Tuesday, July 20, 2010

NOM Takes Psychic Act on the Road!

The National Organization for [Heterosexual] Marriage (NOM) has embarked on a sad project called "NOM Marriage Tour 2010: One Man, One Woman," complete with a bus plastered with smiling stock photos of racially-diverse heterosexually-headed families. Although organizing is what these people do for a living, this tour seems to be managing to attract no more than 100 supporters at each of its various stops. (NOM has exaggerated these numbers, but photos don't lie).

As unfortunate as this tour is, both in its lack of success and with its vague stated purpose of encouraging "supporters to stand up for marriage," I have visions of more NOM pearl-clutching dancing in my head.

In the Spring of '61, Freedom Riders took to buses for purposes of challenging racial segregation. Of course, NOM's tour looks like a cheap, ironic co-option of the Freedom Rides, given NOM's support for a separate-and-unequal marriage framework in the US. While NOM doesn't seem to get that inconvenient point, perhaps this passage from Wikipedia sheds light on the real motive:

"The Freedom Rides, and the violent reactions they provoked, bolstered the credibility of the American Civil Rights Movement and called national attention to the violent disregard for the law that was used to enforce segregation in the southern United States."

Given NOM's victim narrative wherein intolerant LGBT mobs regularly inflict incredible amounts of violence upon those poor, brave souls who only want to "stand up for" traditional marriage, is NOM dangling this bus throughout the country as bait, knowing full well that it is a visible representation of LGBT second-class citizen status? After all, when confronted with provocation, many people do naturally react with anger.

Indeed, let's observe how NOM is already documenting, in painstaking and exaggerated detail, every real and imagined slight suffered by its tour bus and participants thus far:

-NOM's Brian Brown recently tweeted the following: "On our way to Albany. Car just swerved to cut us off and gave hand gesture. Got tolerance?" Someone with NOM also took a photo of this car, proving quite willing show a lack of respect for other people's privacy whilst simultaneously accusing this person of wrondoing without sufficient evidence. Note how Brown just knows the driver is a supporter of same-sex marriage and cut the bus off because of disagreement over that issue.

On that point, I've been cut off in traffic numerous times. Also been given the bird a few. Not once have I attributed this to my sexual orientation, my gender, or a pro-gay bumper sticker on my car. Like most people who drive, I sort of get that some people are rude drivers. Brown insults the intelligence of his supporters, and all Americans, with this particular example.

-Someone allegedly slashed a tire of the NOM bus. NOM, psychicly knowing that this was done by a pro-gay marriage advocate, has asked its $upporters for money, claiming "Clearly at least one opponent of God's view on marriage wanted to keep us off the road!"

It would be unfortunate if a pro-gay advocate really did slash the tire. No LGBT organization would condone such an action. But again, NOM attributes this act to a supporter of same-sex marriage without having sufficient evidence. Really, I wouldn't be surprised if they did it themselves to make them look victimized. That's how desperate I see them as trying to frame themselves as victims.

-NOM's rallies thus far have been drawing peaceful counter-protestors. In Rhode Island, the NOM rally drew about 175 counter-protestors, compared to about 150 NOM supporters. At this rally, via On Top Magazine:

"Gay activists chanted, 'Get your hate out of our state,' as they attempted to shout down NOM's speakers.
'The [sic] simply went crazy,' NOM President Brian Brown complained on the group's blog. 'I've never seen anything like it. The hatred was palpable. It was an embarrassment to their cause – I only hope the word gets out, so people can see how nuts they were.'
'Theirs is a message of intolerance and hatred: if you don't agree with me, you're a bigot and we're going to either shout you down or intimidate you into silence. That's no civil rights movement.'"

I don't agree with trying to "shout down" the other side. Why shout them down when their arguments so easy to counter? A peaceful demonstration can be just as, if not moreso, effective. However, one has to question Brown's characterization of "gay activists" as "crazy" and "nuts" for being vocal in a protest designed to ensure LGBT second class-citizenship.

Even more troubling is the way Brown suggests that he felt physically intimidated into silence, given that there is no indication that the counter-protesters threatened him or NOM in any manner. As a biased participant in these rallies, Brown clearly can't be counted on to present an objective rundown of events.

Anyway, as a practicing clairvoyant myself, I predict that at some point during this tour Brown will be sitting in a gas station toilet post-dump only to realize his stall's out of toilet paper- and somehow he'll manage to link that travesty to the Gay Activists too! Such is life.

But seriously, as I read through these incidents, a thought kept coming back to me. Where is Brown's desire to understand why LGBT people and our supporters might feel strongly about this issue? NOM talks about "God's" plan for marriage, but where is the Christian compassion for their fellow human beings? Not that bullshit "love the sinner, hate the sin" compassion, but compassion rooted in kindness, love, and a genuine desire to alleviate suffering rather than to cause it?

Instead, by focusing on and exaggerating these tour bus incidents, NOM creates this implicit message that LGBT people shouldn't have marriage rights because look at how mean they are! I mean, what other purpose could documenting these minor incidents really serve?

NOM is the most influential single-issue organization devoted to opposing same-sex marriage. Even its own supporters should expect it to do better than that.

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