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Just Don’t Call Them Christians

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While the rest of the world is grappling with the idea of a democratic Middle East, we here in the U.S. are testing the foundation of our own democracy.

Westboro Baptist Church has once again garnered their much coveted publicity in winning a Supreme Court decision based upon their First Amendment rights.

For those of you who may not know who Westboro Baptist Church is, I will give you a brief highlight, or perhaps more appropriately low light. This is the church that has been in the news over the past few years for picketing at the funerals of our fallen servicemen, with slogans of hatred of homosexuals.image of Westboro Baptist Church WBC

While the larger news agencies have been fairly absent concerning this ruling, there has been much buzz on the internet, with each side plying its arguments. In the end, whichever side you come down on in the First Amendment argument, this is a sad, sad situation.

You cannot deny that most, if not all, who argue the two sides of this issue are appalled by the behavior of this church. These self-proclaimed Christians are violating the last moments of grief that each of these families can have with their deceased son or daughter.

In the final days of this church, each member will face his or her own judgment, and I cannot attest to the outcome, but I can say that their actions show no kindness, love, compassion, or mercy for the very people that God created in his own image. More egregious is the fact that the people they are harming the most probably have a closer relationship with God then they ever will.

So you can call them a “sect,0, a “cult,” or even better, a “house of nuts,” but please don’t call them Christians.

Now this is my opinion and perhaps only my opinion, but with all thanks to Westboro Baptist Church, I can say this without hesitation as an exercise of my First Amendment right.

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About Keith Brenneis

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    I’m sorry you have Guillain-Barré syndrome. I pray for your swift and complete recovery. However, it’s awfully presumptuous of you to tell us who is or who is not a Christian.

    Isn’t that really up to Jesus?

  • Phillip

    This is his opinion, Alan. One that I certainly agree with. I believe Jesus would be pretty appalled at this church’s behavior, were he available to comment.

  • Doug Hunter

    Jesus was a democrat.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    I think Christianity, as a whole, is awfully presumptuous.

    I, too, am sorry to hear of your plight Keith. BUT, believe in yourself…not a fairytale.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I think Christianity, as a whole, is awfully presumptuous.

    Brian said this, not me. But I see no problem with agreeing with him on this….

  • http://www.dannyhaszard.com Danny Haszard

    Harassment by religious extremist

    Jehovah’s Witnesses instigated court decisions in 1942 which involved cursing a police officer calling him a fascist and to get in your face at the door steps,….this same JW 1942 court decision upheld infamous Phelps hate church in 2011
    —-
    Danny Haszard

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    I honestly don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody refer to the WBC as Christians…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Re #6: Then perhaps Keith Brenneis ought to include Jehovah’s Witnesses among those who pretend to be but are really not Christians. And why stop there? Keith could do a whole series of Blogcritics articles, each devoted to believers he doesn’t want us to call Christians. Make it a regular weekly feature. Don’t Call Them Christians. Why Not? Because I Say So!

  • Baronius

    As Baptists, they presumably believe in the Trinity and the Incarnation. So they’re Christians. I wish I could certify only good representitives of my faith as Christians, but then again, if someone else were in charge of certifying Christians, I might not meet their approval. So there you go: the wheat and the tares are mixed together, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

  • Keith Brenneis

    Even God can grow a flower in hazardous waste. I would never question the salvation of an individual, so please forgive me if I implied that.

    Westboro Baptist Church, according to Wikipedia, has no affiliation to any of the Baptist conventions

    In the end, as one person commented, this is my opinion, and you are free to agree, or disagree with it as you see fit.

    I am heartened that this forum exists, and once again, it is a true test ,and affirmation that the first amendment is alive and well in the U.S.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    I am heartened that this forum exists, and once again, it is a true test, and affirmation that the first amendment is alive and well in the U.S.

    Congratulate yourself all you want to, Keith. But naturally you fail to mention that Westboro Baptist Church’s own web sites have been hacked and illegally taken offline by the authoritarian anarchists who call themselves Anonymous, thus denying WBC the opportunity to present its own message in the forum of their choice.

    As long as self-styled “Christians” tacitly approve this fascistic behavior in the United States, some of us will wonder if any American deserves to be called a Christian.

  • Baronius

    Quite the non sequitur, Alan. You conflated religion, fascism, national identity, and internet access. Are all Americans equally responsible for keeping the internet operational, on the basis of our jointly-held religious beliefs?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    By “fascistic behavior” I had in mind the lawless gangs who were instrumental in bringing the Nazis to power in Germany during the 1920s. Thankfully, the USA has a firmly entrenched law enforcement apparatus that would prevent such gangs from seizing control here today.

    The Internet, however, is a virtual Wild West where shadowy, loosely organized anarchists such as Anonymous wreak havoc on free expression. To answer your question, all Americans are not equally responsible for keeping the Internet operational. Some of us are, by virtue of our principles, more responsible than others.

    In the Beatitudes, Jesus blessed those who are persecuted for seeking righteousness. Yet in present-day America, Keith Brenneis and other self-styled arbiters of who can be called a Christian speak up not on behalf of the persecuted but against them, siding with lawbreakers such as Anonymous against those who very carefully (as acknowledged by the U.S. Supreme Court) obey man’s law and are nevertheless persecuted for their beliefs.

    It’s a disgraceful situation.

  • Baronius

    Alan, don’t toss around the word “fascist” if there’s another word you could use instead. You know how common and meaningless that word has become online.

    I fail to understand why you see the people who heckle funerals as primarily the victims of persecution. I also note that you’re upset about the WBC being called un-Christian, but you were willing to use that term to describe every person in the US.

