Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Fighting for Freedom here in the Garden City

This is kind of hard for me to believe, but it's happening right here in our town and I'm not a happy camper right now. The Boy's school is about to present a theatrical performanc of the Laramie Project, a play detainling the reaction to the life and death of Matthew Shepard, an openly gay teen who was killed seven years ago in Laramie Wyoming. The Boy is not in the play, but he has volunteered to sell candy during intermission, so he will be in attendance.

"Reverend" Fred Phelps
of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka Kansas has planned a large anti-gay protest outside the school. This church rallied at Shepard's funeral in an ongoing national campaign to denounce homosexuality. According to a press release dated Oct. 12, the church group opposes the play's message and, by extension, the town's school department.

"It's only purpose is to promote sinful, soul-damaging sodomy by playing on the sick, maudlin emotions of doomed America and thereby to recuirt teenagers and college kids to lives of sin, shame, disease, dealth and Hell," said the press release. "God hates fags and fag enablers. Ergo, God hates XXXXX High School and the school district, " it goes on to say.

The school's Gay-Straight Alliance is planning a counter protest. The superintendent of schools is making an effort to make sure the play goes off without a hitch. He said, "The goal is to inform the students and the parents of what is going on and to encourage people to go about our business and put on the play, which is the most important event of that evening." The Mayor issued this as part of his statement, "...the visitors of the Westboro Baptist Church will soon find that the views they espouse have no traction in the city of XXX.

Of course, this made me go right out and buy tickets to show my support of the play. I hope all my friends and neighbors do the same. We live in an extremely liberal, tolerant city, filled with good-hearted people. We do have our share of nutcases and crackpots, but for the most part they are just a small minority and we love them like we would love our village idiot, if we had one. But this Phelps fellow isn't lovable. He's simply an agitator bent on showing hatred for anyone who is supportive of gay rights. "It is not OK to be gay," said the church's Shirley Phelps-Roper back in June. Aren't they just the most warm hearted Christians? Blech!
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