Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Vigil in the Times

I understand a number of the local TV news shows carried yesterday's vigil, and a several reporters from the print media were there, too.

Wasn't it interesting how the Washington Times wrote up the conference and vigil?

The Times, a mouthpiece of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's very conservative Moon Unification Church, always takes the hard-right road, especially on things like homosexuality that the Reverend has determined to be immoral and reprehensible. So you just know how The Times is going to write this up: wonderful, respectful, thoughtful, moral people inside the church -- dirty, foul-mouthed libertines outside protesting.

You'd think that. Well, they started like you'd expect:
An evangelical Christian pro-family group held a conference on homosexuality yesterday in Silver Spring, emphasizing that homosexuals can choose to change their sexual preference and live as heterosexuals.

More than 700 people came to Immanuel's Church for "Love Won Out," conducted by Focus on the Family, a Colorado-based group founded by in 1977 by psychologist James Dobson.

The conference sought to assist those struggling with their sexuality and help with their chosen conversion to a heterosexual lifestyle. Homosexuality a choice, group contends - By Tarron Lively

There were few more paragraphs like that, red meat for the true believers.

I keep looking at that headline, and thinking that whoever wrote it must know how absurd it sounds. Like, "Color of sky a choice, group contends." I mean, nobody really thinks homosexuality is a choice ... do they?

But what about those cheerful people outside?
Outside the church, about 70 pro-homosexual residents, elected officials and religious leaders held a vigil across the street.

Love that "pro-homosexual" thing, that's pure Peter Sprigg. I don't know if he's got it copyrighted, but it's his, all right.

Funny, I was standing out there, and I'm not "pro-homosexual," whatever in the world that is supposed to be. That'd be like being pro-nighttime, or pro-oxygen, or pro-anything-you-can't-do-anything-about-anyway. I'm pro-truth. I'm pro-understanding. Sorry to say it, but I don't feel one way or the other about homosexuality, or about gay people, or whatever they're trying to imply here. And I was out there, and there were lots of other straight people who, I think, believe more or less like I do about this stuff. Some of us just oppose mean, hateful lies, in general.

Mmm, the rest of this is actually not bad.
Passing motorists honked their horns in support of the protesters, who held signs reading, "It's OK to be gay" and "Focus on your own family."

Deborah Mizeur of Takoma Park held a large, framed wedding photo of her and her partner, Heather, who is running for the Maryland House of Delegates. Miss Mizeur said she was disheartened by Focus on the Family's promotion of "hatred and division."

"There so many young people who want to be true to themselves, and they're getting pressure from their parents and the church to deny who they are," she said. "I'm a Christian and a lesbian, and the church that I go to, and the Jesus that I know, loves all people."

Dan Furmansky, the executive director of Equality Maryland, which organized the vigil, said its goal was to "call Focus on the Family on the lies that they spread."

"Every mainstream, accredited mental-health organization has discredited conversion therapy," he said. "It's been called potentially dangerous to the people it claims to help. It's not a debate."

Delegate Gareth E. Murray, Montgomery County Democrat, joined the demonstration and said that he is concerned that youths in need of guidance are outcast.

"God made each and every one of us, and God loves each and every one of us -- unconditionally," said Mr. Murray, who is also a minister. "If there's a child in the congregation dealing with sexual orientation issues, will that child be led to speak to someone at the church?"

Of course they tucked this part down in the bottom of the story, after the usual stuff, but at least they included some statements, and I liked the fact that they acknowledged that people driving by honked and waved and gave support to us on the sidewalk.


Blogger andrea said...

So the people inside the church who can't accept and love their own kids, brothers, sisters as they are and think they are sick/diseased are the pro-family ones? I don't think so- they should have been labeled the anti-homosexual group and we should have been the pro-family group. BUT as I never tire of saying the Washington Times is a rag- and the reporter(not Jon Ward!) should get an honest job.


June 11, 2006 10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which group were the CRC'rs in for the Vigil?


June 12, 2006 10:15 PM  
Blogger Willie Hewes said...

"A small group of pro-rain activists protested outside the Focus on the Sunshine conference held in Washington today..."

Like that?

June 13, 2006 3:44 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Some other local bloggers who attended the vigil have filed their own reports. These reports can help those of us who missed the vigils to get a fuller picture of what went on.

A former MCPS schoolmate of mine, Bruce Garrett, has written a piece called "Love!", We Shouted..." which contains many pictures of the protestors. Jim Johnson has written two pieces "Demonstrating Against Love Won Out" and "Media Coverage of Love Won Out".

Thanks to all the bloggers and reporters who have covered this event to protest James Dobson's foray into our community.


June 14, 2006 6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like every time there's an event covered by the Times, TTF expresses surprise how even-handed they are. Ever consider the fact that you're simply biased?

Triple Lutz

June 14, 2006 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's surprising because "even handed" isn't the usual description of the Washington Times' reporting. Everybody knows the Washington Times is Moonie's very expensive mouthpiece. It is slanted so far to the right that the Southern Poverty Law Center has investigated it.

June 14, 2006 7:53 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

We've been covered by the Times a lot, and trust me, it's a surprise when they're fair OR accurate.


June 14, 2006 8:06 PM  
Blogger Bruce Garrett said...

Oh my gosh... Hi Chris! Hi Willie! Small world, eh?

Thanks for the link Chris! I'll have more photos of the Love Won Out protests up later this week. Also the Love In Action protests in Memphis.

June 14, 2006 8:32 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Bruuuuuuce! Welcome dear friend.

Thank YOU for the great coverage and photographs. I'm looking forward to seeing more!


June 14, 2006 9:53 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Thanks for the Photos on your blog and the story, Bruce. I wish I had known who Wayne and Lance were when I was there.
I wondered if the people we saw drive in to the church were actually going to the conference -or were shills(not actually paying to attend but beef up the numbers for the church). I couldn't believe even this many people were so dense/simple minded/hateful(any or all).

Is the Times biased? yes and it is a rag. Anyone see the people giving the Times away for free- they do it everyday at Ballston metro. I wouldn't take it even if I had a bird cage to line. Wonder how soon the Rev will drop this money drain.

June 14, 2006 10:02 PM  

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