    You need to understand that I agree with you, that this article is wrong. The WBC is Christian. They are also horrible. They’ve gone out of their way to earn both adjectives. Sadly, Christians can do horrible things – but I can’t be too sad about that fact, because it’s the only thing that lets me claim to be a Christian.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Sadly, Christians can do horrible things – but I can’t be too sad about that fact, because it’s the only thing that lets me claim to be a Christian.

    What was that about a non sequitur? Your sentence says that you can claim to be a Christian only because Christians can do horrible things.

    Either that’s doubletalk or you’ve found the world’s most perverse reason to be a Christian.

  • Baronius

    I’m saying that if Christianity were limited to people who deserved redemption, there wouldn’t be any members – because you can’t deserve redemption. I sure don’t.

    The Christian ideal is that the practice of the faith enables you to become a better person. At least most Christians would see it that way. Some Calvinists would claim that the proper practice of religion simply illustrates that you have been redeemed. The WBC takes it a step further, apparently believing that the proper practice of religion revolves around mocking those who they think aren’t redeemed. The WBC commits vicious acts in the name of virtue. Whether consciously or unconsciously, I don’t know.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    If you’re part of a family and your brother does something you disapprove of, you’re entitled to object and even to scold him, although that’s better done privately than publicly.

    But for you to publicly disown your brother, to take it upon yourself (in your father’s absence) to singlehandedly banish him from the family, as Keith Brenneis does in this article … well, that’s just plain vindictive.

    As I see it, such narrow-minded nastiness is the antithesis of Christianity, which espouses forgiveness not ostracism.

  • Costello

    This is a private business. Has nothing to do with the 1st Amendnent

  • donnie

    I am a service member for 19 years. If it were not for our service members you would not have the right to pro-test. except for your miss guilded flock no one agrees with you, not even god…

  • Keith Brenneis

    It is interesting, and intriguing watching this comment section be hijacked by someone with a built in agenda.

    If you were to have followed Alan Kurtz meandering, and inflammatory comments, you would see me slowly becoming an evil, nasty, narrow-minded person. All of this occurring, not from my original blog, but from his interactions to the responses of other people. Now that is talent!

    I also find it is somewhat ironic that I am being demonized by this person while he is defending the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church.

    With that aside, I stand by my opinion that WBC is not now, nor in its known past, a church based upon fundamental Christian tenants. They have been rejected by all Christian communities, and conventions. They have also been rejected by the Primitive Baptists, from whom they claim to base their foundation.

    Without the currency of acceptance within the pale of the Christian religion, simply saying you are Christian does not make it so.

    As to the question of a persons relationship with Jesus Christ, I will leave that between them and God.

  • Baronius

    Alan, first off, as a practical matter, don’t you think it’s unlikely that Keith will ever have an opportunity to talk to Phelps privately about the matter? Considering that Phelps was the one who took it public, it seems that a public denouncement of the WBC is appropriate. Even moreso, because to fail to denounce Phelps publicly could be seen as implied approval.

    Secondly, as a matter of proportionality, don’t you think that mocking a fallen soldier at his funeral in order to get press for an issue completely unrelated to that soldier’s death is a more loathsome act than writing an overheated article critical of that act?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Baronius (#21), notwithstanding his disability, Keith was able to write this article and get it published at Blogcritics. So why couldn’t he instead have sent a private letter or email to Pastor Phelps? Or called WBC on the phone? Let’s be candid here, Baronius. In this instance it’s Keith Brenneis who clamored for public attention, not Pastor Phelps.

    And why do you keep wanting to make this an argument about the loathsomeness of Westboro Baptist Church? If loathsomeness disqualifies someone from Christianity, maybe we ought to start excommunicating everyone in the Roman Catholic church from the Pope on down to the parish priest who have, in one way or another, been involved in the commission and/or cover-ups of child sexual abuse. As loathsomeness among Christians goes, Westboro doesn’t even jiggle the seismograph.

  • Keith Brenneis

    donnie (#19)

    Thank you so much for your service. I cannot imagine how this subject impacts you. Please know that you are valued, and your sacrifices appreciated.

    May the peace that passes all understanding fill your life, and be your comfort in dark times.

  • El Bicho

    everyone who comments online has a built-in agenda

  • Is It Easter Yet?

    There might be hope for those three Westboro kids in the picture up there, holding aloft their signs of hatred. After all, this guy used to be in the Ku Klux Klan,and now he is all about Jesus’ love. Ain’t no valley low enough…

    Keith, don’t worry about it. You are experiencing Blogcritic’s baptism by fire, and Alan K. and his amusing boozum buddy Thesaurus Irv are usually the ones doing the dunking. Welcome!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    “Is It Easter Yet?”

    Wotcher given up for Lent this year, then, Irene?

    :-)

  • Is It Easter Yet?

    Um…chocolate? Blogcritics?

    Actually, I’ve heard it’s better to ADD something positive, and to use Lent to make it a habit, than to give up anything. I like the idea of adding fasting, maybe for one day a week, because Jesus said certain kinds of demons come out not only by prayer but also by fasting. I think a lot of the world’s misery (that isn’t caused by human selfishness) is caused by demons.

    Thus, developing the discipline of fasting one day a week can beat the hell out of giving up chocolate for a mere 40 days. I can hear the mockers saying, “And probably does no more good either.” But it’s my worldview and I’m sticking to it. :)

  • Is It Easter Yet?

    And on the subject of demons, I find that understanding suffering from the perspective of the author of Job (who understood Satan’s role in it) is the very thing that allows me to “bracket empathy.” Frustrated empathy that sends one into a tailspin of despair about the futility of life and the hopelessness of the human condition OUGHT to be bracketed so that one can focus on doing some dang good.

    Fasting and fighting demons boils down to, I think, being forced to confront how one’s own selfishness contributes to the world’s ills and ALSO is practice lifting God up, focusing on him, when one feels miserable. That honors God and THAT drives the demons nuts, weakening their hold. That’s what I mainly get out of the book of Job.

