Saturday, July 09, 2011

Boycott the Basilica Block Party... Fizzle.



But let's put on a happy face and protest outside the gates instead.
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Was it a month or so ago some Minneapolis guy got the idea to set up on Facebook a campaign to Boycott the Basilica Block party in Minneapolis?  Anyway - for some reason he took the site down after a few weeks - though I'm told he got a good show of support.  A few local Catholics were outraged and countered with online protests and so on.  I actually thought the boycott was a smart tactic - after all, who's to stop off-site peaceful, unobtrusive, shallow protest in defense of gay marriage? 
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A Facebook page that drew 15,000 "yes" responders did call for a boycott of the party before its creator took it down two weeks ago. The page did not seem to affect ticket sales, which neared 13,000 on Friday. - Source
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The Block party is pretty much a straight mini-rock concert anyway - no Britney or Lady Gaga stuff there - hence there would most likely be no stopping the regular crowd from attending.  For those outside Minneapolis who may not be familiar with the controversy, the boycott was initiated by a gay man looking for ways to protest the Archdiocese's support of a State Constitutional amendment to block legislation which would permit gay marriage.  A very clever idea which seems to have had no consequence - which is why I tell people to choose their battles and don't expend their energy on trifles.  Last night the Basilica party was packed.
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I have to say however, I found it ironic that many of the Catholic voices protesting the boycott, in any other year would have been condemning the Basilica event as too liberal, too profane, insisting that the rock'n'roll party on the front steps was blasphemous and sacrilegious; desecrating sacred space with wild music and drinking, women rocking out in little tight t-tops and shirtless men waving arms in the air like they just don't care - not to mention the porta-poddies.  In normal years the tongues wag in condemnation of such church sanctioned revelry and debauchery.  Nevertheless, the Basilica successfully raises needed funds from the annual event to preserve and maintain the sacred edifice, while the profit from the one big party helps support their vast charitable outreach - which is significant considering the church is home to a vibrant urban parish.
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Whatever the moral questions and consequences of the type of entertainment (such criticism I think exaggerated to begin with) - the party is on, and outside the gates, as it were are the real activists - putting their usual positive spin on the gay marriage issue.  The unauthorized group which uses the name 'Catholic' as in, Catholics for Marriage Equality,  have placed themselves outside the church grounds on street corners to hand out "I support Marriage Equality" stickers to those attending the block party.  (Ironically, their politics more or less places them outside the Church as well.)  Participants in the propaganda effort practice the art of welcoming and encourage participants to have a good time, while dropping their bumper-stickers.  They also claim the majority of Catholics support 'marriage equality' - although such stats are always unreliable.  Their tactics are rather convincing however - friendly persuasion works better that vitriol.  From the Mpls/StarTribune article in this mornings paper:
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Things were also more heated than usual outside the gates. A small contingent of gay rights supporters handed out stickers and carried signs to protest the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis' support of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
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"Let's party as if we already have marriage equality," read one of the signs belonging to Catholics for Marriage Equality, whose stickers ("I support marriage equality") were plastered all over concertgoers. Co-founder Michael Bayly said his group did not want to discourage people from attending. "We want people to feel welcome and know that there are many, many Catholics who believe in equality," Bayly said. - Source
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Michael Bayly is a local gay activist and community organizer who occasionally comments here.  You can read his positive spin on the BBP activities here.  He's a clever fellow, he knows how to work the media, he's a very good organizer, deeply committed to his cause, and always puts on a happy face as he works in 'peace' quite literally to undermine Catholic Church teaching regarding homosexuality and marriage.   I think he's demonstrated a little impatience with this blog however - but no one reads me, so he can get away with it.  That said - I think faithful Catholics can learn something from the opposition's tactics.
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As they say, "Peace".  And remember - 'choose your battles' wisely.
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Photo:  Michael Bayly - taken from his website.
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H/T Ray @ Stella for the link to Michael's blog post.

14 comments:

  1. Hey Terry, I notice one of your thumbnails is entitled, "Monastic Horror Stories." Have you ever told your vocation story?

