615,982 Posts in 14,787 Topics by 2,768 Residents
Latest Member: vnszbjzn
BetterMost, Wyoming & Brokeback Mountain Forum
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
January 16, 2019, 08:04:51 am

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
*
Home Help Login Register
BetterMost, Wyoming & Brokeback Mountain Forum  |  Our BetterMost Community  |  The Polling Place (Moderator: David In Indy)  |  Topic: Should Westboro Baptist Church be Guaranteed First Amendment Protection? 0 Residents and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
Pages: 1 2 3 4 [All] Go Down Print
Author Topic: Should Westboro Baptist Church be Guaranteed First Amendment Protection?  (Read 17357 times)
Kerry
BetterMost Supporter!
BetterMost Moderator
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 7,076


^ In pursuit of Captain Moonlite - 5 Sept 2009


WWW

Ignore
« on: March 16, 2010, 09:35:44 pm »

Westboro Baptist Church
Protest Case Heads to High Court


TIME Magazine

8 March 2010


http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1970564,00.html


Washington: The Supreme Court is getting involved in the legal fight over the anti-gay protesters who show up at military funerals with inflammatory messages like "Thank God for dead soldiers."

The court agreed Monday to consider whether the protesters' message, no matter how provocative and upsetting, is protected by the First Amendment.

Members of a Kansas-based church have picketed military funerals to spread their belief that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.

The justices will hear an appeal from the father of a Marine killed in Iraq to reinstate a $5 million verdict against the protesters, after they picketed outside his son's funeral in Maryland.

A jury in Baltimore awarded Albert Snyder damages for emotional distress and invasion of privacy, but a federal appeals court threw out the verdict. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the signs contained "imaginative and hyperbolic rhetoric" protected by the First Amendment.

The funeral for Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder in Westminster, Md., was among many that have been picketed by members of the fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas. Westboro pastor Fred Phelps and other members have used the funeral protests to spread their belief that U.S. deaths in the Iraq war are punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality. One of the signs at Snyder's funeral combined the U.S. Marine Corps motto with a slur against gay men.

Other signs carred by members of the Topeka, Kan.-based church said, "America is Doomed," "God Hates the USA/Thank God for 9/11," "Priests Rape Boys" and "Thank God for IEDs," a reference to the roadside bombs that have killed many U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The case will be argued in the fall.


Logged

γνῶθι σεαυτόν
Clyde-B
BetterMost 1000+ Posts Club
******
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 2,769


Clyde-B when he was Jack and Ennis's age




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2010, 09:55:59 pm »

Isn't preaching hate inflammatory rhetoric?  Should that be any more legal than shouting fire in a crowded theater?
Logged
CellarDweller
The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 32,429


A city boy's mentality, with a cowboy's soul.




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2010, 11:56:06 pm »

My opinion, no.
Logged



Tell him when l come up to him and ask to play the record, l'm gonna say: ''Voulez-vous jouer ce disque?''
'Voulez-vous, will you kiss my dick?'
Will you play my record? One-track mind!
milomorris
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*******
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 6,425


No crybabies




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2010, 12:16:44 am »

If the KKK can do their thing, so can these folks.

Welcome to America.
Logged

  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
David In Indy
BetterMost Supporter!
Moderator
The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 18,447


You've Got Male



« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2010, 02:53:37 am »

I'd love to answer no to your question Kerry, but I must answer yes. They are entitled to their free speech, no matter how hateful or appalling or repellent it may be.

As Milo pointed out, the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) have been guaranteed their free speech - they hold annual rallies here in Indianapolis both on the steps of the state capitol and also down on Monument Circle - and so the Phelps family/Westboro Baptist Church should be allowed their first amendment rights as well.

If we start telling people like the Phelps and the KKK that they are not allowed their first amendment protection then who will be next? It is a very slippery slope, in my opinion.

Let them talk. Every time they open up their mouths they prove to more people just how idiotic they really are. Their first amendment rights will end up dooming them in the long run. Undecided

Logged

Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.
Monika
BetterMost Moderator
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 6,586


We are all the same. Women, men, gay, straight




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2010, 03:06:45 am »

I'd love to answer no to your question Kerry, but I must answer yes. They are entitled to their free speech, no matter how hateful or appalling or repellent it may be.

As Milo pointed out, the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) have been guaranteed their free speech - they hold annual rallies here in Indianapolis both on the steps of the state capitol and also down on Monument Circle - and so the Phelps family/Westboro Baptist Church should be allowed their first amendment rights as well.

If we start telling people like the Phelps and the KKK that they are not allowed their first amendment protection then who will be next? It is a very slippery slope, in my opinion.

Let them talk. Every time they open up their mouths they prove to more people just how idiotic they really are. Their first amendment rights will end up dooming them in the long run. Undecided


I basically agree, but there is a line that has to be drawn somewhere. I´m not sure if Westboro Baptist Church crosses that line or not, but for me the line should be drawn at agitation against an ethnic group/sexual minority etc.
In most west european countries there are laws against it, and it has my full support.
Logged
louisev
BetterMost Supporter!
BetterMost Moderator
The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 16,111


"My guns and amo!! Over my cold dead hands!!"


