Kansas. I Can't Believe I'm Back In Kansas.

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Memo to Kansas: LAY OFF PAUL MIRECKI.

The next time some fundamentalist asshole tells you how fucking persecuted they are when a cashier tells them "Happy Holidays", drag them out of their car, kick the shit out of them, and get them fired. Then they can genuinely feel as persecuted as Paul Mirecki.

Mirecki's crimes are numerous, and the list seems to grow by the day. His first crime? LIVING IN KANSAS. His second crime? HAVING A BRAIN. His third crime? BEING PISSED OFF. Never mind that there is a circular causal link between these three "crimes" that is as natural as man evolving from ape. The Enemy decided Paul Mirecki was an enemy, and he got taken care of. By the people who keep telling us all how powerless and under siege they are.

Paul Mirecki is a teacher at the University of Kansas. He was GOING to teach a course on modern mythology, as is his due as the university's chairman of religious studies. Included in those mythologies? Creationism and Intelligent Design, the latter of which, not coincidentally, is making yet another go-round through Kansas' retarded board of education.

Everything went to hell when self-proclaimed "gadfly" and conservative assmunch John Altavogt went digging, and found some unkind things Mirecki posted on a Yahoo group for the college atheist/agnostic group, SOMA. Before I give you the unkind things Mirecki said, allow me to give you the unkind things that were said about the unkind things Mirecki said. ACTUAL QUOTES TIME!

"His intent to make a mockery of Christian beliefs is inappropriate." - State Senator Karen Brownlee.

"This man is a hateful man. Are we supposed to be using tax dollars to promote hatred?" - State Senator Kay O'Connor.

"If a person has hate in his heart and says something hateful and later apologizes, do you think the hatred in his heart has been mended?I’m surprised that something more severe isn’t happening to this teacher who obviously has a hatred for Christians."- O'Connor again.

"The integrity of university is in question right now. He’s only apologizing for getting caught. He’s not apologizing for his behavior." - State Representative Brenda Landwehr.

"Mirecki said the beating began almost instantly. The men punched him about the head and shoulders and struck him with a metal object, he said." - News story about the two black eyes and bruised arm Mirecki received at the hands of people who didn't like what he said.

"John Altevogt, a conservative columnist and activist in Kansas City, said the situation was the equivalent of David Duke teaching about race relations or Fred Phelps teaching about homosexuality." - indirect quote from the Lawrence Journal-World.

HOLY SHIT! Mirecki must have spewed some pretty hateful rhetoric to get the otherwise sane, rational Intelligent Design movement and fat right-wing walrus-moustachioed gadfly community on his ass like that. So what's the worst thing they could find in all the discussions of religion and politics on an agnostic/atheist campus mail group?

"The fundies want it all taught in a science class, but this will be a nice slap in their big fat face by teaching it as a religious studies class under the category ‘mythology,’... Doing my part to piss of the religious right, Evil Dr. P"

There is nothing in the above quote that warrants getting the shit kicked out of you by rednecks. There is nothing in the above quote that warrants accusations of FAKING THAT BEATING. There is nothing in that quote that warrants losing your chairmanship position. There is nothing in that quote that warrants getting your course cancelled. There is nothing in that quote that warrants being equated with David Duke and Fred Phelps. There is nothing in that quote that warrants a bunch of Republican state legislatures teeing off on him.

What that quote contains is a lack of respect. An ENTIRELY JUSTIFIED lack of respect. The conceit that "ID in science classes" is an idea worthy of respect in the first place is just part of the political marketing strategy that gets ID taught in science classes in the first place. Getting a bit cranky on the Internet, and showing what I would consider a heaping pile of RESTRAINT, should not turn you into the state's whipping boy.

But this is Kansas, in America, in 2005, and the fundamentalist princesses have once again felt the tiny pea through all their mattresses, and are suing the hotel for pain, suffering, and punitive damages. Fuck 'em all.