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.


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. gambort

    For what it’s worth, I’m one of the contributors that doesn’t agree with this stance. I think we should all be working to get the State entirely out of our relationships.

  2. L@go

    I wholeheartedly agree with The Brothers Brick blogging this, as it’s clearly an important issue, not least to the people concerned. That said, I very much dislike the unnecessary comment about the “hilarious flame war”. That comes across as “we all know what the right point of view is, and we can all laugh at the ones who don’t share that view”. I am all for gay rights, but that comment seems to represent a misunderstood view of what “tolerance” means – and that view is often shared by the people who feel that they’re in the majority: “I tolerate anything, as long as I don’t disagree with it.”

    So, yay for the post, boo for that comment.

  3. tmp

    While I agree with the views in this post, I do not agree with forcing the issue upon visitors of this blog. People come here for LEGO, not politics.

  4. pat04

    This is a LEGO blog, not a political blog. I do not think this should have been blogged – there is no skill to the builds shown, despite what they are supposed to represent. Had you posted a square or anything similar to this without it’s political stuff everyone would question it.

    Yes, absolutely, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Please allow people to have opinions BUT remember that they may be different. If I gave my opinion on the political and social aspects referred to in this post I doubt very much that they would be considered “tolerant”, despite my not meaning harm to anyone.

  5. gedren_y

    People seem to get tripped up by the word ‘marriage’. What is being determined is recognition under the law, not the religious institution. This will simply give all unions between two people legal parrity, affording them all the same privelidges and responsabilities. Joint tax filing, shared credit for home or car buying (which can turn out to be a negagive), child custody, spouse medical coverage, the right to make medical decisions for the spouse, and in case of divorce, equitable division of assets. I may have missed a few things, but that is basically what is being argued here. If a religious institution does not wish to perform the ceremony, they do not have to, but a government provided courthouse service would not be able to turn them away.

    This is fair. This in no way diminishes marriage.

    I voted against Florida’s DoMA, as it defends nothing and is pure discrimnation.

  6. Daedalus

    (Also, click through to read a hilarious flame war between children who will someday grow up to know better. LDM has provided an excellent way to identify flaming bigots to block.)

    I agree with L@go, this is unnecessary and condescending. These two little sentences create more heat than light. Great point about “tolerance”, as well.

  7. Angeli

    On the other hand, I am one of the people who do not agree with you, Andrew.
    I am not religious, I am a scientist, so my position does come from the mind, not from the hart: I do think that everybody should be able to love and care for whom ever they want, but if the marriage is the next step to have children, I am SO strongly against it. Child that is born can not choose atmosphere of the surrounding environment, and it learns and it is shaped by its parents. I have a lot to say on the subject but I will not spam here with arguments, but I do believe that there is a good chance, high percentage of probability, that child which grows in that kind of union will not be a happy and healthy person.

    On the other hand, I also believe that not every straight person is fit to be a parent, and that there should be some selection who can and who can’t – just because one WANTS a child, it does not mean that it can take care of it, and guide it to the happy and healthy life.

    So, I do not care if people of the same gender (or any people) choose to be in a marriage or not; but if that is a step to the parenting, I would be against it.

    Please note that not all same gender parents would fail; some would surely be wonderful parents. But with all the pressure on the kid in the neighborhood, school etc, they would have to be extra strong and noble people with high wisdom and intelligence. I have not met a lot of people who are like that, and I’ve met a lot who believe they are, which is dangerous mix (forh childs future)

    Strange topic for Lego, but I support it, if we talk in a pleasant way and exchange our thoughts with respect, we can talk about everything. Also, I am sorry if my stand offended someone, I do not say I am right, I say that I believe that I am right :)

  8. catdubh74

    So, Angeli, do I understand correctly that you are against same sex couples being parents and therefore against same sex marriage? That gay couples are somehow not capable of parenting to the same standards as “straight” parents?

    +1 to L@go’s “flame war” comment too.

