Back Chat: Westboro comes to Adelaide
I took this photo at the Feast Festival gay pride march in Adelaide last weekend. Who knew Adelaide had its own Westboro Baptist Church spin-off?
There’s nothing I can say about this kind of cruel and unusual fundamentalist Christian group that hasn’t already been said, but I can report that the gays responded by attempting to drown out – quite effectively I might add – their mega-phoned preachings with a chorus of, somewhat appropriately, whistles. Then the dykes got on their bikes and revved their engines and the Christian loopies had no chance.
Perhaps somewhat spurred on by the presence of these deranged individuals, I ended up marching in the parade with the Greens. My friend from law school, Robert, is now Sarah Hanson-Young’s media adviser, and suddenly I was holding a big ‘Green and Proud’ banner in one hand, and wielding a placard with the other. I had a great time – particularly since the Greens contingent was marching right behind the bears’ float, which is always good for a laugh. And I do actually vote for the Greens, so I wasn’t being opportunistic.
Apparently this renegade Christian group – who call themselves the Adelaide Street Preachers – don’t only target any kind of gay event, but also regularly park themselves on Adelaide’s busiest shopping strip, Rundle Mall, and bemoan the general moral decay of society, as they see it.
In response, the State Government has introduced new legislation to enable local councils to adopt by-laws from the day they are made, in order to address the justifiable concern over such offensive behaviour in public spaces.
However, as Hanson-Young told me at the rally, the Adelaide Street Preachers have mounted a legal challenge. Indeed they are nothing if not resourceful.