Happening Now: Demonstrations on Middle Path Receive New Voice

SJ Liegner '15

SJL ’15

By now, everyone on campus is familiar with the band of demonstrators who station themselves on Middle Path, talking to students about their religious convictions regarding abortion, homosexuality, and womanhood. Their central location on campus ensures that their voice is heard by a majority of the Kenyon community. Today, students have been stopping to engage with them. Conversations have ranged from simple greetings to spirited discussions regarding the nature of the group’s assertions. One student, however, decided to engage the group in a different way.

SJL ’15 singlehandedly began a counter-demonstration. Carrying a sign reading “Kissin’ Booth! $1 to Whichever Charity Those Guys Hate,” SJ apologized to passers by for the group’s presence farther along Middle Path. SJ’s repeated chant of “pro-love, pro-life, pro anything except those guys” easily attracted attention. Within a few minutes of beginning the demonstration, the leader of the religious group came over to speak with SJ.

“He told me I shouldn’t be speaking because women are meant to be quiet,” SJ said. “He also said ‘God help her’ a few times.”

Despite having gained the group’s express disapproval, SJ continued to operate the “kissing booth”. Other students’ reactions ranged from quiet disapproval to enthusiastic participation.

If nothing else, SJ’s actions have begun a different sort of discourse between the student body and this group of demonstrators. In the spirit of personal expression, feel free to continue the conversation in the comments.

[This article has been edited per the wishes of the individual discussed.]

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12 responses

  1. WHAT ABOUT RESPCTFUL INGDIFFERENCE! ISN’T THAT A VALABLE SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN ALL ABOUT NOBLE LIBERAL ARTS TRADTION OF IGNOING WHAT WE DISAGREE WITH INSTEAD OF CHALLENGING THE IDEAS OF OHER AND ARE SELVES! WHAT ABOUT THOSE KIDS! THEY DID SOMING

  2. Raising money for a queer/feminist/etc., organization is a new and creative response. But why “apologize” for the protestors on middle path? Why are you asking us to excuse their fault? Yes, they’re crazy. We all know that. Yelling over them was not productive and damaged the point SJ was trying to make.

  3. I’m not sure the degree to which this demonstration was productive. I think it could have been much more successful had it not been aimed at bashing the protesters but instead focused on a campaign in antithesis to what the protesters were advertising (which I suppose there were elements of both). I still hold with the don’t fight fire with fire mindset. However, definite kudos to for speaking out, it definitely took courage. Also to unity house for flying flags last time. I wish I had the courage to do what you have but have fallen short of words both times the protesters have come. Perhaps Unity House or Crozier could host a meeting to brainstorm creative ways to combat the demonstrators should they come again? Or to discuss whether it’s more productive to engage with them or just ignore them? It’s hard to decide which is the right course of action.

  4. Pingback: Weekend Playlist: People Being Loud On Middle Path | The Thrill

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