Anti-gay violence denounced

STANDING UP TO BULLIES

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A nationwide campaign to end bullying of gay and lesbian teens landed on the front steps of an Augusta church Monday night.

Jamie Cox and Kellye Lewis stand together during a candlelight vigil at the Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer in downtown Augusta. More than 80 people gathered Monday at the church in support of young gays and lesbians.   Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Jamie Cox and Kellye Lewis stand together during a candlelight vigil at the Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer in downtown Augusta. More than 80 people gathered Monday at the church in support of young gays and lesbians.

More than 80 gay and straight Augustans gathered on National Coming Out Day to light candles, pray and sing outside the Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer. Augusta Pride, which organized the city's first gay pride parade this summer, co-sponsored the event.

Vigils were held across the country last night in response to a spate of teen suicides. In recent months, suicides of gay teens who were bullied have been reported in New York, California, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

"The headlines are unbelievable," said Issac Kelly, the president of Augusta Pride. "When there's bullying like this, there's got to be a response. We're pushing the issue all together as a nation tonight."

Candles were lit for the suicide victims, whose names were read. John Lennon's Imagine was sung.

"To gay and lesbian youth everywhere we say, 'You are valued,' " said the Rev. Jeff Pullium, the pastor of Metropolitan Community Church, which has ministries for gays and lesbians.

The vigil was inspired by the grass-roots campaign that has built since writer Dan Savage launched the It Gets Better project last month.

The campaign features You Tube videos with celebrities, including Tim Gunn, Cyndi Lauper and Ke$ha, offering encouragement to gay and lesbian teens facing bullies.

Efforts to raise awareness about the bullying will continue Oct. 20, when the color purple will be worn to show support for gay and lesbian teens.

Few teens feel they have anywhere to turn, which makes suicide feel like the only acceptable option, Kelly said.

"They don't know where to turn," he said. "We need to show them there are safe places."

On average, teens hear anti-gay slurs 26 times a day, according to Mental Health America, formerly the National Mental Health Association.

The organization reports that gay students are more likely to skip school because of fear and threats. Twenty-eight percent drop out, more than three times the average for straight students.

It takes a toll on school, relationships and health, said Alvin Rivers, an 18-year-old Augusta State University student who is gay.

"You're bullied by gay people who are in the closet because they want you to keep quiet," he said. "You're bullied by straight people. They think you've got a choice. It's got to stop."

Learn more

FIND RESOURCES on anti-gay bullying at Amen Corner, the blog of Staff Writer Kelly Jasper, at

augustachronicle.com/blogs/amen-corner.

Comments (99) Add comment
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paulbaughman28
215
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paulbaughman28 10/12/10 - 04:03 am
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I fully support this cause.

I fully support this cause.

johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 10/12/10 - 05:33 am
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An anti anti-gay bullying

An anti anti-gay bullying day?
Sounds reasonable since no bullying is good bullying.
I think a pro-gay parade would be nice, and maybe homosexuality could be promoted in government schools.
The more we can do to remove any stigma from all forms of homosexuality, the sooner we can be more "civilized".
I've a good idea, why not start a rumor about a homogene that makes people want to be homosexual and hold vigils to support the idea.
I foresee a Utopia.

(any effort to address any cause of homosexuality should be avoided or denied. this would just be another form of bullying.)

johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 10/12/10 - 05:36 am
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Has anyone heard a rumor

Has anyone heard a rumor about more social engineering efforts?
Me neither.
It's just a rumor.

roebling
25
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roebling 10/12/10 - 07:48 am
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Ridiculous. What makes

Ridiculous. What makes bullying a homosexual less acceptable than bullying me? Total cr@p.

Georgiais1
0
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Georgiais1 10/12/10 - 08:03 am
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Everybody gets bullied some

Everybody gets bullied some time or the other in life...."Man up"

Lawpig
0
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Lawpig 10/12/10 - 08:12 am
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Roebling, I think the point

Roebling, I think the point is that when someone is bullied for being a member of a larger group, then the entire larger group is affected. Gay kids are singled out BECAUSE they're gay. Is there anything wrong with the gay community (and the entire wider community) attempting to show them support?

