Opinions are like, well, you know…Reactions against marriage equality more intense as vote draws near

Editor's Note

by O'Neale Atkinson  Editor Emeritus  
Published: May 12, 2012 in Editor's Note

I find myself in a frustrating situation when putting together my thoughts for this issue. While you won’t pick up this copy until May 12 at the earliest, the reality is that the paper will go to print on May 7. I want to write about the results of the vote on May 8, I just can’t foresee the future no matter how hard I try. Of course, there is always our website and I am confident I will have an article posted as soon as we get the results, but I really hoped to have an incredible story of victory over Amendment One as a lead-in for qnotes 26th production year. Regardless of the result, I would like to discuss some of the recent actions I have seen in favor of the amendment that have really just baffled me.

While I oppose the amendment, I do respect the fact that others can have opinions contrary to mine. I can’t understand why someone would support such an amendment, but just because I don’t understand their rationale doesn’t mean that they aren’t entitled to their belief. As we have drawn closer to the vote, there have been several rather ridiculous responses from people in favor of the amendment, most notably in outrage to yard signs. Some of these are honestly pretty funny to me, some sad and one action particularly scares the hell out of me.

First, the funny (or at least funny to me). Recently someone placed an anti-Amendment One yard sign in a young man’s yard. Thanks to the power of the internet, the infuriated supporter of Amendment One was able to post a YouTube video of him shooting the sign! I must admit that if someone were to put a sign in my yard without asking, whether I agree or disagree with its sentiment, I would be annoyed. I would definitely remove and trash the sign so to a degree I can understand where this guy was coming from. Would I shoot it and post a YouTube video of it? Probably not.

On that same note there has now been a short clip going around the internet of someone urinating on an anti-Amendment One sign with the caption “I vote for the Bible”below the video. Really!? Oh, I am sure Jesus is so proud.

In both of these instances no one is harmed, well the gun one could have ended badly I guess, but, thankfully, not. I just can’t for the life of me see how either shooting or urinating on a piece of cardboard gets your point across in an effective manner. As a side note, videos like these just make me so thankful for the internet and ponder what sort of shenanigans we missed out on prior to resources like YouTube. ‘

On a slightly more serious note, I have received several phone calls and emails from people who have mentioned to me that their anti-Amendment One yard signs have been stolen right out of their lawns or even defaced. The demand for yard signs has been so high that in most places they have been near impossible to get as locations run out of them quickly. So, the fact that some people are stealing signs out of other people’s yards simply because they disagree with an opinion is just disappointing and, honestly, rather pointless in my opinion.

I wonder, does the person stealing the sign think that they will cause someone to change their vote because of this? Maybe the person they stole from will forget to vote now that they don’t have a sign in their yard? Seriously, besides being a total ass, what is the point in this action?

Now for what I consider to just be absolutely terrifying; Sean Harris, a pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, recently encouraged his congregation to get physically violent with children showing signs of homosexuality. During church, this man goes on at length encouraging parents to essentially beat the gay out of their children. The hate in his voice alone is almost as terrifying as the words. Scarier still is the laughter you can hear in the background as he gives his sermon. Regardless of your views on same-sex marriage, a grown man encouraging individuals to “crack the wrists” of their children and to “give them a punch” when they need to be brought back in line is simply horrible. At least, windbags like Pastor Patrick L. Wooden just go around saying asinine things like all gay men need to wear diapers or that lesbians need to find a real man to rock their world.

Regardless of how you feel about an issue such as Amendment One, you should have the ability to express your opinion so long as your expression does not harm another. Taking your anger out on cardboard signs is ultimately pointless, if sometimes hilarious. You aren’t going to stop someone from voting the way they believe to be right by doing this and you don’t come off looking any better for doing so. Spreading ideologies of hate and violence however, especially someone who is a leader of an organization such as a church, is absolutely toxic for society. According to The Fayetteville Observer, Harris states that he was joking in his sermon and would never ever advocate for parents to hit children for being gay — but, he did and I don’t believe there was in humor in his message. : :