  9. IronBricks

    I’m with L@go on that comment about the “flamewar”. I believe flamewars are all about mudslinging and swearing at each other, but this is still an honest debate.

  10. lebkin

    Angeli, as a scientist, you should look deeper into actual science. Because the science does not support you. The scientific consensus is when comparing the outcomes for children with gay and lesbian parents with outcomes for children with heterosexual parents, lesbian and gay parents are shown to be as fit and capable as heterosexual parents. Their children are as psychologically healthy and well-adjusted as children reared by heterosexual parents. Just this month, The American Academy of Pediatrics said same-sex marriage “in the best interests” of the children, that they support a policy statement in support of same-sex parents’ right to wed as well as to foster or adopt children. Scientifically, there is no good argument for denying LGBT people the right to be parents.

  11. the enigma that is badger

    @Angeli – Unfortunately (or better put, thankfully for the children involved), the available data do not support your conclusions. The amicus brief filed by the American Society of Sociologists concludes:

    “The social science consensus is both conclusive and clear: children fare just as well when they are raised by same-sex parents as when they are raised by opposite sex parents. This consensus holds true across a wide range of child outcome indicators and is supported by numerous nationally representative studies. Accordingly, assuming that either DOMA or Proposition 8 has any effect on whether children are raised by opposite-sex or same-sex parents, there is no basis to prefer opposite-sex parents over same-sex parents and neither DOMA nor Proposition 8 is justified. The research supports the conclusion that extension of marriage rights to same-sex couples has the potential to improve child wellbeing insofar as the institution of marriage may provide social and legal support to families and enhances family stability, key drivers of positive child outcomes. The Regnerus study and other studies relied on by BLAG, the Proposition 8 Proponents, and their amici provide no basis for their arguments, because they do not directly examine the wellbeing of children raised by same-sex parents These studies therefore do not undermine the consensus from the social science research and do not establish a “common sense” basis for DOMA or Proposition 8.”

    The entire document is available online and makes for excellent reading regarding all the scholarly work on the subject, not to mention the faults of the oft-mentioned Regnerus study: (C_ Gottlieb)_ASA_Same-Sex_Marriage.pdf

  12. the enigma that is badger

    Correction: American Sociological Association. “American Society of Sociologists” would result in a truly unfortunate acronym!

  13. Andrew Post author

    L@go, you are absolutely right, and I stand corrected. Thanks for calling bullshit on my irrelevant, condescending little aside. Post edited (though I’m leaving the comment trail above).

    All, thanks for keeping this civil and un-bigoted, even if you don’t agree with my own position on this issue.

    For future commenters, a quick reminder of the terms of service you agree to when you leave a comment: “The Content … does not constitute hate speech (including but not limited to racism, sexism, or homophobia)…”

  14. Helpusobi1

    I do not agree with same-sex marriage. Unfortunately, society has painted people like me to be unloving, uncaring, and very closed-minded. I know several homosexual people, and I love them as much as I do my straight friends…. though they know I disapprove of their actions.

    People like me feel convicted about this subject (and many others) because of our religious beliefs. I think it’s a sin… but many others disagree. Because the people arguing for same-sex marriage are not Bible-believers, they reject the Bible, and thus we have nothing to argue with. They dismiss our arguments as baloney if we mention Sodom and Gomorrah. This is why arguments about the well-being of any adopted children in a same-sex guardian home have made an appearance. If someone rejects the Bible, we as (and I hesitate to say this as it largely has negative connotations thanks to whackos who have ruined our name) Christians have no basis for morals. The Bible is our moral standard… who sets the standard for others who don’t believe in the BIble (or even God)? The law? And how many people get arrested each day for breaking it?

    My two cents.

  15. Xenomurphy

    Helpusobi1, I think common sense should be everybody’s basis for morals, not a 2000 years old book written by people who for example believed that the earth is flat and the center of the universe. History and science have prooven many times how wrong they have been in many, many cases.