If Episcopalian teenagers were killing themselves because they were bullied for being Episcopalians, would it be so unreasonable for the Episcopal Church to try and support young Episcopalians? Tell them it's better?

Johnston.cliff, I'm not following you on the social engineering. Sorry. A story about gay groups noting that the gay teenagers have it tough in this world is nothing new and should not be surprising to anyone. Attacking gays is the last form of acceptable discrimination, especially among young people. In high schools all over this country, gay kids are bullied and attacked on a daily basis. How is it social engineering to point that out and want change?

Georigiais1, they're trying to stand up and show some backbone. That's the subject of the article. Not everyone endured bullying in high school the way these kids endure it . . . and it's wrong. The bully stealing your Lunchable when you were in middle school is a bit different from what these kids are dealing with.

airbud7
1
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airbud7 10/12/10 - 09:30 am
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How about a Heterosexual

How about a Heterosexual bullying day? Wouldn't that cover more people?

Dixieman
17324
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Dixieman 10/12/10 - 09:32 am
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Violence, no. Never. I am

Violence, no. Never. I am completely against it.
But words? Better get used to living in a world that is unfair and sometimes cruel and develop some ability to cope. I am not going to tailor my words to avoid hurting your feelings.
Besides, your purses don't match your shoes.

dani
13
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dani 10/12/10 - 10:07 am
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Protesting violence should

Protesting violence should not be limited to one group. How utterly selfish.

RoadkiII
6807
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RoadkiII 10/12/10 - 10:36 am
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Dixieman, maybe you should

Dixieman, maybe you should read the PC manual again. We can't hurt anyones wittle feelwings.

I am totally against any violence directed at gays/lesbians, but what about the violence/bullying directed at me simply because I am proud of my southern heritage. If I put a rebel flag on my old pickup then I am racist. If they put a rainbow on their VW I am supposed to hug them. I am missing something somewhere.

No, I am not proud of the slavery issue, what I am proud of is how my ancestors stood up to a tyrannical federal government which was attempting to control every facet of life. Sound familiar???

RoadkiII
6807
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RoadkiII 10/12/10 - 10:19 am
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http://www.aikenstandard.com/

http://www.aikenstandard.com/Local/1012-Westboro-Baptist

OK Augusta Pride and Metropolitan Church, here is your chance to put your money where your mouth is. How may will be there to stand against Westboro?

Farmboy
1017
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Farmboy 10/12/10 - 10:18 am
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It never ceases to amaze me

It never ceases to amaze me that you "Christians" preach love and acceptance, yet when some is hurt or downtrodden that you don't like or don't think fits your mold of what a person should be, you talk about them like they are pond scum. I don't like or understand what alot of people do either, but bad mouthing other people is just plain mean. And don't give me this garbage about life just being that way because you do have a choice. That's a weak cop out and a pathetic one at that.

airbud7
1
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airbud7 10/12/10 - 10:33 am
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What did Farmboy just say?

What did Farmboy just say?

InChristLove
22485
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InChristLove 10/12/10 - 10:36 am
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Quit whinning Farmboy, it's

Quit whinning Farmboy, it's not becoming of a young man. No one on here has talked about homosexuals like pond scum. Comments have been made concerning a double standard on bullying, how all sectors of society have dealt with bullying from one group or another, and how most are against any type of violence or bullying for any group.

I will say that I find it amazing that for a group who claims to want to be treated normal, be part of the mainstream of society, continues to find ways to elevate their exposure and make them stick out like a sore thumb. Bullying is horrible and mean if you are on the receiving in, whether straight or gay.

ruudvonbaron
0
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ruudvonbaron 10/12/10 - 11:09 am
0
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airbud7 Tuesday, Oct. 12

airbud7 Tuesday, Oct. 12 11:33 AM What did Farmboy just say?
-----------------------------
He said Christians are hypocritcal.....in so many words.

Cheeched
0
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Cheeched 10/12/10 - 11:18 am
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Just take a quick glance at

Just take a quick glance at the comment section of just about any article that allows reader comments and you will quickly notice the vitriolic manner in which people abuse not only the authorse, but the other "commentators." I am no prude and firmly support freedom of speech, but I would bet my last dollar that given the opportunity to spout their vulgar, caustic and sophomoric ideals in a face-to-face setting, most would not be so rude or cruel.

