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Old 03-21-2014, 12:16 AM   #286
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He wasn't a pro-civil rights attorney because of the cause, but because of the money. At least one of his kids (and I think more) has stated that he was still quite racist in private.

Right. A lot of the point of WBC was pissing people off so they would assault Westboro members, because then they could sue them. That's really how they made their money. Most of them are lawyers.
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:25 AM   #287
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What a sad, pathetic existence.
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:33 AM   #288
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He wasn't a pro-civil rights attorney because of the cause, but because of the money. At least one of his kids (and I think more) has stated that he was still quite racist in private.

That explains it.
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Old 03-21-2014, 02:55 AM   #289
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Fred Phelps, Man Who Forever Stopped March Of Gay Rights, Dead At 84 | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
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Old 03-21-2014, 01:16 PM   #290
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Right. A lot of the point of WBC was pissing people off so they would assault Westboro members, because then they could sue them. That's really how they made their money. Most of them are lawyers.
Wow... that's just messed up.
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Old 03-21-2014, 05:19 PM   #291
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Judge strikes down Michigan ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
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Old 03-22-2014, 12:47 AM   #292
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Let them eat (wedding) cake.
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:57 AM   #293
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^ Clearly the downfall of Western civilization.



(They look very happy. )
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Old 03-23-2014, 01:37 AM   #294
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From Louis Theroux's Facebook page:

