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NOM’s Tour of Mostly-Empty City Plaza rolls to a stop

Timothy Kincaid

August 15th, 2010

Today the National Organization for Marriage held the final rally of their Summer for Marriage Tour, a 19 state, 23 city tour to rally opposition to marriage equality that can best be summed up as disastrous. Only a few cities drew crowds over 100, and in several stops less than two dozen locals turned up to support NOM’s efforts.

But for their big finale, NOM chose Washington D.C., a locality that only this year enacted marriage equality. In a divergence from the usual, all of the speakers at today’s rally – other than Brian Brown – were African-Americans. And as one speaker, Bishop Neaville Coles of the local Church of God in Christ, brought his congregation, the audience had a sizable African-American presence as well. Although polls and public presumption assume that blacks and Hispanics are strongly opposed to same-sex marriage, until today NOM’s rallies have been mostly absent of anyone other than mostly-elderly Caucasians.

NOM also drew a larger crowd than usual for their final stop. Although neither NOM nor the Trial Tracker provide a complete estimate, there were at least 60 and maybe up to 100 supporters [ed: reader Karen says more, maybe 200]. About 50 protesters stayed across the street while another 250 met at a pro-marriage equality rally a few blocks away.

From all accounts NOM’s rally did not present any original thought. Mostly cliches and astonishingly lacking in historical perspective – though there did seem to be a fair amount of unintended irony.

The old standby of “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” drew applause. (Some day I’m going to show up with a sign that says “Adam and Yves”).

Bishop Coles thundered, “What God has joined let no man put asunder!” Ummm, Bishop? You may want to think through the logical conclusion of that one before you try to reverse the marriages of the United Church of Christ.

Dr. Fauntroy seemed both defeatist and delusional. I’m not sure why the fellow thinks it may cost him his friends and his life, but like a true NOMartyr, he lamented:

I am determined to go all the way through. If it costs my life, I am determined, because I’ve got heaven in my view. If it means I have got to stand alone, if it means my friends be few, I am not worried about what people say. I’ve got heaven on my mind.

But, then again, he also said that our founding fathers promised healthcare so I’ll just give the elder statesman the privilege of age and its encumbrances.

But no one seemed to be less aware of his own words than Bishop Harry Jackson who spent his time railing against minority rights.

What is happening is a minority — just like we’re hearing now — is attempting to impose its will on the majority… I believe where we are today is the same situation [as the African-American civil rights struggle]. A minority is imposing its will.

Now I’ve heard language like that before, and it too was in context of racial tensions. But those screaming about “minorities imposing their will” were not on the side of civil rights or equality. But come to think of it, neither is Bishop Jackson.

Comments

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Ahab
August 15th, 2010 | LINK

I’ve noticed that more and more right-wing fundamentalists are comparing their efforts to civil rights struggles. Is this a shallow attempt to appeal to African Americans, or to liberals of various races? Whoever the target is, it’s ridiculous to compare the civil rights movement to this reactionary, homophobic movement.

Soren456
August 15th, 2010 | LINK

Fauntroy’s hyperbolic posturing makes me laugh. Then turns my stomach.

And I can’t believe (yet I do believe) Jackson’s complete disconnect. “A minority imposing its will on the majority” is Civil Rights 101. I’m absolutely speechless. What bankruptcy.

Emily K
August 15th, 2010 | LINK

Some day I’m going to show up with a sign that says “Adam and Yves”

although certain comments you’ve posted to the blog have left me extremely cold to any of your writing as of late, i have to admit this is on the brilliant side.

Sarah
August 15th, 2010 | LINK

Some day I’m going to make good on my decades-long threat to punch the next person who says “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” What a stupid point.

Karen
August 15th, 2010 | LINK

It was difficult to get a count of the people at the rally, but I am sure it was over 100. Maybe even as high as 200 at the peak. People did start drifting away long before the speakers ran out of steam. The count of protesters varied significantly depending on when the it was taken as well. One group of protesters had a bull-horn and was trying to be heard over the rally speakers. The police moved everyone close to that group a sizable distance away– I would estimate that group to be at least 30 to 40. There were probably 30 of us still there at some time after that.

No, don’t think they had anything new to say, but for this crowd at least they hit “let the people vote” hard. Yes, they did talk about parallels to the civil rights movement. According to them marriage equality is not a civil rights issue –but depriving people of a vote is.

It was a sad spectacle.

AdrianT
August 15th, 2010 | LINK

I am more than concerned by these words

“I am determined to go all the way through. If it costs my life, I am determined, because I’ve got heaven in my view. If it means I have got to stand alone, if it means my friends be few, I am not worried about what people say. I’ve got heaven on my mind.”

Isn’t this the kind of fanaticism you would expect from the 9/11 suicide bombers?

Karen
August 15th, 2010 | LINK

Adrian T,

I think this was more the cadence of an African American preacher talking about not giving up. Given that a large part of the crowd he was addressing was African American and looked like they had just come from church I think it is safe to say that is how they heard it. How someone who would not hear it in that context might take it could well be another matter.

TampaZeke
August 15th, 2010 | LINK

Something tells me that NOM is WAY more happy and relieved that this tour is over than we are.

I personally wish it could go on for a couple more months and be expanded from sea to shining sea.

They’ve done more good for gay rights than all of the gay pride parades of 2010 put together!

Come on Maggie and Brian, PRETTY PLEASE, give us just one more month!

Ray
August 15th, 2010 | LINK

“Isn’t this the kind of fanaticism you would expect from the 9/11 suicide bombers?”

