Sunday, November 04, 2007


These people contend that the soldiers dying in Iraq are paying the price of homosexual acceptance in America.

It's hard to fathom undiluted hate, monolithic and inarguable. Imagine growing up with a massive stone hate tablet chained to your ankle. When you are exposed to hate such as that, you end up hating. Resist and the hateful people around you probably have an idea or two about how to deal with that.

I'm unsure what to do about such people. Throwing more hate at them only makes their hate bigger. But I do feel bad. I feel bad for the soldiers who have died and their families. I feel bad about our warmongering president. All of this is wrong and I feel helpless before it.

To the mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and aunts and uncles and grandparents and friends and sweethearts and old middle school teachers and everyone else at those funerals that the"godhatesfags" people are targeting (and you will find a listing of them if you poke around their link), I am sorry. I am sorry you have to deal with hate. I am sorry that people would hurt you when you are most vulnerable.

I am sorry. I am sorry. I am sorry.

I wish I was giving you guys my totally excellent garlic bread recipe instead of writing something that includes the words soldier and hate and funeral, but this is all I can do about the helpless feeling I mentioned before.

Later this week, an essay I've written about pornography will run in my "Rainy Day Woman" column. It was a difficult column to write. I watched a great deal of pornography in its making, much of which might be called filthy or obscene or indecent.

Or sinful.

But if I took the ocean of pornography that washes over the Internet every day, it is a droplet next to the offense shown in the picture above. It is invisible next to George W. Bush's war.


Daniel said...

Is it just me or are this guys sunglasses a bit too stylish for a straight man.

deangc said...

I remember reading somewhere that the Westboro Baptist Church was financed at least in part by lawsuits they filed against people who assaulted them.

It makes a certain twisted sense: their position is stupid (and not in a 'you're stupid' way, I mean it's the sort of position that a person with an IQ of 85 takes) and it only makes real sense if you consider it from the point of view of offense caused. When you look at it that way, well, then you see. They aren't trying to convince anybody of anything, they're trying to be as brutally offensive as they can be while maintaining a cloak of Christian legitimacy.

I think Fred Phelps et al really do hate gay people. But I think that the extension of that hatred to military deaths in Iraq is deliberate, targeted offense. Which is a special kind of hate, don't you think?

Charles Lambert said...

Basically the Westboro Baptist Church (and can't baptists sue them for an inappropriate use of the name, assuming they think it is?) is the extended family of Fred Phelps, who clearly has issues with faeces (the eating of, as he and his delightful children describe the surely ecumenical practice of rimming) that maybe he should look into, or up. As it is these people already attract more attention than they deserve and the best policy might be to ignore them, deprive them of the life-blood attention they so constantly seek. Pretending they're not there might just be enough to make them go away. In the meantime, let's hope they're doing at least a little damage to the so-called moderate homophobes out there, whose views they actually represent, but whose pseudo-reasonable tactics they don't share.

Erin O'Brien said...

I'd like to buy all of them one of the terry rompers featured in the previous post and mandate that they wear them, a new sort of Scarlet Letter.

That way, they'd be easy to spot and fire from jobs or shun in general. And they'd look so cute!

Dan said...

On the happy side, the Westboro Baptist Church just got popped with an 11 million dollar judgment against them.

The Duchess said...

Thanks for this piece. I used to feel anger towards people like this guy, but now they just make me feel profoundly depressed. And, as you say, sorry. Sorry for everyone.

The Duchess said...

Hey, on the bright side, the godhatesfags website seems to have crashed! Maybe godhatestheserversofpeoplewhohatefags?

Diane Vogel Ferri said...

If someone thinks God hates anyone then, sadly, they don't have a clue who God is. I resent them calling themselves Christians - hey - what WOULD Jesus do?

Jim Winter said...

Westboro is proof that the church burnings in the south were not racially motivated, but simply done by well-meaning idiots who didn't know how to operate a GPS device.

"That's not Westboro Baptist Church?"

"Yeah, dude. According to this, we torched an AME church in Memphis."

"That's, like, not in Westboro."

"Apparently, it's not Baptist, either."