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2010, 09:37:59 am »

what the Westboro nutcases cannot do is invade the privacy of others, and they have been skirting the line by attempting to prevent mourners from getting to funerals for fallen veterans.  What will happen is that they will have more and more restraining and protection orders put on them forcing them to stay further and further from the site of memorial services.  In the case of Canada, all of the members of that Church when they attempted to cross the border to go to a protest at a funeral, were denied entry as undesirables.    They have gotten very close to harassment, and it is up to local authorities to make sure they don't conduct public assemblies that disturb the peace.

The most effective counter I have seen to this was a male Australian TV personality went up to one of the senior Phelpses who was protesting a funeral for someone who was gay and began to flirt with him and make sexual compliments and the man panicked and ran away.  THAT is probably one of the most effective counter-demonstrations - they could have a gay kiss-in counterdemonstration and all the Phelpses would get sick and flee.
Logged

“Mr. Coyote always gets me good, boy,”  Ellery said, winking.  “Almost forgot what life was like before I got me my own personal coyote.”

Kerry
BetterMost Supporter!
BetterMost Moderator
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 7,076


^ In pursuit of Captain Moonlite - 5 Sept 2009


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2010, 09:48:32 am »


The most effective counter I have seen to this was a male Australian TV personality went up to one of the senior Phelpses who was protesting a funeral for someone who was gay and began to flirt with him and make sexual compliments and the man panicked and ran away.  THAT is probably one of the most effective counter-demonstrations - they could have a gay kiss-in counterdemonstration and all the Phelpses would get sick and flee.


Logged

γνῶθι σεαυτόν
Clyde-B
BetterMost 1000+ Posts Club
******
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 2,769


Clyde-B when he was Jack and Ennis's age




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2010, 10:04:16 am »

It's not legal to sit around and plan someone's murder, that is not free speech.

It's not legal to sit around and plan the illegal destruction of property, that is not free speech.

Is it legal to advocate and incite both of these acts?  The question is where do you draw the line?

If I were the Westboro Baptists, I would be careful about claiming that "God loves IED's."   Someone might just decide to send them one.
Logged
Lynne
BetterMost Supporter
BetterMost Moderator
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 9,291


"The world's always ending." --Ianto Jones


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2010, 10:34:44 am »

I don't like it personally, but I think legally their right to free speech has to be protected if we're going to be the free society our founding fathers envisioned.

That said, I think communities should pass ordinances or do whatever they have to do to keep them a far distance from mourners - their rights end where the rights of others begin.  And certainly a family has a right to bury their loved one(s) in peace.

Like someone else said, I think that their hate speech will lead to their own destruction.  They've become a joke because of their own ridiculous claims.
Logged

"Laß sein. Laß sein."
milomorris
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*******
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 6,425


No crybabies




Ignore
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2010, 11:11:24 am »


Is it legal to advocate and incite both of these acts?  The question is where do you draw the line?

This question has been raised in the past regarding gangsta rap that contains lyrics about killing cops, raping women, killing gays, etc. So far, that is still protected speech.
Logged

  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Clyde-B
BetterMost 1000+ Posts Club
******
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 2,769


Clyde-B when he was Jack and Ennis's age




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2010, 11:46:12 am »

This question has been raised in the past regarding gangsta rap that contains lyrics about killing cops, raping women, killing gays, etc. So far, that is still protected speech.

I believe their argument was to the effect that they were describing the world in their art and not advocating anything.

Westboro Baptists are definitely advocates.
Logged
Mikaela
BetterMost 1000+ Posts Club
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,228


Unsaid... and now unsayable




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2010, 11:52:10 am »

I voted "yes" because I think it's better they be allowed to state their opinions freely, thus showing the world what they are, than that they be couted martyrs for the cause in being shut down.

Nevertheless, I don't think the Freedom of Speech should trump all other laws and regulations at any time. So for instance, if they're disturbing the peace (say, at cemetaries) they should be removed. And if they abuse their children (I think what they force their poor kids to do and say constitute abuse) the kids should be removed. Etc.
Logged
Marge_Innavera
Guest

« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2010, 12:08:35 pm »

Washington: The Supreme Court is getting involved in the legal fight over the anti-gay protesters who show up at military funerals with inflammatory messages like "Thank God for dead soldiers."

The court agreed Monday to consider whether the protesters' message, no matter how provocative and upsetting, is protected by the First Amendment.

Members of a Kansas-based church have picketed military funerals to spread their belief that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.

I voted that they have the First Amendment right, although of course people who want to counter-picket or block the protestors from the view of the families have their own First Amendment rights.

But it needs to be pointed out that all this flamboyant public posturing about outrage over Westboro is totally dependent on their disrespect for the military.  Phelps and his bloviating band of bigots were picketing the funerals of AIDS victims at least 16 years ago and there was not a peep of outrage.  

Not from churches.

Not from any City councils that I've ever heard of.

Not from legislators.

