Davina Kotulski

Hate Is Hate But Love Is The Answer!

Filed By Davina Kotulski | July 21, 2010 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Fred Phelps, Laramie Project, marriage equality, National Organization for Marriage, NOM, protest

Hate is hate no matter whose side it's coming from. In fact, I can not see the love from "our side" from this NOM video as their t-shirts ask. Here is a video that the anti-gay group NOM produced. Here's how we fell into their trap.

When we go to anti-gay NOM events and scream in their faces we harm all of us! I sure as heck don't like it when "they" scream in my face. Nor would I want "them" blocking our presentations. We need to respect their free speech rights and be peaceful examples of love.

I ask that you deeply consider what it means to be a love warrior. To me it means not only standing up for love, but standing with love in my heart as Dr. King, Ghandi, and Harvey would have us do.

As LGBT people and allies standing for love, we must stand with love! It is our job if we are at these events to ask "our side" to step to the side and be a source of love. These may even be actors, because I do believe our opponents could stage events like this, but if they are not and we are to be real love warriors we must try something else besides screaming in the faces of our opponents, because this is ugly! We must be the love we wish to see in the world.

I am not suggesting that LGBT people and allies not show up at these events.

I am asking that if you do show up, you do so more like the Angels that showed up at the Laramie Project when Phelps came to town--quiet, peaceful, grounded, and in this case, not blocking their speakers. There is no need to block them. Stand to the side, be love.

BE LOVE. Don't have a shirt that says "Can't you see my love?" and then stand there para-military style. NO, I can't see your love. Maybe if you were off the side, singing a gentle peaceful, love song, not looking like a para-military group I'd see your love.

You don't have to believe what I'm saying, but I'm going to keep sharing it because love feels really good and I invite you to try it out. We are more powerful when we are the love we want to see in the world---Ghandi. People will do shitty things, love them anyway--Mother Theresa (para-phrased).

I've stood face to face with screaming fanatics and some of their kids or friends they bring to those events that look like screaming fanatics. I've looked them in the eye with love in my heart, and sang "What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love."

Heck, I've even said "It's okay, I still love you!" as they are screaming at me like rabid dogs. It breaks many of them down. Most of them cannot keep at you the same way. Some yes, but most no. But you have to have the love in your heart, the acceptance, the forgiveness, the opportunity to give them another choice, because most people are not that freaking crazy fanatical. Some will walk away with a different experience of us.

It sounds crazy, but it's exhilarating! Be love, there is nothing more powerful. A real love warrior leads from the heart! But sadly, I have had the experience of our own people, angry beyond measure, scream in my face too for being peaceful or asking them to choose to be peaceful, elegant, calm, respectful, unmovable, determined, confident, but not raging militants. That's what Ghandi did and that's what Dr. King did and that's what changes the world. You are either your message of love or you are not and that's what will hurt or help your family.

"Light of the world shine on me love is the answer." England Dan and John Ford Coley

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Michelle Marzullo Michelle Marzullo | July 21, 2010 12:37 PM

i think we were writing together on another plane. i totally agree. thanks for your post!!


You seem to have gotten your wires crossed here and confused the actions at the Albany rally with those at the Providence rally.

To clarify, the Albany rally was a silent protest. If you look at all of the videos and pictures outside of what NOM presented in the above video, you will see that you have a few factual errors:

1) The protesters were wearing shirts saying "Do you see my love?".
2) Aside from those on the stage to the left and right of the podium (not in front of), there was a group of silent protesters with colored umbrellas at the corner fringes of the NOM rally.
3) The woman in the video was sitting well away from the other people at the NOM rally. In fact, there was about 30 to 40 feet between her and the bulk of those attending the NOM action.
4) Not a word was said. This was, at its core, a silent protest. Those standing between this woman and NOM stood there for uniformity as a part of the action - not to block her view or to intimidate her.