And we wonder where our kids get the idea to be increasingly mean and disrespectful....

swinter05
5
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swinter05 10/12/10 - 11:19 am
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As a Christian, I do not

As a Christian, I do not promote or condone ANY kind of violence. This is not okay. What also isn't okay, is that society has lead these misguided individuals, to believe that being gay is normal. It is not normal and I think the internal struggle between "right and wrong", is ultimately what causes them to take their own lives. Everyone has been bullied from time to time. When an individual knows that they are loved unconditionally by our loving Father, no matter what sin they are struggling with, this is comforting. If you do not know His love, because you CHOOSE to continue to sin and not seek Him instead for the answers regarding your identity, then your battles become unbearable. It's not easy to defeat feelings such as these when you have no one to turn to. All people must acknowledge, that we can't battle ANYTHING by our own flesh, but through Jesus and His death, a relationship with the Father is all you need to overcome your struggles.

Cheeched
0
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Cheeched 10/12/10 - 11:32 am
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Have you ever thought that

Have you ever thought that maybe it's the so called "Christians" spouting how about abnormal, disease ridden, and sexual deviants homosexuals are that have something to do with them taking their own lives? It's not fun hearing how you're going to hell everyday....

There are plenty of people I don't like in the world. But unless they're doing something that directly affects me, or something to utterly heinous, I really don't care. Whereas some make it their life goal to make known their hatred for others. Why?

dougk
3
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dougk 10/12/10 - 11:42 am
0
0
Yes, ICL, it was a terrible
Unpublished

Yes, ICL, it was a terrible thing, too, when women and African Amercians stuck out like a sore thumb promoting equal rights and fair treatment. They should have known their place as well....

Farmboy
1017
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Farmboy 10/12/10 - 11:55 am
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Not all of them, sure, but

Not all of them, sure, but some Christians talk like they think the know everything. This is this way, and this is that way, etc. etc. Silly is the first word that comes to mind.

howcanweknow
2307
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howcanweknow 10/12/10 - 11:59 am
0
0
Christians don't know

Christians don't know everything. But, Christians know that God does know everything. If you obey and follow Him, you'll win. If you disobey and reject His words, well....

Farmboy
1017
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Farmboy 10/12/10 - 12:04 pm
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I just think this issue with

I just think this issue with bullying and suicide is just as sad as can be. It makes alot of people angry and sad, myself included.

ARC.Senior
0
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ARC.Senior 10/12/10 - 12:12 pm
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Wow. Some of these comments

Wow. Some of these comments are absolutely horrifying to read. Homosexuality IS normal. What's not normal about it? Animals in the wild practice bisexual/homosexual acts of sexuality...so why is this not normal? Exactly. It is infact normal.
Even more deeper into that subject, WHAT IS NORMAL? Normal..hmmm, sounds like society's mission to get us all robots of the world: acting like everyone else, practicing like everyone else, and BEING like everyone else.
And "dougk", it is absurd to say "They should have known their place as well..." KNOWN WHAT PLACE?! We are humans, homosapiens...people. None of us are aliens from a different planet. After all, aren't we all made in the image of God? All people came from the same ancesters.

Any prejudice should be acceptable in no place of the world. And bullying...is atrocious. Picking on someone for BEING THEMSELVES...is sad and awful. It's like me saying to a white person, "You're so stupid and ignorant...just because of your skin color." That's completely idiotic...just as it's idiotic to bully ANYONE for ANY REASON.

Dear christians of the world,
Homosexuality is a fact of NATURE. So, let people be who they ARE.

Also, I am agnostic. I get ridiculed for my beliefs all the time. It does make me feel as if I am lower than them as a person...which is NOT true. I've been told I'm going to hell, not just for being an agnostic, but for being bisexual. According to my beliefs, I am not going to hell. And some would respond, "yes you are." Yet, Christians are NOT the law of the land...just a mere theory as to how we exist. JUST LIKE EVOLUTION...a THEORY. So leave your supposed "christian authority" out of others lives. Aren't we all suppposed to be ACCEPTING of others and their differences? That would be the CHRISTIAN thing to do. And some of these comments scare me about our older generations. Maybe our world will be better...once everyone is accepting of others and doesn't demean other HUMANS for being the HUMAN they are.

ruudvonbaron
0
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ruudvonbaron 10/12/10 - 12:12 pm
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howcanweknow Tuesday, Oct. 12

howcanweknow Tuesday, Oct. 12 12:59 PM Christians don't know everything. But, Christians know that God does know everything. If you obey and follow Him, you'll win. If you disobey and reject His words, well....
----------------------------
lol. Yeah right......and if you put a tooth under your pillow "you'll win" a dollar from the tooth fairy too.

swinter05
5
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swinter05 10/12/10 - 12:12 pm
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cheech - your point of view

cheech - your point of view is a very selfish one. would you not out of love tell your "brothers and sisters" about destructive decisions they are making and there is hope in our Savior? Jesus didn't die on the cross for us to keep Him to ourselves. He died for ALL sinners...that means every person that has or ever will walk the face of this earth. There is a loving way to talk to people, and Jesus' message of hope in Him is not a hateful one. If you equate my reasoning with hatred, then that is the way you justify the sin, by blaming everyone else. I never said in my comment anything about diseases, deviants, or such. Please don't categorize me with other christians you are speaking of, I'm not that person.

DaddyFrog
46
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DaddyFrog 10/12/10 - 12:47 pm
0
0
We had bullies when I went to

We had bullies when I went to school.We just handled them differently.Usually they ran up on the wrong guy, and after a couple of good butt whoopings the bullying stopped. My grandkids tell me it's a whole different ballgame today.Anybody who's different is fair game for the bullies. You wear the wrong clothes, act the wrong way, belong to the wrong ethnic group, then you're a target. This tells me that this bullying thing is starting in the home. I saw where one girl from Croatia killed herself because the kids ridiculed her accent, and started all kinds of rumors about her at school and on Facebook. Kids need parents to sit them down and lay the law down about this stuff. I don't see how these bullies can live with themselves knowing they have caused another kid to take their own life. Remember the girl in Fla. that the six girls nearly beat to death because they thought she had started rumors about them ? What kind of monsters are being raised today ?

johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 10/12/10 - 12:54 pm
0
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lawpig, it's just a rumor and

lawpig, it's just a rumor and I didn't start it.
I see it's working pretty good on certain types of people...for a rumor.

Cheeched
0
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Cheeched 10/12/10 - 01:55 pm
0
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Swinter not everyone believes

Swinter not everyone believes in your idea of god...myself and my friends included. We have our own views. Thanks though.

dani
13
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dani 10/12/10 - 03:13 pm
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Roadkill it right.

Roadkill it right.

InChristLove
22485
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InChristLove 10/12/10 - 03:52 pm
0
0
Being cruel to homosexuals is

Being cruel to homosexuals is not what Christianity is about and anyone who bullies homosexuals is not conducting themselves in a Christ-like manner. That being said, when a Christian sees someone living in sin according to our teachings through the bible and spiritual guidance from God, with compassion for that person's spiritual salvation we have a need to rescue that person from spiritual damnation. Some Christians go about it the wrong way, there is no denying that. Some non-believers will reject God, which is sad but it is their choice.

ARC.Senior, you said homosexuality is normal, the animals in the wild practice it. Let me ask you this, animals also eat their young and each other....does that make it okay for humans? Humans are superior over animals. When God made Adam he made him ruler over the animal kindgom, not equal or same as the animals.

All throughout the Bible, Jesus speaks of husband and wife. When anything relating to relationships between the human species, it is always referred to as man and woman, husband and wife. If homosexuality was accepted by Jesus and it was the norm, then why is it never mentioned in the Bible except in a negative content? Why did Jesus never mention man and man or woman and woman relationships when he spoke on the role of husband and wife, divorce, marriage, etc

ARC.Senior, whomever told you that being bisexual would send you to hell, told you wrong. It's not being bisexual that will send you to hell. It's not having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Sin is sin in God's view and their is forgiveness. You just have to be willing to step out on faith and trust that their is a Savior who loves you and can help you.

Cheeched, you make a very good point. Not everyone believes in God and salvation....but those who are unhappy with their life and want to have peace and joy, still have a right to hear about my wonderful Savior.

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