We need to keep that in perspective.  It isn't the hatefulness that outrages lawmakers and pundits for the most part; and as far as churches go, Phelps is quite useful to many of them.  He functions like the proverbial bridesmaid in the hideous dress.
Logged
milomorris
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*******
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 6,425


No crybabies




Ignore
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2010, 12:09:31 pm »

I believe their argument was to the effect that they were describing the world in their art and not advocating anything.

Westboro Baptists are definitely advocates.

If that excuse works for rappers, the WBs can always claim that they are describing their religious beliefs rather than advocating anything.

Moreover, "advocating" and "inciting" are not cut & dry. There's lots of room for interpretation.
Logged

  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Jeff Wrangler
BetterMost Supporter!
The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 26,495


"He somebody you cowboy'd with?"




Ignore
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2010, 12:14:17 pm »

I wonder how come nobody thought to sue him before?  Huh?
Logged

"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.
Lynne
BetterMost Supporter
BetterMost Moderator
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 9,291


"The world's always ending." --Ianto Jones


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2010, 12:22:51 pm »

...
But it needs to be pointed out that all this flamboyant public posturing about outrage over Westboro is totally dependent on their disrespect for the military.  Phelps and his bloviating band of bigots were picketing the funerals of AIDS victims at least 16 years ago and there was not a peep of outrage.  

Not from churches.

Not from any City councils that I've ever heard of.

Not from legislators.

We need to keep that in perspective.  It isn't the hatefulness that outrages lawmakers and pundits for the most part; and as far as churches go, Phelps is quite useful to many of them.  He functions like the proverbial bridesmaid in the hideous dress.

Excellent point, Marcia.
Logged

"Laß sein. Laß sein."
louisev
BetterMost Supporter!
BetterMost Moderator
The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 16,111


"My guns and amo!! Over my cold dead hands!!"


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2010, 01:06:45 pm »

It's not legal to sit around and plan someone's murder, that is not free speech.

It's not legal to sit around and plan the illegal destruction of property, that is not free speech.

Is it legal to advocate and incite both of these acts?  The question is where do you draw the line?

If I were the Westboro Baptists, I would be careful about claiming that "God loves IED's."   Someone might just decide to send them one.

that's where they skirt the lines, and it is no accident that every spawn of Satan Westboro Baptist offspring (almost all of them are a single family) hold a law degree and are licensed to practice law in Kansas, and possibly elsewhere.  their "God Hates Fags" is protected speech and so is "You're Going to Hell" and "USA Deserves It" - but inciting to riot by making direct suggestions, using personal information, harassment of individuals and invasion of privacy are where their noses are right up against the window of breaking the law.
Logged

“Mr. Coyote always gets me good, boy,”  Ellery said, winking.  “Almost forgot what life was like before I got me my own personal coyote.”

Clyde-B
BetterMost 1000+ Posts Club
******
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 2,769


Clyde-B when he was Jack and Ennis's age




Ignore
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2010, 01:29:12 pm »

that's where they skirt the lines, and it is no accident that every spawn of Satan Westboro Baptist offspring (almost all of them are a single family) hold a law degree and are licensed to practice law in Kansas, and possibly elsewhere.  their "God Hates Fags" is protected speech and so is "You're Going to Hell" and "USA Deserves It" - but inciting to riot by making direct suggestions, using personal information, harassment of individuals and invasion of privacy are where their noses are right up against the window of breaking the law.

I have wondered about the wisdom of allowing people to preach hate against any individuals of a society.  It's one thing to debate practices and what behaviors will be allowed and what will not, but preaching hate against individuals comes very close to inciting lynchings.  I'm not sure that's a good idea regardless of who the individuals are.
Logged
Marge_Innavera
Guest

« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2010, 03:04:46 pm »

This is slightly OT, but Fall From Grace, Ryan Jones' excellent documentary about the Phelpses, is available on Netflix.

I attended the premiere of this movie, which was originally a grad student project, in Kansas City.  Interestingly, I had a strong impression that Mr. Jones is gay and if that's correct, the Phelpses evidently never picked up on it.  He said they were quite friendly to him, even offering to picket the premiere in order to give him more publicity.  ) Huh?


Netflix link: http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/Fall_from_Grace/70080238?strackid=7fddc2b0c561760f_0_srl&strkid=285479172_0_0&trkid=438381

At Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Fall-Grace/dp/B00197POYK
Logged
Kerry
BetterMost Supporter!
BetterMost Moderator
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 7,076


^ In pursuit of Captain Moonlite - 5 Sept 2009


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2010, 09:43:43 pm »

As a non-American, it has been interesting for me to read all the arguments for and against this matter. Thanks to everyone for your feedback. I feel I have a more comprehensive understand of the First Amendment now.

I came across the article as I read my (hardcopy) TIME magazine (South Pacific edition) over breakfast yesterday and thought it would make an interesting poll for BetterMost. I subsequently located an e-copy of the article at www.time.com

Whilst Googling for images to accompany the article, I came across the following. I found it quite distressing. Comments?


