Showing the world our mettle

Tomorrow, March 11, at 7 a.m., members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, will be picketing outside Palmer High School, to protest efforts by Palmer students to have the Gay-Straight Alliance officially recognized by District 11 -- which has refused to officially sanction the club.

This so-called church is actually a rabidly anti-gay hate group -- the same folks who picketed murdered Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard's funeral. Their Web site's address is www.Godhatesfags.com. Here's just one of the vile, shameful vitriol that is spewed there:

"Matthew Shepard has been in hell for 2,338 days."

"All nations must immediately outlaw sodomy (homosexuality) and impose the death penalty!"

"Diane Whipple, a filthy dyke, died in her sins on Jan. 26, 2001, as a result of being mauled by two dogs. God used literal dogs to kill a figurative dog ... Fags & dykes = dogs & sows. She lived like a beast, died like a beast."

There's more, much more. It's pretty clear that "Pastor" Fred Phelps and his followers are as far removed from mainstream conservatism as Ward Churchill is from mainstream liberalism. And just as no sane person could endorse or agree with Churchill's views on 9/11, no reasonable person can allow Phelps' presence to go unchallenged.

This is an opportunity for our community. This is our chance to come together, from all points of the political spectrum, to demonstrate our commitment to civil dialogue and, yes, to Christian love. Let's not leave it up to a few dozen folks from the Peace and Justice Commission, a bunch of Palmer students, and members of the gay community. Let's all show up in front of Palmer High School tomorrow morning, and represent our often-maligned city.

I'd like to see our mayor, our City Council, our county commissioners, and every one of our quarrelsome school board members. I'd like to see the real pastors in our city standing there. I'd like to see Ted Haggard from the New Life Church who, despite his deep reservations about homosexuality, would never endorse any kind of violence or hatred.

But it's up to us, not just the big shots. Thousands of us need to send the message that Colorado Springs utterly rejects Fred Phelps and everything he stands for. There are times when you can sleep in; times when you can let other folks do the heavy lifting; and times when, inconvenient as it may be, you have to be there. This is one of those times.

Meanwhile, back to the petty clamor and tumult of local politics, it's nice to know that the Morley brothers are helpfully suggesting a money-saving alternative to the much-maligned Southern Delivery System. Yup, according to the Morleys, if the city just cuts a deal with 'em to use Brush Hollow Reservoir to store water from the Arkansas and pipe it north from there, we'll save half a billion or so.

Utilities is dismissive of this plan. As for me? Well, not being an engineer/water lawyer/full-time politician, I have to rely upon instinct and memory. Instinct tells me that developers, like the Morley brothers, are in it to make a buck. And memory? Well, it was, as I recall, the Morley brothers who, a dozen years ago, sought to cut a sweet little backdoor deal to acquire Section 16, a de facto public park adjacent to Red Rocks. Then-state Rep. Marcy Morrison and I, then a city council member, found out about the deal and publicized it, and it went down in flames. So I guess I'll just trust the Utilities on this one.

And finally, it's good to know that, despite their success in last November's election, Colorado Democrats are as self-destructive as ever. While George W. was kicking butt in Colorado, Dem chair Chris Gates led the donksters to a takeover of the both houses of the Legislature, not to mention getting the Salazar brothers elected to Republican-held congressional seats. And all those liberals on the State Democratic Committee were so pleased that last weekend they fired Gates!

Memo to Democrats: You won because you moved to the center. The sooner that the Dem rank and file purges the Naderite purists from party leadership, the better it will be for all of you. Unless, of course, you'd prefer to be powerless, irrelevant and ideologically correct yapping ankle biters in the corridors of power ...

Which, come to think of it, works fine for me.

-- johnhazlehurst@earthlink.net


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