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Location: Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Doing my part to irritate Republicans, fundamentalists, bigots and other lower life forms.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Shame on you, Kay!

Buried inside Saturday's edition of The Kansas City Star was a seven-paragraph story on the annual Mayor's Prayer Breakfast to benefit the National Conference for Community and Justice bearing the innocuous headline "Leaders focus on values, unity." (

Formerly known as the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the organization's web site ( puts its mission statement right up at the top. It describes itself as "a human relations organization dedicated to fighting bias, bigotry, and racism in America."

So far, so good. They are the kind of words that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside ... like everything is right with the world and we should all join hands and sing, "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect har-mo-neeeeeee!"

But then you get the the next-to-the-last paragraph and all those pretty words and fuzzy feelings turn to dust. Apparently the events featured speaker had failed to read those inspiring words about fighting bias, bigotry and racism. It reads: "Featured speaker William H. Dunn Sr. bemoaned what he called 'a sharp downward trend' in values since he last spoke at the breakfast meeting in 1979. In a 10-minute speech he denounced pornography, illegitimate births, same-sex marriage, activist judges and the American Civil Liberties Union."

Dunn, by the way, is the patriarch of a local construction company. He's also noted as a local philanthropist and is apparently now out of the closet as a right-wing bigot as well.

What a shame an organization like NCCJ couldn't find a speaker who could actually address the issues the organization claims to be about in it's mission statement. Or at least didn't come out and flatly contradict them.

Even more of a shame is Major Kay Barnes lending her presence and her title to the event.

Barnes has sought the gay community's help in the past with her elections and with her pet projects. She helped pass the city's domestic partnership ordinances over a year ago.

Could it be that after the 2004 election Kay is taking a side-step to the right? Is she, like Hillary Clinton who recently softened her pro-choice rhetoric and spoke about "finding common ground" on the abortion issue, pandering to the fringe of the extremist right?

For now I'll give Barnes the benefit of the doubt and assume Dunn's bigoted comments took her by surprise. But I will be watching her actions and the actions of other politicians who sought the support of the gay community. We will not tolerate politicians who give us lip service during a campaign only to share a platform with right-wing bigots once they are elected.