witness to history…
I know the posts have been few and far between lately but I promise to have a good excuse. Well at least one that comes with a doctor’s note. A couple weeks ago, I caught the pre-flu season flu bug and it kicked me in the backside. I don’t really like to be sick although I like to take time off from work because I have anal glaucoma. That is the disease where I can’t see taking my butt to work. Anyway, I really got sick a couple weeks ago and it literally took me a couple of weeks to shake everything off and to feel right.
So here I am now, back at work watching the computer words pop up on the screen and waiting for 4AM so I can drag my tired butt to Knoxville, Tennessee for sleep. This morning, Monday the 14th I took the kids to school and then drove from my house outside Huntington, WV down to Knoxville. Many of you might be asking yourself why I don’t fly commercial to Knoxville especially considering the fact that my employer is good enough to buy me a ticket. From my front door to the door of the hotel room is a 4.5 hour drive. I like that I go on my schedule, that I don’t have to listen to the flight attendant tell me when I can turn on the electronic equipment, that I don’t have get up at 3AM to make the 5:30 AM flight out of Charleston and that I don’t have that overweight guy sneezing on me and getting me sick again.
So there I was driving down the road when I spied a single engine airplane towing a rainbow banner over the interstate today about 10 AM. I thought that was odd until I saw the sign for the Morehead, Kentucky exit. I almost keep on driving but then I started thinking about how many times I have been able to witness history. I just happened to be in Los Angeles during the OJ Simpson trial and drove downtown to see courthouse. I saw the last Metallica concert with Jason Newstead playing bass. I was in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and I was staying in the Des Moines hotel that Rick Perry’s delegation used when he pulled the plug on his 2012 Presidential campaign. Matter of fact, I had a free meal at the hotel restaurant because his people had to spend all of his campaign funds. I offered to pay my own bill, but some 5 gallon guy in a 10 gallon cowboy hat told me that they would put it on Rick Perry’s tab. So much for campaign finance reform and the thought that Republicans are fiscally responsible. By the way, I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I was a Democrat. I am like a real life Forrest Gump and with that kind of front row seat to history there was no way that I was going to pass on the opportunity to see the epicenter of the marriage controversy.
Jetting across two lanes of interstate and slamming on the breaks, I pulled into Morehead Kentucky on a mission; Find Kim Davis. I tried to follow the airplane with the banner but he was circling the interstate and not the courthouse. I thought that was odd but soon realized that there were more people at Kroger than the courthouse. I pulled up the map on my phone and 4.4 miles later, I found the courthouse. I thought something was wrong because I was able to find a parking spot easily. I would have parked in the court parking lot but all of the spots were taken by the massive television trucks that normally show up for a football game. By the way, there were no big TV trucks in the parking lot of Rick Perry’s hotel back in 2012. Anyway, I started walking towards the sounds of an animated speaker on a microphone. I had to walk through the parking lot and up a gentle incline to get to the courthouse grounds. When I first saw the protesters, I thought I had missed it but on further inspection, they were really there standing in a circle, holding their signs and listening to the speaker in his preacher voice. Again, I didn’t believe that I was in the right spot so I walked to the other corner where a much larger crowd of journalists were standing in a circle listening to one guy talking. It was probably Mrs. Davis’ lawyer but since I don’t have a picture of him, I can’t pick him out of a line-up.
I retraced my steps back towards a set of tents where the media had set up camp. While I was walking, the speaker started asking rhetorical questions. Before I go into the questions, please know that I have matured over the last 25 years. Earlier in life, I would have been running my mouth, talking loud and generally trying to be an agitator to the rabble-rousers. Today, I had no desire to start trouble and I really didn’t want to tell my employer that I would not make my trip because I was in the Morehead city jail sitting next to Mrs. Davis.
So the speaker asks the question; “Are you a Christian?” Under my breath I said. “Yep.”
He asked. “Do you believe that marriage is only between and man and a woman?” “Maybe.” I replied.
He asked. “Are you willing to stand here with us today and publically fight this outrage?” “Nope.” I said.
He stated. “If you won’t stand here and fight today, then surely you will burn in Hell.” “Sucks to be me.” I said to myself.
I did start to laugh but not because it was funny but out of disbelief and outrage. It isn’t the first time that I am going to Hell and it probably will not be the last. Normally, I don’t put much thought into the comments of people that don’t know me but there was something that was just flat out wrong about what was going on in Morehead today. For about ten seconds, all I could think of was 1 Corinthians 13 and how I wish I had it memorized.
I walked up to the CNN tent where the cameraman was sitting in a chair looking at his laptop probably looking at his fantasy football team. I asked him if this is what was going on last week. He told me that this morning there were no protesters (gay marriage supporters) on the other side so the crowd was about half of the size it was last week. I said they probably had to go back to work. He laughed and said they would be arriving about noon but that today was the end of the story because Mrs. Davis wasn’t going to block the marriage licenses from being issued. I apologized for the guy with the microphone and he said that he had tuned him out early on last week. Before I left, I told him that CNN was my go to station for the news, but I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was down on the list after ESPN, History Channel, Discovery Channel, VH1, HGTV and the Food Network.
I was walking back to my car when I passed two Morehead City police officers. They stopped talking when I came into ear shot. I was wearing shorts and plain gray tee shirt so I was about as nondescript as I normally am. I asked them how much trouble I would get into if I unplugged the speaker’s microphone. One officer said it would depend on what I did afterwards but the other one had a better idea. He said that if I brought some doughnuts that they would escort me to the wire. We all laughed at his joke and I thanked them for keeping the peace and apologized about the controversy. I was almost out of the parking lot, when another guy pulled out his megaphone and started yelling at the speaker who banished me to Hell. I thought this would be good so I made my way closer. His beef was that John 3:16 was not being quoted by the self-appointed judge. While I was watching the commotion, two State Troopers walked up behind me just to be ready if a fight broke out. When it was obvious that nothing was going to happen, I snapped a couple of pictures with my phone and started to walk away.
Before I did, I once again thanked the Troopers for keeping the peace and apologized for them having to deal with this. One of the officers said that he didn’t mind because of the freedoms we get to enjoy and that if we lived in Iran none of this would be possible. I agreed and walked off. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that if the guy who was handing out free passes to Hell had his way, America and Iran would have a lot more in common and my head would be stacked on the courthouse steps.
I didn’t see anyone from the Pro-gay marriage crowd but in all there were about 50 police officers in the crowd and another 50 or so media members. There may have been 25 protesters but that might be overstating the crowd a little. Driving away, I reflected on what I was feeling and that could be best described as shame, anger and sadness at a missed opportunity to tell people that the vast majority of Christians are embarrassed by that guy with the microphone. The only thing that keeps me going is the belief that an all-powerful God created me perfectly with no mistakes just like he created the homosexual guy perfectly. I believe that God loved all of us all enough to allow someone like me the opportunity to have a chance to spend eternity in Heaven. All I have to do is to return his love and to reflect his love to other humans. I really think that we are missing the point in this contrived drama. It isn’t that marriage is only between a man and a woman and it isn’t about an elected official not following the law. It is that everyone should have the opportunity to be loved and respected. Especially the guy with the microphone who dammed me to Hell.
Until next time, keep on rockin.