For those of you who went to Church on Easter, how would you respond to what happened at St. Peter’s Cathedral in New York yesterday?:
About 20 minutes into the Rev. Damian O’Connell’s noon Mass, protester Jacob Martin, 23, rose out of his seat in the center of the church and started to walk down the aisle while shouting into a bullhorn that “only the devil” could create “animals capable of love and joy just so humans can make them suffer and die.”
I’m not for inhumane treatment of animals, although I am not against all and any killing of animals. But it seems wrong to use religious events (of any religion) as platforms for conducting political protests.
For years now, most people have found the Westboro Baptist Church’s protests at the funerals of veterans uncivil and obnoxious. This is, at least in part, because people feel that a funeral is no place to hold a political protest– religious personal events like this should be given a certain solemn dignity and respect. But this Easter evidently more people are increasingly deciding that political statements (even mass bombings) need not respect the sanctity of religious practices.
The first world famous event from this Easter is obviously the Easter bombing in a park in a Christian neighborhood in Pakistan. Now terrorist bombers have been blowing up mosques and churches for years, so there is really nothing all that novel here, except that it was done on a religious holy day.
A much less damaging but still disrespectful religious service interruption happened in New York on Easter according to the New York Post:
Worshipers attending Easter Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral got the scare of their lives when a band of unruly protesters disrupted the event. “I thought they were going to blow themselves up,” worshiper Carol Forester, 50, confessed. A group of six animal rights protesters abruptly leaped up from a pew in the middle of the service and shouted, “Easter is a time for love! No more shedding animal blood!” while holding up signs of animals pleading for their lives. About 20 minutes into the Rev. Damian O’Connell’s noon Mass, protester Jacob Martin, 23, rose out of his seat in the center of the church and started to walk down the aisle while shouting into a bullhorn that “only the devil” could create “animals capable of love and joy just so humans can make them suffer and die.” Martin, who is a former University of North Carolina student and identifies as a Christian, also had camera strapped to his chest, which worshipers believed was an explosive. Martin was arrested and charged with interrupting a religious service, according to police.
Obviously the protesters here have strong moral beliefs about animal rights. But to disrupt a religious service on perhaps the highest holy day seems, like the Westboro Baptist Church’s protests, and the Easter park bombings, to be entirely disrespectful of religious practices. I’m not saying that Churches should not be political, but specifically religious services, like funerals and mass, should not be the forums for political protest disruptions, in my opinion. I don’t think these animal rights activists did themselves any favors pulling off this shenanigan.