Open thread: In god's name



The Westboro Wackos

From Wikipedia

The Westboro compound

The Westboro facility is organized around the edges of a lightly fortified compound, surrounded by ten homes organized in a block at 3701 SW 12th Street in Topeka. The house on the north-west corner of the compound belongs to Phelps Sr., its lower floor serving as the church "meeting hall" (as he refers to it). The other nine houses were once occupied by non-congregants, who moved away either on their own initiative or as a result of not wanting to live near Phelps Sr. and Westboro, and are now occupied by the families of Phelps Sr.'s nine children still associated with Westboro. The properties border an area enclosed by a fence with picketed tops. Inside the compound are U.S. and Canadian flags that fly non-stop (and are lit up at night), in an upside down position.[14] Westboro's stated reason for flying the flags upside down (given on the frequently asked question page of one of its web sites), is that an upside down flag is "the international sign for distress" and that the U.S. is in distress because "our national support of perversity is bringing God's wrath upon us."[6] The church website address is prominently displayed on the exterior of Fred Phelps Sr.'s house.

I'm not one to normally tell someone to be quiet...

...but please just ignore Westboro Baptist altogether.

I'm saying this because I used to live in KC, MO and are familiar with more effective ways of dealing with this small, misbegotten bunch of nuts.

The press there learned quickly to just ignore this bunch. For instance, they targeted my old church (Antioch Family Worship Center in Overland Park, KS) - a rather conservative, Evangelical church for holding a message following 9/11 on "Why Bad Things Happen To Good People". You'd have to search hard to find any mention of it in the Tubes from anyone else other than Westboro Baptist themselves.


Because it didn't take long for media outlets in areas familar with these people (Lawrence, Topeka, KC, etc.) to figure out they are just plain full of hate and use some Bible verses far out of context to justify it. Even someone with a passing familiarity with the Bible realizes that the term "God Hates Fags" lacks any theological basis.

I'm an Evanglical Christian who votes somewhat consistently Republican and I find this bunch just as despicable as y'all do; and I'm sure most anyone else in my ideological neighborhood would feel the same way.

These people live off of hate, and they are fueled by being hated. Not paying attention to them is really what will keep them from gaining more converts (though in years of doing this - they've gained very, very few).

If it makes you feel any better, there are groups who protect the families of fallen soilders whose funerals this bunch of nuts show up to. If you want to do something constructive - write about those groups...solicit support for them. If you know someone who has been targeted, do you what you can for them (I was in NC when my old church was targeted by this bunch and help set up a nationwide push for messages of encouragement to my old church when they went through it); but just reposting their stuff to get some liberal blood boiling is helping Westboro Baptist more than it is hurting it.

Nice message 'cept one thing

I dont' think DQ posted it just to get liberal blood boiling. We usually take posts like this as a call for help. We might respond online with boiling blood, but this is our outlet. Sometimes you can be more constructive after you get the anger out.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Sometime if you're willing, I'd love to hear the thinking

behind this:

I'm an Evanglical (sic) Christian who votes somewhat consistently Republican

As an ex-Evangelical Christian AND an ex-Republican, I have a special and sincere interest in the topic, especially in today's world in which the Republican agenda of aggression, war, greed and hostility to the environment seems so much at odds with my understanding of Christian values.

I have a grammatical blind spot

If I were to spell "Evangelical" out-loud - I'd remember the "e"; but it always goes away when I type it.

I'm not too keen on people dropping God's name instead knowing His Face [HT: Ben Folds' Jesusland] either from the Left or Right [I even wrote a bit about it on my blog]

That being said - I don't view the two as being mutually inclusive. Being a good Chrisitian does not make me a better Republican or vice versa.

Keeping quiet...

is certainly not something I am able to do when not asleep. But I can understand your point. And maybe that's why I couldn't find anything in the Hickory paper about a protest. Two articles about the funeral, none about crazy people from out of town.
This bunch is one of the reasons I sometimes have a hard time with "freedom of speech." I'd like to smack 'em down and shut 'em up. They are today's version of the Klan, I guess. Sad, very sad.

