Paradox: Westboro Baptist Church

If you’ve never heard of Westboro Baptist Church, I am sorry to have to introduce you.

Westboro Baptist was founded by Fred Phelps. Westboro is most famous for parading at funerals of soldiers killed in action, with signs saying, “GOD HATES FAGS” and “THANK GOD FOR DEAD SOLDIERS” – claiming that God killed the solider to punish the United States for tolerating homosexuality. (Their websites, which I recommend you avoid, and which I will not link, include godhatesfags.com, jewskilledjesus.com and even godhatestheworld.com.)

But I want to thank Westboro Baptist Church. As I said in a comment the other day,

Westboro Baptist Church has done more for acceptance of gays in my home state than all the Pride marches, Supreme Court victories and anti-discrimination statutes put together.

Why?

I come from the most conservative, rural part of a conservative, rural state. If you aren’t a conservative Christian, you’re a conservative Mormon. You go to church every Sunday. I’m probably the first openly gay person you’ve ever met.

You think I’m going to Hell. You think that what I do is unnatural or degenerate or perverted or disgusting or depraved or just plain icky. You take an unwelcome interest in my bedroom.

But, if you are from my home state, you really hate assholes. A lot more than you hate fags.

[If my mother ever finds this blog, and figures out it’s my doing, she’ll be out here with a bar of soap to wash out my mouth.]

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6 thoughts on “Paradox: Westboro Baptist Church

  1. Have you watched that documentary on Netflix “Fall From Grace”? The first time I saw it I was absolutely disgusted by that whole family…I find it interesting that a few of their members left and that Fred HIMSELF was excommunicated. Those people…I just can’t with them…we can only pray for them and that they find God’s love…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haven’t seen it, and I didn’t know about excommunicating Fred. What a shame!

      I frankly just don’t understand how anyone can hate in the name of God. If God hates gays, why do you need to hate us, too? Isn’t God a lot better (and more effective) at hating anything than you will ever be? You are just piling on. Isn’t it enough that we’re going to fry in Hell for eternity?

      Like

  2. I actually theorized on fb a few years ago that maybe Westboro Baptist is the most effective tool at uniting “good” people against really bad people. I even wondered if what they are doing was somehow purposeful…sacrificing their own images to turn people toward open compassion and caring for those with whom they don’t always agree. Uniting against a greater evil, you know? Further, I think they make people who are lesser bigots try to distance themselves from such a radical image, and distance automatically means creeping toward decency, right? I’m sure that’s not the case, but interesting to ponder how what they are doing can actually have good effects.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had an unfortunate up close and personal encounter with the Westboro a-holes when I was 14 and no idea I was gay- they shoved their signs in my face and told me I was going to burn in hell as I walked into church with my sister. They are vile and filled with unimaginable hate. I had more encounters after that and we only lived in Topeka for less than 2 years. They don’t exactly make you feel welcome. But they are the first and last to ever call me a dyke to my face. They made me realize the hatred that exists and having gone to school with the kids in their “church” I know it continues. I appreciate you pointing out that their evil has served a greater good but I struggle to shine any light on them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! Frightening!

      Despite my somewhat lighthearted tone, I don’t make light of them, especially to someone who has seen them up close – and been assaulted by them. While I’m an optimistic person, I’m no Pollyanna. I just hope they don’t inspire somebody who’s crazy enough to gun down a dozen people in a prayer meeting.

      They aren’t changing any minds in New York; everyone thinks they are clowns, and nobody takes a clown seriously. They are changing minds back home; everyone thinks they are assholes and people do take assholes seriously.

      Up close, where you saw them, you have what seems to be exactly the right word: Vile. I just don’t understand how anyone can have that kind of hate. Or why anyone with that kind of hate thinks that it can convert decent people.

      What the hell would they think they accomplish by assaulting a 14 year old – particularly a 14 year old girl going to church?

      To make a historical analogy, in the 50s and 60s, racists attacked and spit on college kids and even little children just because they were trying to to go to school. That (to follow on to Caitlin’s comment) not only galvanized non-racist opinion and the federal government, it caused moderates – Southern and Northern – to distance themselves from the hard-core racists. Obviously, we still have a long way to go with racial injustice and violence, but we have certainly come a long way.

      I see the same thing with Westboro, at least out where I’m from.

      Liked by 1 person

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