Warning GOD HATERS
There were a lot of these people at SDCC this year, many of them holding signs that were the exact same font, color and verbiage as the signs I’ve seen at E3, countless hockey games, and other events around Los Angeles. If they weren’t the same signs, someone is doing fairly well in the judgemental sign business.
These people just shout at everyone, or drone on endlessly regurgitating a script (I saw one of them reading it off an iPhone) that uses the word “love” in a way that is entirely at odds with their presentation. I ignore them, some people engage them, lots of people troll them, and though I find their entire presence mildly annoying, I respect their fundamental right to express themselves in public.
But here’s the thing that I noticed for the first time just yesterday: many of the sign holders are children between the ages of (I’d guess) 8 and 16. Some of the older kids read the script into their megaphone, while the younger ones try to shove tracts and leaflets into the hands of people who — if they take them at all — immediately throw them on the ground.
These children looked miserable. They looked sad. They looked like they’d rather be anywhere else than shouting at thousands of joyful people who are celebrating things they love. I wondered if these kids liked any of the movies or characters or popular culture that was being celebrated all around them, and if they did, how it made them feel to be put into a situation by their parents where they had to be angry at those happy people who weren’t bothering anyone, and seemed to be having a pretty good time.
I feel like these kids are in a cult, and their parents are robbing them of their childhood. I feel like these people show up where large groups of us are being happy, so they can tell us that we should feel bad. I’m not entirely sure what they hope to accomplish — I’ve never once seen a person engage them in a thoughtful way, much less convert to their particular flavour of religion, and they don’t seem to be interested in soliciting money — but whatever it is, it isn’t happening.
Unless their goal is to make people mock them, ignore them, or in my case, feel sad for their children. Maybe if they’re so concerned for the future of humanity, they could take the time, money, and energy the put into yelling at people and invest it in feeding and clothing people who are struggling to do that for themselves.
…but I can’t shake the feeling that, for these people, helping people isn’t the point.