With nothing better to do, religious zealots make another run at Overland Park Arboretum statue

Religious zealots make another run at Overland Park Arboretum. statue.

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This statue might cause you to scream, "Woah!" Or not.
  • This statue might cause you to scream, "Woah!" Or not.
Some day not long ago - we're not sure when - an unidentified young man and his nameless father took a stroll through the Overland Park Arboretum, taking in the bucolic setting on display in one of the Kansas City area's few natural treasures.

The scene seemed like a peaceful one, with only crickets and a gentle breeze breaking the silence. That is, until a topless woman marauding through the arboretum shattered the serene father-and-son moment.

"Whoa!" the child shrieked through the woods at the sight of female breasts, presumably cascading grief and confusion upon the young boy and rousing his father's motivation to convene a grand jury to solve his family's newfound problem.

Or so the American Family Association of Kansas & Missouri would have us believe from this hilariously lame video the local religious zealots posted on YouTube, purporting to capture some youngster's reaction to discovering the headless statue in the Overland Park Arboretum that puts a pair of breasts on display.



Incredibly, the local AFA chapter is trying to round up signatures (they need 4,700) to summon another grand jury investigation to declare the statue obscene. Last year the organization tried to use a grand jury, a legal concept that's intended to delve into serious matters like actual crime and malfeasance, as a maneuver to further their own narrow agenda coerce Overland Park into taking the statue down.

Obviously, it didn't work, although it did succeed in spending $35,000 of taxpayer money to flesh out this meaningless controversy.

"Let's turn our attention to this unfinished business!" exclaims the local AFA website, prompting visitors to sign a grand jury petition. Although judging from its own chronicling of its activities over the last year, it seems as though they haven't diverted their attention to much else other than Yu Chang's "Accept or Reject" piece that depicts a headless woman with exposed breasts taking a photo of herself.
A stock image? Or the kid who was bedeviled at the arboretum? - AFA-KSMO.NET
  • afa-ksmo.net
  • A stock image? Or the kid who was bedeviled at the arboretum?

And if their cause is meant to be taken seriously, it's hard to tell why they chose the video, entitled "Whoa! A Child's Response to Obscenity" as its call to action. The video lacks dates, details of the people involved and, most of all, any context to the boy's reaction, other than his one-word scream at the direction of metal boobs. Was the boy crestfallen following the encounter? Did his grades suffer? Did he seek counseling afterward?

That missing context is emblematic of the AFA's mission against the arboretum statue, a crusade against public art that's easy enough to miss if offended viewers don't want to see it. But the AFA makes a big leap, connecting the statue to the production of kiddie porn.

"It's troubling that a city agency persists in placing, in the path of children, the depiction of 'art' - that if they mimicked it, would essentially be children manufacturing child pornography," the local AFA's website reads.

Whatever.

The local AFA is affiliated with the larger American Family Association, a nonprofit based out of Mississippi whose stated mission is to "promote the biblical ethic of decency in American society." Translation: "We get out of paying certain taxes so we can push our interpretation of the Bible upon everyone else."

The organization is led by president Timothy Wildmon, who makes $126,004 doing what he does. But that doesn't make him AFA's highest paid person. That would be Timothy Wildmon's father, Donald Wildmon. His title is chairman emeritus, which suggests an honorary distinction for a retired official, but Donald Wildmon still makes $152,344.
More obscenity, while we're at it.
  • More obscenity, while we're at it.

AFA's website describes itself as "being on the front lines of America's culture war" and is "one of the largest and most effective pro-family organizations in the country with hundreds of thousands of online supporters."

One might think if that were true, the AFA would fare better financially. For its fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, the AFA ran a $4.5 million loss. Its main methods for getting the word out about its beliefs are money-losers.

The AFA publishes the AFA Journal, which it calls "one of the most widely read monthly publications of its kind." It brings in $8.2 million to the AFA but, unfortunately, costs $9.4 million to produce and distribute to its purported 175,000 readers. Its Internet operations, like onemillionmoms.com and onemilliondads.com, also don't cover their nut.

Maybe instead of making a stink about a statue and trying to get the public to pay for their investigation, the AFA could work harder on shoring up its bottom line.



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