    More than you bargained for, isn’t it Dr. D? But I’ve been holding this all in for awhile. I had hoped to be less rushed and more articulate when I said it, but, there it is, unedited and raw.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Jesus must have known about McDonald’s…

    IIRC, weren’t all Job’s sufferings the upshot of a bet between Satan and God?

    It seems to me that human selfishness (and general bollocksedupedness) and what some call demons are to all practical intents and purposes the same thing. We talk of someone who is disturbed or troubled as “fighting their demons”, after all.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    I do like your idea of adding something to your life rather than taking it away, though. Food for thought.

    So to speak. ;-)

  • Is It Easter Yet?

    It does make Job sound like a bit of a “plaything of the cosmos,” doesn’t it? His affliction was the result of, not so much a bet, but Satan’s challenge to God’s honor and Job’s integrity. But Job came through; he was the best supporting actor rather than a plaything.

    Yes, people do fight metaphorical demons, but there also exist intelligent and malevolent beings on whom the metaphors are based. They have their counterparts in angels. Do you know what, Dr. D? I know the guy whose mother wrote this book. (He held my dad’s camera at my wedding and all the film came off the sprockets. No angels about THEN…but one of the stories in her books (compilations of reports of assistance from beings who disappeared after helping) is about him. He’s a really kind, sane, and I might add, super intelligent guy. It happened to him in a snow storm…

    Frankly, a Big Mac sounds like…ambrosia…about now. Lol…well I’d best be off. Nice chatting with you.

  • Is It Easter Yet?
  • Greg

    Sorry Doug, Jesus is a teocrat not a democrat. The word Democrat is first demonos,but teocrat is about trinity.
    :)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Irene, I just can’t see what demons could do that humans aren’t perfectly capable of doing to themselves. Insisting on their existence seems to be to be a cosmic get-out-of-jail-free card: “It’s not my fault – a demon made me do it”.

    What makes a demon who makes you do bad things any different than the gremlins who push your pots off their shelf, or the malevolent nature spirit who causes the harvest to fail?

  • http://www.carminasaturaqueamericana.com Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear Is It Easter Yet?

    The answer is not quite yet. But that’s not what I wanted to discuss withy you.

    I really don’t know how to say this, but I’ve got some really bad news for you, so please be forewarned and brace yourself – for it truly is that bad.

    Well, why don’t I just say it – they’ve found the goddamn body, so consequently Easter has been fucking canceled. So kiss Easter goodbye for this year and the rest of fucking eternity.

    PS I strongly suggest and recommend that you also look for another goddamn religion – you know there’s plenty of them out there.

  • Is It Easter Yet?

    Dr D – Excellent point: the human spirit can match any demonic spirit as far as malevolence goes (but not puissance.) But to clarify, I was referring about suffering caused demons who “did bad things to people” rather than demons who “made people do bad things.”

  • Is It Easter Yet?

    Oh, Irv.

  • http://www.carminasaturaqueamericana.com Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear Is It Easter Yet?

    “Oh, Irv.”

    Oh what?

    Sort of speechless there…aren’t we?

    Well, Happy Easter anyway…or should that be Happy, Most Sacred and Holy Day of the Divine Hendecasyllabic Ambiguous Ambivalence?

  • http://www.carminasaturaqueamericana.com Irvin F. Cohen

    Correction:

    Make that “Demonic” Ambivalence.

  • troll

    what is it about Job that establishes him as the exemplar of righteous piety and ‘goodness’ in man?

    he strikes me as something of a hollow egoist…it’s all about him with little regard for the others caught up in this tragedy

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Interesting. I’m also not convinced that “bracketing empathy” is (always?) the proper stance.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Watching the various strands of the unproven monotheist notion squabble over the details is always depressing.

    Jew, Christian, Muslim, and the endless divisions thereof, without proof, of which there is none after thousands of years of trying, it is all superstition at best and a crime against humanity at worst.

    What a waste…

  • http://www.carminasaturaqueamericana.com Irvin F. Cohen

    Sorry to rain on youse guys’ parade, but the Book of Job was about Biblical humor – it was all supposed to be one big, fucking joke. A little Hebraic levity, that’s all.

    Albeit with an object lesson contained therein, but the overall cosmic joke of it all, is that we all just don’t get the cosmic joke of it all. Which again, means to say we all just simply done been had, har, har, har.

  • troll

    Chris – the vast majority of the human population is ‘superstitious’

    what’s your point? – that it’s a waste of time disusing beliefs and the moral codes which they represent?

    Irv – you might be right…he was goyim after all

  • Baronius

    Alan, of course it’s fair to criticize anyone who was involved in the sexual abuse scandal. What makes it worse than the usual sin is that it was covered up under the guise of religion. But covering up sexual abuse isn’t part of Catholicism, and there’ve been Catholics who didn’t cover up sexual abuse. From what I can tell, these protests are integral to the WBC.

    You asked “why do you keep wanting to make this an argument about the loathsomeness of Westboro Baptist Church?”. Two answers: one, it’s the subject of the article, and two, you seem to want to change the subject. We could clear this up if you’d one time clearly say that the WBC funeral protests are morally wrong.

  • troll

    disusing

    …….clearly a bushian freudian slip of the finger

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    troll, my point is that it is time we all grew up.

    A good start would be dismantling the vast political power and wealth controlled by the three monotheist sects…

  • troll

    …and I’m all for dismantling the State

    let’s go have a guinness

  • El Bicho

    When kids learn there isn’t a Santa Claus, they should be told about all the other things that are imaginary.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Irvin F. Cohen (#35), you know I love you like a brother–just not one of mine, as the joke goes. But your rudeness towards Irene is inexcusable.

    Perhaps you hoped to goad BC’s Lord High Chief Censor for Life or his meager minion into deleting your comment, which would give you yet another scanned exhibit to attach when you file your brief (and in your case, that term is wildly inappropriate) at the International Criminal Court charging them with crimes against humanity. If so, they didn’t take the bait.

    Which leaves only boorishness. An apology would be in order, but knowing you as I do, I’m sure that’s not in the offing.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Baronius (#45), the WBC funeral protests are not morally wrong. Please let me explain.

    WBC’s rationale for their peaceful, lawful picketing is that dead soldiers represent God’s punishment for America’s tolerance of homosexuality. In order to shake us out of our moral stupor, WBC seeks to call attention to this causal relationship between acceptance of “fags” (their term) and fallen warriors.

    I don’t know God’s plan. Moreover, I don’t believe that Pastor Phelps knows God’s plan either. What I do know is that this alleged connection, as expressed in their notorious slogan “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” is on its face neither logical nor intuitive. Consequently most people perceive WBC merely as publicity-seeking cultists desecrating the sacrifice of young servicemen killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. WBC is legally shrewd and media savvy, but their message has been lost amidst the furious patriotic backlash.

    I’m not sure, however, that we can ever have an unemotional debate about the sacrifice of dead soldiers in our ill-advised War on Terror. At last count, the U.S. has suffered 4,439 combat-related fatalities in Iraq and 1,496 in Afghanistan, for a grisly total of 5,935.

    Was not their sacrifice in vain? These nearly 6,000 warriors did their duty as directed by man, not God, and paid the ultimate price. Yes, Baronius, there is moral turpitude at work here. But not on the part of a handful of congregants from a tiny church in Kansas. Look to our leaders, Baronius. Call them “morally wrong.” But please don’t shoot the messenger.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    That logic is as tortured as the Phelpses’.

    Many people who vehemently oppose the war and lament the death of soldiers [and of civilians!] still find WBC despicable, hate-mongering loons.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    handyguy (#52), perhaps your own deviant sexual orientation influences your thinking on this issue.

  • Baronius

    Alan, in p1, you promise an explanation. In p2, you lay out WBC’s rationale, and in p3, you lay out their opponents’ take on their rationale. But neither of those things constitute an explanation for why you consider the acts morally right (or at least non-wrong). Paragraphs 4 and 5 lay out a case against the government. That’s unrelated to the morality of the protests: good or bad acts can follow good or bad acts. The question I’m asking isn’t about the morality of the soldier dying, or about Keith’s take on the protests. It’s about your statement that the WBC funeral protests aren’t morally wrong, or, if you will, about the morality of the WBC funeral protests.

    The mere fact of having a rationale doesn’t mean that the rationale is sound or morally good.

  • Baronius

    And Alan – I hope this isn’t necessary, but your comment to Handyguy obliges me to ask: is this thread a game? Are you serious? Because I (and apparently others) have been taking your position seriously. If you’re taking this position ironically or for the intellectual challenge, I’ve been oblivious. So unless you tell me otherwise, I’m going to continue taking your argument as genuine.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    To return for a moment to the author of this artice, Keith Brenneis tells us in his BC bio that he is paralyzed from the waist down. I wonder, then, if he was inspired to write this article by the example of Ryan Newell, a young man of similar age who lost both legs to an IED in Afghanistan in 2008. Newell was arrested last December and charged with five misdemeanors, including stalking members of the Westboro Baptist Church and three counts of criminal use of a firearm. He was also charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer. Perhaps Keith Brenneis sees the wheelchair-bound double-amputee vigilante as a heroic role model.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Baronius (#54), WBC’s protests are morally right because they draw attention to a situation (needless sacrifice of young men) that is morally wrong.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Baronius (#55), do you honestly think that handyguy, an admitted homosexual, can be objective in any discussion about a group whose slogans include “God Hates Fags”?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Yes, sure, Alan. That’s why they’re protesting…

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Plenty of straight people are offended by the “God Hates Fags” signs and the fact that they are displayed at funerals.

    In fact, I venture to guess that Rev Phelps and his mad clan are about as widely disliked as anyone in the US, by people who are pro-gay rights, neutral about gay rights, and even anti-gay rights.

    The imbecilic absurdity of the WBC is only tangentially related to the rational universe, much less to gay rights.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Mr. Knaggs (#59), as usual, you deliberately misrepresent me. I neither wrote nor implied that WBC protests in order to draw attention to a situation (needless sacrifice of young men) that is morally wrong. I simply said that is the effect of their protests. And the effect, however unintended, is what morally legitimizes their protests.

  • Garrett

    I read where brian put do not believe in a fairy tell in reference to alans health issue. so fairy tale huh? i was in

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    handyguy (#60), nice evasion. In my #53, I said nothing about other people. I suggested that your own deviant sexual orientation influences your thinking on this issue. You haven’t denied that, have you?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Baronius:
    “Alan, is this thread a game? Are you serious?”

    It seems pretty obvious that every message board Alan participates in is just a video game to him. He is an Angry Bird and we are Evil Green Pigs. [I might well reverse the formulation.]

    I am an “admitted” homo, and he is a semi-admitted provocateur. Perhaps 1 out of 50 comments is sincere, the rest are designed solely to provoke a response. And we all fall for it.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Garrett (#61), thanks for participating. Yours is the most cogent comment (except for all of mine) on this entire thread!

  • Baronius

    I dunno, Handy. I dunno.

    If Alan does support Phelps, he’s being sincere. If he doesn’t, he’s taunted a paraplegic and a gay man as part of a game – which would make him pretty Phelpsy anyway.

