One of the benefits derived from living in a free speech society is the liberty to use debate and assembly to sway the majority or the government’s opinion. The civil rights movement was a fine example of how successful this process can be. However, the use and misuse of this right can also cause the opposite reaction. This is especially true when the minority interested in changing public opinion allow their passion to get out of control and they resort to victimization, vindictiveness, and violence. One sure way to damage your cause is to pitch an angry fit when you fail to move the populace to your way of thinking.
California’s Proposition 8, which amended the state Constitution to define marriage as between a man and woman, passed by a margin of 52 to 48 percent, sparking outrage from gay-marriage supporters. In the immediate aftermath there were legal challenges and violent reactions. The targets of these dangerous outbursts were mostly Christians exercising their own First Amendment rights. One of the first reports of vengeful mob mentality was an attack on an elderly woman in Palm Springs. Phyllis Burgess was attending a gay rights protest to voice her support for the newly passed Proposition 8. Apparently, there were people in attendance that disagreed with her opinion. Their overreaction was to assault her and smash the foam cross she was carrying.
Another incident occurred in San Francisco’s Castro district only a few days later. In this case a group of Christians were attacked by another anti-Proposition 8 mob with hot coffee, shoving, and death threats. One young girl named Christine Cloud was physically assaulted with her own Bible.
An L.A. restaurant, El Coyote Mexican Café, isn’t the only business targeted by opponents of the proposition; an entire blacklist has been published. However, most of the hatred and intolerant reactions were targeted at Catholics and Mormons:
“Burn their f-ing churches to the ground, and then tax the charred timbers,” wrote “World O Jeff” on the JoeMyGod blogspot today within hours of California officials declaring Proposition 8 had been approved by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent. Confirmation on voter approval of amendments in Florida and Arizona came earlier.