Just Checking In

OK, so I know it’s been a while. But again, no one is reading this, so no big deal.

As for today, I am feeling restless, so thought I would submit an entry, blog-like, rather than the usual planned essay.

Today is September 12, one day after September 11. Last week, we had a great excitement as one Terry Jones (not the Monty Python Terry Jones), leader of a Christian church of sorts down in Gainesville, FL, finally hit a hot button that got him the media attention he so desperately craves.

Apparently this guy, whose church’s basic Christian tenet is that Islam is evil, has been trying to get the attention of the media for several years, announcing this or that plan for his church designed to foment ire and street violence among the worlds Muslims. Problem was, nobody was paying any attention to him and his crackpot pronouncements.

But this time, he got it right. He announced “International Burn a Koran Day” and sent out a release saying his church was going to burn Korans on September 11 as a way of “getting their message out” about Islam.

Cue media frenzy. Admittedly, it was a slow news week. So slow, apparently, that all anyone talked about – apart from someone named Snookie – was this guy and his whacko church.

In the end, and under pressure from Barack Obama and General Petraeus and the whole gang, Jones announced that, on second thought, they would not burn Korans on September 11.

Whew! Close one.

Now, you may or may not consider it ironic that at least two people were killed in street protests in Afghanistan which anticipated the non-event. But I for one would hate to be the guy who died while demonstrating my opposition to an outrage that never actually occurred.

But anyway, speaking of religious nuts, we had our own little weird celebration here on the plains a couple of weeks ago, right down the street from my house.

We were heading out on Saturday morning to the farmer’s market to get some good tomatoes. That time of year, you know. But we got over on the main street, and were surprised to encounter a huge throng of folks lining the sidewalks near the Lutheran church, holding signs, chanting and all the rest. Turns out the main group – hundreds of them – were actually counter-protestors who were there to face down the crazies from the Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas. These folks like to protest at the funerals of soldiers who’ve died in our of our imperial wars. Their reasoning is that the soldiers are dying because God is visiting retribution on our country for – are you ready? – its tolerance of homosexuality, apparently the vilest of sins. So they show up at the funerals with big signs that say “God Hates Fags” or “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” .

That’s their thing.

On this day, in fact just after we passed through on our way to the farmer’s market (my wife gave them a thumbs down, and I gave the Westboro folks a version of a “thumbs up”, which involved a different finger) another event occurred. A veteran drove down the same street and unleashed a barrage of bear repellant – basically mace – from the window of his pickup truck, aimed at the Westboro protestors.

The gay-hating protestors, though, are not rookies at being broadly despised. They had their signs at the ready. They maneuvered them in front of their faces and avoided getting maced. The counter-protestors, probably less experienced at this sort of thing, got the brunt of it. Several ended up in the hospital.

It is surely so that God works in mysterious ways.

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