  • Baronius

    Alan, in replying to me you depict the WBC as being primarily interested in calling attention to the loss of troops, but in writing about Handy you say that he couldn’t be neutral because Phelps’s people insult gays. So which is it? Is he a patriot or an antagonist? Is the WBC’s central moral action a discussion about the war (as 8 judges said) or is it an offense against a soldier’s family (as 1 judge said)?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Yes, the moral legitimacy of WBC’s protests derives from their drawing attention, even if tangentially, to the needless sacrifice of soldiers’ lives. (Please see my comment #62 above.)

  • Baronius

    So could the 9/11 hijackers claim moral legitimacy for drawing attention, even if tangentially, to urban safety issues?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    A 1st-amendment-protected ‘political discussion’ can still be wrong-headed, churlish, bonechillingly indifferent to the hurt it causes and the lack of good it does. [This happens every day on Blogcritics.]

    The WBC’s actions have multiple sets of consequences, but they are not all equal in intensity.

    They have stirred up a hornet’s nest of hurt and angry feelings with their ugly tactics. Have they actually changed anyone’s mind about war or tolerance [except by negative example]? And in dealing with such bizarre monomania, how can anyone be sure of the WBC’s true intentions? We can only speculate or theorize, as Alan does, or pretends to do.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The 9/11 hijackers did indeed claim moral legitimacy [of course not about urban safety]. Yet I doubt if anyone is going to grant it to them as blithely as AK does for Phelps.

  • http://www.carminasaturaqueamericana.com Irvin F. Cohen

    Dear Alan,

    RE your # 50,

    Ugghh, dare I say it, ugghh – dittoes (I wuvve you too).

    As to your suspicions as to your said preposterous, expected, exigent demand of an “apology” to Is It Easter Yet? by me – you’re absolutely right as in goddman right, or make that as in goddamn-er and goddamn-er-est-est right-on, and that’s a goddamn promise – goddamnit.

    Please, Alan, forgive me for yet another sin of “they know not what they do” here meaning me.

    But I am sorry to say that good ole Bah-wrongius actually I believe, is actually good ole Mr Bah-rightius on this one.

    Actually I do not see this issue – the behavior and actions of the Westboro Baptist Lunatic theocratic fascist Church of Demonic Insanity – to be one solely of a theological nature, albeit I recognize that is a legitimate issue. Rather I see their behavior, credos and actions in a philosophic light and I maintain that in this regard they are utterly and truly reprehensible, and yes, perhaps, quite immoral.

    Moreover admittedly, as contradictory and hypocritical as it may appear, on both philosophic and theological grounds, I see it as both secular and religious, but mostly for me, again, as primarily a philosophic issue. Allow me to explain:

    But first, got to take another goddamn time out, got to take me meds and other bullshit. Promise will return soon as possible.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    “Look to our leaders, Baronius. Call them “morally wrong.” But please don’t shoot the messenger.” #51, Kurtz

    And are they wrong because these are unjust wars or because the leaders tolerate homosexuality and all kinds of human abomination. As usual, Alan doesn’t say. Or perhaps he thinks that the wars are unjust because they’re being waged by immoral leadership, the thinking being that just wars can proceed only from high moral ground.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    “Baronius (#55), do you honestly think that handyguy, an admitted homosexual, can be objective in any discussion about a group whose slogans include ‘God Hates Fags’?” #58, Kurtz

    Not any less, one’d venture to say, than Kurtz, a closet heterosexual, could be objective” about a slogan “God Hates Heterosexual Bigots.” And if Handy is an atheist to boot, why should he be concerned with anything relating to God.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    “And the effect, however unintended, is what morally legitimizes their protests.”
    #62, Kurtz

    Dead wrong! The morality of an act is never to be judged by its consequences, especially if they’re unintended. Even the utilitarian account of morality, which admits of cost-benefits analysis as part of the moral calculus – a sin in its own right – discounts the notion of unintended consequences for no other reason that they’re unintended. Morality is all about intention (though one can’t discount wisdom).

  • Is It Easter Yet

    I will speak, so as to please Baronius,
    Of naught on this thread, save Double-U B C.
    Dead soldiers are, as all Job’s dead relations,
    (Except for his wife, who told him to curse God)
    Much too deceased to notice desecration.
    She’d watch her love’s fresh grave filled with excrement,
    In exchange for himself, alive again. Whole.

    (Been busy, Irv, but enjoyed the hendecasyllabic break.)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Baronius (#69), your obscenity in making light of 9/11 is despicable.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    You’re undergoing a definite change of mindset, Irene. Is it because you’ve decided that poetry is more powerful than prose?

  • The chosen one

    Please god may this church with all of it’s members inside fall into a sink hole and never be seen again

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Roger Nowosielski (#73), the needless sacrifice of soldiers’ lives by our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is immoral on its face, and needs no further explanation. Alas, instead of being revolted by this waste of young lives, America honors its fallen warriors as heroes. In lieu of condemning our elected and appointed leaders who are responsible for this carnage, Americans vilify Pastor Phelps. Bush and Rumsfeld go on book tours and make millions. Phelps becomes a pariah and his web site is destroyed by anarchist hacker toads calling themselves “Anonymous.”

  • Is It Easter Yet

    Why write a book about an internet magpie,
    When a couplet would do?

  • Is It Easter Yet

    Maybe the WBC is a propaganda machine.

  • Is It Easter Yet

    Opposing soldiers = “hating fags”

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Roger Nowosielski (re #75; #74 being frivolous): “The morality of an act,” you write, “is never to be judged by its consequences, especially if they’re unintended.” But how do you separate an act from its consequences? For instance, President Truman’s decision to drop A-bombs on Japan. By itself, that was the act of a rather ordinary man sitting behind a desk in Washington, D.C. Seen in the light of its consequences, however, his decision becomes horrific, even monstrous. To suggest that its consequences do not influence our sense of that act’s rightness or wrongness is obtuse.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Well, at last you’re speaking with a clear voice and I totally concur, regardless of your position on the real or imaginary threat of terror. I doubt, however, whether Phelps was moved by this agenda. There is no indication we ought to attribute it to him. Consequently, whatever the unintended consequences of his actions, they’re coincidental. We cannot therefore credit him with taking a moral stance in the sense you’re arguing for, unless we admit gay-bashing as taking a moral stance. But considering the thrust of your argument, this is a peripheral issue at best.

