Hear Voices

So many voices…no one can hide. Through TV, iPod, iPhone—even print—one hears them. “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men” blares throughout the merchant realm, but the voices form a mixed chorus.

Arkansas school board member Clint McCance urged all gay kids to “kill thereselves [sic].”

Meanwhile, 14-year-old Graeme Taylor made an impassioned, articulate speech before the school board members of Howell, Michigan. He lauded teacher Jay Mc Dowell, who had been suspended, in part, for wearing a purple shirt in solidarity with GLBT students.

Taylor declared, “This teacher, whom I fully support, finally stood up and said something. I’ve been…in classrooms…where children have said the worst things—the kinds of things that helped drive me to a suicide attempt at only 9 years old.”

Megachurch Pastor Jim Swilly, of Atlanta’s Conyers Church in the Now, came out to his congregation, hoping to change attitudes toward homosexuality. He cited the recent rash of gay teen suicides as his motive, adding, “I know a lot of straight people think it is a choice. It is not.”

Swilley, 52, and father of four, knew he was gay since he was a little boy. He credited his ex-wife, Debye, who knew his secret, with urging him to follow his church’s motto: “Real people experiencing a real God in the real world.”

The November 15 issue of Newsweek featured Brian Brown, whose National Organization for Marriage (NOM) was a major factor in rolling back gay-marriage initiatives in Maine and California, as well as ousting three Iowa Supreme Court justices who ruled to legalize same-sex marriage in 2009.

Brown, whose wife is expecting their seventh child, is determined that only those who fit his definition of marriage should have that legal right.

As Brown averred, “If gay marriage is allowed, then the state is essentially saying that my views on marriage, and the majority of Americans’ views on marriage, are equivalent to discrimination….And, ultimately, same sex-marriage is not true.”

Never mind all the other forms and definitions of marriage over the centuries. Brown’s is not a mind to be changed by fact, logic, or the law. Far from a McCance, he is articulate and persuasive. He is Oxford-educated (the Unabomber was Harvard ’62). He is willing, like all fanatics, to pursue his goal full-bore. He has the clout and cash to do so.

So many voices—which ones will prevail in 2011 and the coming years?

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