Paul E. Keith wrote about Stephen Bennett’s demonstration in Provincetown, Mass., over the weekend.
Since then, Paul has reflected some more, and writes:
My original post was concerned, of course, with what I saw in Provincetown on Saturday that was specific to the Steven Bennett Ministries demonstration – if one could call that flop by such a term. That was the reason I went out to P’Town, after all. But I want to add something else I saw that, I believe, is of far greater importance to all of us, gay or straight, with or without kids of our own.
Both before and after the time I spent at Provincetown Town Hall, I also spent time relaxing and crowd watching in the main Square, where the road into town from the highway intersects Commercial Street as it goes out to the Parking area near MacMillan Wharf. After crossing Commercial, the road becomes two one-way streets with a small tree-lined park between them. Benches line the grassy area and there are at least four ice cream shops within a Frisbee’s throw.
The Square was full of folks as it so often is on a fine summer day; old and young, boys and girls, women and men. The sheer volume of ice cream was daunting to one who would dearly love to drop a few pounds! At first I didn’t notice anything special, anything out of the ordinary as it were. I’d seen this traditional gathering many times before while bustling through the foot traffic on my way to the Now Voyager Bookshop or when heading to lunch at The Lobster Pot. I had even seen it “from the inside” on those few occasions when the lure of ice cream overwhelmed my dietary common sense. But I had never really looked at the scene before; never really saw what went on there. On this visit, “focused on the family” as I was – and with no apology to James Dobson – I really noticed what was happening there.
On this bench were two Dads, one wiping ice cream drool from the mouth of a toddler and the other taking an older child by the hand before crossing the street to buy some sodas. On that bench were two Moms, one holding an infant in her arms and the other yelling at an older boy to stop teasing his sister. Over on a bench at a picnic table, a Mom and a Dad were looking at a Tourist Guide, planning their next adventure, while a couple of young ‘uns slurped up the goodies while asking, “Can’t we go to the beach now? You PROMISED!” All these scenes were repeated, with many variations, throughout the Square. Adults in same-sex and opposite sex pairs sharing the duties and fun of parenting, while kids of all colors and shapes and ages did what kids do best: testing to see if their parents really did have eyes in the backs of their heads. It was an extraordinarily ordinary scene and, unless one paid attention, as I did, one would never even think of it as being anything one wouldn’t see in any park in America on any fine Summer day.
The naysaying SB Ministry folks up at Town Hall, encircled by their youthful opponents, dourly dedicated their day to warning “gay families” of the supposed disasters to come if they didn’t repent and disavow their “gay family lifestyles.” Had they spent more time licking up ice cream at the foot of MacMillan Wharf with their own children, perhaps the very ordinariness of the day would have moved even them to see what I saw: healthy, happy families – gay and straight – going about their healthy, happy lives, side-by-side, in the loving bliss of parental nurture and childhood fun.
Why, it was a scene that would have looked just as natural in any city or town in America. And just as moving to those who have enough love in their hearts to dare open their eyes to see.
I might go back for a Double Cone next Saturday. Hmmm…maybe a big dollop of pistachio in a sinfully tasty sugar cone. I just wish I had a husband to share it with me. And a couple of kids with messy faces to keep me on my toes….
Thanks to Paul Keith for the photos of Bennett.