Monday, October 16, 2006

Mitt Spits, with Love

Brylcreem adOur man with the pomade, our Cap'n Brylcreem, our peripatetic Gov. Willard Mitt Romney, the weasel who would be President played the flapping funeral suit last night.

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 Wriggles

The 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 Gimmicks

He 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 clich
é 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 Boston

In 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.

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kvk said...

In MA, as an independent, you can walk in on primary day, register as a republican (or democrat), vote, and then reregister as an independent on the way out.

It will give me great pleasure to vote against Mitt Romney in the presidential primary in a couple years.

Ryan said...

Mitt Romney... what an... oh, wait, you want us to keep your comments clean =p

Seriously, this was hilarious. Part of me wants the constitutional amendment to go forward to a vote by the populace so we can soundly defeat it and turn the momentum across this country back towards us.. but that's a risky proposition (even if I think it will pass, you just never know)... so I'm content to let it die a great, big legislative death.

Ron Newman said...

The Tremont Temple should be embarrassed to let itself be used in this way. I know at least one performing arts group who is considering moving future shows out of the Temple, because their gay members no longer feel comfortable performing there.

massmarrier said...

I have been wondering, Ron, about such fallout or pullout.

It can be amusing when the Love Wins Out and Article 8 types talk about how dare anyone protest this or that church meeting, as though the Tremont Temple sponsored stuff and didn't just collect the checks.

I assume that the board at the Temple sees the money and doesn't look beyond. Their Website certainly doesn't list rental bigots as events; instead they mention prayer groups. While their doctrine makes it plain they are fundies, the history they stress is abolition and being the first integrated church in the country.

Maybe they need to lose some rentals and pray together about what's important.

Ron Newman said...

Actually, last night's event is on their calendar page, listed as "Liberty Sunday Simulcast":


The Family Research Council's nationwide Simulcast, "Liberty Sunday", will examine the cultural and legal influences that threaten to erode religious liberties, muzzle free speech, and limit the free exercise of religion.

Speakers include:

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council

Rev. Dr. Ray Pendleton, Interim Pastor of Tremont Temple.

Converse Hall, 2nd floor

Since their Interim Pastor is listed as a speaker, I can only conclude that the Temple fully endorses this event.