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Location: Portland, Oregon

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005


There are a bunch of people from Kansas, uninvited, in a small city in upstate New York, right now. They are there because the mayor of that city is gay.
Clinton county is an odd place. It bears a certain amount in common with the wheat-growing section of Oregon that I grew up in. This didn't prevent the people that I worked with, two summers ago, from saying, "Have a good time in New York City!", when I went there to visit someone. I was nowhere near the city, but that would have required some sort of geographical knowledge on their part.
In any case, Clinton county is an odd place. Governor George Clinton himself is one of the few people who didn't want to ratify the Constitution, back in the day. The rich men down in the Big City then threatened to secede from the state, if he did not, and so he did. Today, it is the only 'red' county in New York State. Nonetheless, the mayor of Plattsburgh, New York is gay as treeful of parrots, and folks around there don't seem to mind, really.
The problem here is that it is now the time of the Mayor's Cup, which is some sort of community-wide celebration. To help celebrate, the Rev. Fred Phelps has arrived, dragging the better part of his followers with him. For some reason, they've been blocking the entrance to churches, going so far as to tell some 70-odd-year-old woman in a wheelchair who was attempting to worship at said church that she was a "slut".
Why? Because that particular church refuses to turn people away for being gay. The Rev. Mr. Phelps is a loving man of God. His organization was the same group of people that distinguished themselves by appearing at the funeral of one Matthew Sheppard. Mr. Sheppard was a college student in Wyoming, when he was put to death by an ad hoc committee of local dignitaries for the unquestionable crime of being gay. Tied to a fence, as I recall.
So- funny story here-the nice Mr. Reverend Fred and his followers showed up at the funeral, and decided to make the day of his grieving parents a little easier by pointing out that God, as they understood it, was glad that their son was dead, and that furthermore, the little faggot had it coming.
Now he and his clear-thinking friends have taken an important field trip to an obscure location in upstate New York. They have tried everything in their power to provoke violent disputes between themselves and the locals. The upturn? Local law enforcement and the local residents are entirely in agreement: we will ignore these assholes until they go home.
It's a funny thing: the election of that guy to the mayoralty seems to have been a largely apolitical thing. He didn't run on some sort of gay ticket: there isn't really much of a gay community there. He was elected because people thought that maybe he might be a good mayor. The Mayor's Cup is hardly connected to any sort of gay political agenda; it predates the current mayor by quite a bit. The fact that Fred and his friends went this far out of their way says more about their zealotry than it does about anything actually happening that should concern them. They have, it seems, a great deal of time and money.
And if I truly was rich? I, and everyone I know, would be down at their church in Kansas, each and every day they tried to worship, not calling them names, but simply standing there holding signs that read, "You Are Not Christians".



Blogger tugboatcapn said...

Bachelor, I hope you will try to understand that all christians are not like that.
I do not have a problem with someone being gay.
I have a huge problem with people being obnoxious. There is no need for it. This means obnoxious Christians as well as obnoxious Gays.
These people did more damage to the cause of Christianity than they could have ever done good, if they had simply minded their own business...
Once again, please don't base your opinion of all Christians on the example cited in your post...

6:30 PM  
Blogger Erudite Redneck said...


Phelps and his gang are way past obnoxious, Tug. They're certifiably crazy. If you haven't, check out the Web page:

I don't think anyone is in danger of confusing Phelps and them with a real Christian outfit anymore than someody might mistake a sheep for a cow just for wanderin' into the wrong pasture.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Erudite Redneck said...

BTW, I could just FEEL the wheat familiarity comin' thru yer writing, Rich. Soft red, I seem to recall? Something different, anyway, from the hard red grown in Oklahoma and Texas, I think. Or not. I've slept since I was a farm editor.

6:48 PM  
Blogger rich bachelor said...

Yeah, I think I've talked enough about this one to not have to say it again but: I know that all Christians are not like this. Not my mother, not my good friend Baby Bulldog. The real point of the post is the last line. They Aren't Really Christians.
Just makes me mad, is all. In any case, ER, you were a farm editor for a while?

11:10 PM  
Blogger Jodie said...

Ugh, Fred Phelps. He must be an alien. I can't understand him on any level. This is amazing, because for 12 years I worked extensively with people who sometimes had little connection to reality (psychiatry interviewer) and I understood THEM just fine.

12:55 PM  

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