 
Logged

γνῶθι σεαυτόν
Kerry
BetterMost Supporter!
BetterMost Moderator
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 7,076


^ In pursuit of Captain Moonlite - 5 Sept 2009


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2010, 10:30:20 pm »


And if they abuse their children (I think what they force their poor kids to do and say constitute abuse) the kids should be removed. Etc.


Logged

γνῶθι σεαυτόν
ifyoucantfixit
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*******
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 8,049





Ignore
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2010, 10:43:16 pm »



     Free Speech is exactly that.  No matter how abhorrent it is to everyone else.  They have the constitutional right to do
it.  Just as the people who burn the American flag, have the right to do that.  It is very difficult to have to watch, and
bear witness to.  But if you deny one person the right to speak the way they feel, then you can do the same to everyone
else.  I hate the way they talk, and the things they are able to say, but I would defend the right to the death their rights
to exercise them.
    That is how I feel, because I am sure that the things I espouse are far different from how many others feel.  But I
certainly do not want them to have the right to stop me from saying my part also.  Its just how all the rights work.  All
the rights we fight for, are justified.  We only want to fight for the same rights that everyone else has.  I say if they are
denied, then we can also can be denied legally.  Sad but fair and true.
    Those founding fathers understood how balance of rights work.  All men (and women) are created equal.  They must
be treated equally also.  Otherwise, none of it means anything.


      Anyone going to one of these hate rallys, should carry an equal sign, "Judge not lest ye be also Judged."
That is one of the seven deadliest sins.  "Bearing false witness is a sin."  Everything they do is a sin, if you
believe there is such a thing as sin.  If you believe in the Bible writings.  It is not that you only can do a chinese
menu pick of what is right and what is wrong.  You go by all of it, or none of it.
Logged




     Beautiful mind
Clyde-B
BetterMost 1000+ Posts Club
******
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 2,769


Clyde-B when he was Jack and Ennis's age




Ignore
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2010, 11:10:14 pm »

The very same thing occurred to me, Clyde. I am presuming that most of the people attending the funerals (legitimately) would be friends and relatives of the deceased, including Vets, some of whom may very well be suffering from post-traumatic stress. The presence of WBC pickets could be just enough to nudge them over the edge. It's amazing it hasn't happened already, considering the ready access to firearms in the USA. Just one quick burst of semi-automatic gunfire from an emotionally compromised mourner and dozens of WBCers would be wiped out in a matter of seconds. Someone was wondering why no-one's sued WBC before. I'm now wondering why no-one's shot at them. And wouldn't it be interesting to see Fred Phelp's funeral (I believe he's quite elderly) picketed - maybe with a gay kiss-in.

I'd pucker up, Kerry.

I agree, the WB's are pushing their luck.  Only their enemies' reverence for life and law stands between them and oblivion.
Logged
David In Indy
BetterMost Supporter!
Moderator
The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 18,447


You've Got Male



« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2010, 11:39:19 pm »

The very same thing occurred to me, Clyde. I am presuming that most of the people attending the funerals (legitimately) would be friends and relatives of the deceased, including Vets, some of whom may very well be suffering from post-traumatic stress. The presence of WBC pickets could be just enough to nudge them over the edge. It's amazing it hasn't happened already, considering the ready access to firearms in the USA. Just one quick burst of semi-automatic gunfire from an emotionally compromised mourner and dozens of WBCers would be wiped out in a matter of seconds. Someone was wondering why no-one's sued WBC before. I'm now wondering why no-one's shot at them. And wouldn't it be interesting to see Fred Phelp's funeral (I believe he's quite elderly) picketed - maybe with a gay kiss-in.


Kerry and Clyde -

It has already happened. Back in the 1990s....

(Bold highlighting is mine)

His church was bombed, and now he protests funerals of the war dead
Kansas preacher says he's coming to Idaho


BOISE, Idaho -- A Kansas preacher and gay rights foe whose congregation is protesting military funerals around the country said he's coming to Idaho tomorrow to picket the memorial for an Idaho National Guard soldier killed in Iraq.

A flier on the Web site of Pastor Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church claims God killed Cpl. Carrie French with an improvised explosive device in retaliation against the United States for a bombing at Phelps' church six years ago.

"We're coming," Phelps said yesterday.

Westboro Baptist either has protested or is planning protests of other public funerals of soldiers from Michigan, Alabama, Minnesota, Virginia and Colorado. A protest is planned for July 11 at Dover Air Force Base, the military base where war dead are transported before being sent on to their home states.

Phelps gained national notoriety in 1998 when he picketed the funeral of Matthew Shepard, the gay college student beaten to death in Wyoming.

Since then, Phelps said his church has been the target of hateful words and actions, including a bomb attack six years ago.

Phelps' church has picketed the funerals of AIDS victims for more than a decade.

French, 19, was a Caldwell High School graduate and varsity cheerleader. She was killed June 5 in the northern city of Kirkuk. French served as an ammunition specialist with the 116th Brigade Combat Team's 145th Support Battalion.

Phelps said the fact that French led an all-American life gives him all the more reason to picket her final public tribute.

"An all-American girl from a society of all-American heretics," he said.

