Thursday, July 15, 2010
The New Jersey-based “National Organization for Marriage,” or NOM, rolled its bus into Manchester NH in order to rally the troops against Marriage Equality and get signatures in support of DOMA. It must have been embarrassing for them that including the out of state contingency they brought on their bus, only about 50 people showed up in the City Hall Plaza. By contrast, those of us who showed up to quietly support NH’s Marriage Equality numbered 40 – with no bus, no campaign, and no organized effort.
I can only describe the hour-long ‘rally’ as bizarre. Even Circus-like.
One of the touted speakers was Dr. Jennifer Morse, who was introduced as a college professor who would address the group on the scientific basis for prohibiting same-sex marriage. She insisted that religious reasons were not necessary, because there were “bold” scientific reasons. My curiosity was piqued!
I was disappointed to say the least. Her ‘scientific’ opinion was that “Heterosexuality is Normal for our Species.”
Huh? That’s it?! Yup.
After a little research I discovered that our Scientific Doctor has a degree in Economics (not science, not sociology, not psychology, not family studies…). She runs the “Ruth Institute,” a NOM-Project, working with church and college youth groups, and the faith-based Acton Institute.
She then informed us of all the horrible things happening in Canada as a result of same-sex Marriage. Three times she referred to the strange land of “KWEE-beck.” Being a Californian, she apparently was unfamiliar with either the English or French pronunciation for the name of our neighboring Province, so she instead made it sound oddly remeniscent of the word “QUEER”.
She concluded by warning us about what lay ahead for the US. Soon, she said, we might have Language Police listening in on (and I kid you not…) the jocular statements made between guys in locker rooms after sporting events to make sure they complied with politically correct speech codes.
Such was the Scientific Approach. Then we were treated to a sermon by Thomas Peetz, the Pastor at the Pentecostal Word of Life Church in Concord. Detecting another out-of-state accent, I checked his church bio to see that he claims to come from “the nation’s heartland,” and studied under Kenneth E Hagin. Yes, the Health & Wealth Televangelist who claims that “It is always God's will that every believer be 'financially blessed' through faith…," and who, apparently, died three times and even went to hell on one of those trips. Pastor Peetz said, “I’d like to read from the Good Book…if I’m allowed to call it that,” in what became a constant, scripted litany for the rally: that religious people were being silenced. He then instructed us all that there is no ‘separation of church and state in the Constitution...that’s just in a letter Jefferson wrote.” He concluded his sermon by imploring the group that “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.”
I wonder if he realized the irony in that his purpose there today was to “put asunder” my lawful, Church-approved marriage.
NOM’s Director, Brian S. Brown, probably took top prize for bizarre logic today. Towards the end, he waxed eloquently about how Christian leaders throughout history stepped out and championed unpopular causes in the name of civil rights, from William Wilberforce’s fight against slavery to Dr. Martin Luther King’s marches for racial justice. He emphasized how these men were ridiculed even by other churches and by the public, but they fought and expanded decency and civil rights.
He then took a spasmodic leap in irrationality and claimed that these good works could not happen now, because Christians had been ‘silenced.’
Perhaps, being from out of state, he was blind to the logical, appropriate leap he SHOULD have made: that of Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who walked in the very tradition of those other leaders he mentioned in the fight for GLBT civil rights. It was not lost on those of us who live in New Hampshire.
One theme became very clear throughout the hour: no fewer than 16 times did speakers mention “the children,” or the effect of same-sex marriage on “children,” or depriving “children” of a mom and dad, or the primary purpose of marriage being to raise “children. And throughout the rally, Biblical and moral references were rampant…and the desire for a Theologically Appropriate response to Marriage Equality was the blatant, unabashed and constant undercurrent of this group.