Students at the University of Oxford took part in a spontaneous protest last week after several preachers set up a stall near their colleges claiming the victims of the Orlando shooting “deserved their fates because of who they were”.
The events followed the murder of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida on 12 June.
A number of Christian preachers stood along Cornmarket Street, Oxford, holding signs with quotes from the Bible and labelled the Orlando victims as “sinners” who had been “judged by God”, apparently telling passers-by:“Jesus knows Hell is a fiery, raging place for sinners who have done wrong.”
News soon spread across the university, where protesters turned up to counter their hateful narrative by playing music, singing and holding up placards reading: “Love will win” and “Love Conquers Hate”.
A protester described the preachers to Queerty, saying:
“There were four or five of them — a couple of Americans, a Scot and a Brit I think. They had microphones and placards.
They moved location due to the small protest, so a group and I walked over to where we thought they would be and I suggested we all sit on the steps where they were speaking,”
Oxford Pride Youth Officer Ari Baker told the Oxford Mail:
“These guys were handing out leaflets earlier against same-sex marriage and spreading hatred of all sorts: the standard things like ‘You’re going to hell’ and ‘God hates you’.”
Seeing students challenge extreme homophobia in this way is hugely encouraging, with peaceful protests against bigotry the best way to highlight and defeat it.