"Our attitude toward what's happening with the war is the Lord is punishing this evil nation for abandoning all moral imperatives that are worth a dime," Phelps said.

Caldwell Police Chief Bob Sobba said he cannot bar Phelps from going to the public funeral, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Albertson College of Idaho in that city.

"While we respect Mr. Phelps' right to protest, we would hope that he would respect the family and friends of this young person by not disrupting the memorial," Sobba said.

Idaho Air National Guard Lt. Tony Vincelli, acting as spokesman for French's family, said there were no plans to change the funeral arrangements.

The Rev. Brian Fischer, pastor of Boise's Community Church of the Valley, and himself a past target of protest by the Westboro Baptist Church, decried Phelps' plan.

"What Phelps is doing is a reprehensible thing, to take a funeral and turn it into a photo op for his hate cause," Fischer said.

"We hope everyone will ignore Phelps' group."

In 2003, Phelps demanded that he be allowed to erect an anti-gay monument in a Boise public park. To avoid a lawsuit from his group, city officials voted in 2004 that a Ten Commandments monument be moved out of the park.


http://www.seattlepi.com/local/228401_westboro14.html

_________________________________________________


Still though, like you both said, they'd better be careful. It could easily happen again. Undecided



Logged

Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.
David In Indy
BetterMost Supporter!
Moderator
The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 18,447


You've Got Male



« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2010, 11:51:36 pm »







Gotta love the nerve of this guy... Good for him! lol
















Logged

Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.
Ellemeno
Town Administration
The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 15,367




« Reply #26 on: March 18, 2010, 02:03:47 am »

These signs, and the faces of the children and women holding them, are so intense to me.  How do they look at each other at the breakfast table, and kiss each other good night?  It is so gross and weird.  Have any of them ever recanted?  How could they retain this mindset?
Logged
louisev
BetterMost Supporter!
BetterMost Moderator
The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 16,111


"My guns and amo!! Over my cold dead hands!!"


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #27 on: March 18, 2010, 02:17:51 am »

At least two of Fred Phelps' sons have gone on the record after leaving his church that he was a cruel, intensely abusive child-beater who mercilessly "disciplined" his sons for minor infractions, and suffered tremendously at his hands.  The story of one of those sons was written up in exhaustive detail and it was enough to make your hair curl.  It's obvious that Fred Phelps, like nutty cult leaders of yore, Jim Jones, David Koresh, etc. are complete nutballs whose hold over their flock is terrifying and insanity-driven.
Logged

“Mr. Coyote always gets me good, boy,”  Ellery said, winking.  “Almost forgot what life was like before I got me my own personal coyote.”

Clyde-B
BetterMost 1000+ Posts Club
******
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 2,769


Clyde-B when he was Jack and Ennis's age




Ignore
« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2010, 08:43:09 am »

It's very strange to see the smiling faces and the joy they apparently take in spewing hate.
Logged
Jeff Wrangler
BetterMost Supporter!
The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 26,495


"He somebody you cowboy'd with?"




Ignore
« Reply #29 on: March 18, 2010, 08:59:11 am »

It's very strange to see the smiling faces and the joy they apparently take in spewing hate.

The Nazis did it. ...
Logged

"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.
Lynne
BetterMost Supporter
BetterMost Moderator
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 9,291


"The world's always ending." --Ianto Jones


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #30 on: March 18, 2010, 08:59:26 am »

It's very strange to see the smiling faces and the joy they apparently take in spewing hate.

It's so incongruous as to be surreal.
Logged

"Laß sein. Laß sein."
milomorris
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*******
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 6,425


No crybabies




Ignore
« Reply #31 on: March 19, 2010, 09:51:28 am »

It's so incongruous as to be surreal.

Hardly. Remember, they think they are doing the Lord's work.
Logged

  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Marge_Innavera
Guest

« Reply #32 on: March 19, 2010, 12:15:02 pm »


  Those founding fathers understood how balance of rights work.  All men (and women) are created equal.  They must
be treated equally also.  Otherwise, none of it means anything.

More than a bit OT here; but that's the very fallacy in the popular bumper-sticker sentiment about the Constitution guaranteeing "freedom of religion, not freedom from religion."  If 'freedom from' isn't part of the package, the package might as well end up in the dead-letter section of the post office.


Quote
Anyone going to one of these hate rallys, should carry an equal sign, "Judge not lest ye be also Judged."
That is one of the seven deadliest sins.  "Bearing false witness is a sin."  Everything they do is a sin, if you
believe there is such a thing as sin.  If you believe in the Bible writings.  It is not that you only can do a chinese
menu pick of what is right and what is wrong.  You go by all of it, or none of it.

Two other suggestions:

"It is written, 'my temple shall be a house of prayer'
but you have made it a den of thieves"  [Jesus' purported words]

or

"God loves everyone, including those jerks over there."
Logged
Marge_Innavera
Guest

« Reply #33 on: March 19, 2010, 12:18:20 pm »

Quote
(Clyde) It's very strange to see the smiling faces and the joy they apparently take in spewing hate.

