I love this guy. I've seen him out there on Broadway preaching his message before, but it had been a while.
There is so much to love:
• The bright, DIY sign, a little beat up, with hand lettering and that thick underline.
• The clarity and grammatical correctness.
• The selective use of all caps.
• The provocation followed by the affirmation ("Love unconditionally").
• The challenge it asserts (who can actually love unconditionally?).
I also love that he doesn't necessarily want attention. I've seen him before and he always consents to having his picture taken, but if given the chance he'll often duck behind the sign. Either way, he just wants the message out.
"Do you ever get responses, holding up that sign?" I asked him a few minutes ago.
"I've been attacked over a dozen times," he said.
"People are dumb. People are ignorant," he explained. "And I know what it's like, because I used to be like them. I've been through the foster care system. I know what it's like out there, and why people choose religion. But 9/11 is what changed it for me."
"Because it demonstrated the danger of religious extremism?" I said.
He went on to explain about the Bible being used to justify sexism, and the Bible being used to justify racism, and the Bible being used to justify violence and meanness. He said a few other smart things I didn't catch because I couldn't type fast enough on my iPhone notes app.
I casually said, as I walked away, "I love you, man."
And he said, earnestly, "I love you, too!"
When I was about half a block away, he called out, "And we have to use our words!"
Yes we do. And you, sir, are better at it than most people.