Strip away the fear. Underneath, it’s all the same love.

We generally don’t take political positions or set out to court controversy, and I suspect some of our contributors don’t even agree with me, but this is important. The US Supreme Court is hearing arguments about marriage equality, and people everywhere are changing their online avatars to show their support for freedom and justice.

Ryan H. (eldeeem) posted this simple, straightforward build that captures the design wonderfully.

Untitled

David Picket (fallentomato) posted an even simpler LEGO version, and thus one you might be able to build and display yourself:

LEGO Red Equal Sign

I first posted about marriage equality here on The Brothers Brick back in 2006, with this vignette featuring the Human Rights Campaign logo that’s the basis for the new red and pink version:

I Do

Though not directly LEGO-related, this beautiful video by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis explains the post title:

I challenge all the brickfilmers out there to create a LEGO version of “Same Love.”

80 comments on “Strip away the fear. Underneath, it’s all the same love.

  1. gedren_y

    I tried to avoid the subject of religion in my earlier post, hoping that people would realize this is a legal matter, not one of faith. The United States of America is not a monotheistic country, and couching this in Christian theology can be a hinderance.

    That being expressed, here is how I see things as a Christain. First, the Bible is a flawed thing. It is a creation of man, collected, translated, edited and re-translated over 1700 years. The Bible as a collection of works was compiled centuries after the time of Jesus of Nazereth.

    Secondly, most Chritian objection to same sex couples comes from teaching from the book of Leviticus, which is exceedingly non-Christian. It is Old Testament, which is the history of how Christianity came to be, but does not often espouse the values that Jesus taught. Jesus taught acceptance of others, with out judging. This is how I approach the issue.

    The USA is not a theocracy, though, and all this is just beside the point. The ideals set down in our founding documents have not always been lived up to. It is time we did so. Equality under the law means everybody, not just those who are just like us.

    The MOCs are not the best, granted, but the debate they have fostered gives them worth beyond their aesthetic appeal.

  2. Fraslund (David)

    Gambort that argument seems silly to me. Are the religious MOCs presented in a fashion that states if you do not believe in you are a . If this post remained positive I doubt that you would have gotten as much feedback. The fact that it has a tyrannical edge to it (original caption) that basically calls everyone who disagrees with a point of view a bigot and against freedom is the Issue.

    I personally enjoy Andrew’s company and would love to hang out with him more, but I am not a fan of how this was presented. Attacking a side then threatening to silence them if they disagree with you seems very provocative rather than informative to me.

  3. AK_brickster

    @ gambort, I only took issue with this due to the lack of build quality and the added non-Lego related political commentary (of which the most inflammatory has been removed) that accompanied it. I’m guessing that your featured Christmas MOCs didn’t criticize those who celebrated Kwanza or implored readers to remember the “reason for the season”. They also were likely well built enough to be “blog worthy”.

    So I guess my answer to your question is, yes. Lets strive to maintain a blog that does not push a certain political or religious viewpoint and stick to presenting top-notch Lego creations and Lego-related news, without attempt to influence or criticize others in the community.

    I think if this had been a well presented LGBT-friendly MOC, blogged in the context of current events and without political commentary, you’d have a lot fewer people complaining about it.

  4. gambort

    ^^ and ^

    I did say “Yes, Andrew is pushing an agenda today. Not because he posted, but because he made his own feelings clear in the post.” What I did not say (but probably should have) is that I think he was wrong in the way he made them clear, but not wrong for stating his opinion. Andrew’s said as much himself.

    @AK_brickster> Some of the objections here are cached in general terms, not specific to today’s post. Having just reread your post I note I misread it and thought it was one of these. That’s why I mistakenly addressed my response to you.

    More generally, we do actually lower the standards somewhat around significant religious holidays as they are topical. And the same rule applies to this post.

    tl;dr

    I believe that the standard of MOC can and will be lowered when something is topical. And the author’s position can and may be expressed in the post. But being insulting to other opinions is unacceptable.

  5. AK_brickster

    I think that sort of response is fair. Everyone is now aware that the contributors to TBB are welcome to present topical MOCs along with an opinion on the subject, but should avoid criticizing those who disagree. Knowing that is part of what this blog is about, at least now I won’t be so surprised/disappointed when I see politics creep into an occasional posting.

    Better to acknowledge and explain the concerns than to duck/dodge them, and I think you just did that. Thank you.

  6. gambort

    ^ I’ve had a bit of time to refine my view. This isn’t the first time we’ve had a long series of responses to a topical issue ;)

  7. AK_brickster

    It might be that Andrew was trying to state something similar earlier, but it just wasn’t communicated as directly, I guess.