The Nazis did it. ...

And there are examples in our own country -- photographs of public lynchings that, if the body was blocked out of the picture, any viewer would think is a picnic or one of those community fall carnival/craft shows.  They can be found on the Internet, but I'm not going to post any here.
Logged
Lynne
BetterMost Supporter
BetterMost Moderator
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 9,291


"The world's always ending." --Ianto Jones


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #34 on: May 14, 2012, 07:53:11 pm »

I read an article today in Sojourners called The Face of Hate, which is an interview with an ethnographer who spent time embedded in Westboro.  I found it interesting, particularly the parts about how she could be there for so long without losing sight of her own values.  I think I understand more about how they came to be who they are.

I will put the whole article here because I believe you need an account to access the article.

June 2012
The Face of Hate
by Interview by Joanie Eppinga | June 2012


An interview with Rebecca Barrett-Fox, a scholar who finds the appalling, the unexpected, and the human inside Westboro Baptist Church.

Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church takes in-your-face to a whole new level. The church is nothing if not an equal opportunity offender, from its burning of both a Quran and an American flag on 9/11 to its signs proclaiming God’s hatred for ... well, pretty much everyone. While Westboro, established by a lawyer named Fred Phelps in 1955, claims to be a Primitive Baptist Church, that denomination denounces the actions of the church as “deplorable.” The church boasts of conducting 47,770 demonstrations since 1991 proclaiming its gospel of hate—while taunting on its website that the number zero represents the “nanoseconds of sleep that WBC members lose over your opinions and feeeeellllliiiiiings.”

From Rebecca Barrett-Fox’s first visit to the church in 2004 until defending her dissertation “Pray Not for This People for Their Good” in 2010, the scholar became intimately acquainted with the people of Westboro in a way that few outsiders have. Barrett-Fox, now a professor at two Mennonite colleges in Kansas (Hesston and Bethel) and a former editor for The Journal of Hate Studies, conducted intensive ethnographic research on the church, joining members at Sunday services, pickets at memorials for gay and lesbian people, and outside the Supreme Court when it ruled in favor of the church’s right to demonstrate at military funerals. Freelance editor and writer Joanie Eppinga (eagleeyeediting.com) met Barrett-Fox through Gonzaga University’s Institute for Hate Studies and interviewed her last April. —The Editors

Joanie Eppinga: How did you become involved with Westboro Baptist Church?

Rebecca Barrett-Fox: I had grown up with fundamentalist Christianity, with a particular emphasis on the scary parts; I was born in the decade of Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth. My mom did a wonderful thing for us, which was to send us to every religious service that was available, in part I think because she wanted us out of the house. When I came to the University of Kansas, a group of friends and I decided to go to every religious service we could find, and that included Westboro Baptist.

What made you decide to move forward with your study?

In some sense, I felt called to it. So I spent a lot of time grounding myself in Calvinism. It was a long, dark winter! I wanted to historicize Westboro teachings, because I sensed early on that there was a lineage here in American intellectual and theological history. Then, in 2010, I studied them intensely through their Supreme Court trial, and traveled to the Supreme Court, though not with the church, to witness that process.

Westboro members say their purpose is not to convert souls. So why do they picket?

They say it’s obedience to God. They feel like God told them to do this, so they’re going to do it, regardless of public response. They use the same biblical passages used to justify any kind of preaching by any church: “Make it known to the world,” that kind of scripture.

They would say they know their preaching won’t save anybody. They are absolute predestinarians who believe that God chooses not just salvation and damnation, but everything. Not a sparrow will fall without it being God’s will. These beliefs, when taken together, make up the core of hyper-Calvinism. You are not saved because you heard them preaching; you are only saved because God wants you.

After you’d been going to Westboro for a while, were you starting to develop relationships with their members?

I was. I think it was easy for me because, having a certain amount of fluency, I can speak the language of fundamentalist discourse and never posit myself as anything except an interested observer.

I saw some folks, particularly journalists, just get chewed up by members of the church. Research is admittedly hard with a group like this, because in America, our sense of Christianity is either Catholicism or a kind of “evangelical-prosperity-gospel feel-good-Billy-Graham crackery”—that’s what Fred Phelps calls it. When you hear “Calvinism,” it does not match what we think about religion in America today.

Did the actual church service resemble mainstream Christian worship?

I had seen them preaching hate-filled messages on the streets. What amazed me was that they were saying the same thing in the church service—how do people come back Sunday after Sunday to hear this? Nothing new is being presented. I saw a lot of circling the wagons, with sermons about things like Noah and the flood and how only eight people got on the ark. This church is the ark, so if you’re a part of this church you’re getting on. The sermons are actually very typical of themes addressed in Calvinist teaching: questions of how you know that you are in or how you know that they are out.

So the attraction is the appeal of being part of the “in group.”

Exactly. And I could see the attractiveness of that in a world that is fragmented and scary, especially if you are not okay with doubt or gray areas.