    What one might say is that Phelps’s action ended up having a moral affect – the unintended consequences you speak of – not that it was in and of itself morally motivated (unless again, we revert to the definition of morality as given by Phelps’s understanding of God’s commandments).

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    So was the case with many acts of God, as per the Old Testament. They were horrific by human standards, which is to say, in terms of their consequences alone. And yet, it would take an atheist – and I’m well aware I’m putting my foot in my mouth here – to deny that God had acted in such instances from any other motive than utter morality and position of righteousness.

    So no, my statement is not frivolous at all. Your understanding however, or willful misunderstanding as the case may be, is!

  • Is It Easter Yet

    The suspicion that Westboro Baptist Church protests may be encouraged (covertly) as a way to deflect powerful gut-level emotions AWAY from the government is making more sense to me than any other explanation about their motivations.

    Of course, if this is true, there must have been others who would have suspected it before I did, and as it turns out, there are

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Roger Nowosielski: re #86, last ¶. As is so often the case, you misread my comment–in this case #84. I referred to your #74 (not to your #75) as being “frivolous.” I strove to answer #75 seriously.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    My response was to the content of your #84. Taking it up to another level is nothing but a diversion.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Is It Easter Yet (#87), thanks for providing that link to a fascinating article. And people call me paranoid!

    The thesis of Katin’s 5-year-old blog, which you endorse, is that WBC “is a government Psy-Op (Psychological Operation).” Writing from her vantage in a small town north of Boston, she asserts: “The government is very sensitive about the bodies of these soldiers coming back to these small towns. These small-town funerals are breeding grounds for antiwar sentiment, as people will naturally ask, ‘Why did this person have to die?'”

    “Into this politically-charged atmosphere comes the WBC to work their magic,” Katin goes on. “The first thing that happens is that they divert any possible anger against the government, and direct it upon themselves. People who might have been angry about the war are now angry at the nitwits calling the local hero a ‘fag’ and describing how he will ‘burn in hell’ because he fought for a ‘fag country.'”

    This is very creative, Easter, in the way that paranoiacs so often are. But there a couple of rather gaping holes. First, small-town funerals in Massachusetts may be breeding grounds for antiwar sentiment, but WBC’s protests mostly occur in the Midwest, where just the opposite is true. Small-town funerals for fallen warriors are breeding grounds for patriotic aggrandizement.

    Second, by picketing, WBC attracts far more attention to these funerals than they would otherwise get. If the government’s goal were to minimize controversy over ‘Why did this person have to die?’ it would strive to keep funerals for dead soldiers as quiet as possible. Picketing by the lightning-rod WBC would be the last thing the government would want.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    That’s as conspiratorial, Irene, as it could get. I’m not beyond suspecting an immoral government from going to extreme lengths to justify its misdeed, but this may be over the top. Besides, there are enough of crazies to go around, yes, even in the name of Christianity, without any need to take recourse in that kind of outlandish explanation.

    Which isn’t to say nothing is impossible.

  • Is It Easter Yet

    Thanks Alan, I thought it was interesting, too. I’d point out that I wasn’t endorsing the blog that ran that article, but found it a few minutes ago when I was looking for other people who might have started suspecting (as I did, a few minutes ago) a tie-in between Phelps “antiwar” protests and government propaganda.

    I’m not so paranoid about the government that I’d advocate it’s being overthrown entirely. I am concerned, though, about the things “law enforcement” is getting away with in some locales. There is a certain bullying militarism about them (and in fact, some of the new recruits are the kind of vets who got into the war biz because they like to blow things up) They seem to be trying to develop within the population a craven respect for authority, rather than embodying the protector image.

    Honest cops are speaking out against the trend toward bullying, too. They aren’t paranoid or conspiratorial, just concerned about what they see going on in their profession.

  • http://www.carminasaturaqueamericana.com Irvin F. Cohen

    Well, back again, still not feeling all that good, but good enough I suppose to make the attempt to finish up my # 72. So here goes:

    First off, the fundamental theological issue at hand, at least as I see it, because no one to my knowledge in any venue has addressed it as such, is: the WBC (the World Boneheaded Conference) is in direct violation, and an extreme one at that, of the third of the Ten Commandments and the second if one is a Catholic: that “Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain.”

    This commandment, of course prima facie, is a prohibition against goddamn iconoclastic, irreligious, goddamn profaners, who constantly take the goddamn name of the goddamn Lord in goddamn vain. Such as myself.

    However, as I see it this interpretation of it is rather shallow and superficial. Rather, it’s true import and significance is that it is a prohibition against those who would and who have and actually do great evil and justify, excuse and apologize for that great evil – in the name of the Lord. That is to say, by falsely using the Lord’s name to justify and cloak the truly immoral and evil behavior and actions of theirs – whether purposeful or misguided and or misbegotten.

    However, in the final analysis, I have to be a hard corps moralist here. Because those who justify genocide, rivers of blood, rapine, pillage and plunder, religious persecution and intolerance on a massive scale; and or those pseudo Christian, commie-lib/simp, usual suspects, liberal-progressive, pinko-lefty, commie-loving Marxists who justify the massive redistribution of wealth through the coercion and power of collectivist/statist “big government” in the name of Jesus; are all guilty of the violation of the Second/Third Commandment.

    Furthermore, I cannot see their motives as being pure or well meant when their consequences are measured in genocide and or rivers of blood, massive religious persecution and intolerance, and the massive repression of inalienable human and civil rights.