    I still prefer to keep politics and religion out of my online Lego community discussions, but I guess it’s not my blog. :)

  8. Andrew Post author

    Tim hit the nail on the head, and thanks for hearing his message, Jordan.

    Let me put it this way — a parable, if you will. ;-) Bear with me…

    I attended a Seattle Mariners (baseball) home game a couple years ago, against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Mariners weren’t having a very good year, and since Seattle is so close to Canada, the vast majority of baseball fans in the stadium were Blue Jays fans, not hometown Mariners fans. This happens from time to time when the M’s aren’t doing well and another big team is in town, like the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox.

    What was so different about the Toronto fans from NY and Boston fans wasn’t that they cheered loudly enough for their own team to drown out any cheers for the Mariners, they actively jeered both the home team and their fans (like my wife and I). It was the worst baseball experience we’ve ever had, and we don’t ever plan on going back to a Toronto game.

    Mariners fans are a polite bunch — though the last 10 years have been pretty frustrating. We (generally) don’t boo poor performance by our own team, and we (often) applaud excellent performance by the opposing team. It just feels civilized.

    The lesson here for online discourse is this: “Cheer” your own “team,” but things quickly get nasty when you boo the opposing side. Like I said earlier, I shouldn’t have started out with that little aside (long since removed, so can we please drop it?) but I stand by my right to cheer for things I believe in.

  9. L@go

    Well, as the first one to point out that I didn’t like the original comment, I’d like to applaud your decision to remove it. As far as I’m concerned, the blog post is much better now, and gets the message across clearer.

    There are some things you blog that I don’t like, and quite a few that I really don’t care about, but TBB is still, as far as I’m concerned, the best LEGO blog there is. To me, listening to constructive criticism (and believe me, I was very careful when I voiced my concern, as I know full well how much of a bees’ nest this discussion is) like you did makes it even better. Thank you!

  10. IronBricks

    Andrew, I’ve always loved to read TBB, and I will continue to do so for as long as I’m here. I do also honor and respect you for admitting that side note was unnecessary.
    Finally, I do agree that we shouldn’t “boo” the other “side”, but we should always “cheer” our “side” on. When I commented on LDM’s pic saying “I’m entirely against LGBT… etc.” that probably wasn’t the best way to start, and I apologize for “booing” the other team.

  11. Angeli

    Well said :) I also would like to keep my right to cheer the side I believe in :)

    That being said, and regarding my previous comment, I believe in mixing Lego with naked girls on photos:) I love it, (hope) to do it with taste and enjoy making them (If you recognize my name, you know:)). But I am getting so many angry looks “those are toys! So innocent! Do not mix them with pornography!!”

    But, a naked body is not por… oh. I care not. I will cheer my team.

    And my opinion still stands. I think I summarized it quite nicely in the first post. And I can not be a hypocrite; when I see two guys kissing, a feel revolting, I do not act on it, but the filling is there; but when I see to girls kissing, I feel excited. I even took pictures of two Drow kissing near the castle :) If I was to say anything bad about the gay couples, I would be the biggest hypocrite in the world :)

    On the other hand, family, as a bond, is one of the most important things. And I do not stand corrected on my opinion, as on every study made about benefits of gay couples parenting, there are ten mores that say different, especially when a demographics used as a test group is situated in a region that has such attitude regarding family; where it is normal to put older people in care homes, where 50% of marriages end in divorce, and children spend working days with one parent, and weekends with another.

    I have a lot more to say on the topic, but I am afraid that no one would read such a long post ;) Also, I must commend you all, a lot of opposing opinions, delicate subject, but such a civilized and hate-free conversation. Lego does bring the best out of us, doesn’t it? :)

  12. CatJuggling

    When I first saw this posted, I didn’t comment, but did think “Good on you, Andrew.” As a local friend and fellow SeaLUG’er I appreciated his noting that on this rather significant date (week) in modern American history, many people (some of them AFOLs) are changing their icons on social media. I certainly feel it’s more noteworthy than the green-screen icons after the Oscars. Additionally, I interpreted the post to be about the social significance and not the quality of the builds. I think TBB is one of the best blogs in part BECAUSE of the contributor tendency to look beyond the build to the builders. For instance, not long after this post came the one about the ship being photographed better then given a photoshop background by another builder.

    That said, I do appreciate that he responded to honest critique about the more personalized statements. As someone said above, I believe the edited post is stronger and more appropriate for TBB. But please remember that writing, like building, is a process and sometimes the author edits better than other times, but always improves with fresh eyes. And if his changes don’t satisfy your pride, then as others have said, scroll on, or if all else fails, find another blog.

