LAST AMENDMENT (xxx)*

REIGNING ON THEIR PARADE

PROVO FREEDOM FESTIVAL’S BIGOTRY AGAINST THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY REINFORCES THE NEED FOR SAFE HAVENS LIKE ENCIRCLE

In Search of the H Gene, Watercolor, 48" X 36", 1994, Richard J Van Wagoner, Courtesy of Van Wagoner Family Trust**

I was relieved to learn the private, non-profit foundation Provo Freedom Festival (“Freedom”), which receives substantial public funding, finally came to its senses. Most of the planned festivities, including the parade, were scheduled for Independence Day. Freedom had approved the application of Encircle, a safe haven and resource for the LGBTQ community. The kids from Encircle were excited and prepared to participate.

But on July 3, 2017, Encircle was disinvited from participating in the festival…and none too soon. Freedom, the event organizers claimed, risked a smudge on its self-proclaimed status as “non-political” by allowing Encircle, a 503(c), to participate side by side with the non-“advocates,” including the missionaries who were always a big hit. Observers might easily have confused Encircle’s blatant displays of tolerance, inclusion, acceptance, diversity, suicide prevention, and individual and family empowerment with what Freedom claims to stand for, those bedrock “American values of family, freedom, God, and country.”

Whew. Bullet dodged.

Sheparding, 46.5" x 36", Oil on Canvas, 1999, Richard J Van Wagoner, Courtesy of Van Wagoner Family Trust.

On October 6, 1998, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson beat, tortured and left for dead Matthew Shepard. The next year my father joined that cacophony with Sheparding, a haunting piece I believe comments on the horrific ignorance and over-againstness that define most hate groups, particularly the religiously inspired, some of which take the form of government bodies supported by a similarly inspired electorate. Others take the form of organizations with lofty, inspirational names and themes used as pretext to camouflage rigid intolerance, irrational fear and bigotry. Should it surprise anyone that official marginalization does little to discourage and much to encourage unofficial physical, emotional and social violence against the marginalized?

The speciousness of Freedom's given reason for reversing its position and disallowing Encircle's participation in the parade reveals its actual motives, motives which fundamentally contradict the proffered principles it exists to celebrate. Hypocrisy seems to be the order of the day. Unfortunately, Freedom’s hate-filled ignorance reinforces the need for Encircle and organizations like it.

Thank you Encircle. https://encircletogether.org/

See Pencive Times: “Making America Straight (or at least Closeted) Again”
http://lastamendment.com/2017/02/18/last-amendment-iv-conversion-therapy-for-a-regime-in-disrepair-2/

Christ Ministering to the Homosexuals in Salt Lake City, Watercolor, 51" x 43", 1996, Richard J Van Wagoner, Courtesy of Van Wagoner Family Trust.**

*My brother the fiction writer and novelist, Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner, deserves considerable credit for offering both substantive and technical suggestions to lastamendment.com

**My daughter Angela Moore, a professional photographer, photographed more than 500 pieces of my father's work. On behalf of the Van Wagoner Family Trust, she is in the process of compiling a collection of his art work. The photographs of my father's art reproduced in lastamendment.com are hers

ravchief

Natural US Citizen. Caucasian. Shamed into blogging by DSM-V Cluster B 9/9-led regime, Utah's most embarrassing congressperson, and Newton's Third Law of Motion. The views expressed are mine.

USA, Utah, Salt Lake City

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