  16. Andrew Post author

    Before this turns into a religious rather than civil debate (though, let’s just acknowledge that the basis of most opposition to marriage equality is founded on religious ideals), I’d like to take this discussion in a more LEGO-focused direction.

    What place does LEGO have in politics? What place does politics have in LEGO?

  17. carterbaldwin

    ^ Honestly, I feel this is as valid a place for this sort of debate as any. These builds aren’t the first editorial opinion expressed through Lego, and won’t be the last.

  18. LukeClarenceVan

    Aw, sniped by Andrew before I could get talking about Biblical ideals. Ah well, I’ll play by the rules and contribute my 2 cents to this new topic.
    I’ll leave talking about economics – how LEGO can affect political choices and how politics can affect LEGO product development/sales – to someone more knowledgable than me. Instead, I’ll focus on the type of scenario seen here. I feel that LEGO is a medium for many things, principally fun, art, and messages. In that order. LEGO should be about building what you enjoy building, and if you are inspired to build a MOC with a political or social message then I see no reason why not. However, building such a creation simply to ignite controversy, get comments, or attract attention is absolutely pointless. LEGO is not meant as a way of spreading your opinions, but as an enjoyable hobby. When we lose sight of that, we might as well just write persuasive essays.

  19. Helpusobi1

    There is little basis for a flat or geocentric earth in the Bible. Galileo and Copernicus both believed in God.
    Men are fallible, and thus can be proven wrong… history and science have proven this. How have history and science proven *the Bible* wrong?

  20. Helpusobi1

    Erm… was replying before Andrew posted. :P

    @LCV… I completely agree. LEGO is a form of expression, like any other medium… though it can get out of control.

  21. AK_brickster

    I have to agree with previous posters who suggested that TBB be about Lego and not politics. Regardless of my/your/their viewpoint(s), I consider this site to be about showcasing amazing Lego builds, not promoting an agenda, no matter what side of the issue you’re on. I’m glad that you at least removed the “flame war” portion of the post, as I wholeheartedly agreed with L@go’s comment.

    There are a million other forums where this discussion is taking place, it would be nice if we could keep the discussion in one of those places and keep the bricks out of it. Half the reason that I am a fan of Lego is that when I’m building/sorting/blogging/etc, the other daily pressures/issues/conflicts of this world all seem to fall away.

    Anyway, I guess I’ll make this my formal request to remove this post, though I don’t have any expectations that it will be taken down. It just doesn’t seem to be in line with the standard of excellent building that I come to expect from TBB featured builds, and I think that should really be the only criteria.

    Thanks :)

  22. Nolnet

    Angeli, you statement is unbelievable. I’m sure you mean well and just think of the children, but seriously? Not only do you contradict your own conclusion when you say that children in traditional mom/dad families have no guarantee to live a happy life, that being straight is certainly no guarantee for good parenting; your statement is: kids from gay families will have it hard at school. Because of this, it would be better if kids from gay families wouldn’t even exist in the first place.

    Wow. There is so much wrong with that statement that I don’t even know where to start.

    Depending on the kid’s cultural environment, you may even be right about the school thing. But the same is very much a reality for kids of immigrants, kids of a different race, disabled kids, kids with red hair, freckles, braces, whatever, you name it.
    There’s a very simple solution for this: be a good parent. Teach your own children that it’s okay to be different. Set an example and live by that standard. Kids certainly won’t have a problem with that.

  23. Mudskipper

    I disagree with the post. You may agree with the post; I don’t think it’s right, but I am allowed to believe that. If you are not a Christian, then I cannot expect you to agree with my line of thinking. However, we are talking about an issue that confronts Americans (specifying in light of the fact that not all BB readers are American). So why, may I ask, are we bringing out a distinctly American problem on this blog meant for international readers? Do you not see some level of discrimination right there?