  13. gambort

    Angeli > I don’t take issue with your opinion, I take issue with your claim to have it as a scientist. I work as a scientist and I know that the most important goal as a scientist is to judge by the evidence. And the evidence you claim doesn’t exist, while evidence to the contrary does.

    So feel free to claim your position as your opinion, but leave science out of it.

  14. bruce n h

    I have to admit that I only skipped through all of the comments above, so maybe I’m repeating things that others have said, but picking through I wanted to add a few thoughts.

    Several people above have noted that they think it’s ‘not right’ for the BB to blog this due to various reasons (unsophisticated build, this is a forum for MOCs not politics, American vs international issue, etc). But, as others have also noted above, this is Andrew’s show (along with his cohort of Brothers (and Sister)), not some community trust. Yes, the BB has become the ‘must-read’ blog for many of us, but that doesn’t make it some subsidiary of the LEGO group, or of some undefined ‘will of the AFOL community’. It is, ultimately, Andrew and friends choosing to say ‘I like this or that thing, generally related to LEGO.’

    Someone said above that they were disappointed in Andrew. Um, have you met Andrew? I actually have not in the flesh as I haven’t been to BrickCon or other such events, but I’ve known him online for probably a decade now and it’s not like he’s ever hidden his political views. You may disagree with someone’s view, but disappointed implies you expected them to feel one way and find they felt the other.

    Mudskipper above notes Andrew’s how to get blogged post fro three years ago, noting that one of Andrew’s stated criteria is awesomeness. But read through that full post, and Andrew notes that “Several factors can influence how awesome a LEGO creation is”, including “relevant” – and no one can doubt that this issue is timely with the two cases before SCOTUS this week – and “enlightening” – and at least Andrew felt that this MOC had something to say. Over on eldeeem’s Flickr stream someone linked to a (IMO hilarious) rant on YouTube that basically says that these little symbolic gestures (e.g. wearing a ribbon, adding some #endhunger hashtag to your tweets, changing your avatar, etc) are meaningless, and I think there’s a lot to that, so I personally don’t think this MOC is saying much, but, as noted above, this is Andrew’s show.

    Someone asked above if others would object to a MOC of a simple cross and a statement of Christian faith. As someone who is religious and happens to have a blog devoted to religion and LEGO (shameless plug), I probably would not blog that. I do, though sometimes blog things by younger builders that don’t live up to some of the high-level work by experienced AFOLs. So I suppose I fall a little in the middle on that.

    I find most disappointing the sentiment I’ve seen implied in some of the comments above and in some of the Flickr comment threads I skimmed through, where people on either side of this question say ‘You disagree with me on this, and therefore I will no longer communicate with you.’ Let’s face it, regardless of which side of this issue you fall on, a huge number of the people around you fall on the other side. California is one of the most politically liberal states in the US, and Prop 8 voting broke down with 7 million people on one side and 6.4 million on the other (thanks, Wikipedia). So it’s not like there is monolithic opinion on this. Those who disagree with you are not in some strange small minority that is either hopelessly backward or trying to overthrow the order of civilization (depending on which side you fall on).

    Somewhere above Andrew tried to steer discussion away from the merits of the issue and on to the question of standing (See what I did there? Personally I think that SCOTUS is going to rule narrowly on procedural grounds rather than making sweeping statements one way or the other. But don’t mind me.) Anyway, he wanted to discuss the issue of whether LEGO is the proper medium for these sorts of discussion. I would wholeheartedly say yes. LEGO is a great medium. I’ve written more on this elsewhere. (Sorry for the second shameless plug, but I didn’t want to just retype all of those thoughts.) Now, I do think that more excellent MOCs will have a greater impact. To give an example, Andrew, your Falun Gong torture vignette is extremely powerful. These above are pretty simple, and therefore less powerful.

  15. BobaFett2

    I didn’t expect this to show up on TBB, but I’m glad that it did. The debate is important.

    Now, I’ve seen quite a few complaints that those who are against gay marriage feel as if they’re vilified and viewed as bigoted.

    Now, according to the dictionary definition, intolerance toward a group due to one’s beliefs or prejudices makes someone bigoted. We likely all, at times, act bigoted toward others. So yes, it’s bigotry to deny a right to a group of individuals.

    Now, I can understand that in the eyes of devout Christians, morality stems from the Bible and that they follow it. They should be free to act under the morals of the Bible in their own lives – if they believe that homosexuality is wrong, then the homosexuals who are Christian can try all they want to suppress those urges – but not those of others. Our morals should dictate how we act, not how we force others to act. There are exceptions, for the times when the actions of others have significant adverse effects on others and themselves – such as prohibiting murder and violence, actions which affect others, and suicide and drug use, which negatively affect the individual performing such actions in such a way that they negatively affect others as well.

