On Wednesday, some Catholic friends and I participated in OutFront Minnesota's Day of Action against the "intolerance and discrimination" of the anti-gay and anti-marriage equality group known as the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).
Noted OutFront MN in a July 27 e-mail alert:
This month the National Organization for Marriage kicked off their nationwide summer tour of intolerance and discrimination. They're visiting a number of cities to foment opposition to GLBT equality. This week they will be in Saint Paul, Saint Cloud, and Rochester on July 28, 29, and 30.
Counter-demonstrations were planned and held in all three Minnesota cities, and, as far as I know, in each case those supportive of gay rights and marriage equality outnumbered those who turned out in support of NOM. This seems to be the case wherever NOM's "Summer Tour of Marriage" goes. In Madison, WI, for instance, only 54 NOM supporters showed up compared to over 400 pro-marriage equality supporters!
Given the woefully simplistic and often idiotic message NOM is spouting, it's really not that surprising that the organization is failing to attract many people. Yet on Wednesday, the big NOM bus rolled into St. Paul - complete with circus music (ironic, or what?!) and plastered with stock photos supposedly depicting straight couples and families.
The group's overall message is that the modern expression of marriage is ordained by God - a fearsome God, it should be said, who resides far above and beyond us. Who are we to question this God's unchangeable design for marriage? Never mind the long tradition of polygamy during biblical times, or the treatment of women as chattel. Such historical realities are conveniently overlooked. No, for NOM and, sad to say, at least one member of the local Roman Catholic clerical leadership who came out (so to speak) to support the organization, marriage always has been and must remain one man, one woman, forever! Divinely-wrought chaos and destruction will ensue if we dare meddle with God's unchangeable plans! Hey, weren't similar fears conjured in the South about racially "mixed" marriages?
The god of NOM is a petulant old ogre. There's nothing in the NOM's theology of the loving and transforming presence of the sacred discerned, mediated, and embodied in and through the diverse range of human experience. Accordingly, there's no sense of evolution in our understanding of God's presence and action in our lives - all of our lives, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. It's such a narrow, impoverished, and brittle way that NOM has of talking about what so many of us experience and celebrate as inclusive, abundant, and enriching.
Of course, the Roman Catholic clerical contingent likes to add the whole "every sex act must be open to procreation" piece to the agenda, a piece that I'm always curious to know how is received by the many non-Catholic members of NOM. I guess that's just another aspect of this bizarre circus-of-a-movement that gets to be conveniently overlooked. Intolerance makes not only for weak arguments and narrow theology, but for strange bed-fellows as well.
Anyway, James Sanna has a well-written report on Wednesday's events at the St. Paul Capitol here, while following are some photos I took of those who came out to counter the message of NOM.
Above: The t-shirt that this guy is wearing is available here.
Above: I was happy to see this reference to Sts. Sergius and Bacchus!
Recommended Off-site Links:
NOM Speakers Claim Victimhood at St. Paul Rally - James Sanna (TheColu.mn, July 29. 2010).
NOM in St. Paul: A Disturbing Perversion of Christianity - Timothy Kincaid (Box Turtle Bulletin, July 28, 2010).
Guess Who is NOT Showing Up to NOM Rallies? - Timothy Kincaid (Box Turtle Bulletin, July 29, 2010).
NOM's Rally in Wackadoodle St. Cloud Church Proves Uneventful - Timothy Kincaid (Box Turtle Bulletin, July 29, 2010).
NOM in Rochester: "We'll Be Treated as Bigots" - Timothy Kincaid (Box Turtle Bulletin, July 30, 2010).
See also the previous Wild Reed post:
At UST, a Rousing and Very Catholic Display of Support for Marriage Equality
Images: Michael J. Bayly.