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Don Davis, Published August 04 2013

Minnesota Capitol chatter: Church leader says ‘too late’ to save US

ST. PAUL – Timothy Phelps says it would be better for members of his Topeka, Kansas, Westboro Baptist Church if they stopped traveling the country to warn Americans that homosexuality is a sin.

“The end of the world is near,” the son of the church’s founder said after a short protest of Minnesota’s new gay marriage law Thursday on the state Capitol steps.

Given that, he said, his life would be easier if he simply waited for the end.

But, he added, that is not what the Bible says. It orders believers to “go all over the world and preach the Gospel.”

“It is done, it’s too late to pray for this nation,” he said.

Phelps, 49, said Westboro members have picketed, mostly against gays, more than 50,000 times in all 50 states.

Members of the small controversial church often picket at funerals of American soldiers killed overseas, blaming the deaths on gays’ control of the government.

While they did little to incite problems during their Thursday Capitol picket (their anti-gay songs barely could be heard above commotion of about 100 gay-marriage supporters), written material on their website is harsh: “The only groups worse than the politicians and fags in Minnesota is the nauseatingly phony ‘Christians.’ ”

MNsure to answer

Minnesotans do not understand the state’s new way to buy insurance, known as MNsure, so its leader will answer questions on Twitter.

Executive Director April Todd-Malmlov will answer MNsure-related questions in which the tweets include the hashtag #AskApril from 1–2 p.m. Aug. 12.

The online marketplace is to open Oct. 1, with its first policies to begin Jan. 1. It is part of new federal health laws that require mostly online ways to buy health insurance.

Coleman in campaign

Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman may not be running next year, but he will be an honorary co-chairman of businessman Mike McFadden’s campaign to unseat U.S. Sen. Al Franken.

Republican Coleman narrowly lost to Franken in a recount following the 2008 election.

Along with Coleman, former U.S. Sen. Rod Grams is honorary co-chairman.

“When I first met Mike, I was impressed with his energy, his commitment to his family and community, and more importantly, his grasp of the important issues facing our state and country,” Coleman said.

Franken wants vests

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is co-sponsoring legislation to provide state and local governments money to buy more law enforcement body armor.

The legislation would reauthorize the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, which provided more than $430,000 to Minnesota last year. The money allowed nearly 140 jurisdictions to purchase more than 1,400 bulletproof vests.