Kansas City Strip

The morality patrol: We’re still waiting for news that the Internal Revenue Service has revoked 501(c)(3) status for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Nonprofit organizations with the coveted tax-exempt status must turn the other cheek when it comes to endorsing candidates. But it sure looked as though that was what was going on last month, when Republican vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney told an audience at the organization’s headquarters that under George Bush, students would learn the difference between right and wrong.

But learning the difference between right and left is a bit more complicated now that anti-Hollywood morality crusader Joseph Lieberman is in the same race as Cheney. Lieberman graced Kansas City last week with a visit to the Harley-Davidson plant near the airport — but he should have stopped by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes offices too, where he certainly would have found an audience eager to hear his sermon about how Americans need to “renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to God.”

We thought Lieberman’s appearance at the Hog factory seemed a bit odd, since motorcycles have long been associated with all the sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll rebelliousness Lieberman has made a career out of trying to suppress.

Also fighting the evil forces of Hollywood were 150 mostly gay demonstrators outside KSHB Channel 41 on Sunday, protesting Monday’s debut of Dr. Laura Schlessinger‘s television show. Schlessinger — whose Ph.D. is in physiology, not psychology — has referred to gays and lesbians as deviants, pedophiles, and “biological errors.”

The peaceful, sweaty protesters were led by Bob Mintz‘s inspirational call-and-response work on the bullhorn and were even amused by the fact that “2-4-6-8 — Dr. Laura’s got to go!” doesn’t rhyme. Standing by in a lavender minidress and silver spiked heels was a 6-foot-6 dead ringer for Channel 41 news anchor Elizabeth Alex — or for the dreaded Dr. Laura herself. (“Oh, God, I didn’t mean to be,” said Stormy when we pointed out the resemblance.)

But wait a minute — wasn’t the rally’s message of “Stop Dr. Laura” a bit of a contradiction for organizer Mark Manning, who spent much of the ’90s putting together anticensorship events with the Greater Kansas City Coalition Against Censorship?

“It’s not a free-speech issue,” Manning tells PitchWeekly. “I’m a firm believer in being able to give opposing points of view. Dr. Laura has ample outlets — with three hours a day on the country’s number-two syndicated radio show, and now a TV show to boot. It’s a matter of money. This isn’t public-access TV. We don’t want Channel 41 to profit off of bigotry.”

We do find it suspicious that Channel 41 is shoving aside Rosie O’Donnell to make room for Dr. Laura in the 4 p.m. time slot (Rosie will now appear at 2 p.m.). Now, there’s a conspiracy: Someone at Channel 41 obviously thinks it’s better for latchkey kids to come home from school and flip on the yucky, strict, antifeminist mom instead of the fun, butch, single mom.

Categories: News