This afternoon, in Tiburon, California, a great and very funny man, Robin Williams, was found dead in his home. It is believed he committed suicide, which, in a very small way, is better than him having relapsed and died of an overdose.
The internet is full of people tonight sharing their memories of chance encounters with the man, talking about their favourite movies he starred in, and remembering his stand up–Spotify is providing me with the audio of A Night at the Met, and I am currently hearing some bits I remember having on my ipod in the days of Kazaa and Limewire. The nostalgia is nice.
Meanwhile, on Twitter, the Westboro Baptist Church is posting shopped images of the poor man with their typical hateful slogans. Saying he is in Hell.
Robin Williams left behind a loving wife and daughter, and, less known, two sons and two ex-wives (I don’t know what the relationship between Mr. Williams and his exes or sons were like) and I hope, though don’t for a moment believe, that they are not aware of the WBC’s hateful… grave-dancing. I certainly hope they can at least ignore it.
A man died. There are at least two people who loved him very much and were very close to him that must deal with the aftermath, and another five people who may have been close to him as well, I simply don’t know. Robin Williams undoubtedly had a very hard life. He was quite open about his own troubles with addiction and drug abuse. Yet he spread so much joy and laughter to the world, and took time out of his day to offer a handshake to a starstruck man who forgot they happened to be in a men’s room, or be a beam of light in a week blighted by a horrible violent end to two loved ones for a sad family who happened to stop in a donut shop before they left LA. The man was so prolific in his work as an actor and comedian that I’ve seen multiple people online refer to him as like a favourite funny uncle. I think that perfectly sums up how I felt about him.
And … then there’s a “church” that says the man was evil. That he’s in Hell. That he’s “not doubting fire now.” A “church” celebrating the tragic death of a wonderful man. A “church” which wants to picket his funeral (they haven’t announced they will, just used the hashtag #wemustpicket).
The Westboro Baptist Church has a history of picketing people because they think god hates the person. They said they would picket the funeral of Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman. They picket the funerals of soldiers killed in duty. They picket Kevin Smith movies because Kevin Smith had the audacity to make a psychological thriller movie about a similar, but fictional, fundamentalist christian group. They also have a history of really pathetic protests that have less than ten people in them. So there’s that.
But what is this “church” protesting?
Well, when they protest gay marriage, they’re protesting love.
When they protest a soldier’s funeral, they protest duty and self sacrifice.
When they protest Kevin Smith, they protest critical thought and the ability to examine a topic with a sense of humour, and a love of harmless indulgence.
When they protest a metal musician, they protest the little bit of mental self care a lot of youth get to indulge in.
When they say that a beloved comedian who struggled with depression is in Hell as if he somehow got what he supposedly deserved, they protest love and joy and are saying that depressed people should die.
You have these people that say these things are evil, meanwhile they portray themselves as “good,” because they hate people who don’t believe their way. You have similar people who say they’re good because they are trying to force women to carry unwanted babies, including babies that were the result of rape.
And I’m here, a genderqueer pansexual LaVeyan Satanist. I’m what they, and many other christians call evil, whether because I don’t identify as the sex I was born, or want to fuck people regardless of their sex, or because they don’t know that LaVeyan Satanism is a non-theistic philosophy that basically just says the natural urges of humans are nothing to be ashamed of or deny. Of course I’m also vaguely animistic, so not only am I an atheist who uses the trappings of Hell symbolically, I’m also a dirty polytheist because these people don’t know what any religion is.
If I’m evil, and loving couples and dutiful people willing to sacrifice themselves and people who encourage critical thinking and dirty humour and people who give depressed kids in the mid-west a bit of release and a man who gave the world joy and laughter despite their personal pain are supposedly evil… then I wear that damned label proudly, because they aren’t making good look very desirable.