Josiah M. Hesse’s article “How the Westboro Baptist Church Might Unwittingly Help the Pro-Marijuana Movement,” VICE, 9 January 2015
(http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/the-westboro-baptist-church-might-unwittingly-help-the-marijuana-movement-456) covers the Westboro Baptist Church and their protest in Pueblo, Colorado against giving state issued marriage licenses to gay couples in December. The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) also protested outside of Marisol Therapeutics and Pueblo West Organics against the use of medical marijuana the same day. The WBC has become one of the most aggressive anti-gay organizations for their use of extremely offensive and openly discriminatory signs and comments regarding their opinion of homosexuals. One such sign has become an icon of the WBC declaring “God Hates Fags”. The WBC has spread their homophobic opinions across many media outlets, which has stimulated even more effort by those fighting for gay marriage to retaliate. Paul Teske, dean of the School of Public Affairs at CU Denver states that the social acceptance of gay marriage is definitely aided by the efforts of those in extreme opposition, as they often receive more media attention. The extreme position of these groups can backfire and organize the opposition more efficiently. On the other side, the campaign for legalizing and regulating marijuana is underway in the United States, however it lacks the moral urgency that gay marriage does. A small group from the WBC who protested in Pueblo were met by a group of 25 to 35 marijuana supporters who held signs that mocked the WBC’s style of protests. The article states how the WBC’s presence in Pueblo caused even more people to buy and consume weed. Furthermore, the owner of Pueblo West Organics offered the counter-protesters a 30 percent discount for the event, as the public protests and publicity brought more customers to his store.
I agree with the author of this article that the WBC’s public protests and offensive slander ends up bringing more attention to the issue they are protesting, as well as instigate more organization and a stronger effort by those who oppose their position. People are entitled to their opinions, however, when there is open discrimination that is extremely insulting to other individuals, then that denotes the credibility of such opinions. There is a certain morality and ethical way to treat other human beings that should not be disregarded only because you support a certain religion. I believe those of the Westboro Baptist Church are a new religious movement who are extremists that take the bible way too literally and their efforts breed hate, which should not be the goal of any religious group or affiliation. You can read more about the WBC and their opinions on their website: http://www.godhatesfags.com/wbcinfo/aboutwbc.html?COLLCC=998866429&, where they openly discriminate against not only homosexuals, but those of any religion other than their own affiliation. The WBC is openly against Islam, Jews, the Catholic Church and even Obama, and have developed other sites solely dedicated to criticizing each one of them. I believe this new religious movement could help the public see how important it is to fight for equality and help stop discrimination on all fronts.