    Here’s what I’m saying. Everything you believe will come out in what you do. Thus, if builders create something excellent, it will most likely reflect their view of the world. That’s fine. I may build crucifixion scenes, they may build rainbow flags. Here’s where I challenge you Andrew: not on the basis that you have a different viewpoint from me, and not even on the basis that you strongly supported that viewpoint on the BB – but that you broke your own rules to do so.

    According to your own post (, things must be excellently made and photographed to be shown here. Neither of these builds fit into that category; thus, according to you, they do not belong on this blog. According to the BB about section “…today we highlight the best LEGO creations of every type from builders around the world…” the standard for “best” has just gone down.

    In summary I say this: politics is not the point of the BB. Excellent builds are. So if an excellent build highlights a political topic, then by all means, put it on here. But if not, then I respectfully request that you leave the merely political posts off the blog.

  24. 4estFeller

    “Posted in the category LEGO, models”

    Andrew, why didn’t you put in the “activism” category? Oh never mind, there is no activism category. Maybe there is a good reason for that?

  25. LegoLord

    I agree totally with mudskipper and Jordan. This post has really disappointed me, we get enough controversy as is. TBB is about Lego, not the agenda of political activists.

  26. Matt Hurt

    I agree with AK_Brickster that this really doesn’t belong here. I understand it’s your blog and you can post whatever you want on here. However, as a devoted fan who loves coming here for the great LEGO creations, if I really wanted to read more about the marriage debate (or any other political issue) I’d just log into facebook. As is evident by the previous 20 comments, posts like this only focus on driving us apart, instead of focusing on what brings us all here in the first place, which is our love for LEGO.

  27. brodey1

    @Xenomurphy, The Bible was not wantonly written by men, but rather inspired by and infused with God’s wisdom and grace. And how exactly are failed scientific theories (that were most likely nonexistent in Biblical times) supposed to affect the validity of The Bible. Anyways, I do love this site, but referring to people who were somewhat respectfully disagreeing with the idea of marriage “equality” as flaming bigots is ridiculous.

  28. Tromas

    I think Ryan’s is a great model…that is some high quality SNOT right there!

    I think it is wonderful that Andrew posted this here. I have to wonder if all of you who are so opposed to this posting would take issue had it been a model of a simple brick built cross with a write-up on why Andrew is proud to be Christian??

  29. Andrew Post author

    Here’s where I stand on the LEGO vs. politics issue, and both why I posted this today and why we’ve highlighted politically tinged LEGO models in numerous posts in the past:

    I truly believe that LEGO is a legitimate form of artistic expression. Real art encompasses the depth and breadth of human experience, and social issues are one aspect of our shared experience that can and should be reflected in art. Thus, when a social issue presents itself in LEGO form, I’m happy to highlight it. Of course, I’m more likely to highlight something I happen to agree with (as in this instance), since I believe art has the capacity to change minds.

    Long-time readers shouldn’t be surprised by this, since across our eight years online we’ve posted our share of LEGO art about the Iraq war, torture, extraordinary rendition, and more. As I write in the main post, I posted my own vignette about marriage equality way back in 2006.

    Not to diminish in any way my support for the cause itself, but posting this is as much commentary on the seriousness of LEGO as an artistic medium as it is about the social issue itself. If I’ve made you think — about either LEGO as a means of artistic and social expression or about marriage equality itself — then I’ve succeeded, whether or not I’ve convinced you on either point. :-)

    4estFeller: Merely an oversight. Rest assured I’ll be adding an appropriate new tag to this and all past agitprop later. ;-)

  30. Blake Baer

    I have long looked on TBB as a great place to escape the typical clashes of viewpoints and political biases that are prevalent in the community. I question whether this post belongs here on TBB. If this is a post about the LEGO models (as its archive folder says), then I am a little disappointed at the dropping of the standards. If this post is about the politics, then I would submit that it shouldn’t be so obviously biased, not to mention on this site at all. Either way, TBB loses some of my respect this day.

