I found myself in front of a TV, so I caught Hannity and Colmes last week, and their interview with Shirley Phelps-Roper. I was in the unique position of absolutely agreeing with Alan Colmes, the liberal of the program. I was rooting for him. I wanted him to do really well. He was the good guy.
It seems there is such a thing on this planet as the Westboro “Baptist” “Church,” situated not in Hell, as one might suppose, but in Topeka, Kansas. They own a city block, on which they have cobbled together ten houses surrounded by a ten-foot-high wall. Ah. A compound, then. Surrounded by the other nine, the house in the center is that of their leader, Fred Waldren Phelps. Of the “Church’s” one- to two-hundred members, a reported 80% are related to Mr. Phelps by blood or wedlock. Ah. A clan, then. It is his daughter who graced the Fox set last week. It seems “Church” members are forbidden to marry outside of the "Church." Ah. A cult, then.
And did you know that godhatesfags.com? Well, He does, per Mr. Phelps. Lest we be confused in this matter, it is explained that: “We do not use the word "fag" in order to engage in childish name-calling. Rather, we use it because it is a metaphor chosen by the Holy Ghost to describe a group of people who BURN in their lust one toward another, and who FUEL God's wrath.” Now I know where to turn for answers to these vexing exegetical questions. I’m on a bus for Topeka! About the London bombings, Mr. Phelps said, "Oh I am so thankful that happened. My only regret is that they didn't kill about [a] million of them."
But godalsohatesamerica, it seems. andhehatesoursoldiers. Which is the point. For this is the group that pickets outside the funerals of soldiers fallen in Iraq. Their signs and banners “Thank God for AIDS,” and offer us such tasty tidbits as that “Fags Eat Feces = Scat.” Interesting bit of trivia, eh? More to the point, they carry pickets, outside the funerals of slain soldiers, that say, “Thank God for Dead Soldiers, ” “Thank God for IEDs,” “Fag Troops,” and “God Hates You.” Why do they do this? Mr. Phelps helpfully clarifies: “We don't picket to win people over, idiot. It's to harden people's hearts. Make them hate. Make them hate God even more than they already do.”
Over the years, the picketers have been the recipients of beatings and kickings. They have been hit with automobiles. One of their seniors had his face crushed. Whereas their own violence is confined solely - I do not say merely - to words. To emotions. Is this ironic? I can't tell.
I’d heard about it, of course, this fag-hating “church.” But I make a Herculean effort to block these things out. Repression is a good thing. What, I should get angry? I should hate?
But last week when I saw this woman on TV, there was a part of me that would have seen her beaten to death. Talk about hatred. Not just her’s - mine. But coiled at the root of my spine, not striking. Not hatred at all, then. The bitter seed of hatred – the poisonous egg.
It’s just that there are things that people shouldn’t do. Picketing funerals is one of them. Hating your enemy is another. I’ve talked about this before, here and here – I trust you get it. God hates sin. Some things have to be stopped, and hatred is a necessary spur to action. But it’s a different hatred than that of this group. This group hates people. Well, they hate everything. It is a cult of hatred. They teach it to their children. Video exists of two young girls giving witness to the fact that they want everyone not in their "church" to die a horrible death and burn in eternal hellfire; they say that even if God hadn't commanded their actions, they'd do it anyway, and like it. It is the right of parents to teach this to their children. Not very right is right, of course, but every right is a right. Is that ironic? And the ACLU is on their side. Is that ironic?
I put myself in the place of the mourning family, last week, and could see myself acting in a most forceful and violent manner against these people. Something of which I need to repent, when I get around to it. We mustn’t be like them, after all. These, alas, are the enemy that we are commanded, commanded to love. They are a Taliban of emotion, an enemy of the soul. Not, yet, a blood enemy. They've already been handed over to Satan - they are already shunned. And they are not merely unrepentant, but brazen in their corruption of doctrine, their twisting of Scripture. But they are the enemy, to love, somehow. Dammit. Do you suppose God could be wrong about this? Next time I see Him I'll straighten Him out. Or try to. Sometimes He just doesn't seem to listen.
I’d guess, or wish rather, that Shirley Phelps-Roper cannot possibly be as ugly as she looks. If you get my meaning. But y’know … I did see a picture of Fred Phelps. For an old dude he’s kind of hot. Ironic?