Kansas Matters, What the?

There is an interesting article in the NY Times today about the Topeka, Kansas, city council election that pits a gay rights activist against the granddaughter of Rev. Fred Phelps. Phelps is infamous for protesting at the funeral of Matthew Shepard and using the slogan “God Hates Fags.” The good reverend is so hated in Topeka that his granddaughter, Jael Phelps, tries not to use her last name during campaigning. Ms. Phelps says, “The main reason why I got into the race is so the people of District 9 would know who the incumbent is. We have someone whose goal in life is to make it so the governmental stamp of approval is put on sin, and an abomination at that.”

Apparently, the mainstream religious right (if there is such a thing) is distancing itself from Phelps and his hate-spewing congregation. Voters are also deciding on a referendum barring the city from passing gay rights laws for 10 years. Guess where the “mainstreamers” stand on that one.

So the good people of Topeka will have a pretty clear choice at the ballot box, and we should be able to watch a test of Tom Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas. Maybe, just maybe, sanity will prevail?

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One Response to Kansas Matters, What the?

  1. Theresa F. says:

    Rev. Phelps expresses what many Kansas conservatives privately believe. I’ve had many a conversation with my husband’s grandparents, white Republican farmers who live a few miles south of Topeka, who believe in Phelps’ message but not his methods. They consider Calfornia, where we moved to from the Midwest, to be a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah. And they are the norm not the exception in Kansas, a state in which 70 percent are registered as Republicans.

    If the anti-gay rights referendum had been on the ballot in another Kansas municipality (with the exception of KCK) it would have probably failed. Topeka has a decent-sized population of white-collar Democrats who, along with KCK voters, helped get Democrat Gov. Sebelius into office and helped sink the anti-gay rights referendum.

    Thanks for posting a blog on this issue. I’ve read a few blogs on Mr. Frank’s book (it’s title is a question I often ask myself visiting blue-collar Republican family there) but none about the Topeka issue.

    Your former UI comrade-in-arms…

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