In a remarkable incident caught on camera, a brave seven-year-old girl has stood up to a gay hate preacher spewing religious condemnation.
Zea Bowling was filmed by her father, Ryan, at a music festival in Columbus, Ohio, walking up to the fire and brimstone street preacher and holding out a small rainbow flag.
In the viral video, the man at first continues to rant religious bigotry at the young girl, but as people step up to high five her for her stance, he appears deflated and wanders off.
“This was not a march, or a political event,” said her father on YouTube. “The preacher was accosting festival goers, including other families with children.”
In an interview with Raw Story, Bowling said his daughter had earlier asked him and his wife what the man was shouting about. He described the unexpected encounter as “heartbreaking”.
“The crowd was passionately on her side, right away, shockingly so. People cried, really. I honestly don’t know that I’ve ever seen that many people looking out for her at one time,” he explained.
“She’s just decent to people because they are people. She treats others fairly, because she wants to be treated fairly. That shouldn’t go viral, it should just be who we are to each other.”
The powerful image of Zea calmly countering the preacher’s intolerance has been turned into a t-shirt celebrating marriage equality. Part of the proceeds will go to a charity of the family’s choice.
“Zea is clear that she wants it to be used to help LGBT kids have a place that they can be safe,” Bowling said.