    No, I cannot forgive anyone for this massive litany of evil: from the Crusades to the Muslim wars of conquest each and every single century for the past 1400 years, to the Inquisition to the Holocaust and the Gulags (done in the name of the religion of secularism and atheism and to the God of the socialist, Marxist state) to this current Muslim War of conquest through an Islamicist and Jihadist war of terrorism. All done in the name of God through the instrument of organized religion.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    OK, Irv, I get it. All religions are evil. In fact, massively evil.

    However, Keith Brenneis’s premise in this article we’re occasionally commenting upon is neatly encapsulated in his title: “Just Don’t Call Them Christians.” If we follow his proscription and drum Westboro Baptist Church out of the Christian corps, they are thereby exempted from your antireligious diatribe, are they not?

  • Is It Easter Yet

    …and so, the article’s discussion of the kid-glove treatment Phelp’s group (above all other “anti-war” groups) gets from local police raised suspicions as well.

    “According to the WBC “Myth,” local law enforcement has to bend over backwards for the WBC, because the Church has the habit of filing all sorts of lawsuits against the police, the town officials, residents, and anyone they can. I think this is bullshit. These people are on constant “tour,” and may visit a dozen funerals in a week. Their travels are well-coordinated and they are in locations all over the country. How would it be possible for them to maintain nuisance lawsuits in all of these faraway locations? Also, why can’t the local police departments tell them that they are unable to provide adequate police protection for them? If some ordinary person showed up at one of these funerals with a legitmate anti-war message, or just stood outside Town Hall, they would be immediately arrested for disturbing the peace. I can’t imagine them winning any sort of lawsuit against authorities. It seems odd that throughout ALL the massive anti-war protests of the past that no one until Fred Phelps discovered that all you had to do was simply sue the police to make them treat you nicely.

    I’d also contend, Alan, that enthusiasm for the War on Terror is NOT at an all-time high at midwestern funerals. Patriotism was high there at the start of the war, but it’s being chipped away at by a decade-long stream of the town’s sons returning in boxes, with no end to the stream in sight. A nagging sense that that all those lives were given in vain won’t be alleviated, not under those emotional circumstances, by reading another pro-war article by Charles Krauthammer. It’s going to take provocation to an even stronger emotional response of repugnance to Phelps’ antiwar displays. That’s the way a military psychological operation targeting “patriots” might work. The DoD’s got money to play with stuff like this, Alan. Don’t forget that.

    Fred Phelps, such a versatile guy. That blogger could not have anticipated, five years ago, how the “War protester”=”God hates fags” connection would have helped to change a antiwar Obama supporter in 2008 to a prowar Obama supporter in 2009.

    I rest my case.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Is It Easter Yet (#95), like IPCRESS Blogger Katin, you place scare quotes around the term “antiwar” in connection with Pastor Phelps. I similarly have never contended that WBC’s picketing of military funerals constitutes genuine antiwar protest. As WBC sees it, dead soldiers are God’s punishment for America’s tolerance of homosexuality, not our waging of immoral wars. Any attention their protests draw to the futile sacrifice of servicemembers’ lives is tangential.

    Nevertheless, it’s probably true that WBC’s antics have to some degree deflected criticism onto themselves that might otherwise have fallen on government officials. As I wrote in #80 above, “In lieu of condemning our elected and appointed leaders who are responsible for this carnage, Americans vilify Pastor Phelps. Bush and Rumsfeld go on book tours and make millions. Phelps becomes a pariah.”

    So the two of us differ only on one major point: whether or not this has happened by design. I simply don’t think our government is that clever, Easter. Are there men in high places who are devious enough to conceive of such chicanery? Of course! But are they skillful enough to pull it off? No way.

  • http://www.carminasaturaqueamericana.com Irvin F. Cohen

    Secondly – I hope by splitting this comment in half, I have given all of you who can’t possibly endure reading, fathoming and or comprehending more than five words at one sitting, a chance to catch your collective breaths, and you know who I am speaking of dee-dee – so now behold, the philosophic argument – uggh, uggh.

    Straight off, I maintain, that eight of the nine “Supremes” on the really big bopper-whopper court; sorry charlie, but them smartest, mostly Ivy League, super-duper brainiac dudes and dude-ettes in the whole, entire goddamn, motherfucking world – simply got this one wrong and egregiously so! But how so?

    Well first off, let us begin with the concept of “judicial (herein Supreme Court) infallibility.” This is the very same tribunal which throughout our history has given us such winners as Dread Scott and Plessy v Ferguson and Schemp v Abbington Township and Roe v Wade.

    This court has never been what one would call a profile in moral courage or a paragon of unflinching moral rectitude. The moral abomination and evil of slavery was not overturned nor repealed by the Supreme court – not even slightly, nor even remotely so. Slavery was abolished, first by presidential decree and fiat, followed up by legislative action through the Amendment process. The Supreme Court played no role in this process other than to delay and put off the inevitable, albeit painful, repeal and abolishment of slavery. So much for judicial infallibility.

    So therefore, am I saying, just as Emile Zola once opined, (I paraphrase here) that “fifty thousand Frenchman could not possibly ever be wrong?” Well yes I am, but only in reverse; can eight out of nine “Supremes” possibly be wrong? Yeah, baby, yeah! And right-on, right-fucking-on to boot!

    Moreover, I contend and maintain that this decision in the WBC (Water Bullshit Closet) case was a prime example/instance of this long history of the court simply getting it utterly wrong. As I see and view it this is totally and absolutely a matter of common sense and of common decency and yes, common morality. Attributes which the court evidently still lacks and is wanting of after 200 years of jurisprudence.

    Look here, dear readers, I truly believe and hold that freedom of speech is both sacred and sacrosanct, an ideal which surely you must know by now through my continued fight for it here at Blogcritics [edited].