Fred Phelps’ preaching is really a rhetorical act. You want to laugh at the jokes he’s making, and you want to be part of that group. He would say, “As it says in ...” and then he would drop the scripture and one or two people would call it out, or sometimes he would say, “Jon, what’s that Bible verse again?” And Jon better know it. It almost reminded me of law school, the level of pressure in a service.

Did children participate in this public biblical examination?

No, no. Neither did the women.

How were women expected to behave?

They can’t cut their hair at all, and they wear head coverings during religious services. But they don’t have to wear what I would consider modest clothing. I would sometimes see women wearing clothes I wouldn’t let my daughter wear to church, like shorts from Victoria’s Secret Pink collection, but also head coverings.

I was struck by how the congregation operated. It’s almost eerie if you are used to other kinds of church services. Nobody makes a peep; there’s no disruptive behavior, even from the kids.

How do church members discipline their children?

They are disciplined parents. I’m not saying that their kids don’t get spanked, but I have never seen or heard of a child being spanked there. They just have very high expectations, and they communicate those expectations very effectively. And they are very much with their children. As soon as those children are born, they come back to church.

Do the children of the church seem happy?

Yes. In some ways, that’s a disappointing finding, because you expect to see them being really unhappy. But the children who have left, the adult children of Fred Sr., talk about physical abuse and certainly mental abuse. Other members of the family say there wasn’t abuse, including one member of the family who has left the church.

These generations of grandkids and now great-grandchildren in the church are pretty happy and very normal. They go to public school. They participate in track, play saxophone, though what they can do is limited. The kids are very smart.

How does the group finance traveling to all those protests?

Everybody pays their own way. They are Calvinists in the very traditional way: They work really hard. They don’t pass a collection basket during services, and if you try to donate money to them, they won’t accept it. But the church’s travel budget is a quarter million dollars a year. A lot of them have careers in law, health care, and nursing, as sonogram technicians, and in computer science and robotics. Almost everybody has an advanced degree.

Fred Senior is a lawyer, and 11 of his 13 children are lawyers; they have a family law practice. If you looked at it, you would think it was a progressive firm. They do tribal law in the area, some family law. They won’t represent you in a divorce if you are in your first marriage because they don’t believe in divorce. But if you are in your second marriage, that doesn’t count anyway, so they will represent you. And they do a lot with immigration. Fred Sr. actually made his career as a civil rights litigator; he won settlements on behalf of African Americans. He reopened Brown vs. Board of Education in Topeka, and won.

I once heard somebody say that being in court against him was like being in a knife fight. He was disbarred for unethical behavior, once at the state level and once at the federal level. At the state level he badgered a witness—attacking her personal life, especially her sexual behavior. At the federal level, he made disparaging remarks about justices.

Did you ever feel drawn into the church’s perspective?

There was never a moment where I thought, gosh, let me join this church, but the appeal of the community—I could see that. I also think that church members create a culture that makes it uncomfortable to leave, and that becomes a high hurdle.

Because if you leave you are basically excommunicated?

They wouldn’t say “excommunicated.” They’ll take you off the church rolls, so you are excommunicated, but it amounts to more than simply excommunication from church services; it is de facto shunning because, as [Fred Phelps’ daughter] Shirley has said, “We don’t have time to talk to people who aren’t part of the church.” Shirley has one son who has left, Josh, who has publicly said, “I would like to have my mom be part of my life,” though he doesn’t agree with her theology.

So Shirley’s response to her son’s departure has been silence?

Oh no! She told everybody publicly that she’d just as soon line up all of her kids and punch them in their noses as let Josh back into her house, because she would be such a bad parent to give the message that it’s okay to leave this church.

Do you have the sense that she has any grief around his absence?

I can’t imagine how there couldn’t be. But if you go into Shirley’s house, on the refrigerator there are pictures of all of Shirley’s kids in foam picture frames, all in birth order, only Josh’s is gone—and no one has pushed the pictures of his two surrounding siblings closer together. Instead, there’s just a hole.

Shirley would say that he’s clearly not one of the elect since he left the church, so she’s not going to be in heaven with him anyway. For her to want Josh there would be like telling God, “You are wrong about this.” They probably don’t have an expectation that all of them will be chosen for salvation. That’s, again, that cold calculus of Calvinism, that maybe makes it easier when family members walk away.

Being a parent, you can’t imagine not crying at the loss of your child.

And for them, a loss doesn’t just mean a loss in this life; it also means eternal damnation. Among the Amish, there are ways to negotiate what “shunned” means, but there aren’t in this congregation. So it does seem very, very sad.

What has been your attitude as you’ve interacted with church members?

I don’t think I can get to an understanding of this group that is complete if I don’t think of them as full human beings. And I bear in mind that this group of 70 people is not going to go on forever; no church ever does. As painful as their behavior is, we can absorb it. They are not going to bring down American culture.

Did it wear on you, being with them that much?

No. I had a couple of very deliberate strategies, because some days were very long, and missing my home congregation was hard. Sometimes, my husband and kids would come to Topeka. One strategy of ethnographic research is to have someone with you. That way you can ask someone else, “Am I crazy, or is that what I’m hearing?”

How did you define your role among them?