    To sum it up: if you’re a devoted Christian and a homosexual, you don’t have to marry a homosexual. But you shouldn’t attempt to infringe on the rights of others by forcing your religion on those who don’t believe in it. Homosexuality is not a choice, and it has no negative effect on others.

    Marriage is more than a religious ceremony. Marriage confers countless monetary benefits to the couple and a married couple is far more secure than an unmarried one.

    And Angeli, I take offense at the idea that you are a scientist. There is no science behind your claim.

  16. Missing Brick

    Just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of complaints about this post. I come here to see great lego MOCs, not to have politics rammed down my throat (sickening sanctimonious cultural marxist politics at that!). I don’t like it, don’t agree with it and don’t want to see it.

  17. BobaFett2

    @Missing Brick

    Then you don’t have to.

    This has NOTHING to do with Marxism. Marxism is a political philosophy, and calling it “cultural Marxism” just makes you look bad.

    And Andrew isn’t ramming anything down your throat. He’s voicing his own opinion. Human beings are allowed to do that.

  18. IronBricks

    @Missing Brick – I agree, I don’t enjoy mixing politics with Lego, but sometimes there are debates that are needed, even in the Lego community. You didn’t have to read the post, so don’t blame Andrew for posting it. ; )

  19. gambort

    BobaFett2> Hear, hear. It’s so cute when people (on either side of the spectrum) make it clear how little clue they really have about the issues. Or think that throwing some sort of ‘power word’ wins them the argument.

  20. Fraslund (David)

    I respect Andrew’s right to post anything he wishes to endorse, my only issue was with the original inflamatory dialog to opposition that has since been removed. There was an opportunity to leave this at a peaceful conclusion, but is seems that there are many previous posters who cannot help but get in a last jab.

    While I don’t share the exact position, I think the term Cultural Marxism is appropriate for what he was trying to say. This has become a popular term for the right wing who see a current cultural war in progress.

    I think this is hard as we are all passionate about something, but despite my initial feelings, I try to keep everything positive if possible, and if you present your views even if they are different than mine, in a positive way, I have no problem with that. (unless it is built by MegaBlocks)

    In Closing, I would like to shift the emphasis from attacking one another to the epicness of Andrew’s Beard.

  21. Angeli

    It is very simple (regarding my two previous posts); I said that I person can be allowed to marry whom ever it wants, who ever it loves. Yes? Forget the children issue. If I am in love with a horse, can I marry a horse? Or a dog? Believe me, some dogs would be much better parents then some people; being caring, loving, playful :)
    Further more, what if I am in love with a statue? Can I marry it? Or if I say that I am in love with my car, can I marry my car? Or my refrigerator?

    If a man and a man are allowed to get married, why can’t I marry a dog? Because marriage between a man and an animal sounds disgusting to someone? Same could be said for the same sex marriage. And please don’t tell me that a dog can’t love you like a human, that can be said by someone that never had a dog :)

    You could find a lot of arguments against, like the intelligents, approval, understanding etc, but the bottom line is – if we allow people to do what ever they want in the name of love, fine, but do not be hypocrite and allow it just so much as you see fit and agree. Let me marry my beer glass, I truly love it (and am I needed to prove my love to anyone? Can I just be left alone with my beer glass?)

    This is a very slippery slope. That is what my posts means – allow it, but why would anybody need it? Because of the acknowledgment of the others. In that country other legal stuff can be achieved without the marriage. So 1) think about the children 2) do not be a hypocrite. Let me marry my inflaming doll.

    I know a gay guy who said that people who have sex with animals are sick.
    I know a girl, who is 30 years old, and a virgin, who said that people who masturbate are sick.
    Every guy from my team said that a guy who is gay is sick.
    I know a monk, from my orthodox religion, who said that anyone who loves anything else besides a god is sick.

    …where is the line?
    Should there be a line?
    Should I be allowed to marry an animal, or an object? Or my sister, as she IS blood and flesh person, with thoughts, and feelings?

    I am sorry is my post offended anyone, but just talking about gay people, and gay marriage is offending to someone, right? So who chooses about what topic we can discuss (not here, admins do here, I am talking globally:)

    Who is competent enough to make a judment who can and who can’t be married?

  22. Andrew Post author

    Okay, we’re going in circles at this point, and that’s boring rather than enlightening.

    Thanks for a (mostly) civil, cordial conversation, everyone — even when we couldn’t agree. As I said partway through, if this made you think, that’s a good thing.

    Shutting comments down. ;-)

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