5 Questions To Ask Before Protesting

5 Questions To Ask Before Protesting

There are many different ways to protest. Some are more peaceful than others. Some are more respectful than others. And some communicate the message you are trying to convey better than others. After all, protesting is about a message or a cause you are trying to represent, right? So before you even discuss whether or not you want to organize a sit-in or start painting signs for picketing, you should first answer a few questions.

Ask Yourself "Why?"

The first obvious question you should ask before protesting is "Why?"

"Why do I believe in this?"

"Why am I doing this?"

You should first know why you believe in something so strongly that you would want to protest on behalf of that cause. Often times when you protest,  you will be challenged to defend what you believe and why you believe it.


Listen to this week's podcast on protesting:

Ask "Why" 4 More Times

There is a theory that you can get to the root of any problem by asking the question "Why" five times. This helps you dig below the surface level. I believe this same concept can be applied here. I have attended several events where protesters showed up with their signs to communicate their agenda. Some of my friends would engage them in conversation and often they would be unable to why they believe what they believe past the initial question.

As an example, since we talked about immigration last week, I thought I would test this theory using immigration and refugees as a topic. Below is how the 5 Why's could work:

  1. Why do you think we should accept Syrian refugees?
    • Because it is the right thing to do.
  2. Why is it the right thing to do?
    • Because if we were being invaded or attacked by another country we would want someone to take us in.
  3. Why would we want another country to take us in?
    • Because we would want to be protected. We would want to be given a fresh start. We would want to be given a chance to survive.
  4. Why should we protect the Syrian people?
    • Because they are people like us and they too deserve a fresh start. They too deserve a chance to survive. An entire people group should not be wiped out because we are afraid of one or two who might cause a problem.
  5. Why is it our responsibility to save them?
    • A better question is why it is our decision to make of whether they live or die? By not helping, we are knowingly turning these people away just like we did the Jewish people during the Holocaust. If we have the ability to help, why not?

If You Stand For Nothing

If you've spent any time with me recently, you'll know that I'm kind of obsessed with Hamilton: An American Musical. One of my favorite lyrics is given by Alexander Hamilton to Aaron Burr: "If you stand for nothing, Burr, what'll you fall for?" I think this perfectly sums up what I've been trying to say. Don't just protest. Don't just stand up and hold a sign and not fully comprehend the meaning behind the words printed on it. Don't just sit down during the national anthem without first understanding what the words of that song represent.

About the Author | Sarah Schaidt
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I love web design, my family, photography, traveling, music, Jesus, sleep, and Food Network (not necessarily in that order)


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This American Church
A place for exploring the Church in the American context. Issues may get political, cultural, and philosophical — but it’s always personal.

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