The Response Criterion Collection: More Pictures From Saturday's Prayerapalooza

Categories: Texas

Photos By Groovehouse
Just like a concert, but with no alcohol and merch, and a little less moshing.
Since coming back from The Response event at Reliant Stadium on late Saturday afternoon and posting my blog about the event, which I spent almost eight hours at, the comment section on the Hair Balls piece has become a great and strange battleground of ideas over what it means to be a Christian in 2011.

Funny enough, a lot of people didn't see that I do, in fact, believe in God. They thought that I was somehow a godless heathen for even stepping foot into the stadium. Fair enough. But I did spend the first 15 years of my life going to church, getting saved every two weeks out of fear, and learning all I could about the good book, so it's not like I was there to set the place on fire with the unholy fire of alt-weekly scorn. I chose to leave that out on Saturday because who cares, just like no one cares now.

None of the commenters must have read the part about the serenity of the worship music like "How Sweet The Sound" or how I felt something in my body during the event. That was ignored. But the best part about writing about something as sadly divisive as The Response is that people read their own fears and opinions into the work.

I actually did feel something in my body, like in my stomach, as the whole place was deep in prayer. I describe it as the feeling that I usually get when I shoot a band at a big festival and you can feel a surge of love released at the stage, except this was quieter, and more enveloping. Oh, and here's my man card. I should probably turn it in now.

The fact of the matter is, if Rick Perry hadn't shown up or even been a part of The Response, I wouldn't have been there and neither would have many in the crowd. Hell, there would probably have been no protesters to speak of. Westboro Baptist Church wouldn't have even shown their faces.

(On a side note, making the thing a food drive for a local food bank in addition to a prayer rally would have been a good, moral and Christian thing to do, but that's just me. If you have all these people in the same room, at least help the people who aren't there. But there I go being a bleeding heart.)

Truth be told, the constant bickering between both sides of the picket line got to be almost angering. Screaming over each other for hours on end, trying to out-snark one another. By 5 p.m. on Saturday, I was disillusioned and amused equally by both sides, and didn't care to listen to the yelling.

I rounded up a few pictures from the event that probably need a little background and some sort explanation. Also, here's a link to some videos I also took that may have gotten lost in the shuffle. I am still kinda sore that Dr. James Dobson declined to get a picture with me, because it would have been pretty cool to say I have pictures of myself with Larry Flynt and Dobson in the same week.

This sign is a reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Universe, according to Eric Sauseda, the photographer in the trenches on Saturday. Three people probably got that reference, including Eric.

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I think the tubby woman in pink is not blowing a horn, but rather has a new, religion themed  item for chugging beer.


This is not a church, this is a hate group. Westboro BaptistChurch spreads its hate through picketing in our streets, provoking attacks,with abusive language and flag desecration, attempting to create aconfrontation. This is not about protesting, freedom, or God. They are in itfor the money and the press; this is a family law firm. They are not a"church." It is a scam. They go after anything that can get them inthe news. This is a family of lawyers using this “god hates you” thing to makemoney.


I enjoyed your write up and followup and just tended to ignore the comments on the 1st post. I followed your live tweeting of the event and your feelings on religion came out a lot stronger over there but I can see why you left that out of the story itself. I may be a godless heathen now, but I grow up devoutly christian and parts of that identity still inform how I see things today, so I really appreciated how you described the feeling you got in your stomach as everyone prayed. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go find some post on sexist shit and snark the hell out of the clueless people there.


Awesome follow up post, Mr. Hlavaty; I also believe in God but eschew religion - all of them - so while I'm sure I am considered a heathen just because I don't say the right words on the right day, I know in my heart that I do well by my fellow man.  Guess I need to turn in my man card as well.....

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I may be waaaayyy behind the curve here, but has anyone questioned Shea Guinn about the rationale of this event being held at Reliant? If Park management simply viewed it as another ordinary event and way to collect cash, then fine. That's a business decision. But in some ways, it speaks to the so-called professionalism of Guinn and Texans' President Jamey Rootes. Both of whom are arrogant yes-men and under-qualified persons for their respective positions.

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