    I only recently found your blog, so I'm not sure if you already shared those "horror tales" and your older posts are archived by dates, rather than subject.

    I would really be interested in reading your story, if you have written it, where could I read it? And if you haven't just tell me to mind my own damn business. Heheh...

    Thanks.

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  2. Hi Terry,

    Thanks for the write-up.

    Just to clarify: members of Catholics for Marriage Equality MN were not at the Basilica to "protest," and, contrary to the Star Tribune's coverage, none of our signs conveyed a protest message.

    As I note in our media release:

    "[The idea of boycotting the Basilica Block Party] didn’t seem to us to be the best course of action. We know that many members of the Basilica community support marriage equality – as do the vast majority of the young people who will be attending the block party. So we decided to ask them to help make the party a pro-marriage equality event."

    Peace,

    Michael

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  3. Michael - and how did you and others encourage "the young people" to "help make the party a pro-marriage equality event"? Just wondering.

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  4. Simply by wearing our "I support marriage equality" stickers.

    Our hope was that if enough folks were wearing them, a supportive "buzz" about the issue would be created. From everything I've heard, that indeed happened.
    For instance, people started coming up to us requesting stickers, and asking us to pass sheets of them through the fence so that attendees already inside could get one. Also, we saw that many of the Block Party staff were wearing them.

    Finally, we'd like to think that some of the performers, seeing our stickers "plastered all over concertgoers" (as the Star Tribune reported) may have encouraged and/or supported them in their decision to speak out for marriage equality.

    Peace,

    Michael

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  5. Oops! My first sentence was meant to read:

    Simply by inviting them to wear one of our "I support marriage equality" stickers.

    Peace,

    Michael

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  6. And what pray tell is "Marriage Equality" other than a secualrist buzzword du jour? Since WHEN has marriage ever been other than a man and a woman, even in cases in polgyamy.

    It's an oxymoron. EVERYONE can get married, you just have to do it within the law: one can't marry a minor,an animal, an inanimate object, or one of the same-sex. Like those champions of morality and the sanctity of marriage V. Gene Robinson and James McCreevy. THEY WERE MARRIED!

    Marriage is not a right. It's a privilege. It's also a question of benefits. Why should benefits be extended to those who otherwise wouldn't? Oh and before you try to put black people in the same plane, Gender is pertinent to marriage, skin color is not.

    I'd also like to point out that nobody cared about the oxymoron du jour until a radical core within a core started agitating for it, took over showbusiness and starting shoving it down Mainstreet's throat.

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  7. Clark - I probably shared it in bits and drabs in various posts. It's not really a horror story - I just thought that label was good for a laugh, since I will often discuss monastic/religious life. I imagine it scares some of the people who knew me that I might reveal something about them - but they seem to have no problem doing that on their own. LOL!

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  8. Hi Michael - what you guys did is pretty much a propaganda drop - it's like canvassing - it is a political tactic.

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  9. . . . like a certain DVD campaign, perhaps?

    Peace,

    Michael

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  10. Got me there Michael! LOL!

    Although the DVD mailing was a pastoral act on behalf of Catholics by the sitting Archbishop acting in accord with the duty of his office to teach on matters of faith and morals. It was really a pastoral act, an ecclesial act.

    I know opponents see it as a political act - but it is not the Church who politicized the issue of same sex marriage.

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  11. VSO said: "It's an oxymoron. EVERYONE can get married, you just have to do it within the law"

    The law in my state says that people of the same sex can get married. As it is in 5 other states and the District of Columbia. So there is no law being broken.

    Ace

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  12. Terry - Sunday's Responsorial Psalm reminded me of the folly of so-called gay marriage: "The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest."

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  13. I stand amazed that someone can take a beautiful psalm and make it about ejaculate.

    Amazed, and yet sadly not surprised.

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  14. Thom - I think the analogy works - especially in the light of Genesis: "Be fruitful and multiply."

    ReplyDelete


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