You can’t trust that tyrant Terwilliger. He’s an awful, awful man, and once he made school principal, he used his vast autocratic powers to make every Christian suffer. He threw them to the lions. He crucified them upside down. He beheaded them and shot them with arrows. He tied them to stakes and set them afire. He lashed them and flayed them. He burned their bibles and slapped them when they dared to pray in the lunchroom. He made them stop wearing offensive t-shirts that said other members of the student body were going to hell.
Oh, wait. He didn’t do any of those things, except the last one. What kind of pathetic despot is he if he doesn’t even try to oppress people? And what kind of crybaby Christians are these picketers? Their only hardship is that they aren’t allowed to pretend to be the Reverend Phelps in the school.
Trent Allen, a spokesman for the San Juan Unified School District, said the problem with the shirts worn by San Juan students isn’t that they espouse religious beliefs, it’s that they target a particular group or refer to a sexual act. The shirts for which students were suspended on Monday quoted Bible verses implying homosexuals would go to hell.
This sounds awfully familiar. Why, my own wee little daughter stirred up outrage at her school last year by wearing a “Gay? Fine by me” t-shirt, which led to a group of homophobic and overtly Christian students to ostracize anyone who shared that sentiment and start wearing their own hate-mongering t-shirts. At least they didn’t go as far as these wackos in San Juan, who started up a company called “NO GAY GEAR” to produce slick, professional signs, bumper-stickers, and t-shirts damning queers to hell.
The organizers of these protests are, of course, fervent Christians, following in Jesus’ footsteps, which is very difficult since, as we all know, Jesus was an acrobatic kick-boxer who strove to annihilate the poor, the weak, and the oppressed, pausing only long enough to do an occasional media interview.
Dick Otterstad and son Luke, leaders of the 20-member El Dorado County congregation, have staged dozens of demonstrations in recent years to expose what they view as Christian persecution.
They’ve taken to Wal-Mart parking lots dressed up as Santa Claus to warn shoppers about the company’s use of “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” They’ve donned red devil suits and picketed the “imposition” of gay tolerance at school workshops. And they’ve attracted media attention — from outlets as big as CNN and USA Today — at almost every turn.
The Otterstads and their church brought those tactics to Sacramento over the weekend, orchestrating rallies against Dave Terwilliger, the San Juan High School principal who has drawn the ire of religious conservatives for suspending 35 students for wearing anti-gay T-shirts.
Terwilliger suspended the first round of students nearly three weeks ago, saying the shirts disrupted the learning environment. Students said the shirts were an expression of their religious views and intended as a counterpoint to the April 18 Day of Silence, an annual student protest in support of gay rights.
Since good Christians always respond to pleas for tolerance and civil rights for all with a counterpoint, I guess. Somebody has to speak out for the continued domination of the majority at the expense of those less well represented, and no uppity minorities are going to crawl out from under their bootheel. Otterstad’s heroes understood that.
“We’re taking biblical issues and bringing them to bear in the culture,” said Otterstad, 60. “Jesus did that, the Apostles did that, Martin Luther King did that.”
Yeah, he’s just like Martin Luther King.
There was also a throw-away paragraph in the article that just cried out to me for more attention. Read this, and think about what it says about our country.
Otterstad ran for a seat on the the Black Oak Mine Unified School Board in El Dorado County in 2004. He said he thinks the public school system should be abolished. He said sodomy laws should be reinstated. He got 38.8 percent of the vote in that election.
He ran for the school board on a platform of abolishing public education. I wish I could say that was unusual, but it’s a painfully common occurrence.
He ran for the school board and one of his issues was reinstating sodomy laws. What? Watch out for nosy school board members lurking in the bushes outside your bedroom window now. This may be a crazy country, but I assure you, school boards do not have jurisdiction. I don’t think between-classes buggery in the hallway is a problem in most schools, either … but then again, with Otterstad’s Kook Church in the community, who knows what lunacy is going on?
He ran on a platform of batshit insanity, and he got over a third of the vote.
That scares me.
Obviously, though, the answer is to play nice with those voters, encourage their quaint folkways, and find some common ground that will convince them to moderate their beliefs and work together in a spirit of cooperation and tolerance with other members of the community. Hmmm, maybe they like science and can join hands with us in improving biology education?
Or just maybe the answer doesn’t involve giving religious nutjobs an inch … nah. That wouldn’t be sufficiently reverent.