If you want wackos, visit scenic Colorado Springs. The Springs, located at the eastern base of the truly extraordinary Pikes Peak, is essentially a large military complex surrounding a small, cool downtown. The complex consists of Army base Fort Carson, the United States Air Force Academy, Peterson Air Force Base, and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), some of which is located deep within Cheyenne Mountain on the front range of the Rockies in the shadow of Pikes Peak. There’s also Schriever Air Force Base out on the plains east of the city.
Having spent quite a bit of time there as a visiting professor at Colorado College (a liberal liberal arts college mercifully located in the small, cool downtown), I can attest to the fact that Colorado Springs — also the home of the violently homophobic Focus on the Family, which has its own exit on Interstate 75 — is, in three words, a fascist wonderland. The Springs is known for its lovely weather. Because there are an average of 320 sunny days a year, many of the airmen, soldiers, and their families who served at any of the military installations in the city at some point in their careers opt to return there for retirement. This all leads to the Springs becoming a reactionary paradise. The tax incentives the city offered to right-wing hate groups to move there didn’t hurt either.
These happy memories were sparked by something I read in the Independent, a community newspaper for cool downtown readers. It concerns a piece of state legislation aimed at fairness for the transgender community: “The bill would allow a Colorado-born transgender person, or the parents of a transgender minor born in Colorado, to receive a new birth certificate that reflects the changed gender. The person would need to show that he or she has undergone surgical, hormonal or other gender transition treatment, or has physical traits of both genders.” The Independent went on to note that “[State] Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, R-Colorado Springs, was unsurprisingly opposed to the bill, saying it was dangerous because it would be impossible to know what genitals a person actually had.”
Dangerous? Dude! What exactly is the danger? Klingenschmitt didn’t elaborate, at least as quoted in the Independent. But one imagines that Klingenschmitt’s life would turn into a hideous nightmare composed entirely of the tilt down shot in “The Crying Game” when Neil Jordan, the director, reveals Jaye Davidson’s penis, much to the audience’s “Psycho”-like horror.
What business is it of Klingenschmitt, or anyone, to have intimate knowledge of another person’s genitalia? The Denver Post elaborated: Klingenschmitt “attempted to gut the legislation and make it a crime for someone to change their birth certificate without an operation. The bill, he said, could lead to cases of child abuse and fraud, saying people with female birth certificates and male body parts could use locker rooms with women and children, or that people could marry someone without knowing their spouse used to be another gender.” The American locker room rates just slightly lower than the bathroom as a preeminent site of sex panic. And what about the children? Does Klingenschmitt really believe that demented parents could alter their child’s gender on their own without any physician or social worker noticing?
Klingenschmitt also made headlines this year when he declared that a horrifying case in which a pregnant woman’s fetus was cut out from her body by a maniac was God’s punishment for American abortion rights. Such tender regard for the victim. Funny that nobody ever cites God’s vengeance as the source of the tremendous number of destructive tornadoes that have struck the Red State belt from Oklahoma to Indiana. Mightn’t they be paying the price for opposing marriage equality?
Last year, Klingenschmitt warned that Representative Jared Polis, an out gay Democratic member of Congress from Colorado, wanted to execute Christians.
As for the Colorado transgender rights bill, the Denver Post summed up its fate: “The legislation, which passed the Democratic-controlled House, was assigned to a committee in the Republican-controlled Senate where bills often go to die.” Lo: It died.
“The official chicken of Jesus” is how the Fox Radio clown Todd Starnes described the restaurant chain Chick-fil-A in a recent sermon at the Abilene Baptist Church of Augusta, Georgia. Starnes is most agitated by the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. Like many in the deranged bigot community, the radio host has suddenly awakened to the rampant discrimination embedded in American society. Everything appears to have been fine until very recently. Slavery, women’s ineligibility to vote, the governmental anti-Semitism that prolonged the Holocaust, the hellish conditions under which Chinese laborers built the nation’s railroad system, official neglect of the AIDS epidemic for its first decade or so — Starnes doesn’t concern himself with these petty complaints. But now that lesbians and gay men and straight people are equal in the eyes of the law (at least in terms of the right to marry), according to Starnes the US government has declared war on Christians.
“They may demand to know the content of our prayers,” Starnes railed, pulling a brand new outrage out of his ass; “they may try to shut down our bakeries, they may try to silence our voices, but we will not be silenced! We will not be intimidated!”
Then he got more bizarre.
“I believe that the reason that God blessed America is because we know how to smoke a pork butt,” Starnes declared, ignoring the fact that Jesus, a Jew, would have been sickened by the idea of eating pig.
To the frustration of many of his persecuted followers, Starnes failed to specify which particular item on the Chick-fil-A menu Jesus craves when He finds Himself pulling into a Chick-fil-A parking lot and heading for the front door. Does He prefer the Nuggets to the Chick-n-Strips? And is this a paid endorsement? If so, I trust He declares this income on His taxes.
Here’s my question: Why is it not blasphemous to claim to know God’s will?
On a side note, will someone please explain why Christian bakers appear to be more likely to be bigoted than, say, Christian jewelers? The supposed “right” of bakers to refuse to bake cakes for lesbian and gay newlyweds gets outsized coverage. It’s all about cakes! What about the rings? The flowers? The tux rentals? The caterers! What about the caterers? And the wedding gowns! Has anyone interviewed Vera Wang?
On a snide note, Fox News covered the death of Omar Sharif with the kind of fair and balanced reporting we’ve come to expect from that channel. The screen had a “BREAKING” banner near the bottom of the screen and, below it, the statement, “Actor Omar Sharif Dead at 83.” Fox illustrated the announcement with the caption “Omar Sharif (1932-2015)” and a photo of Sean Connery.
Follow @EdSikov on Twitter.