  31. catdubh74

    I don’t have a problem with this post because I can choose to scroll-on as I do when I see other posts that don’t strike my fancy. I do understand how some readers wish it wasn’t posted because it does bring to question where to draw the line in terms of “why” a MOC should be featured. These particular MOCs don’t strike me as stellar examples of technique or originality (something I can relate to). Should MOCs depicting stances on gun control, abortion, environmental controls, etc…be posted?

    It’s up to the contributors to determine the answer to that question. I think a highly relevant political topic is definitely fair game. I wouldn’t mind seeing more provocative models – because if I don’t like the message (or more importantly, the model) then I can always scroll-on.

  32. AK_brickster

    At least with previous “political art” posts, the builds have been of terrific quality, and you haven’t promoted a cause or demeaned a contradicting viewpoint in your presentation.

    Your examples:
    “The Power of Freedom: Iraq” – Caption: “I will let the viewer interpret and reflect on its meaning on their own.”

    “Holocaust and Torture” were builds that were taken from a movie scene and from actual historical happenings. Not really a lot political there. The main discussion was whether or not the material was suitable for viewing by children.

    And with “Should LEGO release modern military sets”, it was at least labeled and presented as an editorial and the discussion had to do with actual TLG policy, not just some random political issue.

    This particular post has absolutely zero to do with LEGO as a controversial art medium. If it was about that, you’d have shown several examples of controversial LEGO art and not plugged the issue itself.

    I know you are very passionate about this issue and likely are proud to be supporting it. When people chime in that they don’t agree with your viewpoint or that it should have been posted, it’s really easy to get defensive and let your passion and pride keep you from acknowledging a conflicting viewpoint. But if you can put that aside for a second, I think you’ll see that your political intentions with this post far outweighed any other reason for posting it.

    I say all of this as someone who considers themselves to be your friend, and even as someone who to a large extent is on the same side of the issue as you are. I just think that the mark was missed on this one.

  33. Fraslund (David)

    I was also stunned about the fact this was posted, but moreso about the fact that there was a comment calling anyone who disagreed with the view a bigot and the idea of blocking anyone who disagreed with the position.

    One of the greatest draws for me in the Lego community is that I know I may have different views than others, but I consider these people my friends and wouldn’t hesistate to help them in any way and enjoy their company

    I come to TBB to view the best in the Lego community. If I wanted to be bombarded by the political views I can go everywhere else.

  34. Xenomurphy

    Helpusobi1 & brodey1
    you are guests here, so you should respect Andrew’s wishes.

    We have a saying in Germany: Never tell a blogger what to blog and what not to blog. If you don’t like it, don’t go there.

  35. Tromas

    @ AK_Brickster: In Andrew’s defence, I totally would have gone into more detail about my opinions on the Iraq war in my post. My “I will let the viewer interpret and reflect on its meaning on their own.” was more of an easy way out because I have my opinions, but honestly am not smart enough to accurately put them to words :P

    I do not look at Andrew’s post as pushing an agenda in any way. He even says, “I suspect some of our contributors don’t even agree with me, but this is important”. So if he is acknowledging the fact that even some fellow contributors don’t agree with him, than clearly he understands that some readers won’t as well.

    I think the ‘quality’ of the models is not important in this case. The fact is that they are relevant to a political debate that is occuring right now, they are made of LEGO, and Andrew feels strongly for the issue, so they are perfect things to be featured.

    All this post has done is initiated a discussion, at the end of the day discussion can’t make things worse.

  36. Andrew Post author

    I think those of you making the point about the quality of the LEGO model/artwork have a fair point. Good feedback, and great discussion!

