A Tale of Two Tales

The day was a little grey, and the forecast was rain, but we headed down to the park at the centre of town to help decorate for Pride. It was great to see the number of folks who came to help set up, and as usual, it was a lot of fun.

We finished our setup, and a bunch of us headed to our local library for Storytime with a Drag Queen. Francheska DynamiteS was the storyteller again this year. Such an amazing person. 

Tale One

We arrived at the library to be greeted by, depending on who you ask, 50 - 70 protestors with signs with various slogans, and bible verses (KJV only, brother!). Messages of condemnation, and anger, unfortunately, in a couple of instances, aggressive with lunges, slurs, expletives, and putrid threats of burning in Hell.

A few minutes later, I went outside to let the attendees know we were getting ready to start and folks should come get a seat. As one couple started to move towards the door, a fuming protestor lunged at them, shouting that they were destined to burn in Hell. The next few metres to the door they and others were peppered with the hissing of scripture verses and taunts of “enjoying Hell.”

Let me be clear. These protestors were self-described Christians. Fifty-something self-described Christian, “standing up for God” and “protecting the children” put on quite a display. Unequivocally, the essence of their message was HATE with a razor-thin veneer of religion.

One has to ask: Had the protesting adults stopped to consider how they, with their dark view of God (and others) along with violent slurs, might, in fact, be “grooming” their own children for bigotry and hate? 

Tale Two

After Storytime, we headed over to the Provincial building for the Pride Flag raising. (We have to raise the Pride Flag at the Provincial Building because Mayor and Council won’t let us fly it on a town-owned flag pole.) The rain had started by then, but there was still a good-sized group of enthusiastic Pride supporters.

The program started with a welcome and a Land Acknowledgment. Then the co-chair of the TABER Equality Alliance gave her short address.

With mic in hand, Kathleen began to speak the most gracious message. (She had shared with me some of the angry emails, threats, and various tactics used by the above group in efforts to quash Storytime.) In the shadow of weeks of attacks and vitriol, she would remind us that disagreement doesn’t always mean disrespect and encouraged us that we are a community with diversity. She encouraged us to respond to others with grace, patience, and kindness while standing with resolve for equality. The conviction that Love will overcome hate.

“Oh my goodness,” I thought. “That was an amazing gospel sermon.”

How ironic that the “Christian” protesters came with a message of hate, condemnation, and nastiness, and the head of Taber’s Queer community shared a message of radical equitable love, even for those that rage against them.

This gives me hope. And quite frankly, I really needed some. This a reminder that the Kin-dom of God is WAY bigger than fundamentalist christianity/Christendom. Even when it seems like most of the Churches in town have completely missed the plot, I have hope that the Spirit moves in other folks, those who will continue to contend for love. Love wins, indeed.

Happy Pride, everyone!

[Oh, by the way: Storytime was great! Francheska DynamiteS read a Toy Story (Pixar) book about friendship and the book “I am Enough”, the heartwarming story of a little girl from Ukraine with Down Syndrome adopted by a US family.

Francheska was dressed in a gorgeous princess gown- floor to neck with a large extravagant hat.]

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