Christians never cease to baffle me.
When I read about the Westboro Baptist Church’s protest of Comic-Con International, I had to make sure that I did not turn around and punch a hole in the wall. Then I had to laugh maniacally at their antics. Then I just had to shake my head.
Everything I have read about this church just makes me cringe; it appears they never do anything truly Jesus-like and right according to the Bible they supposedly follow. This protest was no exception. Now, the Bible doesn’t say “don’t protest,” but it does tell us to love one another as Christ loved us, and I don’t believe Westboro’s signs or actions at Comic-Con imply this one little bit. Sure, their intentions may have been mostly correct, that they don’t want people to be idol-worshipers (no, Thor is not really God, and if you want a better understanding of how the Norse gods actually reflect biblical truths just read up on all of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings regarding that). I also don’t think it’s good nor sane to make idols of the subjects at Comic-Con, either. However, I am guessing only 20-25% of the people who attend Comic-Con (if that) are actually putting our beloved superheroes, game developers, and all-around cool people up on a pedestal they can grovel under. The rest of the attendees are just there to have a wonderful time, a break from the real world where they can delve into worlds of truth, honor, and justice (and isn’t that what the Bible says God is, anyway? That’s probably an entirely new article, though…).
Are those 20-25% people really worth the time to protest? No, because protests rarely work, if ever, and the majority of the time they are never fully thought-out correctly by whoever happens to be organizing them (even non-Christians). In fact, protests only ever seem to accomplish one or all of these things:
1. Turn away the people you are supposedly trying to help.
2. Imply that you’re ignorant about the topic or haven’t truly thought about it long enough.
3. Reveal that you’re insane.
4. Confirm that you’re both #2 and #3.
5. Show that you could be doing something better with your time to actually change the situation.
#1 and #5 I think are the most disconcerting out of that list, however. As Christians the entire point of believing in God is to bring people to his love by showing them his love. Protesting simply cannot ever accomplish this. A while back, I read a very articulate article about the issue of protesting in the Christian world, specifically as it related to the Starbucks public support of gay marriage this past year. I wholeheartedly agreed with the author’s point that protests are in essence self-defeating, as they claim to argue against power in numbers yet by their very nature are indeed a “power in numbers” group. The author’s concluding thought was, “Let’s not boycott our neighbors. Let’s not picket or scream or bellow. Let’s offer a cup of cold water, or maybe even a grande skinny vanilla latte, in Jesus’ name” (Moore).
What this implies about Comic-Con specifically is that Christians need to start participating, working, or creating in that geek culture. This relates back to #2 in my list. I am going to venture a solid guess that most Christian protests are based off of fear of the unknown. How many protesting Christians actually read Harry Potter? How many of them have ever picked up a comic book? And how many of them have ever studied the biblical truths that simply resonate out of many science fiction creations?
Have you ever run across a Christian geek and been utterly amazed at their very existence? That’s because we are in the minority, and many times we don’t want to admit that we are believers, not because we are ashamed of our beliefs but because we are immediately associated with people like the Westboro Baptist Church protesters. We are not all the same (though we really should be if we all truly followed what God teaches). Some of us simply adore Batman instead of protesting him, and would have less to talk about with others if we didn’t know about him. Some of us think discussing the finer points of the latest video game instead of protesting it helps make others feel more loved and accepted in this world, not shunned.
So Westboro may continue to protest for years to come, and there will undoubtedly be counter-protests, pointing fingers, and all-around disgust towards them. Remember, though, that they were never able to actually shut down CCI, and probably never will. Just as they are wasting their time, you yourself could use your time wisely by hanging out with the geeky Christians who love stepping inside the San Diego convention center, possibly even dressed head-to-toe in Wonder Woman or Thor getup. You’ll hopefully find that not all of us are ignorant, and you may even enjoy the experience, too.