Monday, May 18, 2009

An anti-gay rally in New York City



It wasn't necessarily the tens of thousands of people promised last week by Reverend Ruben Diaz, Sr., but it was certainly a good show by a large number of mostly Hispanic evangelical parishioners and clergy who gathered in front of Governor David Paterson's midtown Manhattan office building. El Diario La Prensa puts it at 7,000, and that might very well be a good estimate, perhaps surpassing the number of those who rallied outside the Bronx Courthouse five years ago. Then and now the issue was the same issue: Opposition to marriage equality in New York State.

Not all of them were New Yorkers, though. There was representation from churches in surrounding states and people descending from vans and buses rented to bring them to New York.



As Joe.My.God put it, "the evangelicals stayed mostly very positive, I will say, delivering nothing by smiles and heavily-accented 'Jesus loves you' type messages". And they were! One of the most discordant things about these rallies is knowing that each and every one is deeply convinced that they are being loving by denying us rights. Of course, not everyone was that loving; there were a few signs calling us 'an abomination' and a couple of references to Sodom & Gomorrah.



But parishioners who delude themselves into thinking that they love us is one thing, their religious leaders goading them into homophobic sentiment is quite another. And, on those grounds, the day's speakers did not disappoint. Take, for example, Miguel Rivera of our buddies at CONLAMIC who holds a Bible in hand as he riles the crowd in religious fervor as he talks about 'immorality' while saying that Governor Paterson is "physically blind and spiritually blind".


Or take special guest, Rabbi Yehuda Levin basking in the numbers at the rally and wondering why the Jews, Catholics, Muslims, the Chinese and the Asians were not there in the same numbers to fight "deviance and perversions" (part 2 of the video, in which he attacks Senate Majority Leader Malcom Smith and in which he argues that the legislature is turning New York into "Sodom on the Hudson" is here) [SIDE NOTE: I also noticed that when a female reporter extended her hand to Rabbi Levin before interviewing him, he pulled away and told her that his religion prohibited shaking her hand!].


And I wasn't wrong when I predicted involvement from non-Hispanic anti-gay national organizations. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council was beaming as well. He was last seen hurrying to take a cab as one of his assistants said "That went well, didn't it?"


There was also Leslie Yvette Diaz, Reverend Ruben Diaz Sr.' second wife, bringing out the warnings about kids in school being taught immorality. The family that prays together...


And, of course, there was Senator Diaz naming each and every Latino and African-American Assemblymember who voted last week in favor of marriage equality telling the crowd to throw them out of office...


...riling against a 'liberal agenda', saying that he doesn't care if the Democratic Party throws him out as long as God's word is the law and saying that those who call him homophobic are simply trying to silence the church...


...trumpeting his role in derailing marriage equality in the Senate last year...


...and calling for Governor Paterson's resignation...


At similar events in the past, I've sometimes felt like an undercover spy, secretly thrilled of being a sodomite amongst them, energized by the need to uncover them. And there was some of that yesterday. But that also mixed with a huge surge of sorrow. Particularly as I looked at the number of young boys and girls in the crowd, listening to all this hate spew from the featured speakers. I was equally crushed when I listened to Assemblymember Michael Benjamin speak about being willing to deny his own gay brother the rights he enjoys as a recently married man.


There was a group of people who gathered to protest the rally but I was penned in the press area and didn't get to see them. Joe.My.God was amongst them and says that he was dissapointed in the low turnout. I caught up to him at the afternoon's pro-gay rally. My post on that rally will be up later this afternoon.
  • YouTube video playlist of anti-gay rally here
  • More photos of anti-gay rally here
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9 comments:

Unite the Fight! said...

I miss the days when Sen. Diaz's rallies were failures.

But all I have to say is, "Bring it on." They can rally all they want - I'm not going away.

Some Other Guy said...

Sorry I missed the gathering of the silly.

Wonder Man said...

great post, I wish I was there to see the mess

J said...

Let us not forget, that besides an overwhelming MINORITY like Rabbi Levin here, the vast majority of the Jewish community supports gay marriage, according to many polls and statistics.
Let us note that the Jewish community is the ONLY religious community that does not oppose gay marriage, and that the percentage of Jews in favour of gay marriage is HIGHER than the percentage of christians opposed.

and as for the fact that he wouldnt shake her hand, that again is a prescription of a vast MINORITY of ultra-religious Jews ONLY.

Let us not forget or ignore the fact that the Jewish community is overwhelmingly liberal, and in fact is the only religious community that is not majoritarily conservative.

Andrés Duque said...

J - You make a good point and I hope the post didn't come across as if I was painting all Jewish folk as being rabidly homophobic. In posting the video of Rabbi Levin, Tony Perkins and Michael Benjamin, I was trying to convey that, just as the Latino community has people like Diaz, other communities also have intolerant leaders. Just as I hope that people will not judge the Jewish community by the rantings of Rabbi Levi, I hope that they also don't judge the Latino community based on Diaz (or that Perkins is not seen as the spokesperson for the white community on this issue, etc.)

Joey7777 said...

In spite of those huge crowds, the majority of NYC Hispanics/Latinos, and Jews, do support gay marriage. African-Americans don't, but.....Hispanics/Latinos actually scored a point higher on the acceptance polls than Caucasians. So.....? Anyway, it's unfortunate that Diaz would put so much energy into this, instead of other areas.

libhom said...

I love it when the militant, Christian fundamentalists pretend to be all loving. When you deal with them in person in a less public setting, or if you read their internal publications, you find out just how hateful they really are.

Boy About Town LB said...

Who'd have thought it could happen in NYC?!

Brigham said...

I wish these demonstrations would remain simply that - a demonstration of their beliefs. If they stayed in their world, I would stay in mine, and we'd never have to cross paths. Unfortunately, they can't let it go...