A Gathering Storm: Video and Response

April 20th, 2009 by

The National Organization for Marriage released the following video on gay marriage, entitled “A Gathering Storm,” on April 8th:

[Link to Video]

In response, New York Times columnist Frank Rich provided an editorial entitled “The Bigots’ Last Hoorah” declaring “the demise of America’s anti-gay movement.” Here’s a snippet:

Far from terrifying anyone, “Gathering Storm” has become, unsurprisingly, an Internet camp classic. On YouTube the original video must compete with countless homemade parodies it has inspired since first turning up some 10 days ago. None may top Stephen Colbert’s on Thursday night, in which lightning from “the homo storm” strikes an Arkansas teacher, turning him gay. A “New Jersey pastor” whose church has been “turned into an Abercrombie & Fitch” declares that he likes gay people, “but only as hilarious best friends in TV and movies.”

Yet easy to mock as “Gathering Storm” may be, it nonetheless bookmarks a historic turning point in the demise of America’s anti-gay movement.

What gives the ad its symbolic significance is not just that it’s idiotic but that its release was the only loud protest anywhere in America to the news that same-sex marriage had been legalized in Iowa and Vermont. If it advances any message, it’s mainly that homophobic activism is ever more depopulated and isolated as well as brain-dead.

While it is hard to take Mr. Rich seriously when he describes a video such as Gathering Storm as “idiotic” (is childish name-calling now an acceptable form of journalism at the New York Times?), his declaration of the video’s “symbolic significance” bears consideration. Are we at a “historic turning point” in the fight over the redefinition of marriage? Are we who do not want to radically redefine marriage now “depopulated and isolated” (not to mention “brain-dead”)?

In some ways, it does seem that the tide is turning in favor of the gay activists, who it seems will not rest in their battle to gain societal sanctioning of their lifestyles. Even bans on same-sex marriage and gubernatorial vetoes are no longer enough to stop the redefinition of marriage in some states. Clearly, something more is needed, and the persistent pounding of the GLBT drum on this issue may in the end be enough to simply wear out the opposition’s drive to even care about the issue. As Kirk and Madsen put it in 1989’s After the Ball: “The main thing is to talk about gayness until the issue becomes thoroughly tiresome.” Will the silent majority of Americans who do not want to redefine marriage, as well as those Rich so callously (and inaccurately) describes as “homophobic activis[ts]” in the “anti-gay movement,” be able to withstand this continued onslaught?

Good arguments and interesting videos, while needed, will be insufficient in this battle. The fight will continue on the legal and political fronts, as well it should, but the problems go deeper than law, and they transcend politics.   In the end, we are in need of nothing less than divine visitation, resulting in changed hearts and lives. Rich may be overstating his case with his proclamations of the “anti-gay movement[‘s]” death, but his assessment of societal trends are not without merit.  God is our only hope… He would not have it any other way.

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