The audience in the Tremont Temple was surely there for the same reason as he -- to be seen on TV (and Webcast). The Cap'n's role was more obvious and more desperate. He was fairly sweating in his black hosiery to distance himself from a certain state that is the only one in the nation to allow same-sex marriages.
The event was the demon child of the Family Research Council, ironically named for a group that does no research and only serves an an anti-gay propaganda machine. Occasionally it does put on such tent shows to twist the loving messages of Christianity into efforts to restrict and punish those who fall short of its narrow doctrine.
Then again, this 100-minute clap fest abounded with irony:
- Liberty Sunday was its title, when its purpose is to take away liberty and existing rights from homosexuals, here immediately and elsewhere in America as possible
- Freedom Trail passes by the venue, while inside they spoke of reducing freedom
- Protecting and furthering children's well-being recurred, when speaker after speaker would take the civil contract rights from gay parents, leaving existing and future children without clear health care and other societal benefits
Williard WrigglesThe Cap'n was better than most of the live or taped speakers at using dishonest and dishonorable clichés. He knows that the local Catholic politicians, excuse bishops, chose to shut down their agency's adoptions rather than annually place two or three kids straights would not adopt with loving gay couples. His take was that as part of the laughably misnamed homosexual agenda, gay groups colluded with his government to force the Catholic Church to stop. Fish feet!
His real glory last evening was totally dissembling illogic. Neither the Herald nor the Globe covered his remarks in depth enough to display them in their ignominy.
That was odd, as they had two chances. As though by command of the Almighty, his remarks seemed to cause an outage. If this had happened when some liberal was speaking, you know this group would have attributed it to divine intervention. He managed to read his same silly statement when he returned shortly after.
We don't know who wrote his speech, but must assume it had input from the host's president, Tony Perkins (not from the Bates Motel, really). Footprints on the Cap'n's cranial ceiling included an alarm about the looming "secular religion."
That's a big huh? Yet it was his real theme.
Apparently the idea is for the audience to suspend belief, law and logic. The conceit is that Christians are morally obligated to establish their moral tenets as law. This somehow does not violate our constitution. Moreover, if more reasonable and reasoned Americans mention separation of church and state, they are really establishing a religion of non-religion, which in turn is what the founders of our country forbade. Really, honest, that's what he said, and the audience was on its feet as one.
His most popular line was "Today, there are some people who would like to establish a single religion, the religion of secularism."
Don't ask why that did not elicit peels of laughter and cries of derision. Consider the audience.
Children as GimmicksHe and several other speakers also made balloon animals from the unseen children. The Cap'n wheezed the tritest of wheezes. "The price of same-sex marriage is paid by the children. The child's development is enhanced by the nurturing of parents of both genders. Every child deserves a mother and a father."
He has been exposed to real research and he knows that what kids need and deserve is a stable home -- secure family income, food, shelter, clothing, no drunks or abusers and like that. He knows that real research shows that the kids get this from gay parents at least as well as from straight ones.
He knows and he doesn't care. As the Globe piece put it:
"To deliver this speech in his own backyard is a highly public attempt to disassociate himself once and for all from everything that has happened in Massachusetts," said Steve Grossman, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.Also, he tried his lips at circular reasoning. He babbled a bit about loving and respecting everyone. The point was to get to saying his arguments were not discrimination because Christians were not about discrimination. Huh?
He went on about how what the rest of us view as stripping existing civil-contract rights from a whole group of citizens was not discrimination. Double huh?
Analysts' reaction to the event were predictable. We can't dispute the notion that no one's mind would have been changed by the cliché extravaganza. However, the aim was to scare the evangelicals a bit and thus get more of them to the mid-term election next month.
Epicenter BostonIn addition, Massachusetts gets star billing for its singular enabling of marriage equality. The FRC even promised to hawk a Critical Mass DVD, which has nothing to do with cyclists' rights or the research firm of that name. The gist is, as our local evangelical Bishop Gilbert Thompson said, if they can win here with the anti-same-sex-marriage amendment, they can win anywhere.
Thompson himself is worth a few mentions. He should have stayed in Mattapan.
This was an audience like parents attending the school talent show, every performance deserved an ovation and palm bruising. Thompson's two minutes were plodding and pedantic. He got a perfunctory brief set of cheers, the weakest of the evening.
His biggest line was, "Take a stand against this radical social experiment that seeks to redefine marriage."
I had never seen him perform and surprisingly found him very disappointing. As the rest of the evening, intellectual content was low, very low in his case. He pointed his finger many times, to little effect. He put everything in strictly sexual terms -- man and woman, Adam and Eve, a matched set or there are no kids.
We admit a prejudice against hiding cheap politics under sexualized language. A large number of couples, including anti-SSM evangelicals are unable to bear children. They adopt or seek fertility help of one form or another. Together, the couple can't fulfill God's plan, as the Cap'n and Thompson might put it. Yet, as with same-sex couples, these millions of us have, love and raise their children, thank you very much. It is a disgrace to denigrate those loving parents in such tirades or to imply unadopted kids should sit lonely and out of a family as a result.
What about the children, Willard and Gilbert?
Anyway, to Thompson, we had expected to trot over to Mattapan to hear him. At the worst, we figured we'd hear a charismatic minister hold forth and later get a foot-long or cone across the street at Simco's.
Unfortunately, we are left wondering who fills those pews in that old grocery store turned mega-church and why. Unless that was the worst night of his career, he doesn't have it. The content was very weak and the delivery tedious. Pity.
After the whole mess, we have to wonder whether the Cap'n did much good for himself. He was on very early and the program broke up speeches and video clips into one to four minute segments. There was a flood of sameness.
Perhaps because of the locale, they did drag out those weary Lexington couples, one set in person for a cameo and one in video. In the latter, the wife made a rape analogy by saying she "felt violated" when a teacher showed an early-reader picture book that had drawings of same-sex couples doing homework or playing in the yard with their kids. So, she was violated by even the idea of the reality of her town and state -- legally married same-sex couples -- being mentioned.
The Cap'n went on to distance himself from same-sex marriage. We suspect that the whole audience there and on Webcast is willing to buy that. Then again, they did before the evening.
The organizers allege that "up to 80 million" people heard and saw this. They have no way of measuring and it is almost assuredly far, far fewer. However, let's take them at their most optimistic. The question then becomes whether this hit the mark last night and whether it will inspire people in three weeks.
Tags: massmarrier, Massachusetts, same sex marriage, Mitt Romney, Liberty Sunday, Gilbert Thompson