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Alecto posted a topic in Westboro Baptist Church (WBC)One of my friends is a sports reporter, so I just got the scoop that Westboro Baptist is coming to protest the funeral of the Arkansas Razorback football freshman who died this weekend. Their reasons make so much sense: He's Catholic (which he may or may not be, but went to Little Rock Catholic High) God is punishing football because of Penn State. A local sports radio host has offered to give them air time in exchange for not protesting, but it seems like they are not taking the deal. It also looks like they are going to include a local college tour in this, so after last week having Brother Jed and Sister Cindy, I might get to endure the Phelps clan, too.
I've been keeping track of the Westboro Baptist Church for five years now. As some of you may know, I maintain a website devoted to defending unpopular speech â€“ and particularly the unpopular speech of WBC members. (Heh. There are quite a few people who don't like me. Go figure.) Anyway, the WBC has been described variously as a fanatical cult (kinda true), a hate-group (entirely true), and even (incorrectly) as an IRL troll group that survives off the money from law suits. All regular attendees of the Westboro Baptist Church, including young children, engage in picketing activities. Some go far afield while others stay within the vicinity of Topeka, Kansas, where the church is based. Now, an interesting thing to note about the WBC and its members is that almost all of them are well-educated. The kids attend public school. They take in whatever media they choose. The church, being Hyper-Calvinist, believes media exposure won't hurt those who have been raised to be faithful just so long as they're among the Elect â€“ and the non-Elect would fall away regardless of media exposure. Only a few of them have chosen to leave the church. Most stay, and stay faithful. While I disagree with nearly everything the WBC does, that's one thing member parents seem to do right: They teach their kids religious doctrine and have absolute faith this doctrine will stick even in the face of outside influence. That is how strongly they believe in their cause. That is how strongly they believe in their God. Whenever I come across fundies that shelter their children like hot-house flowers, I can't help but to compare them unfavorably to members of the Westboro Baptist Church. I just found a new-to-me blog called Olive Plants Around My Table (oliveplantsallaroundmytable.blogspot.com/2011/07/what-happened.html). Its author,. Lisa, spent a day running errands with her children. She wasn't too busy to notice a whole lot of things she dislikes, however, or to silently judge the people around her. In a July 19 post, What Happened?, she laments the decay of modern culture. Yeah, some parents are distracted. For all Lisa knows, however, that particular woman was on her iPhone planning a funeral or arranging for a midnight move (alas). The fact this woman didn't eat her lunch suggests she was embroiled in something stressful, rather than merely being â€œmesmerized by the little black box.â€ And did Lisa do anything to ease that obvious distress? Did she send her own kid over to distract the toddler? Did she anonymously pay for the food? Did she even say a quick prayer? Oh hellll no. She simply filed the situation away for later mention on her blog. Lisa goes on to offer three additional examples of things she saw that day which she didn't like. The last of them is as follows: And this is where my intro about the WBC comes in: Kids being raised in that church are exposed â€“ perhaps over-exposed â€“ to the worst the world has to offer. They generally stick with their beliefs anyway. I can't help but wonder whether people like Lisa actually believe most of what they say about God, given how frail they expect their kids' faith to be â€“ such that they engage in ridiculous, overly dramatic behavior such as making a u-turn in the mall and rushing for the nearest exit to escape pictures of women in satin underwear. Lisa then goes on to make a series of statements disguised as questions: Inattentive parents have always existed. There never were days when all parents everywhere paid more attention to their kids than to some outside distraction. Never. Lisa didn't have to leave. She chose to leave. That's not society's problem; it's her problem. I am so sick of hearing every other day how the sky is falling. Yes, there are a lot of things gone wrong right now; a lot of things we, as a society, should address and soon. (The appearance of women's underwear in ads just isn't one of those things.) Even so, however, there are so many people working hard every day, everywhere, to improve the world around them. Society is not crumbling; it's merely changing â€“ and those who want to direct that change should be willing to get their hands dirty, rather than looking for a fainting couch whenever they see a partially exposed breast. People like Lisa are obsessing over minutia without showing any evidence they recognize the existence of bigger issues. But here's my favorite part: That's right! Lisa is approvingly quoting Michael Pearl â€“ the very aasshole who would have at least three deaths on his conscience if he weren't a total sociopath. He's part of what's wrong in the world and yet Lisa runs to him for comfort, even while praying to raise â€œgodly children in a godless society.