OK – here’s a frontline report. A great guy named Paul who lives on Cape Cod and is active in an online community called Gay Christian Network (GCN) ventured out to P’Town on Saturday. He posted a first-hand account this morning and gave me permission to share it here. So…. here’s one perspective on the SB evangelistic event in P’Town: (The SB website mentioned there would be clowns distributing gift bags to children in gay families, thus the reference in Paul’s letter to clowns.)
In another thread [Rob] alerted us to the plans of the Steven Bennett Ministry to bring “Christian Clowns” to Provincetown in order to disrupt “Family Week” there. I returned from P’Town last evening after spending the day there and I was totally energized by the experience. Here’s my report, direct from P’Town to all of you:
After a couple of pretty yukky days due to the remnants of Hurricane Alex passing off-shore, Saturday turned out to be one of those picture-perfect days that just begs you to spend the whole day outdoors. I caught the morning ferry from Plymouth Harbor for the +/- hour and a half trip across Massachusetts Bay and, truth be told, it would have been worth going for the boat ride alone. Clear sailing all the way and a boatload of friendly folks – mostly straight families – going to join our gay brothers and sisters in Gay Town, USA. Not to demonstrate, not to opine a hostile position towards gay couples and their kids, but to share the day with them as families who share a common bond regardless of orientation. I was encouraged, you may be sure, by this though I was still concerned that Bennett, et. al., were going to be spoilers once we got there. (A number of straight couples, btw, gladly signed the HRC petition that was circulating which opposed a Federal Marriage Amendment.)
When we arrived at the docks in P’Town, flags and banners were flying everywhere. American flags, Rainbow flags, all mixed, decking the town out in a festive air. Kids and their families where EVERYWHERE, straight familes and gay families mixing with ease and together enjoying the day – and lots of ice cream. And not a sign of a clown anywhere. So I started my “clown hunt” in earnest, asking at local businesses and of folks in the streets if they had seen any. Not one reported clown anywhere in town, if you discount the Clown Dummy prominently on display in front of one souvenir shop. “Did Bennett fail to marshal his troops?” I asked myself. Nope. They were there – just very subdued and NOT in clown outfits.
On the green in front of Provincetown Town Hall, and along the adjoining sidewalks, I noticed a large number of kids holding balloons, passing out literature, and running a “face painting” table for other kids. But they weren’t “Bennett’s Kids” at all – but the children of gay families and their supporters, organized by a very heads-up HRC group. They stole the show from right under Bennett’s clown nose, setting up their own “carnival” before he and his followers even got out of bed! And they were having a ball! One kid, maybe about 14 or so, was wearing a homemade placard that read, “I love my gay Moms – Don’t You?” Others wore similar signs, obviously made by the kids themselves, and while the adults were there in support, it was the kids’ show from start to finish as they rallied to support their parents. It was hard not to cry as I watched the love these kids had for their “gay parents” spill all over the sidewalks of P’Town. Well, maybe I cried a little…
Bennett had perhaps 15 or so supporters there, as I counted, though he might have been working them in shifts and so perhaps there were more I didn’t see. I talked to a few of them after two came up to me and asked me “if I knew Jesus Christ.” I said I did, that He is my Lord, and oh, by the way, I’m a Gay Christian. That seemed to baffle them for some reason…so they asked if they could pray with me. I said that would be wonderful and there, right in the streets of Provincetown, I held helds in a little circle with the SB Ministry guys and gals and we prayed. I led off the prayer: “Lord, thank you for bringing us all together here on this beautiful day. Thank you for Christian fellowship and for families. I pray, Lord, that you will remove the scales that are blinding my brothers and sisters here so that they will know that you love your gay children just as they are…” Gosh, I didn’t expect those folks to drop my hands THAT fast as they backed away from me as though they had been hit with lightning. I did get to talk to a couple of them afterwards, discussing the “clobber passages,” but it was though I had leprosy or something and I didn’t make much headway…
So I talked to some of the HRC folks who were there, and to some of the other gay folks as well. And – is anyone surprised – they were all astounded to find that someone who professed Christ was also gay? “Christians are the enemy,” was one line. But a few listened, were intrigued, and at least some of them thought it would be worthwhile to check out a Gay Christian website so I gave them my name and the URL for this site. One, who works as a bartender at one of the P’Town bars, seemed especially interested so I hope, even if he lurks for a while, that he will someday join us. What a wonderful, clown-free day, it was!
BTW, I did ask the SB guys where the clowns were and told them how disappointed I was not to see any. Apparently, after the kids had “hijacked” the theme from them, they didn’t think it such a good idea so the clown costumes were put away. They seemed a little embarrassed about that. Also, though I didn’t get to speak with Bennett personally, I did get to see him. Having never seen his picture or known anything about him before this event, I had envisioned him as an older person maybe like a Jerry Falwell type so I asked one of the SB ladies there if she would point him out. She did and – me and my big mouth – the first words that came out of it totally unplanned were, “Wow. He’s kinda cute, isn’t he? Nice legs…” I’m not sure my SB lady knew how to respond to that so she just walked away in a huff. I have a pic of him, however, and have to admit that he’s not a bad looking guy at all. Maybe someday he’ll drop this ex-gay thing and become a Gay Christian…
And that, GCN folks, is my Report from Provincetown on the Children’s Victory over the Clowns.
Thanks to Paul and Rick for passing along the news.