The Freeshop has been going for months now and usually there are no problems. Even our sworn arch-enemies, the police and the council , are pretty much ignoring the fact that we are spreading goods over the steps of “Occupy Corner”, and are displaying a huge “Free Shop” sign.
But lately some disruptions have arisen from another side : Christian fundies. It began harmlessly with the two Christians who parked their trolley right in front of the shop, took some of our chalk and wrote messages like “Jesus Saves” on the pavement. As the chalk is available for public use, we had no problem with this, Christians are part of the 99% too and plenty of misguided non-sense is written by some of our own members (9/11 was an inside job etc).
Then they proceeded to hand us a bag of skip-dived hot cross buns, which was good fun, as it lead to a discussion about free food. next came the little booklet of propaganda which informed us of the the fact that Satan was coming to get us and included an imaginative retelling of the Salem-witch story at which point I began to lose interest and stopped talking to them.
Last week there was the woman who carried on about how bad abortion was and the Salvo who complained that we were criticising Robert Doyle unfairly and this week we had a guy write”Complain to council about this pornography” next to a nearby street artist’s painting.
Later on, an incident occurred that convinced us something needed to be done in the future: One of our members had brought a number of Anarchist pamphlets and a young man who had been hanging around the Free Shop for several hours picked up one of them which was critical of the Church. He asked me , whether I agreed with the pamphlet, which stated that Christianity hasd not solved the world’s problems. “It would appear that way” was my diplomatic answer. He then began a tirade of how Jesus died for our sins, at which point I left the conversation. A few minutes later he had scooped up all the pamphlets and pretty much ran off with them, even though we protested (!).They were returned later by one of his friends.
Why is it that a religion which is supposed to be about love and tolerance often displays nothing but hatred and intolerance for non-believers?
Next time this sort of thing happens they will get a tirade from me which they will not forget.That will learn them!