"Are they pissed?"

"Nah! We'll just blame the skinheads and hope someone learns how to use Mapquest before the next one. No one likes skinheads, anyway. They got their white status out of a Cracker Jack box. Where is Kansas anyway?"

"I think it's the big square one next to Georgia."

"We'll go there next."

"I'll get the matches."

Erin O'Brien said...

It's true that it's best to not pay attention to those who scream for it. But when it comes to the kin of a dead soldier at his or her funeral, ignoring these people is impossible I'm sure.

kilax said...

The unfortunate thing about this is that the monetary charges against them won't make them change. Nothing makes these types of people change. Do we ignore, tolerate, or fight them?

Hal said...

The question I have is just how pervasive this attitude the Phelps gang really is amongst fundamentalist Christians.

Phelps and his toadies are properly marginalized, but do they openly say what others might think? Remember Pat Robertson nodding along almost dutifully when Jerry Falwell said that 9/11 was God's punishment for homosexuals, feminists, the ALCU and a bevy of other evangelical bogeymen. Perhaps a moment or two of unintentional candor (aided by a few drinks maybe) would reveal sentiments similar to that of the good Rev. Phelps.

wisdomstuff said...

I find it amazing that mere mortals feel they have such a right to judge such a thing. People don't choose to be gay, they are born that way. You will never convince me otherwise. Perhaps you should just pity the souls of the totally closed-minded. It's very sad.

Trée said...

Erin, got your back on this one. Can I say that? :-D

Dan said...

Erin, if Trée has your back on this one, can I have your front?

2littlefishes said...

As we all know, freedom is not free. Also, radical fundamentalists come in all forms of ignorant behavior such as we have just witnessed. The sad part is that those who have died to protect our 'freedoms', also protect the rights of all our voices, including hatemongers.

Erin O'Brien said...

I love dialogs like this.

Regarding free speech, the Internet has revealed how people really feel about the first amendment. I have a lot of died-in-the-wool liberal friends who claim to respect free speech, but immediately delete any comment they don't like on their blogs.

Free speech applies to all speech, no matter how odious.

I've only deleted one comment on my blog because it was potentially libelous.

I used to leave all comments up on YouTube, including the ridiculous insults like u r a fat stoopid bich because I thought it said more about the people leaving the comments than me. Then a friend called such people "internet bullies" and I thought that he was right, so now I delete idiotic insults. There's a few I didn't get to. See the comments in this silly vid.

Dan said...

Well, in the judgment against the WBC, it was never a free speech issue. The suit was brought against them by a private party suing for personal damages. At no time in the litigation of this case were the WBC's First Amendment rights in jeopardy.

As for your blog, Erin, encouraging free speech does not mean you have to tolerate stupidity, meanness, or irrelevant, off-topic discussions. In fact, in terms of free speech, the First Amendment applies only to the government and not to the citizens.

People these days have somehow come under the assumption that, as a result of their misinterpretations of their First Amendment protections, they should somehow be allowed to say whatever they want wherever they want, but that is hardly the case. All the First Amendment does is seek to keep the government from censoring our public discourse.

In the case of the WBC, the government is not saying that these people aren't allowed to say what they say, but it's maintaining that they are responsible for whatever personal or public damages their words might incur.

Anonymous said...

May Phelps and company be forced to fuck Phyllis Schlafly for eternity.

Randy J.

Charles Lambert said...

Who's Phyllis Schalfly? If she's a woman, Phelps may not actually want to fuck here.

Hal said...


If you were alone on a deserted island with Schlafley and Ann Coulter, and you had to have sex with one of them in order for the human race to survive, you'd choose Ann Coulter, and Ann Coulter is a man.

As for free speech, I consider myself a fundamentalist on it, and while Phelps and his ilk are unpopular, they are the people who need free speech protection the most. Because if they are allowed to be silenced, who will be next?

garrett said...

Check out David Wilcox's song "Fearless Love" on this topic sometime if you have a chance.

It's a great song.

It's not about hate.

garrett said...
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Glass Houses said...

I just went to that horrible website, and I can't believe it's for real.

It can't be for real.