DISCUSSING HOW THE WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH MAY HAVE DONE LIBERALISM A FAVOUR AND GAINED THE COMMUNITY THOUSANDS OF SUPPORTERS. PLEASE GIVE THIS FIVE MINUTES OF YOUR TIME IF YOU CAN
Homophobia is the third big whammy against discrimination, with racism and sexism being the first and the second. None of them have been totally eradicated (and probably won't ever be) but the signs of improvement over the years are now quite visible. There are far less ethnic supremacists than there ever used to be, there are plenty of women who are more successful than men these days, and in an increasing amount of places in the world gay people are finally getting equal rights. Homosexuality has always been under scrutiny from the church, more than any other body of people, but even that has begun to turn - slowly but surely. Many churches are realising that gay marriage isn't a massive imposition on their particular religion, and that legalising it doesn't even necessarily require them to perform marital ceremonies - it simply gives absolutely everyone the freedom to choose. There is one particular church that has made its name for reasons that are far less hopeful or enlightening, and to describe them sounds like something you would have typically heard decades ago - in fact in more recent years, this particular church has branched out beyond their initially controversial way of thinking to a barbaric set of beliefs that is sickening.
I am talking about the Westboro Baptist Church. If you are anything other than heterosexual (of which I'll confess to being for the first time on here, as it seems only right if I'm to make such a bold argument), or a member of the US military, or you live in Topeka, Kansas then the likelihood is that you've heard plenty about them already, and about the Phelps family of which most of this small independent baptist church mostly consists of. For the benefit of those who haven't, the Westboro Baptist Church, or WBC, is probably the most famous anti-gay establishment in the world. It is their belief that gay people are to all burn in hell for the acts of sin they choose to indulge in. They consider any homosexual-supporters and activists, or "fag-enablers" as they call them, to also be sinners for endorsing the behaviour. In fact, they believe anybody who doesn't live strictly to scripture to be working against his divine being, and that the vast majority of humanity is going to burn in hell. Now regardless of how you feel about this, at the end of the day everyone IS truly entitled to their own belief. A belief alone, as harsh, cruel or untrue as it may be is ultimately nothing more than that.
But the Westboro Baptist Church aren't known off the back of their beliefs alone - it is their actions and fanaticism that makes them well known. For a church consisting of little more than 100 members, they have gained a significant word in the world - Tyra Banks, Jeremy Kyle, BBC News, Fox News and yes, Russell Brand, are all examples of high profile names who have disputed and debated the preachings of this church. Anyone in the families of the church who questions the bible or the teachings of Westboro is almost immediately disowned - children and youths of Westboro families have been known to question their beliefs and have been disowned by their family and made homeless and alone. Westboro political activists have been known to picket and protest at all sorts of high-profile events to get their name known - this has included the funerals of AIDS and military victims. They even get children as young as 4 or 5 holding protest cards, and they teach them rhymes to hate anything strictly promotional of homosexuality. It is the belief of WBC that we should praise God for his decision to kill these people. They believe that 9/11, the London bombings, the Madrid bombings, Hurricane Katrina and the Boxing Day Tsunami are all events linked to the wrath of God - the tsunami happened where it did because the high number of Swedish tourists in the population, and Sweden is (apparently) known to have a high "perverse" population. Sarah Phelps, the daughter of church minister Fred Phelps, expressed pride in the deaths of everyone who has sinned by fighting for or endorsing the freedom of homosexuality. She also believes that homosexuality and paedophilia are intriniscally one and the same, but that even the children who fall victim to rape, molestation or indecency are deserving victims. Suffice to say, Mrs Phelps is actually banned from entering the United Kingdom for "the endorsement of hatred".
And that brings me to what I'm trying to get at here... hatred. For years, anyone who identified as something other than heterosexual was immediately an enemy or a sinner of the church. Times are indeed changing, and for the better. Everything seems in flux right now, with many religions and denominations of church finally questioning whether there is room for all sexualities within their house of God. One of the most common arguments from religious traditionalists who oppose gay marriage but seem to have nothing against gay people themselves is that it destroys the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman - it isn't that they want to deny gay people anything, it's that they don't want to see their traditions changed after so many centuries. What does it take to change the status quo?
The Westboro Baptist Church exagerrates everything that gay-opposing church's are saying to the homosexual and gay-liberal populations of the world. Many opposing church's are indeed hung up on sanctity, whilst others act out their opposition more discretely but equally dangerously. The WBC has given a face to that hatred, and everyone can now see it for what it is... pure, undiluted discrimination of the highest order. Anyone who's official website holds the url godhatesfags.com can't be responsible for anything else! They might be a big voice for a very small number of people, but they have shown America and the world what hatred looks like, and we should be grateful for that right now. When church's and people are finally questioning the hatreds and crimes of years gone by, it's idealistic to get a glimpse at that hatred from a view that we can all see, clear as day. This church is not representative of America, Christians, or the Western world. I know Americans and Christians, though I am neither, and I live in the Western world - the WBC is something else. They live here with the freedom to hold their beliefs, but exceed their rights to pass judgement, surely? Regardless of YOUR sexuality, or your stance on homosexuality, can you not see the damage that even a hundred people are capable of to a vaster number of people in the world? To inflict such hatred is to be hatred.
I'm not religious at all, but am glad there are people out there who have the faith in God. And whilst I don't believe in God, I like to think that if he did exist then I do give credence to one Westboro teaching - that everything God does is done for a reason. Maybe the reason that we have the hatred of Westboro in these growing times of liberty, is to show that hatred to the questionable. Whatever their next protest, wherever their next picket, the Westboro Baptist Church can guarantee that their vile behaviour towards their fellow citizens will have earned them many more opponents, and the brilliant thing is that everyone of all races, sexes and sexualities works as a community through this - a world church of belief in freedom, for the first time. Not everyone made it here by supporting homosexuality directly, but by the belief that we all have the freedom to be ourselves, regardless; And that's bloody fantastic. Westboro hatred has only brought the rest of us all a bit closer together, fighting the good fight. I don't believe in God, but the mighty lord does work in very mysterious ways.