Yes. It is.

Bruce Garrett
August 15th, 2010 | LINK

Bishop Coles thundered, “What God has joined let no man put asunder!”

I was there, working as photographer for Baltimore OUTLoud…I remember that crack. Coles was actually careful to say “What God has _made_ let no man cast asunder.”

Thank you for reminding me about Coles. When I posted over at TWO I’d forgotten him, alas. That made Four ministers who appeared on the stand after Brian Brown…all local black ministers.

I remember Brown’s first words from the stand as being, “I see Bishop Jackson has brought the cavalry…” But maybe it was Coles he was referring to. At any rate, the crowd there was small, and almost exclusively white, until the church group came. Thereafter, it was a tent revival, not a political rally. I don’t want to hear another word from NOM about how this isn’t an attempt to establish a purely religious definition of marriage as law for all Americans, regardless of their religion.

Bruce Garrett
August 15th, 2010 | LINK

Were you there Timothy? I was one of the guys with a camera wandering around. The one with the glasses and Circ du Soleil cap… Dang…if I’d known I’d have said ‘hi’…

Candace
August 15th, 2010 | LINK

You mean, “Adam and Eve and Cain and his mom/sister or probably both?”

As for this:

“Isn’t this the kind of fanaticism you would expect from the 9/11 suicide bombers?”

Nah, just the usual Afrofundie ranting style.

TampaZeke
August 15th, 2010 | LINK

The sad irony of seeing an African-American woman proudly holding a sign stating, “Let the people vote”, referring to the civil rights of an oppressed minority.

This just a very few miles away from the state line of Virginia, the capital of the Confederate South and the home of Mildred and Richard Loving.

“Let the people vote” indeed!

David C.
August 15th, 2010 | LINK

I’ve noticed that more and more right-wing fundamentalists are comparing their efforts to civil rights struggles. Is this a shallow attempt to appeal to African Americans, or to liberals of various races?—Ahab

This is a political tactic—attempt to co opt the terminology and tactics of your opponent. By confusing the meaning of the words and concepts they are intended to convey, our opponents seek to blunt the clearly obvious and logical case we are making for LGBT civil rights.

Such techniques have a tendency to work in our modern times even more than they have in the past because of the rapid spread of information provided by 24-hour cable “news” and the large echo chamber provided by new media such as the Internet. It’s an old technique though.

It also provides us with a hint. The instant we gain traction with a particular idea, such as in this case drawing parallels between the black civil rights movement and our own struggle, our opponents immediately start to crank up their noise machine to distort and “jam” our message.

NOM and the rest have tried to claim victimhood and bigotry, religious persecution, and a whole host of things they were the first to inflict on us. The hint we should take from this is that our reasoning and messages have them worried that we will prevail. We need to stay on and expand these messages to our advantage.

David
August 16th, 2010 | LINK

“The instant we gain traction with a particular idea, such as in this case drawing parallels between the black civil rights movement and our own struggle, our opponents immediately start to crank up their noise machine to distort and “jam” our message. ”

Time to return the favor by talking about protecting all families, and the way a well-heeled vocal minority of radicals activists is trying to harm our children.

pepa
August 16th, 2010 | LINK

The most memorable moment for me was when a NOM supporter held that unforgettable sign about “the solution to gay marriage” with two nooses and citing Leviticus. It inspired me to make a nice video about it which is in the link above.

werdna
August 16th, 2010 | LINK

@ Emily K

Sadly Timothy is not the first to come up with “Adam and Yves“. I am impressed with his knowledge of vintage gay porn, however!

elaygee
August 16th, 2010 | LINK

If I’d have been there, I would have read them the Bible chapters on how and where to get slaves and taken them all as my possessions just as the Bible declares. See how they like the Bible then.

David C.
August 16th, 2010 | LINK

Time to return the favor by talking about protecting all families, and the way a well-heeled vocal minority of radicals activists is trying to harm our children.
—David

Obviously you get my point and your suggestion is a good one that should be used in our campaigning when next our rights are put up to a vote. I’m sure others here can come up with more suggestions.

One of my favorites is speaking clearly to the religious and explaining that freedom of religion means a lot more than just selecting among the various flavors of Christianity, and freedom of speech means something more than just parroting what we are told by right-wing talking heads and evangelicals quoting the Bible.

Timothy Kincaid
August 16th, 2010 | LINK

Bruce,

I’m in Los Angeles and didn’t experience any of NOM’s tour. I tried to compile info both from NOM and from Tour Tracker to give a synopsis of each stop.

My info is all second hand.

majii
August 16th, 2010 | LINK

“I am determined to go all the way through. If it costs my life, I am determined, because I’ve got heaven in my view. If it means I have got to stand alone, if it means my friends be few, I am not worried about what people say. I’ve got heaven on my mind.”

In many African American Baptist churches, this is a quote that I’ve heard used many times before when someone wants to emphasize how dedicated he/she is to an issue.

Fauntroy is playing to the crowd, putting on a show to entertain them. He’s as much of a hypocrite as Jackson, King, LaBarbera, and the rest of this delusional crew that operates to reinforce their insane positions on gay marriage. Although they’ll rail against LGBTQ folks, some of them are doing the same thing, like Rekers, Foley, and Haggard.

@the poster who said that he/she doesn’t understand how/why the African American woman would be holding up a sign saying “Let the People Vote” in light of the history of AAs in this country. All that I can say is that I don’t understand how/why she could do it either.

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