Counting the signs in the picture...

...can give you some idea of what a small group of people we're talking about here.

They are today's version of the Klan, I guess.

They don't even rank there on the influence scale. And that's the point I was making: they aren't influential, but paying attention to them can make them more influential - something nobody in the right mind wants.

Look, I understand that it's basically an exercise in futility for someone to come on a site full of activists - let alone someone from "The Dark Side" - and tell you not to be active. But, what fuels their machine of hate (which in the Pantheon of The Machines of Hate is a wimpy electric weedwhacker) is attention - especially negative attention.

If you really want to do something - scroll on down to the bottom of the page and link up with the Patriot Guard. The fact that EVERYBODY (including me) knows the name of some dinky-ass church in Nowheresville, KS that's not really even Baptist; but doesn't know the name of a throughful group of people wanting to counter them is sad.

Success is achieved when instead of us (liberals, conservatives, the media, etc.) saying "Westboro Baptist Church is staging a protest. I really hope that bunch of bikers shows up" we instead say "The Patriot Guard is going to counter that bunch of wackos again at some protest - let's lend them some support" Reasoned Discussion of Cabarrus County, NC News & Politics

I think you're mostly right about this

Sometimes our work here isn't strategic at all. Sometimes we're just being regular human beings, observing what other human beings are doing . . . and then dropping our jaws in amazement.

But your point is well taken. There are lots of good reasons to ignore the lunatics.

eh, I get what you're saying

and I appreciate your position. If I were an evangelical Christian who didn't think queers should be tolerated, or if I wanted to codify my religious intolerance by Constitutionally denying queers the same rights of civil marriage as every other American citizen and or denying them protection against hate crimes, I certainly would NOT want anyone seeing what the natural extreme of my intolerance is; Westboro Baptist.

[Please note: I don't know you Justin and I have no reason to think you're not a decent, rational man so I'm not talking about you AT ALL in that paragraph above. Hope it doesn't sound like it.]

I personally think the activity of Westboro and every right-wing extremeist group like them needs to be dragged kicking and screaming into the daylight -- exposed -- so regular decent American people who have no clue what kind of hateful stuff really goes on can see it, so they can drop their jaws at it, too.

I think American attitudes about segregation began to turn when average decent people across America saw the extreme natural end of segregationist/racist attitudes ... Selma, freedom riders disappearing, peaceful marchers being beaten and water hosed, lunch counter protesters being screamed at and manhandled.

Similarly, I think the activity of Westboro and their bretheren like the Klan, Christian nation, etc. belongs here, advertised in full view for all the world to see. I don't care that they like the attention. What matters is that the attention gains them and their attitudes nothing but disdain from the general public ... even you, Justin.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Very excellent point, but

how else might I have heard about it? The discussion concerning Meek hasn't been picked up the the wire services yet, probably because it was cross-tabbed to another blog site, etc. There's so much information flowing into the search engines that the chance for a first three page reference is like winning the lottery [during the first week of a post] unless you can keyword it right then. (Newbie to all this, but have gone out and searched via Google, Nexus and the AP wires on some stuff that has come up here and didn't see anything.)

I do think we need to get things like that out here, but be sensitive to the very valid concerns you mention. :-)

Thanks Justin

I'd heard about them, but had forgotten what they were called and didn't have time this morning to Google.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Yes, it's on. No, nothing off topic in OTs.

And THAT'S what I call a Democrat ... standing WITH the middle and working classes. I sure needed to see that. Thanks, U.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Now If They'd ALL Do that

maybe their approval rating would climb out of the cellar ... ya think?

(cellar = underground room below the house) just in case ...

Guaranteed to go over 50%

.... that's stratosphere range for the Congress.

(thanks for that definition. ;) I don't bring my dictionary to work for fear of being snickered at.)

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."