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Calvin I'm Significant/dust speck

What do *you* think of Fred Phelps and the Westboro "church"?

Posted on 2011.01.12 at 01:33
Current Mood: angryangry
 Someone I've known for a very long time says that he's not seen very many Christians condemning the Westboro "church people." I told him he hasn't been listening.

Do me a favor gang -- please speak up. What do *you* think of Fred Phelps and his "church"?


jtdiii at 2011-01-12 09:27 (UTC) (Link)
Considering that he calls the catholic church vampires, a pedophile organization, going to burn in hell, etc. they are not too fond of him. On the other hand they appear to be part of the large collection that believes that even talking back just gives the lunatics some legitimacy.

What always surprises me is that he manages to inspire that much hatred in so many people that they are willing to protest in so many locations.
ldykatrina at 2011-01-12 10:48 (UTC) (Link)
They are a bunch of idiots
minstrlmummr at 2011-01-12 12:01 (UTC) (Link)
Phelps doesn't speak for me. Nor does he speak for most of the Christians I know, many of whom are too busy living their lives as best they can to make public statements of repudiation. I can't explain why people who HAVE press offices (like Councils of Churches) do not repudiate Westboro, except that maybe they'd have to say the exact same thing every time Phelps rears his ugly head 8P

Phelps is a hate-mongering lunatic. I fervently believe he'd be a hate-mongering lunatic no matter which faith he chose for dressing up his vitriol.

There are passages in the New Testament that mention false prophets claiming God's and/or Christ's authority for their actions. (I always have to go look up whether Jesus or Paul was the one who coined the phrase ''By their fruits shall ye know them.'' BRB)
minstrlmummr at 2011-01-12 12:48 (UTC) (Link)

Found It 8)

It was Jesus, according to Matthew 7:

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

Paul elaborates in Galations 5 with lists of "works of the flesh" (I'm not gonna defend his inclusion of witchcraft on that list here), among which he lists "hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law."
handlebar605 at 2011-01-12 13:17 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Found It 8)

"Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."

So what this is saying to me, is that Christians need to police their own ranks. There should be some kind of religious court, which can go in & stop a person who is spewing hate & other kinds of vitriol under the guise of being a Christian.

The only problem with a Religious court, is you may start getting things like Iran, and Afghanistan where the Religious Court/Leaders believe they are the Only Leaders/Courts that their people should have.
minstrlmummr at 2011-01-12 14:19 (UTC) (Link)

The Short Answer Is, "It's Complicated"...

We're talking about a religion whose deity stated "No man cometh unto the Father but by me", which was twisted in only a few centuries into "join our church or be killed in this world and damned in the next"...

Individual Christian church denominations (many of them) do have written processes for the kind of braking effect a religious court might provide, within those denominations.

Part of the problem is that there are Christian denominations who (on paper or in practice or both) insist that other denominations are not really Christians, or "not Christian enough" (the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has stated that many complaints they receive about Evangelical prosletyzing are filed by other Christians, often Catholics. For just one dispiriting example). I have no idea whether the Catholic Church teaches that other churches are not really Christian, although I think they'll still excommunicate people who were born Catholic and then commit certain sins. Anyway, some of these denominations don't regularly communicate with one another, thinking they have too many differences 8/

Although I haven't made a study of it, I suspect that decades and centuries of shame (or a desperate wish to run the other way) over the Church's past sins (when Teh Church was the 800-pound gorilla) may have contributed to the sense of restraint many existing church leaders feel constrained to operate under.

There are also a number of churches (I've seen Independent Baptist, Evangelical and Pentecostal churches) that operate outside any denominational heirarchy, precisely so that they do not have to answer to anyone. Once they label themselves a church, outside observers have few reference points for asking questions. I'm fairly confident WBC must be an independent Baptist church, but because they use the same name as a more respectable denomination, their true identity as "lone signmen" can appear blurred. Most Independent churches keep the name of the denomination they broke away from, not out of a desire to deceive, but from a desire to affirm those core values they may still share with the named denomination.

Unfortunately, you can't always spot the looney before he pulls out his weapons 8/

stringlady at 2011-01-12 16:41 (UTC) (Link)

Re: The Short Answer Is, "It's Complicated"...

Just to clarify a few points...

The Catholic Church certainly does not teach that other denominations are not Christian - and so far as I know never did. It *used* to teach that they were heretical Christians, which is different - but has certainly not done that, either, in my lifetime (not sure exactly how/when it changed, as I think it was more a slow drift than a sudden change. We tend to do things by slow drift...)

Some, at least, Evangelicals believe Catholics are not Christian. At any rate, I have been told that I am not, multiple times. (Occasionally followed by a tirade on how I must have a Personal Relationship with God which somehow must exactly mirror the speaker's relationship - the idea that mine might look different seems unacceptable. I suspect that at least some of the complaints about evangelism in the military comes after such encounters.)

The church does still excommunicate Catholics for serious sin. Only practicing Catholics, who are then forbidden the sacraments - it wouldn't really matter to anyone who *wasn't* practicing. Some bishops flourish this around a bit too lavishly... But it's supposed to be used more for theology or flaunting grave sin. Most people don't seem to know that, back in the fifties, a priest and author was excommunicated for teaching (loudly and publicly) that only Catholics went to heaven... This is contrary to theology, he'd been ordered to stop, he refused... But other churches seem to remember his teaching, not his excommunication.

Once the Reformation demonstrated that one could break off from a mother church and survive, some people continued breaking off, in ever smaller splinter groups. Most are good religious people seeking their own understanding of God. Some... are not. But a church they have broken from cannot regulate them. And, in this country, we quite firmly *do not* have an Established Church to do so - for which I am thankful...
stringlady at 2011-01-12 16:15 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Found It 8)

We had such a court. It was called the Inquisition. (*Not* the Spanish Inquisition, which ignored every directive laid down by the Vatican, starting with "this only applies to Christians...")

I think we will agree that it didn't work very well.
dicea at 2011-01-12 12:58 (UTC) (Link)
When a naughty child sits in the middle of the floor screaming, "I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!" as a last resort to get attention, he or she must be ignored because any attention will reinforce that such behavior is a valid method of getting attention.

The world does not need Christians to condemn Fred and the WBC because it is clear that Fred and the WBC are not Christian, are not respectable, are not sane.

I really don't think anyone has ever encountered WBC and thought, "Gosh, I haven't heard any other Christians speaking out against these guys, maybe I should try to learn more about the message and see how I can support this Church."

Whenever I see reports of WBC dicking around at some funeral or other gathering, I try to hear the hymn "How Can I Keep From Singing" in the hope that I can train myself to sing peaceful hymns rather than strangle a bitch if I ever encounter WBC in person. When they behave like brats it doesn't give me a right to follow their example.
minstrlmummr at 2011-01-12 14:30 (UTC) (Link)

Singing...I like it 8)

I almost wish I lived closer to one of the places WBC has been. It might be fun to organize a musical counter-demonstration with songs like "How Can I Keep From Singing", "Amazing Grace", the Hallelujah chorus...(suggestions welcome 8)
dicea at 2011-01-13 13:19 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Singing...I like it 8)

I think these lads took this idea and ran with it in a way that required only guts and no musical skills. They've made it so anyone can join in and celebrate the rejection of intolerance. I think there must be enough people in any given area plagued by the WBC who can gather and make a joyful noise. I'm not sure how one would go about organizing such a thing though.

Love love LOVE your Black Adder icon. Always wanted to see a sketch where Turnip Auntie and Queenie got stuck in an elevator together.
stringlady at 2011-01-12 16:17 (UTC) (Link)

What Westboro wants is attention. The very fact that we are talking about them here means that they have succeeded.

This troubles me profoundly - and I do not know what to do about it.
dicea at 2011-01-13 13:14 (UTC) (Link)

This guy has some cool ideas of what to do when the attention mongering thugs pee on one's doorstep.
christianet at 2011-01-12 17:22 (UTC) (Link)
Simply, I try not to think about him or pay any attention to him and his ilk. He's an idiot, they're all idiots and douchebags, and they are definitely not Christian in the purest form of the term.

Technically, I'm a very lapsed Catholic who considers herself an agnostic theist. I really don't think any one religion has a handle on the Divine, but most of them have set up paths to at least help you live this life in a way that steers you away from being a dick to others and perhaps even being a help. Phelps and his crew, al Qaeda, radicalized settlers in Israel, conservative Ugandan Christians calling for the extermination of homosexuals, the Taliban - all of them have strayed far from the path of their faiths and have pretty much plunged over the cliff. But that's my opinion.

It's be nice if a couple of interfaith organizations would just issue a statement of condemnation for the major occurrences of Westboro asshattery, and the diosceses and churches local to the protests do the same thing. Just to show some unified front.
ostgardraine at 2011-01-12 18:52 (UTC) (Link)
For me it's very simple


Fred Phelps=hate

life is too short to waste time on hate
franksdottir at 2011-01-12 20:01 (UTC) (Link)
What they all said.

franksdottir at 2011-01-12 20:10 (UTC) (Link)
The above is not coming through clearly enough.

Westboro isn't following any Christian teaching I've heard of. They do their ranting where people are already in pain, and they have the specific intent of adding to it. Where is Christ in this? (Surely not with them.)
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