The month of May at Indy this month will not only feature a plethora of fundamental changes to almost everything, but will also be graced by the divine presence of folks who are a credit to religion in general (LOL). That is right, we are talking about the Westboro Baptist ‘Church,’ which is essentially what is left of members of the dysfunctional Phelps family with the least amount of brains, sans Fred who not only got excommunicated but was toe-tagged and boxed for shipping to the hereafter recently.
Their beef? Jim Nabors prefers the company of men and, if fact, married one last year, it is his swan song year for BHAII, and lots of people consume alcohol. Oh, and there are a wide variety of military folks represented around Memorial Day. Many have begun freaking out about the presence of the Phelps clan. Why? Every Indianapolis 500 my party ever attended has included intrusive religious nutjobs carrying signs, crosses, pamphlets and usually shouting this or that about finding the Lord, repentance, avoidance of eternal damnation and/or how judgment day is nigh. Evidently this year homophobia will be added.
At worst such people are merely pains in the ass that get in the way of race fans trying to enter the facility. I am certain that most mean well but their presence, although their God and constitution-given right, remains hideously inappropriate given the setting. After all no one I know has ever shown up at church to promote the Indianapolis 500, although given attendance and ratings challenges that might not be a bad idea. Certainly pastors would not appreciate it, however.
The Westboro Baptist ‘Church,’ however, threatens to take the notion of nonsense positioned as religion to new levels. I am counting on fellow race attendees to make them feel very welcome. Speaking for myself I will not pay them a second thought, will not engage them and will try and avoid the pollutive nonsense they spout. Before my maturation process evolved to a relatively adult state my racing group used to engage in mean spirited hijinks with intrusive cross carriers, including telling the most vulgar, sacrilegious Jesus-on-the-cross jokes possible just to make them go away chagrined, and because us mischievous youths were also consuming beer by the gallon the occasional urinating on their sandals or general surroundings was also known to occur. Thank goodness my advanced age has resulted in far less drinking, much more maturity and a well-defined live and let live attitude that allows abundant tolerance for those who go out of their way to troll at race tracks.
It is not just religious nuts you have to be careful to avoid these days. Because the west side of Indianapolis has devolved into ghetto on almost three sides these days many of the youthful urban residents have begun trying to run one scam or another past the average casual racing fan in increasing numbers.
None of that will deter my enjoyment of any part of the month. Frankly my biggest worry is whether IMS will have resolved the PR disaster they inflicted on themselves with security fear-driven lunacy related to track entry. Time will tell, and time is drawing near!