by Barton Gingerich (@bjgingerich)
Last Tuesday, IRD participated in the March for Marriage (that’s some of us at the top there, sans cross-dressing dancer who was 15 feet off, stage left). As you may notice, several of us were born in the 80s. I thought it might be worthwhile, in my younger years, to offer a sort of journal entry on the experiences of the day and my reflections.
It was a gorgeous morning at the Mall when I surveyed the crowd in front the Smithsonian “castle.” My mind was still haunted by the theological points of von Balthasar from my commute reading. That, and the public abandonment of traditional marriage by “conservative” political leaders. When one reads these politically convenient confessions, he cannot help noticing that they pivot on sentiment. It was obvious that these figures based their positions not on reason or revelation, which teach compassion toward people with homosexual inclinations while forbidding the practice and certainly the marriage of same-sex couples. However, for these politicians, when a relative or close friend announces their homosexual identity, all of a sudden there is a change in position. Where these folks simply homophobes all along? Do they not believe in nature and essence any more? What kind of morality do they think will spring from this?
And what about the bullying? If we were in a different age, I’m fairly certain Ryan T. Anderson would have been locked in the stocks as people threw rotten vegetables at him. Is this how it’s going to be like for the defenders of sanity in the years to come?
I was woken up from my reflections by the enthusiastic performance of some praise chorus on the National March for Marriage stage. I am no activist; I see myself more as a contemplative spectator in most instances. But today I march with these people.
And who exactly are “these people?” No modifier will suffice. Even proportions of all races—red, yellow, brown, black, white. Several native languages, from English to Spanish to Korean. All ages, from the young guns at Marriage Generation to the senior couple that held hands as the parade crossed in front of the Supreme Court building. I have to admit that I was tempted to become Roman Catholic just to join Tradition, Family, and Property; but thought better of it despite the fantastic medieval banners, red capes, and marching band. However, the real troopers were the children and stroller-pushing parents. It would seem all are tied together with humanity’s oldest known institution.
After the IRD crew unites, we march on, finding ourselves by coincidence in the company of Anglicans for Marriage. By the time we pass the Supreme Court, things have mostly settled into their places. Loud LGBT activists have split onto either side of the street as the Red Sea. Several seem upset by the massive pro-marriage turnout (as well as the truly diverse nature of the alliance). Of course, all the media photographers ogle the half dozen or so hateful Westboro Baptist protestors. They aren’t in the March but camped out on the right curb of the Court building. The hateful signs of Westboro fit the pre-determined narrative mold better than the kind and more winsome Marchers.
We march back to the Mall to hear some famous speakers address the crowd (including the flamboyant Senator Ruben Diaz ensconced in a windbreaker, clerical collar, and tall cowboy hat). After seeing some friends, we head back to headquarters. Here, we host Owen Strachan, who offered great thoughts on gender complementarity and his involvement with Marriage Generation.
After work and several good office conversations, we went out to eat that evening. We shared our loves and concerns for the world and the Church. Honesty, passion, and clarity dominated the tone of the conversation. In a way, it boosted morale to be together, although–on that day–the court of public opinion would have us ostracized. Even if popular culture is against us, it is good to be in the company of such as these.