Why are the gay-hating obsessives from Westboro Baptist Church coming to Maple Grove today?
For the same reasons they do anything: to get attention and punch their tickets into the dreadful little version of heaven they imagine.
The most crazily fundamentalist Christians in Kansas -- and that's saying something -- have scheduled protests at three sites in Maple Grove today, according to a report in the Column. The announced targets of their hate are Maple Grove Senior High School, North Memorial Health-Maple Grove, and University of Minnesota Health Maple Grove Clinics.
A letter from Maple Grove Senior High School principal Bart Becker informed the parents of students Westboro people might show up this afternoon, but says the school's taking steps to "ensure that the protesters come and go without receiving the publicity they seek."
To that end, Becker discouraged parents and students from "engaging with group members in any way, including social media." (He must not have read that great story in the New Yorker?) Maple Grove police will also be on hand this afternoon to see that the Westboro group comes and goes as peaceably as possible, and without the sort of incident they're undoubtedly hoping for.
In a press release announcing their plot, Westboro says it plans to bring the "gospel of peace" to students at the high school.
In its announcement of a mid-morning picket line, the church explains, "Lord willing, [Westboro Baptist Church] will bring a dose of truth medicine to the rebel enablers of University of Minnesota Maple Grove Clinics." If you're like us, you're thinking "truth medicine" and "rebel enablers" would make for pretty good band names; this press release is loaded with others. ("Villainous man-haters," "a most guilty lot," "perfectly-appointed womb.") Take your pick.
As the Column points out, Westboro's presence is not so much "Lord willing" as it is "schedule permitting." Twice in recent years, the church has announced plans to protest in Minnesota -- once at the site of the 35W bridge collapse, another time at Hastings High School -- and then no-showed.
If they do materalize in Maple Grove, members of the high school's "Sexuality and Gender Equality" (SAGE) group have echoed their principal, and asked that no one give them a second thought. Their form of counter-protest will be a quiet one, invisible to Westboro members: an hour-long "PRIDE celebration" among students who choose to attend.
Now look what you've done, Westboro. You got all the LGBT kids and their friends out of class, and convinced their principal to let them hang out together. If that's what hell is like, it really doesn't sound so bad.