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Group gets grosser over Mass grocer

by Jeremy Hooper

Here at G-A-Y, we often think that we are no longer shockable. That we are so numb from the onslaught of religious right attacks that pepper our day, that we are unable to be either surprised or appalled by future bits of gay bias. After all, when you've been cursed by the Phelps family, had your relationship devalued by countless Republican lawmakers, been told that you are "changeable" by the unscientific "ex-gay" movement, and been condemned to hell by thousands of "people of faith," you build up such a thick skin that it can seem like your capacity for horrified astonishment has been replaced by emotionless apathy.

Then you come across a story that reminds you to what extreme degrees our opposition will go to foist their faith beliefs onto the general public, and your senses are reawakened. A story that reminds you just how much these characters want gay lives removed from public view. A story that makes you realize that they truly view themselves as the one who are being discriminated against. A story like the latest from the extremely gay-hostile MassResistance group, who is lashing out against a local grocery store chain for merely giving their customers the option to buy tickets to a local high school production of a pro-acceptance play.

Picture 2-101The details: Massachusetts' Roche Bros. grocery store is selling tickets for the production of The Laramie Project that will be staged this weekend at local Acton-Boxborough High School. And since the play details the Matthew Shepard case, the anti-gay attitudes that both fueled and surrounded it, and the need for tolerance in the world, those who oppose gay rights as a rule are very scornful of the mirror that the play casts on their rhetoric and actions. MassResistance, being the most outspoken anti-gay group in the Bay State, is leading the campaign against the high school production, and are therefore taking it upon themselves to wage a campaign against anyone who is perceived as supporting it in anyway. Roche Bros. agrees to support the high school's dramatic arts by selling tickets (just as they presumably would if the play was Godspell or Joseph), and MassResistance goes knee-jerkedly apeshit. Here's what they have to say about the company's owner, Ed Roche, and his refusal to kowtow to the anti-gay agenda:

One can't imagine treating an upset ethnic group that way. But it's open season on religious conservatives. (Keep in mind that the materials about the play were delivered to Roche and shown to his staff.) Roche's interesting logic is that since some people in the community SUPPORT the anti-Christian homosexual play, he does not want to exclude or offend them. So his store will continue to support the play by selling tickets. If you don't like it, you don't have to buy the tickets.

The staff that answers the phone at the corporate headquarters has also developed a bit of an arrogant attitude. "We're just doing a community service," callers are told. "And you're one of the few people to complain." (Sounds like they've borrowing the line that schools use to parents.)

Would Roche sell tickets to a play about pedophilia? If his liberal friends liked it, he probably would. That's the condescending, even hostile mindset of these people have toward those of us with traditional values. We've see
[sic] it all too much these days. And he gets away with it because not enough people like us willingly take it, and don't talk back to him.

Ironically, at the top of his letter is store's motto" "Your family deserves the best." The best religious bigotry?

One thing's for sure. We won't ever set foot in a Roche Bros (or Sudbury Farms) store again. How about you?

Well, yes, we most certainly will gladly step foot in Roche Bros. again. Mainly because selling tickets to this play is not in ANY WAY comparable to discrimination against an "upset ethnic group." It is supporting a creative endeavor that unapologetically calls for tolerance for everyone -- people of faith included. And selling tickets to Laramie is in no way comparable to supporting "a play about pedophilia." It is supporting actual human beings who are daring to live their truths, some of whom have been murdered for it. And the is an unequivocal call to silence the sort of dangerous dogma that would even dare to compare gay people to child molesters! To suggest otherwise and to seriously make a case for the ticket sales being halted is offensive to not only the gay community, but to the freedom-locing, equality-supporting, divergent viewpoint-tolerating, human community at large!

Folks like MassResistance work tirelessly to foster the illusion that anything pro-gay is synonymous with "religious bigotry," so that they can claim their own offensive actions are instead defensive measures. It's unclear if this is because (a) their world view is truly that skewed, or if (b) they realize that hiding their antipathy behind the veil of religious freedom thus reframing the debate is their only chance in this so-called "culture war." Either way, they have adopted a playbook so wacky and unhinged that we almost applaud it. Matters like this one truly seem to do far more to hurt their side's arguments than they do to halt our movement's progression. For with every action like this, more and more are starting to realize that if they want cashews or almonds, they can always go to Roche Bros., but if they want the sort of nuts that will go bananas over those who refuse to call gays "fruits," they can check out the generic brand of crazy that MassResistance is peddling.

President of supermarket chain sends letter to parents: we'll continue to support anti-Christian homosexual school play because some people like it. [MassResistance]

**Let's not forget that this is the same Laramie Project production in which Claudia Contrada, lesbian daughter of MassResistance's Amy Contrada, is starring.

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Your thoughts

That has to be one of the most disgusting things I've ever heard. Its about as bad as Fred Phelps but at least everyone knows he's insane.

Posted by: Ron | Nov 2, 2007 10:45:52 AM

I sent a letter of support to the supermarket (via the link on MassRepugnents page).

Posted by: Scott | Nov 2, 2007 10:47:32 AM

How is the play anti-Christian? Because it shows a group of Christians protesting the funeral of Matthew Shepherd?

I could possibly see how that might be construed as anti-Christian if, oh, I don't know...IT WEREN'T BASED ON ACTUAL EVENTS!

Posted by: Randy | Nov 2, 2007 12:03:12 PM

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