Some people really seem to struggle with the concept that not everyone shares their viewpoints. People like Newport Beach City (California) Councilman Scott Peotter. You see, in his view, it’s “ironic” that gay rights activists would use the rainbow flag as a symbol for their cause. And, more than that, it’s actually a corruption of the rainbow. Why? The Bible, of course!
The Daily Pilot reports that Peotter sent an email message (that included an image of the city seal) to constituents, in which he faulted the SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality and the White House’s rainbow light display:
The Supremes — I know, The Supreme Court (that would be 5 out of 9 guys in black robes) decided 10 days ago to overturn 5,000 years of Judeo-Christian tradition, by redefining and allowing gay marriage.
I like how the White House is really quick on the ‘important’ stuff like this rainbow lighting.
I do find it interesting that the homosexual movement adopted the rainbow as their symbol, as it was God’s symbol that he wouldn’t destroy the world by flood again … Maybe they are “wishful thinking…”
This last statement in particular is curious for a couple of reasons. First, there’s the assumption that everyone just, by default, accepts his particular set of beliefs about the rainbow. But perhaps even more peculiar is how Peotter seems to be casting doubt on the Bible story, and the promise God supposedly made to never flood the earth again: if believing that God won’t flood the earth to punish gay people is merely “wishful thinking,” then presumably we can’t trust the Genesis account… or God didn’t anticipate the gay rights movement and is going to be forced to go back on his word. Either way, it seems an odd approach for a Bible-believer to take.
Predictably, implying that divine wrath will be visited on the world and particularly gay people was not a well-received line. But Peotter insists that he wasn’t saying anything of the sort. And, dontcha know, he’s the real victim of intolerance here.
Peotter said he was simply referring to a passage in the Old Testament that explains how the rainbow was a gift from God to mankind as a symbol of the promise that he would not flood the world again.
“The homosexual movement is taking a symbol that was meant for something else and is corrupting it for their use,” he said. “The people that are out there criticizing me for [the email] are leading the cry for no name calling and tolerance, but they’re intolerant of any view but their own.”
Peotter is absolutely free to believe that rainbows are a symbol of God’s promise not to commit another worldwide genocide-by-flood. He is free to believe that light simply couldn’t be refracted and reflected until his God rearranged things to allow it — all as a display of his deep love for humankind (directly following that near-complete extermination of humankind in the flood). And even though it sounds like precisely the kind of story a culture that didn’t understand the science behind rainbows might come up with, if the more compelling scenario for Peotter is that light just works differently now than it used to, well, so be it.
But not everyone shares that view, and assuming that they do is simply, demonstrably false. (I’m not even going to get into the flawed thought process that assumes some sort of supernatural irony to people using a representation of a natural phenomenon like the rainbow as a symbol just because you happen to have a creation story that assigns some meaning to it.)
More importantly, as a city official, Peotter should have known better than to use the city seal when sharing a Biblically-based rant against the rights of his fellow citizens. Not only is this really bad judgment, it’s against policy.
While Peotter reaffirmed his belief that gay Americans don’t deserve the same rights that he does, he has at least agreed to refrain from future use of the city seal on non-official correspondence like this. So Newport Beach residents can take heart, I suppose, in the fact that while one of their councilman isn’t comfortable with equality under the law for all, and seems to take issue with how our government works (and the role of “the Supremes”), any future rants on the topic will not be presented with the official city seal.
Hooray for small victories.