  37. LukeClarenceVan

    I think we could all learn a lot from Germany. Well said Thorsten.
    Also, thanks to Andrew for the explanation of your post. While I’d already agreed with this post and the sentiment behind it, your elaboration earned my respect. Hat’s off.
    As for all the people who say that they are against gay rights because the Bible says so, I have to assume that you’ve given all your worldly goods to the poor? Become self-made eunuchs after having a moment of lust? If not, I find your choices of what Biblical writings to follow and which to ignore somewhat selfish and disturbing. Rather than trying to make other people’s lives difficult, why don’t you work harder to assure paradise in the afterlife and leave people to their own devices?
    Sorry about the Bible speech, but as a Christian I can’t help but be disappointed when my fellows uphold trivial aspects of the text while ignoring the greater messages.

  38. TheBrickAvenger

    I took the time to read your different views, whether for or against marriage equality and I’d give mine.

    First, I don’t understand why some people seem “shocked” by this article, it’s true that here TheBrotherBrick or rather Andrew expressly gives his views on the matter, he is for equality. But don’t you do the same thing when you openly express your religion on a Flickr image that touches the Lego or not ? In both cases you give your opinion, Ryan (eldeeem) chose to defend himself, Andrew supports him so why the cons people don’t make a MOC to express their opinion against that equality ?

    Finally, I think it’s more that the marriage equality which is at stake, it’s a matter of progress, advancing our societies. As I read above, we don’t choose our sexual orientation, as well as the color of our skin. At one time black people have sought the same rights as the whites, and they succeeded. Need I remind you that the Catholic Church initially thought that black people had no soul, that she doesn’t consider them as men ? And yet, in this great country which are the United State, they have achieved this equality, and it didn’t bother Christians. Well, for the marriage, it’s the same thing, although a sacred book, written by several people that we don’t know the names, says otherwise. Gay people are part of our society, they are no different. you don’t find it sad when a homosexual person, at the death of her husband finds himself without nothing because laws don’t allow it ? So why not change/modify religion at the image of our societies ?

    I think nothing can go against the progress, the machine is running as it’sin France or in the United States, and if it’s not tomorrow, it will be next year. It will take time, and it will need to fight the taboos and misconceptions.

  39. Tervlon

    Meh, regardless of the agenda the quality of the builds was lacking. I’d hate to think the way to get blogged on TBB was to merely build something that makes a political statement the contributors here agree with. I certainly look forward to TBB posts, but this wasn’t my favorite type of post as it was meant solely to inflame political passions and not show off a particularly good build.

    Obviously TBB contributors can do what they want and I am not requesting any kind of censorship. We’re adults and discussion is healthy, plain and simple this is not what I want as a consumer of the blog. I want well built MOCs and discussion about how the builds are a reflection of life- not a rant on politics.

  40. Nolnet

    Dear Andrew,
    you posted something last week that I didn’t approve of, both from an ethical and from a LEGO-related point of view. When I saw the post, I thought “meh”, but refrained to complain about it, because I was aware that a lot of other people probably liked the post very much.

    As you may know, I like to express my political, ethical or otherwise social views in LEGO every once in a while. I’d be glad if you and your fellow Brothers continued to blog creations like that whenever you feel like.

    As one of your readers I am perfectly capable of scrolling past any post I’m not interested in (quite a lot, actually, for example anything that looks like a mecha). I am also trained to not look at comments when I’m not interested in a discussion.

    Thanks, Moritz

  41. AK_brickster

    “Tromas says: I think it is wonderful that Andrew posted this here. I have to wonder if all of you who are so opposed to this posting would take issue had it been a model of a simple brick built cross with a write-up on why Andrew is proud to be Christian??”

    I personally probably wouldn’t have raised an issue with a simple cross for personal reasons, but I sure wouldn’t have argued that it has any place on this blog, for both quality and content reasons.
    Tromas says: “I do not look at Andrew’s post as pushing an agenda in any way.”

    Yet Andrew wrote, “…and people everywhere are changing their online avatars to show their support for freedom and justice.”

    Not pushing an agenda? So if you don’t support gay marriage, you’re anti-freedom and opposed to justice. Seems like a pretty strong push to me.

