Guest blogspot: Close-mindedness by Kate Atkinson


KateKate Atkinson was born in July 1993 in Wakefield, and now lives in York where she is studying Primary Teaching at York St Johns University.  She attended St Wilfrids Catholic High School and 6th Form College, graduating in 2011 with outstanding academic results.  Since leaving St Wilfrids, Kate has spent part of a gap year working as an au pair in Dublin, gaining valuable experience of living independently  abroad.  Closer to home, she gained employment in her home town of Pontefract in a digital processing outlet, before commencing her University course last September.

The article below was originally published on Kate’s own blog, which can be found here. I reblog it now because of its undiminished relevance and unerring accuracy.

I have a very hard time understanding close-mindedness.

In the very early hours of this morning, I was scrolling through my Twitter timeline and was heartbroken to read that Harry Moseley, the 11 year old boy with an inoperable brain tumour, who has campaigned tirelessly to raise over £500,000 for Cancer Research UK’s brain tumour research, has died.

As the world woke up to the news of the loss of this brave little boy, I saw hundreds upon hundreds of kind messages to Harry’s family – complete strangers reaching out to his parents, to support them through their grief. This outpouring of affection for one little boy was to be expected; Harry is widely known for his bravery and selflessness, and his campaign, Help Harry Help Others.

What I didn’t expect, though, was to see something like this.

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Once again, I encounter with absolute horror and disbelief, the twisted opinions of the Westboro Baptist Church.
A few years ago, being somewhat naive about the type of people that exist in this world, I found the website “God Hates Fags“, and honestly thought it was a joke. I was well aware of homophobia, but I didn’t honestly think that communities such as the WBC, with their persistent use of offensive vernacular, actually existed. I was wrong. This is prejudice at the absolute extreme, and I physically cannot stand it.
My discovery of the Westboro Baptist Church opened my eyes to just how extreme close-mindedness can be – but even after realising this, I would never, ever have expected these people to use the death of a little boy to once again force their opinions on the rest of the world.
I could steam on and on for a lifetime about how furious the WBC makes me, and get all worked up, and start swearing and insulting them and cursing them to the hell in which they think the rest of the world belongs. Because I honestly can’t comprehend this kind of cruelty. But a part of me thinks that an angry response is just what they’re looking for.
So instead I respond calmly. Instead of spending my time like the WBC choose to, screaming hatred at everyone they meet, I’d rather have a laugh with my friends. Read an old favourite book. Sit down to Christmas dinner with my family. Wear one of Harry Moseley’s bracelets with pride. Take pleasure from all the things in life that the WBC will never understand: kindness, love, compassion. My life is about my family and friends; I want to be with them and I want for all of us to be happy, and that’s what matters most to me.
I feel sorry for the WBC, because they spend their lives pushing the rest of the world away and building their lives on hate.
Harry Moseley was a bright, kind and determined little boy, who fought the dark with the light and filled people with hope. WBC fight blindly in the dark. There’s the difference. Make your choice.
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 Harry Moseley
2000 – 2011
Rest In Peace
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