Born Curious? the Trouble with Norman

In our little town of Colorado Springs there is an adorable television advertising campaign that is worth multi-thousand dollar buy for our local television stations. A close up of an adorable little dog who is struggling to get his message out, then ala coyote appears to prepare to howl-and then this dog named Norman lets out a cowful “Moo!” The tagline of the commercial is “Born Different” and it is put out by the Gay and Lesbian Fund and it’s “parent organization,” The Gill Foundation. What the ad accomplishes in making a cute little point is that gay people are born different. Abstractly this achieves the message, but moreover it admits its defeat. The trouble with “Norman” is that a dog can not even be trained to “moo” let alone be born that way. If the motive of the copywriter and the producer was to draw sympathy from logical, educated people the ad spells disaster. If Joe Cool next door won’t buy a dog that sings like a bovine, it is likely he won’t believe the gay or lesbian couple next door was really born that way. The ads were created by Doug Allenstein the Creative Director for Public Interest, the same group that produces the Drug Free America campaign. It is a non-profit advertising firm.

Media does not work if it isn’t authentic, relational, or truthful. Cute little messages that do not contain these three elements will have long-term ill effects. But the question for us is not about animal linguistics it is about our response as Christians. There are a lot of problems with Norman but how do you respond to the ads? Are you angry, amused, or curious? What authentic, relational, truthful sixty second response would you write?

In an answer to the Born Different campaign, Focus on the Family launched the No Moo Lies campaign. Created by Focus on the Family Action it was put together by a public policy wonk utilizing the name Sherman- a dog that barks from The Adventures in Odyssey radio series. What does Sherman do that Norman doesn’t? Well, he goes “Woof” of course. The trouble with Sherman who has manifested himself on lawn signs and a counter television ad is that it is smug, trite, and knee jerk. It says, “Hey stupid- Dogs bark, they don’t go moo.” The writer is a national journalist who is use to rebuttals. He is a political beat writer and should not be around a creative team who is actually trained to combine truth with grace. Sherman lacks grace- he woofs truth and as many people know a continuing barking dog can get very annoying. The website contains some helpful information with testimonies from gays who have come out of the lifestyle. The reaction from the general public is that the Sherman campaign is hurtful, and they use the word hateful. It didn’t have to be that way-a ministry needs to reach out. A better answer may have appealed to evolutionists better with the likeness of Curious George and the website Since the truth for all of us is that that’s what we are born as- curious, sexual beings who are products of our upbringing and our environment that goes for George and the Man with the Yellow Hat. Sure, as journalists we dispense and are after truth, but truth without grace is like an incessant dog barking through the night.

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