 
Pastor Fred Phelps is gone, called to glory if you believe the teachings of his hate-spewing ministry, the Westboro Baptist Church. To me it seems more likely that his remains are mouldering away somewhere, obeying the laws of physics and biology. Either way, it is a moment to pause and reflect on the man and his legacy.
I had form with “Gramps”, as his family and followers liked to call him. I made two documentaries about his church for the BBC: The Most Hated Family In America in 2006 and America’s Most Hated Family in Crisis in 2010. In all, I suppose I spent about a month with the members of the WBC, trying to figure out what induces them to dedicate their every spare moment – when they aren’t keeping down respectable jobs as lawyers, correctional officers, salesmen in their hometown of Topeka – to flying around the country standing as close as they are legally allowed to funeral-goers, and waving hate-filled placards with slogans like “Thank God for Dead Soldiers”, “Fags Eat Poop”, and of course “God Hates Fags”.. They became notorious for picketing the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the WBC teachings, the soldiers were being punished for fighting for a nation doomed in the eyes of God for its tolerance of homosexuality.
Their main scriptural inspiration is the passage in Leviticus that mandates the death penalty for gay sex (“Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind, it is an abomination”) though for some reason the adjacent verses that proscribe astrology in similar terms never seem to excite the WBC quite so much. Not to mention that Jesus Christ himself – something of an authority on Christian affairs, one would think - had literally nothing to say on the subject of gay sex or shouting at funerals and plenty to say about kindness and humility.
The WBC has tended to be a family affair, overwhelmingly made up of Gramps’ lineal descendants and their spouses. They live in suburban Topeka, in a collection of houses with their gardens all connected, which they call “Zion”. Gramps was the prime move behind the practices of the church. He founded it at a time and place when the idea of abominating sodomites was mainstream in American Christian circles. In some respects, it was the times that changed, becoming more tolerant of homosexuality, leaving the WBC behind in their dogged adherence to old-style fire-and-brimstone bible thumping. But it’s also the case homosexuality seems to have been an idee fixe with Pastor Phelps: it struck a nerve.
According to legend, the WBC inaugurated their anti-gay pickets when a local Topeka park – Gage Park, as I recall – became a cruising ground. The Phelps decided to make signs and demonstrate against the practice. This was in the eighties. The WBC doctrine evolved into a belief that the whole of America was fallen and damned in God’s eyes, as was anyone who fought under the American flag – or indeed who wasn’t a member of the Westboro Baptist Church. We are all either “fags” or “fag enablers”: you, me, Desmond Tutu, Princess Di, Donald Rumsfeld, Billy Graham – though possibly not Robert Mugabe, Gramps had a soft spot for him. An eternity in Hell is the fate of anyone who doesn’t get baptised into the WBC and spend their free time traveling the country waving hate-filled placards, at political events, at colleges, and places associated – even in the most tortuous way – with tolerance of homosexuality.
While I was with them, they had a regular local picket of a hardware store that sold Swedish vacuum cleaners. The Swedish government had imprisoned a pastor for homophobic preaching, and for the WBC that made the store a legitimate target for a ritualized biblical smackdown. For the newcomer, these pickets are bizarre not simply because of the venom of the signs, but also because of how they clash with the banality of the family interaction. For the Phelps, it’s another day at the office – there’s a water-cooler ambience of relaxed chit-chat. Meanwhile, everyone, even the youngest children, are carrying placards saying “Thank God for 9/11”, “Your Pastor is a Whore”, and “Fag Sweden”.
There is no question that over the years their caravan of religious bigotry has made life miserable for thousands of people, many of them vulnerable mourners hoping to pay tribute to recently departed loved ones. It boggles the mind to remember that among their proposed picketing targets was the funeral of some young Amish children who had been shot by a deranged gunman. In the tortured logic of the WBC, those Amish kids’ died because their parents weren’t out holding their own pickets denouncing homosexuality. In the end, the WBC only called off the event after they were promised airtime on a local radio station, effectively holding the community to ransom.
But the WBC also made life miserable for themselves and inflicted a distorted and poisonous view of the world on the youngest members of their own family, holding over their heads the threat that any deviation or failure of commitment (not going to a picket; socializing with outsiders) would result in a lifetime of banishment. Ex-members – of which there are quite a few – can have no contact with the church. They are cut loose and cast adrift.
Given their eagerness to court controversy, and their willingness to offend and make themselves into cartoon, it’s not surprising that there are misapprehensions about the WBC. Unlike hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, the WBC never claim to hate gay people themselves, only that God does. I’m pretty sure there was at least one gay man in the congregation of the WBC. Even on the pickets, the Phelps could be civil. The hostility they expressed was a role that they enacted, dictated by a doctrine they had imbibed from their church leader and paterfamilias. You can find videos on YouTube of counter-demonstrators having cordial chats with Phelps picketers. I don’t doubt if you knocked on the door of the second generation Phelps and said you had some questions about Jesus, they’d let you in and maybe offer you a glass of water. Pastor Phelps was a different story: a hater by instinct.
I’m proud to say he took against me from the moment we met. I asked him how many children he had. He disliked this question. The interview was cut short. After that, we continued filming but I hardly saw Pastor Phelps. I had the feeling he was hiding from me. We eventually crossed paths again, though, in church one Sunday at the end of his sermon, preached on the subject of America’s coming tribulations. “You’re going to eat your babies!” he bellowed. One-on-one, Gramps still had the remnants of a folksy, plainspoken charm, but underneath was a bitter contempt for humanity in general and me specifically. I asked him how he could possibly know that the WBC members were the only people in the world bound for heaven. “I can’t talk to you, you’re just too dumb,” he said. It seemed I was a hell-bound sinner. Well, at least I was in good company.
I’ve heard people speculate that Phelps had repressed gay leanings or that perhaps he was sexually assaulted when young leading to a lasting animosity to homosexuality. Personally I doubt it. I think there may be small clue to his mindset in his having attended West Point academy: I suspect he hated it there and had a lasting dislike of the military, which partly explains the picketing of funerals. But there may be no simple causal precursor to his behaviour. He was just an angry bigoted man who thrived on conflict. There are credible reports from his disaffected offspring (four of his 13 children left the church) that he was physically abusive to his wife Marge; that he was violent to his children and had an intermittent problem with pills. A lawyer, he won some civil rights cases and received an award from the NAACP. But Phelps liked going against the grain. Later on, he realized he could outrage even more people and create more turbulence by using a handful of Old Testament verses to justify the weird mission of waving homophobic placards at every opportunity.
