Monday, February 23, 2009

Protesters at the Oscars

For the first time in many years, I watched the Oscars all the way through last night. Some of it was a bit overdone for me (like Hugh Jackman's performances), some of it was good (like Heath Ledger winning the Oscar), some of it was even better ("Slumdog Millionaire" winning a few Oscars).

I admit I got choked up in a couple of parts, which really surprised me. I had just watched "Slumdog Millionaire" the night before and thought it was a very original, well-written movie. I was also touched by the kids from the movie in the audience who were so excited about all the wins. And Health Ledger's parents and sister accepting his award was also touching.

But, what really got to me was Sean Pean's speech. I had not realized - like all folks at home watching the show - that there were protesters there. They were protesting gay marriage. These "Christians" felt it necessary to use the forum for a protest. The fact that Penn won the Oscar for his portrayal of a gay man in "Milk" and had the opportunity to make the speech was excellent.

I am a Christian and have strong beliefs. I, however, am very open-minded and respect other people's beliefs. I appreciate the differences in people and enjoy diversity. I also strongly believe all people deserve love and respect, don't judge people, and feel everyone should have equal rights. Supposed Christians out there holding protests and saying hateful things is embarrassing to those of us that don't behave this way. According to the

Stars on their way to the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles had to pass a group of Christian demonstrators outside who protested against gay marriage and attacked the memory of the late Heath Ledger, a favourite target of militant anti-gay protesters since his role in Brokeback Mountain.

Penn won the best actor award for Milk, in which he played politician and gay rights activist Harvey Milk.

The actor opened his acceptance speech with the words: "You commie, homo-loving sons of guns," to laughter from the audience.

Referring to the protest, he said: "For those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren's eyes if they continue that way of support. We've got to have equal rights for everyone."

Backstage, he dismissed the demonstrators' 'Heath in Hell' placards. "I think if we get used to dismissing these kind of comments rather than commenting on them, we'll be better off. It's meaningless jibberish," he said, expressing his sadness at the "culture of ignorance that has bred this kind of hateful expression, that these people have their signs outside essentially telling you that you're less than human".

This kind of hatred has no place, and most certainly doesn't come from God. God loves all of his children. He does not pick and choose. No one gave these people the right to choose either. To hold such a hateful protest - additionally aimed at a man who had died and was being honored for his talent and a spectacular performance - is equally sickening.

The best thing that could happen at this point is to have Proposition 8 overturned. Because, really, these hateful people aren't standing up for anything but hatred.

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