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Jiffy Rental Center in Riverton, Wyoming

 

A car slows at a traffic light to make a left turn. Only then do I see the bumper sticker. It reads:   “The Green Coalition of Gay Loggers for Jesus.”  A few miles later, I am still chuckling with a smile on my face. I’m not sure why. The name of this group is contradictory on so many levels, the organization must be a joke.  It turns out, this one is real. The Green Coalition of Gay Loggers for Jesus is not about gay loggers or saving the environment. Nor is it about Jesus, though some religious people will be mortified anyway.  The Coalition is organized as an alternative to the tea party movement in Bozeman, Montana.   

Here is the way it happened.

In 2009, the newly formed local tea party storms a City Commission meeting, demanding a permit to march in a Fourth of July parade. They want to march in protest of taxes and government spending.  Beleaguered City Commissioners agree to let them march. Later, someone figures out closing down Main Street is going to cost the city $1100.00 in staff and police overtime. Ironically, the tea party feels it is the city’s obligation to pay for their protest.  

The irony is too much for one local citizen.   Since only organizations can apply for parade permits in Bozeman, the Green Coalition of Gay Loggers for Jesus is formed to apply. The Coalition promises to raise $1100.00 to reimburse taxpayers for additional costs, or failing to do so, they will not march. The plan is to shame the local tea party into saving taxpayers the added costs of their protest. In short order, the Coalition collects more than double the amount promised. The excess proceeds are donated to a food bank for the poor.   

On July fourth, the Green Coalition of Gay Loggers for Jesus marches first with sixty some laid back people enjoying themselves and having a good time. In contrast, 500 or so tea party marchers follow with angry signs expressing… well, discontent.   Focused on their protest, they forget the reason for the holiday – America’s independence. Oops. The fourth of July is to celebrate what is great about America. It’s not exactly a red letter day for protesting what is wrong with our country.  

The story continues. In 2010, the Coalition is first to apply for the only available parade permit for Independence Day. The tea party is advised if they wanted to march in the parade, they must do so with the Green Coalition of Gay Loggers for Jesus.  Talk about a gut-wrenching  decision!  Rather than join the Coalition parade, the tea party leaves town for the holiday and marches elsewhere. In 2011, the tea party opts for a picnic in lieu of a parade march on the fourth.  Bashing America on the fourth of July in Bozeman still does not seem like a good idea.

In the heat of politics, you can occasionally miss the whole point of a holiday. Or, with our freedoms in America, you can choose to do what you want on the fourth of July, never mind protocol or good taste.  After all, the original Boston tea Party was a protest, though it didn’t occur on the same day as a national holiday or say, the Super Bowl.   

To be fair, both Liberals and Conservatives should not be subsidized by government for their protests.   They should pay their own way.   But the contribution of the Green Coalition of Gay Loggers for Jesus is far more reaching than mere politics.  By contrasting  political, cultural, and religious differences and our diversity in America, the Coalition has given a boost to  tolerance.  Whether you laugh at the name of the organization or are incensed by it, our human tendency to overreact becomes clear when our differences are illustrated in a single group's identity.   Thanks to the Green Coalition of Gay Loggers for Jesus, we have another reason to get over ourselves and recognize that our diversity is a source of our strength in America. 

Happy Independence Day!  

 

 

    

 


 

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