This image of an acrobatic homecoming embrace uniting U.S. Marine Sgt. Brandon Morgan and his partner, Dalan Wells, has gained considerable traction since it was posted/linked by blogger Joe.My.God over the weekend.
Morgan was returning home to Hawaii after his third deployment to Iraq and/or Afghanistan. And the acrobatics seem to have resulted not only from enthusiasm, but also from the fact Wells is very tall and Morgan isn't.
Here's a more conventional view of Morgan --- a holiday greeting recorded late last year.
Reactions to the photo have been interesting. Thousands of favorable "likes" but a good share of snarkiness or outright vitrol, too. "I hope an IED comes your way" seems to have been a popular sentiment among the truly hateful.
I doubt that that many of the haters were military types with or without combat experience, more likely civilian types horrified by the fact the ground is shifting beneath them and they're off balance, ill equipped to stay on their feet and move forward.
Love, after all, is the most subversive (and revolutionary) of emotions --- and public displays of affection can be a substantial threat to the insecure.
In a related area, The Des Moines Register's latest Iowa Poll, reported upon Monday, continues to show majority opposition to a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage --- 56 percent opposed, 38 percent in favor and 6 percent undecided.
Moving a propsed ban through the Legislature and onto a ballot remains a Republican priority in the Legislature, effectively blocked so far by Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstol (D-Council Bluffs).
It's not clear what the outcome of a public vote would be, since ballot-box success seems to depend as much on effective get-out-to-vote strategy as it does on majority sentiment. And same-sex marriage seems increasingly to be a ho-hum issue, especially among younger Iowans and others who might be tempted to stay home unless motivated to do otherwise. Whatever the outcome, it would be costly on several levels.
Christianist elements --- off balance, insecure and determined to stop the earth from moving --- are a powerful force, however. There still seems to be a feeling out there that inclusiveness is the major threat to Christianity as we've known it when, in fact, perceptions of the church as intolerant, divisive, hateful, irrelevant and afraid pose far more hazards.