Thursday, June 15, 2006

It's a Shame, What a Shame, Such a Crying Shame

Apparently the Southern Baptist Convention is being heckled by the offspring of Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas. Fred Phelps is no stranger to the LGBTQ community, having heckled us at Pride Marches for decades. He and his followers crossed a line of prudence when they began to heckle and picket at funerals of gay men who died of AIDS back in the 1980s and 1990s. His next amazingly tasteless act was to heckle and picket at the funeral of Matthew Shepherd after that young man had been bludgeoned to death and left tied to a fencepost in a hate-crime in Laramie, Wyoming. Now, Fred and his followers are protesting at the funerals of our Iraq war veterans. When I first heard this, I questioned what in hell they were doing, but then it was explained. His followers believe that our soldiers are being killed in Iraq because we are a "fag" nation. In his logic, God is punishing our nation in this war because we have not fought the homosexual menace in America well enough.

A couple of years ago, I attended a production of "The Laramie Project" at the School of the Arts in Durham. Outside, Fred Phelps and his followers had put up a small contingent of people who shouted slurs at those of us who attended. Sadly, many in our community came out and honored them by standing across the street and shouting back. When I saw a photo on the front page of the local newspapers that showed some people I knew who were screaming in anger back at these outsiders, I shook my head in shame. It is exactly what they want us to brings them publicity and front-page coverage.

I personally think that the best approach to these loonies is to ignore their messages of hatred. Should we try to ban them from spreading their message of hatred and homophobia? BY NO MEANS! In fact, I think that if they are allowed to spit their venom, then it will serve to show the world how obsessed they are with homosexuality and how truly unpleasant their message is for all of us, gay, straight or otherwise. Like Jesse Helms before them, these people will ultimately do more good for the LGBTQ rights movement than any- and everything that the gay community could possibly hope to accomplish in the short-term.

It is ironic that the Southern Baptist Convention is their latest target. I left the Baptist church a few years ago when I felt that they were using their political strength to elect right-wing politicians who benefitted from their homophobic, gay-baiting on the issue of Gay Marriage. We all know that this is intolerance. Still, the Baptists and their political supporters, such as Senators Dole and Burr (no matter their own religious affiliation), have created an environment where a church whose motto is "God Hates Fags" can exist and thrive. It is near the ultimate of the consequences of their own intolerance.

If you want to see the word of God spoken in a most venomous way, watch the videos of Phelp's daughter at Pam's House Blend.

A friend and colleague in the gay activist community suggested an excellent idea a while back. If you learn that Fred and his family are coming to town, quickly organize a fund-raising stint. Find sponsors who will pay a certain amount of money to local gay and lesbian support organizations for every minute that these people are set up on the streets of your town. It may be hard to do, but wouldn't it be worth it? Thank you, John, for the idea.



Blogger Erin said...

This chick DESERVES lots of publicity, I want EVERY damn body to see her crazy ass and realize what outrageous behavior the church uses God to justify. Maybe, just maybe, enough people will see her, and realize how badly they DON'T want to be affiliated with that sort of behavior.

I'm also hoping she gives herself an aneurysm, soon.

6/15/2006 07:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Gary said...

Read this guy's story: When "God Hates Fags" comes to town: My night with the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas. Happened two days ago here in NC.

6/15/2006 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger Nelson Clemente said...

The problem with these groups and the contraversy they create is that it IS stunting the USA's advancement in this issue while other countries (especially in europe) advance leaps and bounds with equal rights, including marriage.

8/02/2006 04:19:00 AM  

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