As if we needed more evidence of Family Leader supporters' flailing attempts to keep hate fires burning on issues of same-sex marriage and gay rights, I got more striking examples in my inbox yesterday in response to Wednesday's column about Bob Vander Plaats' group's beef with Iowa Safe Schools' annual anti-bullying conference.
First, a number of kudos from readers glad I pointed out how desperate the Family Leader seemed in trying to pick a fight with Gov. Terry Branstad for not asking his title be removed from the Iowa Governors Conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth; how bizarre their attempt to spin the conference as some kind of school-sanctioned Sodom.
"It’s almost sad to watch the group have to contort itself into increasingly uncomfortable-looking positions to keep mining the outrage that has fueled the Family Leader leader’s lukewarm success," I wrote. A number of you agreed.
A former educator and state legislator commended me on my "guts;" a local high school principal wrote to offer his thanks.
"Our kids deserve schools that are safe and open for everyone," he wrote. "They face bullying on many fronts. It is so disappointing to see adults join in the bullying as well."
I heard this from a state legislative staffer: "I see and hear all the hate that comes from across the rotunda, and appreciate someone calling things the way they are."
And this from One Iowa Executive Director Troy Price: "I don’t think most people out there realize just how far the Family Leader has fallen over the last year, and your column really snaps that into focus."
Then there was this note, from John, the Leader's lone defender, with the subject line: "YOUR A LOON- AND YOUR EDITORIAL IS A JOKE! YOUR ARACIST!"
"MADAM- YOUR LOUSY EDITORIAL- REFLECTS TYPLCIAL LIBERAL BIAS- AND IS DISHONEST. YOUR A LIBERAL RACIST- ANTI-CHRISTIAN BIGOT. AND YOUR EDITORIAL IS LIBERAL CRAP! NOTHING BUT A HATCHET JOB TO THE FAMILY LEADER. YOUR A ANTI-CHRISTIAN BIGOT. AND ONE IOWA IS NOT A CIVIL RIGHT GROUP. THEY ARE A PERVERT HOMOSEXUAL EXTREMIST GROUP. AND THE MAJORITY IOF IOWANS DO NOT AGREE WITH YOUR LIBERAL IDIOT VIEWS. AND MOST DO NOT AGREE WITH HOMOSEXUALITY- OHTER THEN HOMOS ARE PERVERTS AND LIBERALS LIKE YOU ARE MORONS."
And I'm a terrible cook, and I hate kittens and butterflies, and I don't know all the state capitals, and did I mention I'm an idiot and a moron? But seriously.
I'm happy to have a reasonable conversation about civil rights and same-sex marriage. I welcome it.But I'm even more convinced today than I was yesterday that reasonable Iowans are overwhelmingly being turned off and turned away by the irrational fire and brimstone rhetoric of anti-gay activists.