Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The People At The Rally

Faces in the crowd at the rally in support of gay marriage rights and the things they had to say. I agree with their cause. In those countries and (two) American states where this is recognized, it's just no big deal. This may be a generalization, but those who oppose it seem to think that the institution of marriage has had an immutable sameness throughout the ages that must be preserved. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Consider the sweeping changes in Europe (and later North America) from the French Revolution into the 19th Century, when marriage changed from an institution under the control of the Church to one defined by the State. No one thinks about that any more. Then there is the concept of marriage as being a locked-down lifetime bond, no matter how horrible it may become, to today's freedom to divorce. No one thinks about that any more. Like all human institutions, it changes over time, but many of us are shortsighted and don't understand this.

Having said that, I think the two sides do a certain amount of talking across one another. Of course there are hateful wackos, like the counter-protesters found in Eric's Salt Lake City post on Monday. But some of the people in these pictures feel they are hated by the other side. I don't think that's always true. A lot of opponents are motivated by sincere religious belief. However, some of them do seem to think that gay marriage is shameful and practiced by perverts. Read D. C. Confidential's eloquent comment on my Monday post to see why that's just not so. Sometimes we don't listen to one another very well, do we?

the marked upswing in gun sales in this country over the last couple of weeks. Some people seem to think Obama is going to take them all away so they better stock up.

Dragon eats Toyota!

A FOOTNOTE ON WEDNESDAY: NYC's Ming the Merciless asks in a comment what the business with the shrimp is all about (see picture below left). A person I live with who is better acquainted with the Bible than I am provided the answer. It's a bit of a parody, comparing the Old Testament injunction against eating shellfish (like shrimp) with Bible verses condemning homosexuality.

In the King James Version, Jude 1:7 is translated as, "Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." The same verse in the International Standard Version comes out as, "Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities near them, which like them committed sexual sins and engaged in homosexual activities, serve as an example of the punishment of eternal fire." Similarly, in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 6:9 states that, "You know that wicked people will not inherit the kingdom of God, don't you? Stop deceiving yourselves! Sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals..." (ISV).

Now, as to unclean foods, my correspondent looked up the verses cited on the poster:
Leviticus 11: 9-12 (KJV):
9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.

10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:

11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.

12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

Deuteronomy 14: 9-10 (KJV):

9 Of all the creatures living in the water, you may eat any that has fins and scales. 10 But anything that does not have fins and scales you may not eat; for you it is unclean.
So, the point of the shrimp poster seems to be nobody worries about eating shrimp any more except the relatively few people who keep kosher. The rest of the world ignores the prohibition. By implication, the protester in the photo is saying that Bible verses condemning homosexuality are also passé. It is a subtle, witty comment.


Dan said...

Wow, I am so not on board with your opinion, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy your pictures. You got some great shots here. I love the photojournalistic approach you have taken in these.

Anonymous said...

The very first sign expresses many of my sentiments exactly and in the last picture, the sign that reads "If the fetus you saved were gay, would you still fight for its rights?" That is a question parents should be asking themselves from the minute they conceive a child.

As I often say to friends of mine with children, "Decide now how you're going to feel about your child, because one day they may come to you with information or ideas you might not like."

Keeping it on a personal level here, if I may, when I came out to my parents, their reaction truly shocked me. I'd grown up in a home were intolerance was not accepted. We listened to Johnny Mathis and when I once intoned, scandalously, that "he's gay", my mother chastised me and said it didn't matter. What mattered was, he had wonderful talent and he was sharing that with the world.

Fast forward 20 years: when I came out, the rhetoric changed. My parents compared me to alcoholics and pedophiles (a common misnomer among frightened straight people is that we're all addictive personalities with a predilection for little boys or girls. What a crass, degrading lie. But I digress) and, after Sept. 11, I was compared to Osama bin Laden and told that my coming out had done to my family what bin Laden and his terrorists had done to our country. To say that words like that from people I loved and who were suppose to love me were devastating is a gross understatement.

I gave more than 30 years of my life and devotion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I honorably served a mission. I paid years and years of tithing. I held numerous positions within my congregations. I volunteered at the Mormon Temple in my area. In other words, I have the typical (perfect) Mormon resume. But it is, in the eyes of the Church and my family, marred by my declaring who I am and embracing that.

