Anti-Gay Marriage Protester Fail August 8, 2012

Anti-Gay Marriage Protester Fail

This may be the weirdest protest attempt I have seen in some time.

Michael Leisner decided to burn a box of Honey Nut Cheerios in protest of General Mills’ pro-gay marriage stance.

You should just watch the video (embedding disabled) to see how that worked out for him.

Behold! The power and majesty of a flame, cleansing the Earth of sin! AHHH MY CUFFS ARE ON FIRE!

One out of every eight boxes of cereal in the country are Cheerios.  This is really the treat now for the homosexuals!  And this is our protest of General Mills advocating same sex marriages.  So we re going to torch some cereals.

I have a few questions about this video… I sort of suspect that it’s fake.  First of all, his rambling intro really makes no sense to me. Second, his videographers can’t stop giggling once the flames get out of control.

But if it is real… what was your game plan, Leisner?

I see your kitchen stool and a cereal bowl.  You’re holding the box and you… try to dramatically light the cereal as it’s pouring out of the very flammable cardboard box?

I’m starting to believe you didn’t think this through all the way…

I might understand setting the box on fire as it’s on the stool.  I would also get setting the bowl of cereal on fire.  Maybe then you could conjure up some Hell-fire imagery, I guess?

Either way, you ended up almost burning yourself, set the lawn of General Mills on fire, and lost your job in the process.  Great protest…

I am really rethinking my stance on gay marriage.

***Edit*** (from Hemant): Fred Clark (a Christian) makes an important point about this video. Was the protester an evangelical Christian? He never explicitly says that… but I know I assumed it when I saw it. Maybe you did, too? Fred writes:

So why did everyone assume that this man was an evangelical Christian?

Because he’s anti-gay.

More specifically, because he’s disproportionately concerned with being anti-gay and he’s choosing to express that concern in a goofy, obnoxious and destructive way.

And in the present age, in 2012 in America, all of that marked this man as an evangelical Christian just as surely as if he were wearing a Jesus-fish necklace and a Newsboys T-shirt.

Please let that sink in. Please contemplate what that means for the witness of evangelical Christians in America in 2012. Please consider what that means for the reputation of the church.

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  • Truly, the passionate opponents of marriage equality and gay rights are doing more to advance both of those causes then all the rational, ethical people on Earth put together. Keep it up, guys!

  • Joe Zamecki

    He WAS a prominent Bible-pushing evangelist on Youtube. His channel has since been taken down. I remember his videos, what little of them I could stomach. It’s no assumption, he was a Christian evangelist on Youtube. 

  • Tainda

    Nooo!  I love Honey Nut Cheerios 🙁

  • Ray Mansell

    Please consider what that means for the reputation of the church.

    They have only themselves to blame. Much as I admire Fred, it’s a bit late to start bemoaning the damage christians have done in this country. Quelle domage. 

  • This should be a Myth Busters episode.   A.) Are cheerios really that flammable?  B) Which breakfast cereal is the most flammable?  C) Can you build a cheerios powered flame-thrower?  

  •    @Joe Zamecki
     I think I remember those video, too. Even for nut job ones, they were hard to get through.

  • Phil Bellerive

    Not only is it all true, he lost his job over the episode.

  • Michael

    Sugar can be highly flammable. Beware of setting fire to high-sugar things.

  • smg77

    Why would there be any question about this guy being religious? I’ve never heard any secular arguments against marriage equality.

  • C Peterson

    Nor to it being an Evangelical. Catholics and other religious people are often opposed to marriage equality, but they don’t usually pull these kinds of redneck stunts.

  • badger3k

    The link to him losing his job even says he is a “Christian Radio Preacher”.  I think you can figure out from the available info what kind he was.  Why try to protect the evangelicals?  Anytime we see a loon like this, guess what he turns out to be?  Clark is batting against statistics.

