The first time I heard of Will Phillips, he was a 10-year-old who refused to stand up during the Pledge of Allegiance for a novel reason:
Will’s family has a number of gay friends. In recent years, [mother] Laura Phillips said, they’ve been trying to be a straight ally to the gay community, going to the pride parades and standing up for the rights of their gay and lesbian neighbors. They’ve been especially dismayed by the effort to take away the rights of homosexuals — the right to marry, and the right to adopt. Given that, Will immediately saw a problem with the pledge of allegiance.
“I’ve always tried to analyze things because I want to be lawyer,” Will said. “I really don’t feel that there’s currently liberty and justice for all.”
He was 10 and he didn’t support the Pledge because he knew we really didn’t have “liberty and justice for all.” Amazing.
Of course, immediately after that story broke, people offered explanations for why a young man would ever do such a thing. Like Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel:
[Barber] believes the boy has been “utterly manipulated and exploited by adult moral relativists who are indirectly using him and other children as political pawns in the burgeoning culture war that is reaching a boil.”
Barber further finds that “it’s really a testament to the level of success that liberal and secular and homosexual activist propagandists in Hollywood and in our public schools and in much of our elitist establishment organizations have enjoyed.”
Barber’s list didn’t include the way his fellow Christians have treated LGBT people over the years… I guess that one never even crossed his mind.
(Incidentally, his parents have repeatedly denied the charges of “brainwashing” their son, saying that Will’s activism is entirely his own decision.)
The media loved it. Both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report ran segments on Will and CNN’s Kyra Phillips had a message for his bullies:
The following year, Will’s activism continued. He spoke at a rally protesting the National Organization for Marriage’s national anti-gay-rights bus tour:
He led San Antonio’s gay pride parade that year, too.
It’s been a few years since I’ve mentioned him on this site, but I’m thrilled to report that Will is back.
The bow tie-clad 13-year-old spoke at the end of the Northwest Arkansas Pride Parade in Arkansas yesterday. He ignored his broken microphone, and spoke out (loudly) “for LGBT rights, for women’s rights, for workers’ rights, for civil rights, for human rights,” and for so much more:
I love that slightly-modified Pledge of Allegiance, too 🙂
Not bad for someone who’s not yet in high school.
(Thanks to @MerrieMelodyxx for the link!)