The members of the WBC like being attacked for their activities. They thrive on the presence of counter-demonstrators: the patriotic bikers who would sometimes turn up and rev their engines to drown out the Phelps songs at military funerals and also the students who turned out in droves to sing and register their dissent when the WBC held pickets near their campus. For the WBC, this meant they were getting a reaction and they would quote bible verses to the effect that being hated by the world was a sign of godliness.
In some ways I think the counter-demonstrators feed into the church’s world view. The WBC and their enemies exist in a feedback loop, with the church taking strength from the idea that they are having an impact. The church enjoys the image of itself as an indefatigable and godly remnant, hopelessly outnumbered, facing the hoards of a hostile world and valiantly sticking to their message in the face of violence and abuse. Indifference was a harder reaction for them to deal with, although they faced plenty of that as well without being much deterred.
It has been reported that Pastor Phelps had been “excommunicated” from his own church before he died (probably this doesn’t mean much more than being prevented from preaching; I doubt he was out wandering the streets). In 2010 I heard a similar rumour. Then, the word was that Gramps was panicking about a multi-million dollar lawsuit brought against the church by the family of a dead soldier whose funeral they had picketed. (The WBC ended up winning the case on appeal.) The rest of the church viewed Gramps’ failure of nerve as evidence of lack of faith in God’s plan and they put him on the naughty pew for a time-out.
The truth is, despite being its founder and main preacher, Gramps has been a marginal figure within the WBC for some years. When I made my documentaries the dominant force was Fred’s daughter, Shirley Phelps-Roper, a gifted organizer who could sling religious obloquy while holding four separate placards and wearing a bandana with a message of religious hate – in a different context it would have been impressive. In fact, underneath her programming, and despite all the pain she inflicted in the name of her religion, Shirley is basically a kind person.
But my sense is that Shirley has been pushed aside by an axis of WBC men, among them her brothers, Tim and Jonathan, and also the WBC convert Steve Drain, with Steve possibly in the driving seat. This is speculation on my part; but it struck me when I spent time among the WBC members that Steve was the most likely to take over the church. Steve had originally come to the WBC to make a documentary (called “Hatemongers”) and ended up moving in, bringing his wife and two daughters from Florida. It was striking that he too called Pastor Phelps “Gramps”. He had disconnected from his own parents and found a surrogate family. Steve is an intelligent man but arrogant. In personality, he is closer to Pastor Phelps than any of Gramps’ natural children. The ones I met all have the slight air of being survivors of an abusive upbringing.
Where the WBC goes from here is anybody’s guess. I haven’t been following the doings of the WBC as closely in recent years. Evidently they have been attracting some new members from outside the family. A few years ago there was news that a US marine and his family had been baptized into the church. Just as striking was the report that a British man had moved to Topeka from England, joined the church and married Jael Phelps. A few weeks ago I found a photo on Twitter of Jael at a picket holding a tiny baby. In its abundant procreation, the family has no shortage of future recruits.
With Gramps’ death I don’t expect huge changes. The church has always operated according to the dynamics of a large family rather than a cult. Cults don’t typically excommunicate their “charismatic leaders”. Families do: they put their aging parents in a granny annex and take away the keys to the car. Maybe, like other families, the bereavement will bring them together. In another context, that might be a comforting thought. In this case one rather wishes that they the second generation Phelps would continue to feud and fragment – and perhaps in the process moderate their way of thinking and get in touch with some of the apostate children they no longer see or communicate with.
The more chilling thought is a backward looking one, of how one man and his hateful cast of mind caused so much pain and managed to poison the well of his family for generations – in such a way that that his legacy of causing upset and provoking conflict is likely to continue. His offspring and their offspring have been raised to believe that abuse is kindness and that Christian charity dictates that one should hurl invective at vulnerable people. The natural bonds of family have been braided into this twisted thinking so that children who love their parents and siblings can’t separate those feelings from their sense of obligation to the church and its creed. And when they leave they also take with them the nagging guilt and fear that haven’t just lost a family, they have lost their only chance of salvation. All of this can be traced back to one man.
Gramps is dead, inanimate matter now. Of that I have no doubt. But if there were a hell, he would be there.
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:03 AM   #295
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I asked him how he could possibly know that the WBC members were the only people in the world bound for heaven. “I can’t talk to you, you’re just too dumb,” he said.
Solid reasoning there.


But man, I had no clue how insane this movement really was... picketing a funeral of an amish kid because their parents didn't join your rally against gays? Protesting a hardware store selling swedish vacuums? What. The. Flying. Fuck?

How on earth are people following him and his ludicrous ideas? I just don't get it.
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:12 AM   #296
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That's the thing... No one should ever have followed their actions/beliefs, it was all confined to one brainwashed family. They thrive on the notoriety, and get a disproportionate amount of coverage.
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:22 AM   #297
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And thus I wish people would just stop even talking about them, or referring to them as Baptist.
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Old 03-23-2014, 11:43 AM   #298
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Hell, I even think people should use sarcastic quotation marks when calling them a "church."
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Old 03-23-2014, 12:04 PM   #299
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And thus I wish people would just stop even talking about them, or referring to them as Baptist.
Yes.
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Old 03-23-2014, 12:05 PM   #300
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THis has nothing to do with religion or belief anymore, this is just pure hatred.
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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