In a series of blog entries for Legal Insurrection, market researcher and blogger Anne Sorock describes a disturbing scene she witnessed at a Chick-fil-A "Kiss-In" event on Friday.
While the overall pro-gay marriage protest against the restaurant seemed to fall somewhat flat, the Chicago location that she visited was certainly lively. According to Sorock, gay activists began engaging -- then harassing -- a "homeless street preacher" who was reading his Bible outside of the restaurant.
The writer describes a group of about 20 to 30 protesters who assembled outside of the Chick-fil-A location around 7 p.m. Some of the couples, Sorock reports, kissed one another in a stand against the fast-food chain's opinion on same-sex marriage. While these acts were expected, some of the protesters made their way over to an individual whom Sorock described as "an elderly African-American homeless man."
He was seated along a fence nearby the protest. When the activists approached him, they began arguing with him about theology, while also mocking him. One of the individuals in the group even wrote disparaging messages in chalk near the man, who was peacefully sitting and reading his Bible at the time.
"He’s Really Gay Deep Down," one of the notes read, with an arrow pointed at the homeless man. The entire incident, including the debate and the aforementioned chalk messaging, was caught on video (the below version is edited):
In a separate blog post from the original, Sorock reflected upon the events as they unfolded and provided an overarching recap of what happened:
In walking around the small protest area, I saw the homeless man reading the Bible out loud. He was not shouting or confronting people when I saw him. It was so ordinary that I didn’t think to film him at that time. A little later, I saw people begin to gather around him, including someone writing in chalk on the ground right near where the man was sitting on a fence with his Bible in hand.
As I mentioned in my prior post, initially I saw people interacting with the homeless man civilly about theological issues...
But at some point I noticed that a crowd had surrounded the homeless man and was taunting him. I turned on my camera, and what you saw in the original video was unedited save for a few seconds at the end panning the crowd, including one person in the crowd high-fiving another as the confrontation ended...
Later, Sorock asked the man why he believes he was targeted by the group.
"They're going against God. They're not going against me," he responded. "See they're problem is God. They don't want God telling them "thus saith the Lord."
Watch his response, below:
"Then your Bible in itself is immoral," the protester can be heard yelling at the man in an unedited version of the clip (see below). "I am tired of the hypocrisy coming out of these books...I do hate God, because the God that you want, the God that you worship stones rape victims."
Following the incident, Sorock said that she wasn't planning to track the protester, but via a comment on her blog, he purportedly identified himself as "Spencer Thayer." In his comment post, the man alleging to be the protester outside Chick-fil-A responded to his actions and statements against the homeless man, writing (caution: language):
The preacher was equating Gay people to pigs and Satan. He was being loud and rude while using his Bible to interupt the event with the intent of shaming peoples life styles. He has his right to free speech, just as I had every right to call him out on his bullshit. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that ass hat Christian’s can’t be called out for being dick heads by other dick heads.
Besides the video is biased and edits out the shit he was saying to make him look like a victim. This “preacher” was nothing but a bigot. I asked and he agreed that Deuteronomy 22:24, which states raped women who do not scream loud enough should be stone, should be followed. He also said “lazy sons” should be stoned to death as well.
Fuck that guy and fuck any of you who agree with him.
In fairness to Thayer, we don't have the rest of the footage that may or may not corroborate offensive language coming from the homeless man.
The intrigue doesn't end there, though. Sorock notes that Thayer, pending this is the same individual posting the comment and depicted in the clips, has a long history of protesting in the Chicago area. In fact, he's apparently a major figure in the Occupy Chicago movement:
The person in the video certainly looks like the Spencer “Thunderball” Thayer who was a longtime Chicago-area activist, most recently with the Occupy Chicago movement leading a crowd in October 2011 in a chant of “We are the 99%.” Thayer also was a member of a group “Chicago Cop Watch” whose goal, ironically enough, was to videotape police. Thayer also was an advocate of the “Chicago Principles” during the NATO summit, a set of defining principles for all of the groups protesting NATO to keep dissent from getting out. Thayer’s Twitter account has an Occupy graphic as his profile picture and many anti-capitalist tweets.
In the end, Sorock had admiration for the homeless man at the center of the debate, writing that she is "grateful to have witnessed this man’s quiet strength and dignity."
(H/T: The Examiner)