The Passion of the Bassett Hound

Before opening the custom-made, two-by-three foot cardboard envelope from Focus on the Family, I conducted an informal office poll: What was the gift?

Was it a poster of James Dobson, action hero? An oversized Valentine, sent early, from Focus Vice President Tom Minnery? A promotional movie poster of Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ?Woof, woof. It was a yard sign of “Sherman,” the barking dog that the ministry came up with in response to the Gill Foundation’s Born Different campaign featuring “Norman,” the dog that moos. Norman was designed to underscore how gays and lesbians are born that way; nothing wrong with that.

It’s a bit complicated, but Focus on the Family’s Sherman is supposed to show that gays and lesbians really bark, and don’t moo. The Focus campaign, called No Moo Lies, is also trying to convince Colorado voters should approve a man-woman-only-marriage amendment in November.

Anyway, the note accompanying the yard sign, from public policy media director Gary Schneeberger, indicated that he had heard that there was a “Born Different” yard sign planted in front of the newspaper office building where I work. In the interest of fairness and balance, “I figured you’d like to post ours too,” Schneeberger noted.

I called up Schneeberger to thank him for the good laugh. “We like to spread cheer,” was his response. We’d be happy to plant their yard sign, I told him, possibly upside down. But the problem is, the Born Different yard sign has already been swiped. And I didn’t dare put the barking sign in my car window, for fear that the “radical homosexual lobby” would smash it in. Oh wait. That happened to someone with a Norman yard sign – not a Sherman sign.

Seriously, how much longer is this campaign going to go on? The Born Different campaign is scheduled to last through August, but expect the No Moo Lies push to go through November, as Focus on the Family pushes the marriage amendment on the statewide ballot. So far they have displayed banners of the barking Bassett Hound in downtown Colorado Springs, and are distributing yard signs.

So what’s next? Billboards? “Keep your eyes peeled for what’s coming next,” Schneeberger says. TV commercials? “Keep your eyes peeled for what’s coming next,” he says. A feature-length movie starring Mel Gibson as Sherman the Bassett Hound? “Keep your eyes peeled for what’s coming next,” Schneeberger says.

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Cara Degette

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