’t even comment on the lack of any coverage or announcements of the event, since that is not my primary concern.
What is of concern is the number of people spewing hatred at a group of people simply attending an event. I don’t believe they were “random” as the half dozen or so men seemed to interact and all left at the same time. They had nothing on or with them to identify them as a specific group.
As for the vileness factor: They were shouting (and spitting!) at the top of their lungs that we were “all an abomination,” we “chose to live this lifestyle and be condemned by god.” Since we were unable “to procreate” we should not expect “any rights given to people of god and this country.”
We were told that we were worse than “criminals and to be put to death was all we deserved.” Many of the younger attendees were trying to confront them and I found myself trying to pull them away for fear that it would escalate and we would be the group the police would actually have to deal with in the long run.
Unfortunately these guys waving their bibles in the air were probably not educable and really not worth the time and energy it took to confront them. I was saddened by the obvious anger with which these protesters addressed the crowd, as well as how violently they pounded the very book they claim speaks of the love of god.
Even the police present, who by the way could not have been more polite and accepting, were shaking their heads. I asked one officer why they let this continue, especially in light of how vile these people were, the fact that they were obviously not welcome there, and the number of young children in attendance being exposed to this — loudly and in their faces.
He mentioned something about free speech & public property. I asked him where the policy against bullying comes in and whether or not they would allow representatives of KKK attend the Henry Street celebration going on at the same time. Again he shook his head.
Where do we draw the line? When do we start protecting the rights of people who are peacefully gathering and start showing our children that bullying in any form is not to be tolerated? I’m beginning to wonder whether all of the policies, locally and nationally, are just simply lip service to brush over the real issues facing large groups of “non-mainstream” people in our society.