Furthermore, the one-sided presentation by NOM of the Providence rally failed to mention a few things:
1) There were a large number of very devout Christians there. A minister, in fact, left the NOM group and approached the LGBT counter protest and began rebuking us, praying in tongues, and "casting away the presence of the Devil". The dude was yelling.
2) The NOM rally had virtually concluded. Brian Brown was done with his speech.
3) Brian Brown was also threatened with arrest for refusing to disperse. He was very authoritative and direct in saying "You have no right to be here."
4) In clauses protecting the freedom of speech, there is no legal guarantee that an individual expression of the freedom of speech does not come with consequences or backlash.

Lastly, I'd like to clarify why your attitude of peace and rainbows is a little misguided. You may know this, but a sign of any perpetuating civil rights movement that involves oppression of a minority inevitably leads to widespread civil disobedience.

The tactics you suggest are warm and fuzzy. I appreciate them and no one would ever rebuke your message of love, but in order for progress to be had we've gotten to the point where patience and waiting is not an option. Too much harm has been caused and if anger, civil disobedience, and noise can get our passive allies to stand up and join us and want this entire fight to be over, that's the end goal we'll accept.

The photos from Providence do not show hate. Yes, NOM was very good at screaming hate and crying wolf. They show very real and palpable anger and devastation. Was it chaotic, yes. Was it a fringe incident that won't happen again? No. It is the beginning of the next step we must take to ensure our equal, fair, and just treatment by our government and those willing to set aside differences and embrace us as neighbors.

I'm through being patient and through being mistreated by those who otherwise dismiss my capacity for love as a "lifestyle choice", an "agenda", "insignificant", or "not real". We are no longer willing to wait. It's that simple.

I apologize for the length.


This is another reason to ignore NOM and Westboro Baptist. By bringing attention to them we only make them more relevant.

Society is marginalizing religious nutcases. When we promote them, we slow down that process.

They should be ignored and/or laughed at.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 21, 2010 4:58 PM

"Society is marginalizing religious nutcases."

Wrong. Again.

Ratzinger, Der Papenfueher, gawd's Rottweiler and Defender of The Rapists is hardly marginal. Nor is Rick Warren, Obama's bbf. Neither is Rowan Williams, archbigot of Canterbury. Neither is Bryant Wright, president of the southern baptist, KKK, Dixiecrat triad.

All of these poor deluded nut cases think that The Exorcist was a documentary, that demons walk the world, that altar boys and young girls are theirs for the taking, that taxing cults is unfair and that they're exempt from doing productive work. Those are definitions of nut cases.

Far from being marginalized they have Obama in their back pocket.

I don't actually understand what "our" side did wrong here. I didn't see any violence or hatred at that protest. Should we stop protesting anti-gay marriage rallies? Should we just stop protesting all together? Should we decide that "love" is more important than advancing the struggle for our civil rights? Maybe we don't actually need full equality? Maybe what your trying to say is that we should be happy with what our white/male/hetero/cisgender dominated society has given us. Is that what your trying to say?

I once had a friend, who was Highway Patrolman, tell me that the best way to deal with any cop was courtesy. If you're calm and polite, and the cop is a nice guy, you just might get out of a ticket. If he's a jerk and getting off on lecturing you and throwing around his authority (then you probably are pissed off and want to piss him off right back), the best way to really get under his skin (since you'll be getting a ticket anyways), is to be polite and calm. He's just wanting to get a rise out of you.

NOM is doing the same thing. I'm leaning to side of just ignore them, and don't inflate the numbers are their rallies...we all know Brian will count everyone there. But for those who want to be there...being a calm and polite witness to love and acceptance is the best presentation we can make at these rallies.

RJ has a point. During the Civil Rights era, it took a lot of different types of actions, not just civil disobedience (although that was also necessary). I can't say I know when to use which tactics, but knowing the kind of crowd (small as it is) that these events attract, I'm thinking an expression of calm and love is the better face. Then, the more radical and hateful Brian and Maggie get, the more foolish they begin to appear in the eyes of their followers. And they will get more and more radical and loud with their message...especially if we are not responding in kind...because they want to provoke the kind of response. Notice that the videos they are posting are just videos showing us in a negative light. They aren't even posting videos of their speeches.