    Like I said, I’m basically on the same side of this issue as Andrew is, but if you’re going to push an issue, at least say, “hey guys, this is my blog and I’ll push my viewpoints if I want. End of discussion.” Don’t try to hide behind some made up secondary and tertiary reasons for posting it. At least then people will know what kind of blog they’re reading. It’s obviously clear that TBB has no problem pushing sociopolitical viewpoints as part of their content, and if you don’t like it, then you don’t need to read the blog.

  42. Pelko

    As someone who cares deeply about basic human equality / rights: thanks for posting this Andrew. And yes, I do think it fits on this blog as TBB has always commented on big social events (with a focus on the US).

    I will try to refrain from further participation in this discussion as I’m not sure where to start when being confronted with such hateful opinions from individuals who somehow claim a moral high-ground. Mostly I hope these opinions are actually not their own, and are merely thoughtless reflections of their elders cultural background.

  43. brodey1

    @LukeClarenceVan, the principles you highlight from the Bible are incredibly out of context. Both come from sermons made by Jesus. the first is merely an example of surrendering our selfish, earthly desires in order to have the same desires as Christ, and the second is concerning the avoidance of any appearance of evil. Also, what part of The Bible do you consider to be trivial? @Xenomurphy, I have no wish to disrespect Andrew’s wishes, I visit this blog many times a day and really enjoy the posts, I just saw this particular post and felt compelled to give my two cents. No disrespect here.

  44. polywen

    For what it’s worth, this post makes me proud to be part of TBB. I applaud Andrew’s courage and the strength of his conviction to say this. Our fan community is a microcosm of the larger community, and what stands we choose to take, matters… both here and out there.

    Obviously, my views are in line with Andrew’s, but I was as surprised as the next guy that he chose to post this (though a little miffed he didn’t include my brick built symbol in the post). As a contributor, I would never have presumed to get political, as it isn’t my place. But if there is anyone here with the right to, who embodies the spirit of TBB, it would of course be Andrew.


  45. fallentomato

    As the creator of the simpler of these two models I have to say I understand the criticisms about the quality not being in line with the content standards for TBB. I obviously have no qualms about mixing LEGO and political activism/current events, nor with Andrew using this blog to highlight such models. But as others point out past activism posts here have featured models with a little more workmanship. I can’t think of another simple studs-up basic brick creation featured here non-ironically.

    The only counter-argument I can think of to the quality argument would have to focus on the importance of speed and responsiveness over quality in capturing rapidly spreading social phenomena (viral memes). The HRC’s original photo that sparked all this is oddly low-res (178×178), so that could be a parallel to consider.

  46. gambort

    ^ We’ve posted mosaics in the past. This is a mosaic :)

    AK_brickster> We’ve posted Christmas and Easter MOCs before. Does that mean we’re pushing a Christian agenda. As I recall we’ve also posted Channukah MOCs. Does that make it a Judaeo-Christian agenda. I’m pretty sure I’ve posted a mosque too. Does that make it an Abrahamic agenda?

    Yes, Andrew is pushing an agenda today. Not because he posted, but because he made his own feelings clear in the post. If enough people feel so strongly about avoiding topical issues, I’m sure we could remove all posts involving religious themes. Would that make you happier?

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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.


    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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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 ;)

  53. 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. :)

  54. 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.

  55. 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!

  56. 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.

  57. 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? :)

  58. dateman

    well all I can say is that TBB is a blog and not everything posted gets me excited…if a creation doesn’t impress me I move on and within a day or so it’s gone from the front page…I wouldn’t dream of publicly admonishing a builder with my humble opinion as we all build and share what makes us happy.

    We will all have our opinions on the topic at hand but not sure why we have to share…if you feel strongly one way or the other then take it up with you respective legislative assembly and good luck to all. I think the posting was valid as I’ve seen our mainstream media pick up on the symbol and it’s meaning in Australia today, TBB is just leading the way again :)

  59. 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.

  60. 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.

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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. ; )

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

  68. 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?

  69. 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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