There is so much hate and division in the world, so much sadness and anger. What so few of us (less than 10% of the population) are asking for is a little more love and little more happiness.

I stood outside the gates of the Mormon Temple this past weekend with a handful of other protestors. In our group was a 13-year old who has been out for a year or so. I didn't know whether to be overjoyed for her or to mourn. I'm going with the former. I believe she and her peers are the hope, the reality, and the catalyst that will bring change and equality.

To quote the late Ayn Rand, “Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).”

Jilly said...

You are posting such great photographs of the gay rights, the rights of women to choose whether or not they have an abortion. I particularly love the sign, bottom right in your last pic today. It's such a good photograph too.

King of New York Hacks said...

Very nice comprehensive job. Great shots. That shrimp one was the best.

Chuck Pefley said...

Interesting to note the location of this rally near the old courthouse where the Dred Scott Decision was decided. Over the years that decision which basically said people of African descent had no rights has been changed. Our recent presidential election is our best evidence of this change. My hope is the Gay marriage / human rights issue will resolve itself similarly, but with out necessitating civil war. I, too, was very saddened to see the outcome of the California election.

Ming the Merciless said...

Great photo documentary of the rally. It's great to see some humorous signs there, instead of just the hateful ones.

BTW, I don't get the shrimp part. Granted, I haven't read the Bible since I was like 12 years old. I assume there's something in the Bible about not eating shrimp, right?

Rob said...

I do not condone homosexuality, nor do I fear it or feel rights should be stripped from gay/lesbians. In a free society, they too MUST enjoy the freedoms and rights we all enjoy. To deny is hyprocritical.

My favorite part is the shrimp part. While I do have my faith, it does no tnecissarily coincide with most organized religians. Same with my political views; I think for myself rather than a system think for me.

Oddly enough, during the reformation years of the church, the church officials decided to eliminate many Gospels from what is now our modern Bible. Gospels that didn't agree with the church's agendas. Rather telling in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

These are wonderful pictures. Really moving. In my work I am looking at sexual health in eastern Europe, and so often come across the same fight for rights, and the various pro/anti discourses. As a Christian it saddens - and sickens - me that so much hatred and vitriol is spewed out in Christ's name - and that it's then assumed that all of us Christians are in agreement with nutjobs like Fred Phelps* and his evil hate-filled church. Jesus wept indeed.

* I wonder if the "God Hates Shrimps" thing was particularly aimed at Phelps and his ilk, given that his strapline is "God hates fags"?

PJ said...


Leviticus 11:9-12

9 Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams, you may eat any that have fins and scales.
10 But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales—whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water—you are to detest.
11 And since you are to detest them, you must not eat their meat and you must detest their carcasses.
12 Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be detestable to you.

I'll tell you a couple things about the Bible and then you can decide for yourself:

*The Bible was written for believers, it was/is a technical manual (hint, hint).

*We don't have an oral tradition so it's often difficult to determine what is really being said in biblical passages, which are the bare bones of an oral story. More often than not, biblical passages infer or reference something. Why do you think Jesus spoke in parables? You have to consider that much of what is written in the Good Book is lost to us unless we read it in context.

*The Bible clearly illustrates that Jesus ministered primarily to those who were outcasts. Which probably excludes the majority of us.

I'll give you a good example of what I'm talking about: turning the other cheek doesn't mean what you think it means. In the Middle East, where Christ lived (in case you didn't know), people use their left hand for bathroom business and their right hand for everything else. They have very strict rules about right hands and left hands. That's why thieves and other such ilk have their right hands cut off. But I digress. If you are going to strike someone you have to consider whether they are your equal or your subordinate. It is the custom that a subordinate is struck with the back of the right hand. If the subordinate turns the other cheek then the slapper must use the palm side of their right hand to strike again. If they follow through with another slap it would indicate that the slappee is their equal. Think about this, what is Jesus really saying here? A hint? Okay. Pretend you're the slapper and all that entails. Then pretend you're the slappee. Who, if anyone, has the upper hand? (There are other examples of Jesus teaching his followers to use the system to their advantage, this is just one.)

If you're still confused, let me just say that the Bible chronicles the story of a faith group learning to divest themselves of the primitive emotions of hate and fear and embrace the highest and most creative form of expression, love in all its many forms. That's why this rally is so beautiful.