There were those months of warmth, reciprocation, and participation. Maybe one of the cutest moments was when I brought cornbread to a potluck lunch. I said, “It’s John Calvin’s grandma’s recipe.” They looked at me and realized it was a joke. They cut it into little pieces so everybody could get some.

But the tone of our relationship had to vary from circumstance to circumstance. I couldn’t be palling around on the picket line.

What is the role of empathy in your research?

In the 1980s, feminist ethnographers started saying: We all know that all that stuff about sheer objectivity is not true. We have an emotional connection, and not talking about it is denying a traditional form of women’s language. One of the central tenets of feminist ethnography is that ethnography should be for the use and benefit of the subjects—for example, women survivors of marital abuse.

But what happens when you have some empathy with a person whose goals you can’t share, don’t share, won’t share, whose position you just generally don’t respect? Given my personality, it’s not that easy for me to turn that off. You want to connect, you want to be approved of. It was helpful for me to take new people to church services with me. I didn’t become desensitized because I could see the horror in their faces.

Taking careful field notes was helpful too. I was counting, How many times did they say “fag” today? Putting my own names to the types of people church members were sending to hell—Catholics, queer people, soldiers—was helpful: That person he’s talking about, that’s my friend Karen, my friend Alicia. We’ve learned that if you know someone who is gay or lesbian, you’re less likely to be homophobic. When you put a face to this hatred, you just can’t do it anymore.

That’s probably also true of your relationship with the Westboro members.

Yes, it is. You just can’t say these people are just awful anymore. What they do is awful, but it also illuminates how many other awful things are done under the guise of conservative Christianity. I don’t want to make a blanket statement about all conservative Christian churches—what I’m really talking about is the homophobic/political branch. You can have conservative theology that doesn’t end up here, proclaiming God’s hate.

Sociologist Kathleen Blee warns about using empathy either falsely or deceptively, or allowing it to turn off your critical thinking. I had the benefit of Blee’s insights.

What sustained you emotionally throughout the course of your research?

Anybody could have objectively gathered this data. If my heart was not attuned to the situation, there are insights I would not have seen. I’ve cried in my field work, Sunday after Sunday, sobbed in the car. What kind of a person am I, if I go to a funeral and I don’t do that? If I’m turning my heart off in research, I’m turning my heart off to other things that are valuable to know. I had that commitment and that community of support that made it possible for me to do it without losing it.

What does the Westboro Baptist Church activity, and our response to it, say about our culture?

It has illuminated for me the homophobia of some forms of conservative Christianity, and I find that far more dangerous than Westboro Baptist. Westboro makes those other guys look reasonable; conservative Christians make efforts to distinguish their own anti-gay message from Westboro Baptist’s. But Westboro is clearly a historic part of Christianity. There is a long strain of hyper-Calvinism in this country. Broader conservative Christianity does believe that God acts divinely in negative ways. Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes are said to be God’s punishment for Pokemon or voodoo or whatever evil thing Japan or Haiti or New Orleans has done.

What struck you about the way people responded to Westboro?

Some of the most progressive people fell for their homophobic and misogynistic taunts and responded with hostility. I was discouraged by how normative that kind of behavior was. Yet I don’t feel discouraged in my faith at all. It’s not as if I’m looking at this situation and saying, “Oh no, what’s wrong with the world?” I looked at this and said, “Passionate, devoted, intelligent people get led in the wrong direction.”

How do you think people should respond?

I don’t think if you ignore them they will go away, because they are not motivated primarily by a response. I think what’s more important is showing solidarity for your community: Make sure that those being targeted are loved and supported.

What was the most valuable thing you learned from your research?

I was able to see church members more as complete people and people in a process, and that made me feel hopeful. I think about St. Paul. Look where he started: stoning people, doing more damage than Westboro Baptists have done. There’s hope here for transformation. Westboro Baptists are fond of saying that “the arm of God cannot be shortened.” That is, you can do nothing to make God do less than God will do; you cannot lessen God’s ability to save. I try to apply that concept to how I see others—that I cannot limit them, that I cannot “shorten” their potential to be loved by God, to be people of love.


http://sojo.net/magazine/2012/06/face-hate
Logged

"Laß sein. Laß sein."
ifyoucantfixit
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*******
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 8,049





Ignore
« Reply #35 on: May 15, 2012, 04:19:27 pm »

   Thanks for posting that article Lynne.  It was quite interesting to read..  Just goes to show, you
can't educate ignorance and bigotry out of a person. 
Logged




     Beautiful mind
Pages: 1 2 3 4 [All] Go Up Print 
BetterMost, Wyoming & Brokeback Mountain Forum  |  Our BetterMost Community  |  The Polling Place (Moderator: David In Indy)  |  Topic: Should Westboro Baptist Church be Guaranteed First Amendment Protection? « previous next »
Jump to:  

Listen to Brokeback Mountain Radio 1
Listen to Brokeback Mountain Radio 1



Help keep this site operating by donating.


 
Web bettermost.net
Image courtesy of 'AuroraLucis'


No more beans.  I'm sick of beans.

Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums