Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Trickle Down Effect, Fear and Hate Edition

Whitebriar Bed and Breakfast/Camp/Farm
Sing along with me, now: Here-a-'phobe, there-a-'phobe, everywhere a homophobe. Old McDonald had a farm. LGBT No.

Mostly eclipsed by (though certainly a part and result of) what from now on shall be referred to as "The Great Gay Chicken Wars of 2012." I first saw this story on Towleroad, and tried to post about it last night, but had some technical difficulties (I"m sure it was my horrible typing grazing over a random combination of keys that just screwed it up) and was unable to. Anyway...

Whitebriar Bed and Breakfast in Edgewater Park, NJ (within easy driving distance of my home in southeastern PA), is a multi-operation business that includes the B&B; an inn; an "Organic Green Cafe;" a children's farm camp and a small working farm. Owners Carol and Bill Moore are in their sixties, and I am sure are otherwise "lovely people" who happened to put a sign out front supporting opportunistic Mike "Don't Forget About Me for a Running Mate, Mitt" Huckabee and Christy McSweatervest's "Support Chick-fil-A Day."

Local mom Joianne Fraschilla was out walking with her son, who apparently enjoyed seeing the animals and gardens on walks his mom, when she spotted the sign. Fraschilla, a lesbian, went home and looked up Whitebriar on Facebook, where she found the Camp Whitebriar page and posted her dismay:

"This is somewhere my son loves to pass by and we have been excited to visit. Not any more. I'm sad to see a local business anti-LGBT marriage."*

Now, a few words before I post the response Fraschilla received. First, I want to talk about the Facebook page (still available, though now apparently closed to comments). The photos on the page paint an idyllic landscape of the kind of place I would have hated to have gone as a kid. There's a smiling Granny surrounded by several children of various ages and ethnicities - some of them holding beautiful little chicks; adorable ducklings paddling about in a big ceramic bowl; a vegetable garden; smiling children; baby animals; more baby animals and what appears to be homespun, wholesome, educational fun.
Second: the Moores are a rural couple of my mother's generation, who very likely don't know any gay people (or at least don't know that they know at least one). When they were my age, being gay was still illegal and thought to be a mental illness. They don't know any better, because the lie has been drilled into their heads by just about every authority figure they've ever know, ever since they could understand (and spew back) speech. . I have a college theatre friend who lives in western Florida (very near where my sister lives). Marousa is a gorgeous, loving, supportive; generous and strong Greek survivor/warrior/Earth Mother who actually got married on the stage at the theatre where we went to school. I imagine that a farm camp experience at Marousa's camp is more fun than any kid deserves to have. I can't imagine what kind of experience Whitebriar provides, though Carol Moore's response was, in part, this:

"Isn't it wonderful that Joianne Fraschilla, that you and your son can enjoy the animals here because I have a traditional marriage with a husband who works with me 90 hours a week to take care of these animals and the summer camp.... We are 66 - 68 years old... there were no gays or queers in our time..." She goes on and on about how "gay lesbians" are "destroying 'the normal balance in a child's life'..." and, of all the most horrible things she could have said "...guess that's why God created AIDS..."*

Uncle P's mother is 70. She is an amazingly enlightened; often hilarious (often unintentionally); kind; compassionate; smarter than she thinks she is (or will admit to); stubborn-as-a-mule woman as you might hope to find. She grew up in a fairly rural (now fully suburban) part of west central New Jersey, though she was no stranger the city, where she moved as a teenager to live with her mother in the 1950's. The Moores have probably never spent more than a week or so in any given city of size. My mother says she was never really a believer, while the Moores most certainly always have been. My mother has a gay child. The Moores probably do not. My mother doesn't understand those who "drink the Kool-Aid" (she'd be appalled to know that she agrees with Marx). The Moores live on the stuff.

Here's the thing: Sitting in judgment of people about whom they know nothing; espousing opinions on a subject about which they know nothing, the Moores are perpetuating every negative 'Christian' stereotype by quoting parts of the Bible irrelevant to their faith, while eschewing Jesus' admonition to love EVERYONE. That's right - EVERYONE. If you want to be a Christian, you can't hate anyone. Fail, anyone?

I can't (nor would I) deny the Moores' right to believe whatever they want to believe. This country may have been first settled by Christians, but it was founded by men more interested in Human Rights than the archaic, superstitious teachings of any one church or religion. What upsets me most right now is how the Right is trying to spin all of this nonsense into a "Free Speech" issue. That couldn't possibly be further from the truth. This is all about a company that supports organizations who work to actively harm and deny rights to a minority. But no one is reporting that. Why? Je pleure, je pleure...

More, anon.

1 comment:

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

The line to Chick-Fil-A here was so huge, it left me with disgust in my mouth. Cars went down the street all the way to the light.