Aw, for the love of Zeus. Those candy-ass “church” carnival clowns are at it again.
For one thing, dearly beloved, they’re not a church. They’re not even a “church.” They’re a hate group.
Also, they’re ridiculous.
Let’s not let them hurt any more feelings. Okay?
I am remembering the prank caller who phoned the house a day or two after my father’s funeral. I was numb and felt like broken glass in body and spirit as I picked up the phone. “Hello?” I said. And a man’s voice said, “Hello, may I please speak to Carl Weinstein?”
I went cold. I had not yet had to deal with this and I was also still in shock. My dad had died suddenly, at 50 years old. I was 17.
As I stood there with the phone in my hand, my mouth dry and my heart thumping, thinking of what to say, how to gently break the news, the man laughed maliciously and then hung up.
I knew I had experienced evil. I put the phone down and walked to my room in a fog. Later that day, my mother intuited that something extra horrible was weighing on my soul and she got it out of me. She listened, she said nothing, and she held me while I cried.
That night I went up to the kitchen to kiss her goodnight. She murmured some words of love and comfort and as I walked out of the room and into the hall she said in the most dismissive and irritated of tones, “Honey? And poo on that idiot man who called.”
I am almost certain she used the word “poo.” If not poo, then something equally silly. In that one phrase she diminished the power of that idiot to have an existential hold over me. I never, ever forgot it. I don’t want you to forget it.
Beyond all our dreary pieties about how we’re all children of God and such, I think people are waiting to hear religious leaders and faith communities say, “Look, yes we’re all children of God, but some of us are just idiots! Don’t lose sleep tonight over them.” I believe that no one is a permanent, irredeemable idiot — that’s where faith in the power of love and the Spirit comes in, and I have seen some people reform — but some people act like idiots and shouldn’t be given the time of day in your spirit and soul. The Westboro Clown Posse is a group of idiots. I’m sorry for the hurt they cause. I’m sorry for them. I’m sorry for the Baptists who are embarrassed by the association.
Poo on the Westboro posse! If they come to town, I think we should stage a Theatre of the Absurd festival and dance around them. I think we should join them with signs and music and wonderful costumes. Someone could dress as SNL character Linda Richman and carry a sign that says, “THE WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH IS NEITHER BAPTIST NOR A CHURCH: DISCUSS.”
Or here’s one: “BELIEVE IT OR NOT, GOD EVEN LOVES THE WESTBORO BAPTIST ‘CHURCH.'” Lots of clergy could carry that sign.
Since we’re Boston, we could do some kind of Dunkin Donuts tie-in, maybe. Like, “AMERICA RUNS ON DUNKINS! WE’D LIKE TO RUN THE WBC OUT OF TOWN!” And lots of clowns could serve coffee.
In general, though, lots and lots of “WELCOME TO BOSTON, WBC!” would be good. Colonial garb, a bunch of Paul Reveres, John and Abigail Adams should be there, rainbow flags and drag queens galore, children of all colors riding red-white and blue bikes, men and women military uniforms, sports fans in regalia, university folk in academic gowns and clown wigs — oh my god, can you imagine how fabulous? Boston is America’s original Freedom City. The Westboro Baptist Church has a lot to thank us for. Even idiots like them have free speech because of great things that happened here.
Let’s show them how Boston does protest parties. Send in the clowns to meet the fools.
How ya DOON, WBC?