Kansas, the land of Oz. Or, as the Kansas Department of Tourism would have folks believe, "The Land of Ahs". It was my home for most of my life and I'm proud of it. But what's the matter with Kansas is that people outside the state only know it for its backwardness.
Case in point, the Reverend Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, regularly makes headlines as his parishioners travel around the country to picket and denounce gays, Catholics and Muslims. Yesterday in Tracy, CA, thirteen members of his church showed up to protest at the Tracy High School graduation ceremony because another high school in Tracy received administrative support for their chapter of the Gay-Straight Alliance.
"We're here to preach to this generation that it's not all right to be gay,'' said Betty Phelps of Topeka, who carried one sign thanking God for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and another denouncing gays. "They need to learn some morals before Judgment Day."The city of Tracy countered with about thirty police officers and 250 demonstrators complete with their own signs with slogans like "Keep Your Hate in Kansas" and "Hate is Not a Family Value".
According to the SF Chronicle (thanks for the photo) the demonstrations were peaceful. The only damage was to the image of Kansas and Kansans.
Ah, Kansas. What would Dorothy and Auntie Em think?