I do love a good joke. For example:
A dentist ran out of anesthetic just before the last extraction for the day was scheduled.
He gave the nurse a very large needle, instructing her to jab it hard into the patient’s butt when the signal was given, so it would take his attention away from the tooth extraction.
It all happened in an instant.
The nurse, patient, and pliers were in place. The signal was given, and the nurse bayoneted the patient with the needle just as the dentist yanked the tooth.
Afterwards, the dentist asked, ‘Hurt much?’
The patient hesitated, ‘Didn’t hardly feel it come out, but man, those roots were really deep!’
It’s not a ROFLMAO sort of joke, but there’s no harm in it, unlike the not-funny joke from Mr. Tim Ravndall, former President of the Montana Big Sky Tea Party. As you may have heard by now, Mr. Ravndall, who claims on his twitter account to be: “Fighting to defend and uphold the United States Constitution. Private Property is the Foundation of Freedom,” had the following exchange on his Facebook page with Dennis Scranton:
Tim Ravndal: ‘Marriage is between a man and a woman period! By giving rights to those otherwise would be a violation of the constitution and my own rights’
Keith Baker: ‘How dare you exercise your First Amendment Rights?’
Dennis Scranton: ‘I think fruits are decorative. Hang up where they can be seen and appreciated. Call Wyoming for display instructions.’
Tim Ravndal: ‘@Kieth, OOPS I forgot this aint America no more! @Dennis, Where can I get that Wyoming printed instruction.’
Dennis Scranton: ‘Should be able to get info Gazette archives. Maybe even an illustration. Go back a bit over ten years.’
The above remarks were a reference to the slain, Matthew Shepard, who was attacked, tied to a fence and left for dead in Wyoming in October, 1998. His murder inspired a movement against bias-based crimes and a number of songs of remembrance, including Melissa Etheridge’s “Scarecrow,” titled for comments from those who found Matthew strung up to the fence who remarked that they thought he was a scarecrow at first.
Mr. Ravndall apologized for the comments with the caveat that he did not make the connection to Matthew until bloggers picked up the story. However, even if Mr. Ravndal is so dense as to not have made the connection to Matthew’s murder and Dennis Scranton’s comments, surely he understood the clear meaning of “fruits” and “hang up.”
Somehow, it still amazes me that so many people opposed to same-sex marriage actively joke about murdering gay and lesbian people. It’s shocking to me that morality in their warped minds defines consensual sexual conduct so rigidly, yet mocks human life and condones murder.
However, unlike many comments supporting the murder of gays, those by Mr. Ravndal did not go without repercussions. On September 5, 2010, Jim Walker, Board Chair of the Big Sky Tea Party Association, announced that the Board of Directors voted to remove Tim Ravndal as President and member of the non-profit organization because of the comments, stating in a press release:
Our Board learned about the situation from an article in the Great Falls Tribune on Saturday. We immediately called an emergency meeting for the following morning. We are extremely disappointed by Mr. Ravndal’s commentary. The discussion in that Facebook conversation is entirely outside the position of the Big Sky Tea Party. Even though Mr. Ravndal was having a personal conversation and made no reference to our group, we felt strongly that swift and decisive action was required as we can not accept that sort of behavior from within our membership, let alone from an officer of the corporation. We continually make it known that we will not tolerate bigoted dialog, behavior or messages at our functions, our meetings or within our ranks. If a person demonstrates bigotry relative to race, sex, ethnicity, etc they are not welcome in our organization. The Tea Party movement is about standing up for individual freedom for everyone.
I do believe Mr. Ravndal when he explained that he was in no way intending to promote violence and that he was not thinking about nor condoning the murder of an innocent victim in Wyoming in 1998 when he responded to some very disturbing comments made by another individual. However, no matter how we considered the commentary, it was clear to us that he was participating in conversation which was overtly bigoted and we cannot have an officer of our corporation engaging in such behavior.
But again, we notice the caveat – Mr. Walker believes that Mr. Randval didn’t mean “to promote violence” and “was not thinking about nor condoning the murder of an innocent victim [Matthew Shepard] in Wyoming in 1998.”
Mr. Walker also claims that Mr. Randval’s conversation was “overtly bigoted.” With 40 percent of Tea Party members claiming that same-sex couples should have “no legal recognition” and only about 16% supporting same-sex marriage, AND with roughly 52 percent thinking that too much been made of the problems facing black people, it’s hard to believe that this is the first “overtly bigoted” thing to come out of the Tea Party movement. Oh wait… guess they have a lot more members to rid themselves of… unless these aren’t overtly bigoted: