Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hate speech best ignored?

Turns out there's a feelgood story to be had from people brandishing placards like "God Hates Fags" and "God Is America's Terror".

The so-called Westboro Baptist Church took its poisoned message to a Lorde concert in Kansas City, just days after the death of the movement's earthly leader Fred Phelps.

The grace that the Lorde fans showed in the face of the protesters became the story.  They unfurled their own banner that said, simply, "Sorry for your loss".

It wasn't sneering. That was the beauty of it.

Lorde had encouraged concert-goers to wear rainbow colours and even to kiss a same-sex member of the protest group.

That last idea was, we grant you, ill considered. The tweet was deleted and the fans had the good sense to eschew what would have been, technically, an assault.

Instead the group's breathtakingly ugly messages flapped around on the ground while the stronger message that travelled the world was one of generosity of spirit - by a group of predominantly young people showing poise in the face of what they perhaps saw as a fairly empty provocation.

There's a case to be put that Westboro receives more attention than it should, given its boutique size - it's largely comprised of members of Phelps' own kin - and increasing irrelevance.

It calls itself Baptist although its embrace of the ugliest rhetoric in the Bible has long since alienated it from the Baptist church, much as that one is, itself, one of Christianity's more fiery outfits.

Every group has its extremists. Even those extremist groups have their own extremists. And somewhere out there, those extremists must be asking themselves what they're going to do about those nutjobs in Westboro Baptist.

It's a hate group. Unabashedly so. The god it upholds is a hateful one, imposing judgment on an ever-darkening world. And it dismisses media inquiry into who leads it following Phelps' death by contending that it had not had a defined leader for a long time.

Whatever. The question does arise, of course, whether this is just an outfit best ignored.



Anonymous said...

They were shown exactly what they themselves should have been doing all along.

Anonymous said...

Best to ignore the ignor-ant and bigoted sects of all religions. The trouble is they are always in your face as though infected by a mental virus that compels them to proselytize aggressively to spread the virus like the disease it is.

Anonymous said...

George Takei said, "Today (March 20, 2014), Mr. Phelps may have learned that God, in fact, hates no one. Vicious and hate-filled as he was, may his soul find the kind of peace through death that was so plainly elusive during his life."

Anonymous said...

One can only hope that Phelps was welcomed into heaven by those he hated most.

Use the Name, Luke said...

Repentance is necessary for anyone to receive salvation. That means that those who refuse to repent of sin cannot be in heaven to welcome anyone.

But they still may be able to welcome Phelps to the next life:

"But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent."
— Revelation 2:4–5

That sure seems to describe Phelps.