Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Thanks Fred (part one)

You probably know there was a recent death of a guy who unintentionally has done more to promote gay tolerance and gay rights than some of the other activists. 

A case in point. I grew up a in a small, conservative and extremely religious area and had a very nebulous idea of sexual orientation. I was in the drama club and I had an idea that some of my fellow thespians might be gay.  They were hilarious and made hanging out an event and I didn’t dwell on what their sexual orientation might be. 

When I was getting my master’s in social work, I was more aware of gay issues but “more aware” versus “not aware” still isn’t much in the way of aware.  

The death of Matthew Shepard was the turning point for me.  How he died and why he died were shockingly offensive. Then, if that wasn't bad enough, America’s soon-to-be most hated group of bigots appeared. 

That’s when I jumped from ambivalence to Oh Hell No! I would venture a guess that I’m not the only one who took notice. (Way to go Fred!) 

Even though the Westboro Church gained some notoriety, they weren’t always successfully in getting media coverage.  

One early protest happened at a store where the owners had the audacity to sell Swiss vacuum cleaners.  Obviously this was to expose the horrible behavior of a the Swiss who were not critical enough of homosexuality. (I can’t imagine why that wasn’t effective campaign.) 

God evidently has a direct line of communication with Phelps the Elder.  Silly me, I thought it was just Pat Robertson he talked to. I guess in the event of a tie in pomposity God communicates with with both parties (or one or both of them could be Schizophrenic. I’m not ruling that out.)

Anyway, back to Fred. The sanity-challenged, despot-want-to-be was informed by God that US soldiers were being killed as punishment. Phelps’ God doesn’t do things willy-nilly and the US had adopted an attitude of tolerance for the homosexuals. 

As an aside, “tolerant” was the description God went with? America? Tolerant to a minority? Hmmmm . . . I think we might want to define terms.

The megalomaniac, with “divine” marching orders began protesting at military funerals. That was enough to push another section of Americans (the ones that hover right of center, the ones who would have never considered supporting gay rights, even in a tangential way) into paying attention. 

The Westboro Church was sued by the father of one of the dead Marines. The father was initially awarded several millions of dollars. (Damn Skippy!!)  However, The Supreme Court found that even groups who are delusional about their importance were allowed to protest. 

To add insult to injury, the court also ordered the Father to pay the Westboro court costs. That move united several very conservative public figures to coordinate funds to cover the judgement. (Ah Fred, bringing together an unlikely contingency of folks.  Keep reading.  It gets even more surreal.)

#Hell #Westboro #FreeSpeech

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