Thanks for the shout out. To clarify, I saw video footage from New Hampshire and compared it with Albany and Providence. Whether it was because it was on the weekend or because it was so close to Boston, there was a distinct difference in NOM's energy and attitude in Providence. Even before protesters arrived, the language and tone of the speakers was much more anti-gay with a good deal of latent animus (denied on their part, of course).

The chaos ensued when the police told both sides to disperse and Brian stated something along the lines of "Yeah, go home. You don't belong here." (he was threatened with arrest, btw).

The fact is that when faced with very real anger and desperation, NOM has a very hard time appearing rational. Maggie makes a good deal of mistakes in that situation, which is why she is in the shadows for this tour. Brian makes less mistakes, but is a fool about spinning things in his favor (see mother of 3 breastfeeding in Albany while being 'intimidated' and 'harassed' by gay boys with rainbow umbrellas 15 to 20 feet away from her).

NOM is breaking down. Everyone sees that. They are having a very, very hard time keeping face since they are unable to provide any rational response or answer to why they do what they do - other than because they want to and they get paid for it.

Thanks Michelle.

I really appreciate your blog post and call to peaceful presence. The only way to change hearts is to stay in our hearts.

By the way everyone, go over to prop8 trial tracker. If you didn't see, Brian Brown just called the police on the videographer documenting the rally and had him removed.

This videographer is not acting as a counter-protester and has been following them since Maine. Brian called police to remove him from the rally since he was a counter-protester despite the fact that this videographer was acting only as press.

Bjohn and Davina, it is essential that something like this does not go unchallenged. For Brian and NOM to take an official stance as to close of their public rallies to public attendees despite not being of their opinion, they are doing more harm in stifling civil freedoms (forbidding free press) than their hollow claim that being yelled at "violates their freedom of speech".

This is why the Providence action was justified - to force NOM into open discussion in the public spaces.

That's goofy. NOM isn't going to have "open discussion" and you're not going to change their minds with logic, reason or fairness. These people are infected with religious bigotry. That's what they were taught as children and they really, really believe they are working for God. Unless you can turn water into wine or levitate above the crowd you're really wasting your time.

Go talk to neighbors, friend, co-workers and even strangers if you want to have an "open discussion." About two-thirds of those people will at least have somewhat open minds.

Honestly, I have no problem with more aggressive protests. While I can appreciate you desire to be a love warrior and peaceful protester I don't agree to personally use those methods and many agree with me.
What you seem to be doing is saying that you want us to accept that your approach is valid but stating that it is 'the' approach and that the more aggressive and in your face approaches are useless or inferior.
I accept your approach please don't speak as if my approach does not work or solve anything. I know for a fact that there are some phobes who used to bash who will never do it again, not because they felt the love but because they got sent to the ER. If a person can be convinced to stop hurting us through love great but if he cannot, convince him through pain. I say that more of our people need to be able to protect themselves and be armed.
I certainly would like to see respect and acceptance from others for us and I would like to see that stay their hands but if it doesn't I am really fine with breaking their hands.

This Post and the varying opinions expressed in the Comments are helpful. But, I don't think imitating our enemies is helpful. Every time you "engage" them you simply make them more relevant and give them more attention.

The rest of the World is ignoring them, we should, too. We don't need to call that "love," it's really just being smart.

But when they are doing things like trolling the internet to our closeted teens, we should ignore and love them?
When we are intervening in a teen suicide attempt because of how these people treated him, we should ignore and love them?
When a guy in a parking lot has a bat to hit people with, we should love and ignore him?
When they lock kids in a room and spend hours casting out the gay demons, we should ignore and love them.
Sorry, I love in a real world where people get tied to fences and beaten to death just because of who they are. Where children take their own lives because their school doesn't do anything about them being bullied for who they are. Where people drive around a city and shoot others ion the face with an air gun just because of who they are. Where the police charge people for prostitution just because of who they are.
I'm not feeling the love here and I'm not willing to ignore the knife coming at my back. I'm not willing to let people hunt my own child down to offer to help cure him.

This Post and the comments were about showing up at a protest and engaging the enemy. All the other things you've just mentioned require a response from our community and/or law enforcement.

When there is an injustice of course our community should and does respond. Showing up and acting foolish at a NOM protest is much different.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 21, 2010 4:39 PM

"love warrior"?!?

I think one of my great-nephews has a book featuring manga drawings of teenybopper ninga love warriors overcoming vampiric spite demons. He's young enough to find it difficult to differentiate between superstition based concepts like 'love warriors' and the real world.

Back in the real world, as Rob Barton points out, we are the victims of religious and political homohaters, not the aggressors.

In the real world it's perfectly OK to confront the haters and criticize their bigotry. In fact it's obligatory because their delusional cult based hatreds lead directly and inevitably to violence against LGBT folks, especially GLBT children and young adults.

Christian and political haters are extremely dangerous on a personal level because their hate preaching and laws trigger violence by thugs. On a social level nothing exemplifies their goals more that the Ugandan 'kill the gays' bill, based on the hate spewing actions and millions of dollars invested by American bigots including Rick Warren and Donnie McClurkin, Obama's not so strange bedfellows.

Until we have a decent government of socialists and revolutionists to watch our back we should make sure that we have self defense measures in place to make it painfully clear to the christians that their violence will not be tolerated.

In the meantime we should advocate taxation of cults at the same levels as other corporate fantasists like Disney and DreamWorks. Secondly we should advocate secularization of their schools and hospitals to prevent the rape of children.

Third, when they call for violence we should advocate their prosecution, conviction and jailing and point out that a socialist government would do just that but that Republicans and Democrats will do the opposite, jailing and prosecuting us when we protest.

Confronting "delusional cults" is effective? What do you do scream some sense into them?

We should engage in self defense, but not try to conquer delusion with more delusion.

All the data confirms these nutjobs are going out of business quickly. It doesn't help to promote them or argue with them. Please stop.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 21, 2010 5:02 PM

None, I repeat, none of what you say has anything to to with what I said.

friday jones | July 22, 2010 8:54 PM

"Confronting "delusional cults" is effective? What do you do scream some sense into them?"

At least we can speak truth to power and perhaps spoil their recruitment of malleable minds somewhat. I don't expect to change the hearts and minds of those entrenched in bigotry, but I can fight their message and see to it that their propaganda does not arrive at innocent ears unsullied by truth.

Speaking "truth to power" needs a listener. The religious bigotry and their "propaganda" arrives at innocent ears when those listeners are toddlers. If you want to help them, talk to them - they are your neighbors, friends and co-workers.

Confrontation might make you feel better, but it doesn't accomplish anything when religion is in the mix.

So showing up and engaging the enemy is what is being advocated? I understand that a certain methodology is being espoused but other methodologies are being belittled. Frankly I don't mind if you want to use your methods but I am offended when you speak out against the methods of others in this struggle. I could go around insulting the peaceful love warriors and belittle them but I don't. I respect their right to stand there and take it that is fine by me. What I don't appreciate is that those of us who wont stand there and take it peacefully are being spoken down to like we are naughty children.
They are bullies, when I was a kid people said if you ignore them they go away that turned out to not be true. I found that if you stand up to them and are willing to back it up the slink away. I am of the get in their face and stand up to them forcefully crowd.

I find this discussion fascinating. It seems to me that people (some people) can't make the distinction between civil disobedience and confrontation with opposition. NoM is opposition and I would have no problem handing a NoM speaker a grenade with the pin pulled out. Yet if the civil authority showed up and asked me to move aside or even pounded me with a baton then I would follow MLK Jr. or Gandhi and comply peacefully.

As to the poor little mother who couldn't breast feed her baby and watch the show I say that is total BS. I would have simply moved closer, brought my children with me and continued feeding. That video is a total fabrication of "victim" in my humble opinion.

I do tend to agree in a way with Andrew. Confronting these people in a half-assed way feeds their objective to gain attention. When they get to Tampa I am tempted to give them a welcome that will really make them think twice about continuing on to Washington. But alas they really are not worth the effort so I shall refrain and ignore them. Someone else who is on the NSA watch list will probably make a total mess of this thing anyway. Oh well.

Wow, you wouldn't have a problem killing someone, handing them a grenade with the pin pulled out?

That's pretty disturbing in my book. I've received numerous death threats during the years I've been a nationally out marriage equality activist and I would never advocate terrorism the way that you are. This is violent speech.

I think it's very interesting that my call to peaceful action evokes intense rage and violent speech.

Davinia I obviously meant it to be disturbing. I did not say I would walk away. But here's the thing. The mindset of these people has been responsible for many deaths yet they waltz across America spreading a philosophy of discrimination relying on the good will over others and police protection feeling safe while somewhere a GLBT person is being beaten or even murdered for what they are. Make no mistake about it, these same people not only want to prevent Gay marriages but they would like to exterminate those who are "different" from the way they think.

Perhaps my statement was a bit "over the top" but they wouldn't be on their nice little tour if they had as much to fear from their adversaries as we do from ours.

I apologize for misspelling your name. Just noticed the mistake.

I agree with your general point, Davina, but what does that video prove? Do we know that woman is telling the truth? Considering how the right is using doctored videos and lies everywhere now (like Breitbart's series of doctored videos going back to the "pimp/prostitute" couple at ACORN) and NOM specifically doesn't have much of a reputation for telling the truth (not even when it comes to meteorology), I would trust this video about as far as I could throw it.

Here's the link someone mentioned above, about them kicking out a videographer:


Of course they don't want people there videotaping. It's so much hard to lie about what happened at the rally afterwards!

And here's the gay side of the story:


We shouldn't be letting these people get away with just saying whatever. They have their own version of reality, always, and there's no reason we should be relying on it. Because when we do, we lose.

Hi Alex,

I didn't say anything about what the woman said. Clearly, she is only a pawn in their game.

I am personally responding to our people standing like prison guards, not angels, like Michelle and I spoke of, blocking the presentation wearing signs that say "Do you see my love?"

My response is "No, I don't see your love." Love doesn't look like gay prison guards looking militant and blocking people's right to hear a bunch of wind-bags talk smack about us. Love looks like our people standing to the side, maybe even singing a nice love song with smiles on their faces drowning out the hate speech, but it doesn't look all militant with rainbow umbrellas. Love looks like same-sex couples holding hands or LGBT people in some sort of loving stance. Something more dignified.

Bottom line: wouldn't our time be better spent doing an educational campaign, going door to door or talking to people at the mall, grocery store, local community college, townhall meeting, etc. about how we need to have the same rights and protections as other Americans? Wouldn't that be a more productive use of our time?

Is attending a NOM event the best we can do for our liberation?

"Bottom line: wouldn't our time be better spent doing an educational campaign, going door to door or talking to people at the mall, grocery store, local community college, townhall meeting, etc. about how we need to have the same rights and protections as other Americans? Wouldn't that be a more productive use of our time?"

Yes, indeed.

Just a final thought. NOM's Whacko Bus Tour stopped in Annapolis yesterday. Only 20 people showed up. It was a non-event. The only thing that would have made it relevant is confrontation. Our community didn't show up and protest. That's a good sign.

NOM is perfectly capable of marginalizing themselves without our help. Put away your markers.

Regan DuCasse | July 22, 2010 9:17 PM

Davina, I love you and that beautiful knockout you're married to, but I have to add my two cents here.
The opposition really doesn't care or want to the legitimate urgency that fuels the gay community. And despite horrific incidents of casual,brutal murder, the loss of exemplary careers in the military and so on, they simply see these as the result of engaging in a life you don't deserve (loving commitment and child care) and a life you shouldn't have (being gay.)
These are people who absolutely do NOT appreciate the actual patience, compassion and courage that gay people are actually responding with.

THEY keep placing themselves in the role of victim, even if you look too long at one of them (that gay man wanted to rape me), or 'our children are threatened!), just by learning that gay people exist.

The depths of their hysteria, hypocrisy, contradictions and sense of superiority is inexhaustible, while WE get all exhausted.

I keep thinking over and over of that beautiful poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar
"We Wear the Mask."
It illustrates so clearly how much offense people like NOM take at emotion.
Whether it's pain, hunger, anger or compassion.

They don't see human beings. But a repository that can take whatever they can throw.
And it's Brian Brown who is invoking the words of MLK, the dignity of others and the Constitutional privileges while, with a straight face, advertises to take it away EXCLUSIVELY from gay Americans.

I don't think there is anything that will move these people, Davina.
But folks gotta let off some steam.

I'm actually surprised that NOM has been this much open until I see that they provoke exactly what happened to use as propaganda.
Otherwise, the opposition has made themselves unavailable to confront who they are hurting.
Note the craven way the witnesses for the defense of Prop. 8 kept themselves from court.
The voters here who supported 8, wouldn't come to their doors to discuss it with us canvassers.
They would talk from closed windows and doors that they didn't want to.
We're not invited to their churches and colleges and they don't come to us.

Brian Brown doesn't want to see counter demonstrations at his rallies, unless he can exploit it somehow.
But again, people have to let off steam. We're trying to shake hands with a fist already.

I know you directed your comment at Davina, but I want to offer a few thoughts:

I think I understand and appreciate the idea of "letting off some steam," because I know we're all frustrated. I know how difficult it is to endure NOM and other bigoted organizations. But, I want you to try to see something - something important and encouraging.

The group of "Christians" that continue to cling to the idea that we are "wrong, sinful and defective" is now less than one-third of ALL Christians. Most religious people accept us and are even willing to stand with us for our equality. THOSE are the Christians we need to enroll, not the ones full of hatred.

Most people in our community continue to paint the religious zealots as an insurmountable enemy. They are NOT. Not anymore. When we give them attention we inflate their importance. When we engage them we make them relevant. We promote them when we pay them attention. We need to ignore them.

It is much better to engage individuals in important conversations about spirituality and love and or equality than confronting those that will not listen. We need to realize that we don't need them. They are not our problem.

I appreciate your very heartfelt comment and hope you explore the possibility of spending your compassion on the two-thirds of Christians that will join us and let the other one-third continue on their course of extinction. The world is growing up and beginning to understand the basic human principle of equality and they are putting that before religious beliefs - where it belongs.

Regan DuCasse | July 23, 2010 11:37 AM

Everyday, I continue to do just as you suggest Andrew. I volunteer for a great place called the Simon Weisenthal Center/Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. I support, donate, volunteer for several equality advocate groups.
I'm a straight ally, and believe me, I've had some eye opening experiences and learned a great deal. People who I considered friends showed some true colors with their homophobia. I didn't know they were that way at first, but sometimes people's bigotry isn't tested, until it is.

I'm frustrated and tired. And Brian Brown and I had a lively exchange of emails over several weeks. He was surprised in the end that I wasn't gay. And then he cut me off. Only after pretty much calling me a traitor. I didn't deceive him, but he sure took it that way.
He's an ugly man.
And I have to wonder how he has all this time to travel, and so on...when his seventh child is on the way or is a newborn.
How much of a father could he be and how much time is he giving his children while he's on this crusade against gay fathers?

I could attack his character on THAT level, but I'm not that petty.
However, there is some satisfaction is seeing such low turnouts for his preaching. Even HE doesn't get how redundant such a display is.
I don't see any of these people heading over to family courts, domestic violence support groups or shelters. Nor do I see them touring to bring awareness of just how pervasive domestic violence is and how many children it affects.

If THIS were their preoccupation, I'd respect them a LOT more and they could engage gay people as allies against it as well.

But, silly me, why would I think that marriage and safe children is their agenda for realz?

Thank-you for your efforts Regan.

NOM is slowly going out of business. Religion is changing and it is valuable to have straight allies that understand our struggle.