In talking about religious political groups, I think we have all heard of Rev. Fred Phelps of Kansas. The Rev. Phelps has 13 kids, now adults who have children of their own and who are also the Reverend’s congregation. Phelps claims his church is Christian based, but it is not like anything most of us have ever seen in our bibles. Phelps is best known for his “god hates fags” messages.
Phelps will brand anyone he does not like as either a “fag” or a “fag lover” and then will condemn them to hell. His specialty is to picket funerals — calling the deceased “fag” or a “fag lover” and again condemning them to eternal hell and damnation. I can only imagine the additional grief this brings to the families and friends of the deceased.
One of Phelps’ sons had created a web site titled “godhatesfags.com.”Amazingly it remained live for a couple of years — apparently the Webmaster was a strong believer in the first Amendment right to free speech. It is unknown as to why it finally came down. Either Phelps lost interest in the site or the Webmaster got tired.
I was aware of Phelps and his clan/church since their early years in Kansas where they terrorized the local citizens via FAX and pickets. I have often felt it was good for others to see how hate could twist a mind by watching and listening to this man in action. However, I eventually realized how just how dangerous this man is — not only to our community, but also to the entire country, on several levels.
On the face of it, your average person watching or listening to Phelps would be repulsed by his words. Phelps is shrill, unreasonable and in your face, thereby turning people off. A reasonable person would walk away and perhaps lean a little more in favor of supporting gays/lesbians in their fight for equal rights. Perhaps. This was the thinking that I initially found comforting about the actions of Fred Phelps.
But then I had to take those thoughts a step further — what if, after listening to Phelps and being repulsed by his message, that same reasonable person tuned in to the 700 Club? Pat Robertson would not sound quite so shrill then, would he? Perhaps they turned on Praise the Lord. Suddenly Jerry Falwell does not seem so far out in his ideas anymore, does he? After Fred Phelps — all of these religious craziessound downright reasonable.
Do you see the danger?
Until next time…