â€ In short, Lisa's priorities are utterly skewed â€“ and, as a result, her kids are just as likely to fall away as so many other second-genners who are fleeing fundie churches in droves. She doesn't suffer this affliction alone, either; her fans are affected as well: Robin says, â€œSin is what happened. No honestly, that's what it is. I agree it's so hard to try to raise your children in a Godly manner.â€ Brenda says, â€œIt is also getting more difficult to buy modest clothing! Sometimes I feel like I'm on a treasure hunt trying to find a top that isn't too low or shorts that aren't too short.â€ (BURRIS' TIP: Cut pants into shorts of an appropriate length, and otherwise dress in layers. It's not hard at all to find â€œmodestâ€ clothes.) Maria says, â€œI feel as if I am under siege every time I venture outside my doors. I have to get ready for battle- put my blinders on and move forward.â€ But my favorite comment is from CanadaGirl: â€œI really hear you on this one. You wonder how long it will take for the Lord to come back. ((sigh))â€ That's right; CanadaGirl disapproves of how some people dress and of how some companies advertise, so she meets these challenges by hoping the entire world will end â€“ and yet she sees herself as being on the side of the angels, bless her heart. Oh yeah â€“ that's definitely the kind of self-serving, fatalistic cowardice I'd want my kid to emulate.
twitter.com/#!/MargieJPhelps states that Westboro Baptist Church will picket Steve Jobs' funeral because he "had a huge platform and gave God no glory". I don't know if that account is for real or not.
http://www.miamistudent.net/news/miami- ... -1.2598853 So, my undergrad is hosting Shirley Phelps-Roper to come in and speak to comparative religion students. Needless to say, my fellow alumni and friends who are current students are up in arms. To be honest, I'm still trying to get over the whole "WBC at my school" to have a coherent opinion at the moment. Any thoughts from my fellow FJ-ians?
I'm sure they've been discussed before. But I watched a few documentaries on them a couple days ago (the ones with Louis Theoroux and Keith Allen) and noticed a lot of similarities with them and other fundies. Though fundies seem to be a teensy bit nicer. The most recent documentary (that I've seen) focused on the fact that more and more people are leaving the church. Do you think the church will ever fully go away? edited: couple of annoying typos.
I just read this in Slate- http://slatest.slate.com/posts/2011/08/ ... s_and.html The Supreme Court of the United States may allow them to protest here, but that Freedom of Speech doesn't extend to Norway. I hope that Norway refuses them entrance to the country.
(Seriously. Unfortunately I can't find the actual letter where Shirley Phelps-Roper denied that there was any connection between Westboro and the Bethels, but I'd swear to it having been there at one time.) So who are the Bethels? Orlando and Glynis Bethel and their kids, sometimes of Loxley, AL and currently living in Nashville, are evangelists. Actually, they're evangelists of the lawsuit, always suing whenever they believe they've been treated with "police brutality." They've been doing this for years. Glynis calls herself a prophetess, of what, I haven't figured out. I don't know that Glynis has a blog, but she has a message board (link: newlifegospel.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general and the link is broken because we do not want this one to follow us home) and she does regularly post YouTube videos. I'll put links to a few below. But first, let me give you a glimpse into what kind of weirdness these guys are into. This is from July 15: (link: http://blog.al.com/live/2011/07/self-pr ... s_thr.html) And there's more where that whack came from. Previously, on the Orlando and Glynis Bethel show, the family was being martyred up in Nashville: (link, with video and an interesting background: http://www.newschannel5.com/story/14469 ... twood-high ) (In Glynis' defense, she's absolutely right. The school HAS TO PROVIDE education to her children if they're within the school district, and none of this BS about "oh, you have a home in Alabama." However, the kids can be kicked out if they're being disruptive.) Here's Glynis' YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/glynisbethel Here's a recent video with Glynis using Mace on a police sergeant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW3znHFuLrY And here's a link where she explains, at length, why she used Mace on the officer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENhudL5a2Lk (The first minute gives the succinct explanation, the rest is well, ramble.) She's also got a Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/glynisbethel Enjoy, if you dare.