    Yes, freedom of speech is absolutely important and sacred, it is indeed my very lifeblood – but it is not absolute. It surely and clearly has limitations and restrictions, as well as intellectual, philosophic and moral responsibilities, duties and obligations too. Whether to defend it or limit. I maintain in this case there is a moral imperative, not to delete it in its entirety, [edited] but to limit it within reason and as a matter of common sense, common decency and yes again, common morality; and also to protect and honor the individual rights of others, in particular those of the Snyder family et al.

    Moreover, the actions and behavior of the WBC does not broaden the arena or marketplace of ideas, nor add to it nor improve it; but rather it diminishes and pollutes and contaminates it.

    Well there are a few more points I’d like to make, but I’m exhausted – so got to go now – which I am sure will please many if not most of you [edited].

  • http://www.carminasaturaqueamericana.com Irvin F. Cohen

    Your # 94,

    Simple answer to your query: No, Alan, no.

  • Is It Easter Yet

    Alan, I don’t see anything especially complex about trundling Phelps and his brood around the country. Rock bands go on tours all the time, many of them with truckloads of audio and stage equipment, smoke machines, strobe lights…not just a trunk-full of provocative signs.

    Arranging for special police protection for the Phelpses in the towns they visit is no big deal either. Considering the special relationship the police and the military are developing, there are plenty of places where certain elements of law enforcement would be up for the scheme. Not every cop in every city Phelps visits needs to be “in on it.” Federal officials want someone protected, they want some news stories highlighted and some news stories spiked, and it happens. People take their orders and do their jobs, most of the time not knowing what it’s all about.

  • Baronius

    Alan – I’m only pointing out the logical implications of your statements. You state that a terrible action – taunting the grieving at a military funeral – is morally good because it indirectly calls attention to the cost of war. What action then is too offensive to be considered correct, if it calls attention to something important? Keith excludes the WBC from Christianity (an act that you and I both disagree with) and indirectly initiates a discussion about morality. By your own reasoning, you have to accept Keith’s actions as moral, and take back your condemnation of them. Indeed, you can’t call my 9/11 comments dispicable, because your own reasoning permits them on the grounds that they’ve indirectly added to this fruitful conversation.

    It’s also noteworthy that you call the WBC’s contribution to the war discussion “tangential”. You imply that their primary focus was something else. Consider these possibilities:

    – moral means to moral end
    – immoral means to moral end
    – moral means to immoral end
    – immoral means to immoral end

    My ethical code would only permit the first. Yours apparently permits the first and second, and even the third and fourth as long as there’s a tangential good that comes from it.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Is It Easter Yet (#99), sorry I wasn’t clear. I didn’t mean that the government is incapable of implementing the logistics, which as you describe are relatively modest. Rather, I meant the complexity of maintaining the conspiracy that you suspect. WBC began picketing military funerals in 2005. So for the past six years, this alleged arrangement has been kept airtight.

    Those years not only included a change in presidential administrations, they also encompass WikiLeaks and other unauthorized disclosures of embarrassing government secrets. Yet beyond wild-eyed speculation by paranoid bloggers, no evidence has appeared linking WBC to the government.

    Surely during all that time at least one conspirator within the government would’ve developed misgivings–perhaps spurred by the death of a soldier known personally to that conspirator–and blown the lid of this scandal. It hasn’t happened because there is no conspiracy, Easter.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Baronius (#100), why do you call this a “fruitful conversation”? And I never accused Keith Brenneis of being immoral. Can’t you stick to the facts?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Irene goes through hoops in order to discredit Phelps and company, by virtue of their behavior, as Christians.

    Sorry, Irene, but you should look at your own motivation in paying credence to such an outlandish conspiracy plot.

  • Baronius

    Alan, I call this conversation fruitful because it’s illuminated a lot about ethics in general and your ethical code in particular. If you don’t consider that worthwhile, why have you participated in it? As for Keith, you referred to him or his actions as presumptuous, vindictive, narrow-minded, and nasty, and speculated that he admired a vigilante. I read that as a condemnation of his morality. Am I wrong? In what part of this thread did you praise his morality, or even indicate neutrality about it?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    As I see it, being presumptuous, vindictive, narrow-minded, nasty, and admiring a vigilante are signs not of immorality but of poor judgment. If Keith Brenneis were to follow Ryan Newell’s example and become a wheelchair vigilante, then I would consider Keith immoral. Until then, he’s simply mistaken, as are you.

    As for why I’m participating in this thread, it’s because Pastor Phelps and the WBC are fellow Christians being persecuted for lawfully and peaceably expressing their beliefs. Had I neglected to speak up in their behalf, I’d be unworthy to be called a Christian.

  • Josh Ulrich

    Alan the bible states clearly that God is a God of love. These people are protesting against the bible

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    If true, that’s all the more reason for us to extend to them not our hatred and vilification, but our love and forgiveness.

  • Keith Brenneis

    I sat back for a bit to see how this thread would proceed. There are a lot of “interesting” points of view.

    I would first clear up a misconception that has been propagated. I am not in a wheelchair, but instead walk with “Canadian” crutches. There was a time when being bound to a wheelchair was a possibility, but by the grace of God I am still walking.

    In writing this blog I put myself out there for criticism, and am more than able to take it, but it is somewhat frustrating to have one person throw insult after insult at me, just because he feels there is no other way to prove his point.

    The frustration does not come from any internal feeling of anger, or anxiety over the inflammatory remarks, but rather from watching someone who calls themselves a Christian, behave so poorly in front of others. There is no love or compassion in the remarks, only vitriol.

    Alan, you do not know me, and you do not know where my life has been, or where it is going. Your desire to somehow turn me into a nasty hatemongering Christian falls on deaf ears. It truly accomplishes nothing other than to draw attention to you and your comments. