Love Wins over Anti-Gay Hate

The generally-quiet town where I went to university, Kingston, Ontario, has erupted into major news making. A few days ago, a lesbian couple received this letter (transcript is below):

The Hate Letter

Written out for those who can’t see the image for various reasons:

Lesbian bitches,

We are a small but dedicated group of Kingston residents devoted to removing the scourge of homosexuality in our city. We know you and have been following you for the past several weeks and we wish for you to leave this city, before it is too late for you. This will be the first of many reminders, each escalating to higher and higher levels of harassment and derailment. Since we have nothing personal against you, only your sexuality, we suggest you move to more conducive climates like Vancouver, or preferably San Francisco.

Our base, head office in Deep South, has been energized by the recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions legalizing same sex marriage. We feel that unless homosexuals reconvert to heterosexuality that life under this planet, under the umbrella of our Lord Jesus Christ, will become unbearable. Having observed you, we feel that you are committed lesbians unlikely to convert, hence this (first and only) gentle attempt to make you move.

If you do not, and take this letter to Kingston Police, as we expect, we will know about this, since we have contacts in Kingston Police. Our efforts to relocate you will escalate. We wish to avoid this scenario. We are primarily non-violent, but use violence surgically to persuade people. We hope you understand without us painting too lurid a picture.

In the past several years we have relocated a few people like you from the Kingston area, through a set of incentives and effective persuasion. Please join their ranks ASAP. We will watch and wait, and then strike, at home and office, as need arises. These are not empty threats. MOVE, or else!

Thank you for your attention. We await effective action on your part, ASAP. You are not going to be safe at home, office or anywhere else if you ignore this message! However if you take this seriously, and make attempts to move, someone from our organization will contact you to make relocation easier financially. If, additionally, you persuade another couple like yourselves to move, we will provide them financial assistance and yourselves a bonus for your help. We are a committed bunch and come hell or high water, we will move you out. Best under congenial circumstances, don’t you think?

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

Wow. There’s so much incredibly wrong with this that I don’t really need to unpack it. It feels like it is straight out of a mobster movie, enough so that I am holding on to this slight hope that it is a hoax. Do they seriously think that trying to bribe them into moving makes it all that much less hateful than harassing them to move? How do they considered themselves nonviolent when the whole thing is about forcing other people to do what they want through threats? Do they actually think that same-sex-attracted persons can just convert and that all they needed was the right threats? And on and on with the ridiculousness; I seriously considered doing sentence by sentence commentary but I don’t think it is really necessary.

Here’s the really important part, though. I love their response, not just in terms of exposing the hatred but in declaring that love will always win out over hate. Especially when a community bands together, hatred like this can be stopped. Unlike the letter-senders, that sounds like Jesus. Assuming the senders really have scared others away without saying anything to the police or anybody else, it would mean that most others were not as confident in this (and I couldn’t blame them). This couple, though, has turned the other cheek, not in the way that it is usually understood as passively accepting abuse, but in the way that it would have been understood in its original context as nonviolently exposing the injustice and reclaiming your own dignity. I have no idea if their response was at all related to any faith – there’s no indication it was – but I still applaud their bravery and their confidence that we can change the world for the better by (nonviolently) standing up for the oppressed against those who prefer to perpetuate hatred.

Ryan Robinson

It is easiest to identify Ryan as both theologian and tech guy. By day, Ryan is a Technical Consultant work with PeaceWorks Technology Solutions. There, he works on websites, CRMs, and SharePoint implementations. Along with blogging here, Ryan is a founding member of the MennoNerds blogging network and a contributor to the book A Living Alternative.