  • Neil Terry

    I’m pretty sure he was trying to do what I call the “non-dairy creamer trick”…if you pour a starchy substance through the air, you can light the stream and turn it into a fairly impressive stream of fire.  Some special effects and  “sawdust cannons” work essentially the same way, with aresolized carbohydrates.  Done right, a box of Cheerios might look pretty good, but with such a clumpy substance I think he would have needed a longer drop to get a good effect, and maybe he should have crushed up the Cheerios a bit first to get a finer silt.
    Also, he was doing the trick at the worst possible angle, with the box and his body obscuring the effect.  He should have been pouring either toward the camera or out to one side, not to the back.  I guess being a big goofy clown is no guarantee of showmanship!

    And at least minor kudos to Fred Clark.  While I think he should be more concerned about the actual contents of the messages that christians put out into the world instead of just the damage to the reputation of evangelicals, at least he said something.  At least he is aware of how totally stupid things like this look to reasonable people.  That awareness may or may not lead to personal growth or a re-examination of beliefs and principles, but those things certainly won’t happen without such awareness.  I wonder though…is he aware that for many of us, the standard christian/abrahamic religion stance on homosexuality ALREADY looks this stupid and ugly, without requiring the props and clumsy dumbassery?

  • RobMcCune

    Obviously General Mills is run by satan.

  • MaryD

     Same sex ‘marriage’ isn’t an equality issue. Nominally all men and women are free to marry, that is ‘equality’. Marriage is something that joins one man to one women and that is nominally available to everyone. Just because you are unwilling or unable to marry someone of the opposite sex doesn’t create inequality. Some of us have it in us to get married, some of us don’t, we just have to live with it. Some of us would like to have children, some of us can’t have them, they have to live with it. It isn’t an ‘inequality’, it is life.

  • smg77

    Marriage equality means that everybody, straight or gay, can marry who they wish. Marriage is only one man and one woman to bigots.

  • Jenlyn

    Funny how when horrible things happen to other people they say “it was gods will to destroy you evil doers”  But catching yourself on fire couldn’t possibly be gods way of trying to rid the world of you. :p

  • Dan

     MaryD, your same argument was used to justify banning interracial marriage. People said it wasn’t an equality issue because white people had to marry within their race just like everyone else did, so it wasn’t treating anyone unfairly. That same justification was used to ban interracial dating at Bob Jones University until 2000. Also, your point comparing some people not being able to have children with the government not allowing couples to enter into a civil marriage contract based on their sexual orientation is just so silly I’ll not even address it beyond asking you to think for yourself if that is a false equivalence or not. 

    Saying you can’t marry the consenting adult you love because of their nationality, religion, race, or gender is an equality issue. It means the government is arbitrarily picking and choosing which adults can enter into civil contracts based on those factors. If you are against gay marriage for religious reasons please just be honest and admit it, instead of trying to use bizzare false analogies to pretend this isn’t an equality issue.

  • Tom

    Some simple rules of thumb on how not to get mercilessly derided on youtube.  I offer these to our opponent in the spirit of good sportsmanship, what with it being the Olympics and all.

    1. Rehearse.  Ideally somewhere nobody can see you with the camera turned off.
    1.a Test special effects beforehand in a safe, controlled manner, at the smallest scale possible.  Don’t assume anything is safe; cereal-based pyrotechnics are remarkably potent.  Haven’t you ever heard of silo explosions?
    2. Take the time to edit your footage.  Don’t go straight from camera to internet.
    3. Re-shoot if necessary; these aren’t the bad old days when you had to pay for extra film stock for every take.
    4. Use a tripod.
    5. If it all goes tits-up, seriously consider not actually uploading anything at all.
    5.a If it all goes tits-up and you do decide you don’t want to upload anything, make sure you have a camera crew you can trust not to do it anyway.
    6. If you accidentally set the location on fire, put it out or call the fire brigade.  Don’t stand there gawping and ineffectively toeing the flames for a few seconds before running away.
    6a. It’s probably best if you get the property owner’s permission before you film yourself lighting fires on their land which, since you panicked and ran away after filming this out of your car, I think I’m safe in assuming you didn’t – it might help you resist the urge to run away rather than be a responsible adult and call the emergency services.
    7. Don’t be a spiteful bigot.  The social tide is turning; the future is
    not going to be a good time to be a spiteful bigot.  Especially not
    when the whole world can see you on camera.

