Andy Wass stands in a rubble pile that was recently his living room and makes stabbing motions at the sky with the pink flyer he holds in his work gloved hand. Andy is laughing. “Says here ‘God punishes Fag Lovers.’ Strange, but I’ve been living around here all my life; no Gay Pride parades yet.”
A short, muscular man of perhaps thirty, Wass lets the paper fall from his hand and looks toward the horizon. In every direction it seems as if the town has been carpet bombed. “I guess they usually stuff their flyers under windshield wipers. My car’s across the street upside down with an oak tree on top of it. So they stuck their paper in what’s left of my kid’s swing set.”
Andy reaches into the debris and retrieves a sports trophy that somehow remains in perfect condition. A peaceful expression crosses his face for a brief moment. “Yeah, crammed their flyer in my kid’s swing set. You know, a tornado doesn’t have a brain. Whoever put those flyers all over town, they knew kids lived here. Did they even pause to wonder if my kids had been killed in the storms? Did they hope my kids were dead?”
Those seemingly rhetorical questions resonate far beyond a former living room in rural Indiana, and strike at the very heart of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KS. It is there, at the International Headquarters of the ‘God Hates Fags’ movement, the shadow of schism has reared its head, threatening to divide a close knit congregation of dozens.
Church organist Cindy Phelps Hargrove, while confident the Lord is at work anytime an American dies, speaks in whispers as she confesses confusion about the Creator’s targets.
“It’s not for me to question you understand, but I can’t help wondering. Why wouldn’t the Lord just clean out San Francisco instead? Could God maybe be starting to have Alzheimers? Cause that’d be really bad.”
Youth Leader Tim Phelps admits recent events have caused some doubts, but is quick to point out his cousin is a lousy musician and nobody’s ever really liked her. “God moves in mysterious ways. Now these people in Indiana? It’s quite possible they’re all closeted homosexuals; that’d be my guess. Likely that’s why the death toll wasn’t higher.
When tornadoes are around, in the closet is safest place to be.”