When news of a violent disruption by a militant gay activist group at a former Assemblies of God church in Lansing first emerged, I was skeptical to accept it at face value. Like any volatile situation, it’s necessary to ask whether or not such an event is worth mentioning, and even more, if it’s at all relevant to those of us in Tennessee. Lastly, I have to face some pretty nasty realities, especially the reality that some activist groups just aren’t doing anyone any good.

According to a press release from Mount Hope Church in Lansing, MI, it all started last Sunday morning during the 11:30 AM services. During which, “…the people of Mount Hope Church were shocked by an unwelcome violent demonstration by a homosexual/transgender anarchist group based in Chicago, IL. The group threw fliers at churchgoers and shouted sentiments such as, “It’s okay to be gay” and “Jesus was a homo” during a Sunday morning service. The Eaton County Sheriff’s office was called and the illegal demonstration ceased.”

The church’s website provides a direct link to their press release, which goes on to say that “Mount Hope churchgoers were unclear as to what the purpose of the demonstration was. One churchgoer commented on the “lack of civility” in the demonstration and said, “There must be a better way for this group to advance their perceived cause.”

Well, add me to that list of people who are as bewildered as we are angered that this incident took place in my country. I don’t know what this group thinks they’re accomplishing… other than making themselves look like anti-Christian bigoted, excrement-minded fools who just want to shock people into a fearful daze.

Quite simply, this is little more than a bunch of punks who are making a name for themselves for no reason other than to behave like immature, hateful masked freaks with way too much time on their hands. I don’t give a rat’s hairy little paw if they claim to be a “gay” organization. In fact, they claim to be a gay and trans(gender) group.

If readers aren’t already aware of this little fact, I’m writing this from the perspective of a gay Christian (I know, that’s another conversation). Since I see the world through both sets of lenses, I’m doubly offended, and quite frankly, anyone in their right mind would be outraged that any group would exploit the frustration that gays currently feel over the gay marriage debate… for their own little publicity stunt.

The press release from Mount Hope accurately describes the “Bash Back!” group as an anarchist group. This alone should reveal their ultimate goal: complete chaos in government. They’re not even protesting anything in particular. They just want to make as big of a mess as they can. No, I’m not going to link to their website. I don’t want to give them the dignity of the traffic bump.

Seriously, can humanity stoop much lower than this group of thugs? Sure, there are plenty of hate groups out there. There’s the Neo Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, the Westboro “Baptist” freaks, and God knows who else out there. At least those organizations have a level of consistency and know that there’s no place for them in society other than to be labeled as hate groups.

It appears that the “Bash Back!” group hasn’t figured out what their role in life is yet, so they just strike out with any manner of hate that they can – against anyone in sight.

Sure, it’s well-known that many evangelical churches (including the Assemblies of God – and yes, they’re evangelical at their core, even though their style of worship is more akin with Pentecostals), are adamant in their belief that gay relationships are sinful. Frankly, that’s their First Amendment right. While I might disagree with them and their theology, they have a right to believe and preach as they wish!

And for anyone who thinks for a second that “Bash Back!” or other militant anarchist nutjobs have a “constitutional right” to crash into a worship service and torment a service just for the hell of it, well, there’s such a thing as trespassing, vandalism, and the issue of a felony when one of the “protesters” pulled the fire alarm. That’s not free speech. That’s not even “assembly” as described in the Constitution.

So no, they don’t have a right. Frankly, the leadership at Mount Hope Church is right to consider having a plan in place to prosecute the next bunch of overgrown grade-school bullies that comes along. They certainly don’t have a right to vandalize church buildings (as they’re doing in other cities).

It’s just a way to terrorize citizens and give fodder to anti-gay groups who are doing all they can to remove what rights we DO have as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.

This act of brutality was wrong, and I deplore and condemn it as the stupidity that it is. These freaks do not represent me. They certainly don’t represent the millions of GLBT people across the country who have worked to educate, inform, and challenge those around us to come to a slightly different understanding.

They certainly don’t represent American ideals… and who am I kidding? That’s their point. It’s clear that we have a lot of growing up to do as Americans, and even more evident that there must be a discussion, even an awkward one, to begin to find common ground. After all, if we are nurturing psychopathic groups like this in this country, what’s next?

We should respond soberly, and but even more than that, we need to find those areas in our vast disagreements between gay rights and anti-gay groups where there might be some common ground. Maybe this is the kind of incident we need to begin those conversations. Hate has no place in them, but maybe it’s enough of a jarring incident for us to realize that hate breeds hate, and if we keep going down this spiral, things might get a lot worse before they get better…

…for anyone.