Pastor Ken Hutcherson spent 15 minutes on KGNW, Seattle's Christian talk radio station, on Monday, April 21, rallying Christians across the city (well kinda, KGNW pulls a doormat .4 to .5 Arbitron rating) to show up on Friday, April 25, to protest at Snoqualmie's Mount Si High School. Some students at the school are planning a daylong vow of silence, to raise awareness of antigay prejudice.
Hutcherson, the media-hungry antigay pastor of Redmond's Antioch Bible Church, intoned that he had also taken out an ad in the Snoqualmie Valley Record, inviting others to join him and his wife in protest.
"It's time to stand up for righteousness," Hutcherson said on the program. "Let the people know that the heterosexuals are coming out of the closet."
The last time Hutcherson was this upset, he was demanding that Mount Si High School fire two teachers who protested a speech he gave at the school on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The teachers protested the contrast between MLK's message of equality and Hutcherson's intolerance of gays. (Hutcherson has fallen a far piece—formerly pledging to take on the $51 billion Microsoft about its gay and lesbian policies, to now, a grumbling parent taking on the local high school.)
Mount Si warned, but did not fire, the teachers ["Class War," Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, Feb 14]. In fact, Kit McCormick, adviser to the school's Gay-Straight Alliance and one of the disciplined teachers, is helping orchestrate the so-called Day of Silence, which is observed at schools across the nation.
Despite the Mount Si administration's past confrontation with McCormick and fellow teacher Dr. George Potratz, who also protested Hutcherson's MLK Day speech, McCormick said the GSA is going ahead with the event.
McCormick says she's disgusted with Hutcherson's potentially threatening display. "I think it's inappropriate," she said. "It feels threatening to students. He's an adult, trying to get students to feel that what they believe is wrong."
Hutcherson says it's his right as a parent—his daughter attends Mount Si—to let the school know he strongly objects to its sanctioning of the activity. "We're going to be peaceful and prayerful, and we're going to let the school know that we disapprove of what's going on in there," he said.
Last week, Mount Si sent out a letter explaining the Day of Silence to parents and emphasizing at least four times that participation is optional. But the letter still seemed to encourage the Day of Silence, and briefly described the meaning of the event: "to help raise awareness of prejudice, harassment, and discrimination."
The Monday radio program that featured Hutcherson claimed that several high schools in and around Seattle are trying to stop the event from happening. All of the schools contacted by The Stranger, however, including some of those mentioned on the program, said the activity is going forward—sponsored by students and without interference from school administrators. "Of course we would hope that there's tolerance of other people and other lifestyles, on any day of the year and not just one day," said David Tucker, a Seattle Public Schools spokesperson.
A group at Tolt Congregational Church in Carnation plans to run an ad beside Hutcherson's in Wednesday's edition of the Snoqualmie Valley Record reading, "We are One in The Spirit," and pledging to support the GSA. Another group, called "Friends of GSA," is encouraging Snoqualmie residents to confront Hutcherson's group outside of Mount Si on Friday morning, although McCormick isn't thrilled about that. "A school is not the right place for this," she said.
Hutcherson expects at least 1,000 people to join him outside of Mount Si on Friday. According to his office, he's planning a "peaceful, quiet protest."