  • For those concerned about leaping to judgement about this guy being an evangelical Christian, set your minds at ease. He is one. At least, that’s what the Smoking Gun is reporting. According to them … based on his own admissions to them … he’s done some Bible radio (how much, they don’t say) and some campus preaching.

    So for Fred Church and others of his ilk, the reputation of evangelical Christians (such as it is) is intact. Leisner did, in fact, manage to live down to all my expectations of evangelicals. It’s long past time for any evangelical Christians out there who are truly concerned with the reputation of their wing of their religion, to start figuring out exactly what they plan to do about it. Doing nothing leaves their beliefs in the hands of wingnuts, fruitcakes, and flamers (pardon the pun) like Leisner.

  • C Peterson

    Marriage is something that joins one man to one women and that is nominally available to everyone.

    That is just one definition of marriage… a definition that is shifting as culture shifts. It’s certainly representative of marriage in western cultures for the last 1000 years or so, but not of many smaller cultures even today, not of Greek or Roman cultures, not of Islamic cultures, not of cultures in Biblical times. Just what marriage is and who can marry is fluid. You may not like the current shift, but that shift is happening, and nothing seems likely to change that.

  • NewAtheist

    I find it truly humorous that his cheerios are “flaming”

  • Guest

    Two things.  I’m glad nobody has attempted to equate this with the Chick Fil A rant against the young woman at a drive through.  A few attempted it, and it’s obviously not in the ballpark.
    Second, regarding reputations.  Sure, any group can be hurt because of the actions of a single individual.  But that’s where the common sense of everyone else comes in.  Should I judge all evangelical Christians, or evangelical Christianity, based on this one person?  Really? I wouldn’t want to be judged by the worst of any group I’m part of.  Therefore, I won’t do it to others.

  • Wild Rumpus

     The death by lightning of “Touchdown Jesus” is probably the most obvious example of this.

  • Dan

    Conservative evangelical Christianity has worked hard to earn its reputation of being virulently anti-gay, no one is judging the whole movement solely on this one nut’s actions.

    The reputation of conservative evangelical Christianity is so low because a majority of them have very similar views about gay rights as this protestor. Anyways, you are getting the correlation backwards. No one is saying that every Christian is a bigot, just that so many of the loud anti-gay people are evangelicals that if you see anti-gay statements you can make a pretty safe bet on their religious affiliation. I know some evangelicals (mostly moderates and liberals) who don’t have a problem with gay rights, but I’ve never met anyone who was proudly against gay rights who wasn’t also an evangelical (I’m sure they exist though).

  • Margaret Whitestone

    So boycotts are evil and oppressive but burning things on corporations’ lawns is OK?  WTF is going on in the minds of fundies?

  • Stev84

    “Since the right to marry is the right to join in marriage with the person of one’s choice, a statute that prohibits an individual from marrying a member of a race other than his own restricts the scope of his choice and thereby restricts his right to marry”

    “Since the essence of the right to marry is freedom to join in marriage with the person of one’s choice, a segregation statute for marriage necessarily impairs the right to marry”

    “The freedom to marry the person of one’s choice has not always existed, and evidently does not exist here today. But is not that one of the fundamental rights of a free people?”

    This isn’t from Loving v Virginia, but Perez v Sharp, decided in 1948.

  • Isilzha

    8.  If you’re going to play with fire you must have a working fire extinguisher on hand!

  • JohnnieCanuck

    Flaming Fruit Loops would have been much more appropriate, just from the wrong company. Not that I couldn’t see him making that hilarious mistake, too.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    Overlapping echoes from the cognitive dissonance?

  • Coyotenose

     The one and only argument to restrict polygamous marriages between consenting adults is that we don’t have clean, effective wording for legislation to protect the finances and rights of all those involved (and I’m not sure we even can write something workable!)

  • Donalbain

    Mixed race “marriage” isn’t an equality issue blah blah blah

  • CoboWowbo

    Jessica, you need to do an update to this story. The man in the video has died (heart attack)

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