Among those in Crawford on Saturday for first daughter Jenna Bush’s wedding were a handful of protesters from the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. The Waco Tribune Herald reports:
They gathered on the road leading to the ranch, waving signs that read â€œGod is your enemy, America is doomed,â€ â€œPro-gay Bushâ€ and â€œNot blessed, just cursed,â€ and sang fractured versions of songs religious and patriotic, including the Marine theme, â€œFrom the Halls of Montezuma.â€
Rachel Hockenbarger, 42, one of the Westboro Baptist Church protesters, at one point quoted a Bible verse about â€œodious women,â€ then blasted President Bush for raising Jenna to be tolerant of gay people.
But others also got their say in. Thomas Miller, 18, a self-described â€œcounterprotesterâ€ from Wacoâ€™s Lake Shore Baptist Church, stood across the street with his own sign: â€œFor God so loved the world.â€
And a number of neighborhood children hastily put together a tongue-in-cheek sign lampooning the Kansas protesters: â€œThese people are gay.â€
An equally interesting tidbit about the wedding comes from The Dallas Morning News, which interviewed gay realtor-rancher Mark Mattlage, whose property is less than 2 miles from the Bush ranch. Here’s an excerpt:
Not everyone feels so upbeat, however. Realtor-rancher Mark Mattlage, 57, chose to return to his hometown in May 2007, after years of living in such exotic places as Key West, Fla. He has owned his ranch-style home and the hundreds of acres around it for years, less than two miles from the Bush property.
Even before he returned, he allowed anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan to stage demonstrations on a portion of his land. In mid-2006, he retracted the offer, after his insurance company threatened to hike his insurance liability costs astronomically. He was perturbed, he says, when Ms. Sheehan reacted in a manner that he deemed inappropriate. (Her supporters later acquired their own land nearby.)
So, he says, he’s no fan of her, or the president, for whom he has never voted, but has never met. Mr. Mattlage shares his home with his business partner.
“It’s probably two connections,” he says. “The Sheehan thing and me being gay. Everyone out here knows I’m gay — they’ve known it since I was 15 — and they’re no different now than they were back then. These people here in Crawford, they’re the salt of the earth. They’re not going to tell you they’re tired of all this, because they’re Republican and voted for him twice. But the truth is, they are tired of it.”
Like his neighbors, Mr. Mattlage wishes Jenna a long and happy life, but as for the presidency that forever changed his beloved hometown …
“I’ll be glad when it’s over,” he says.
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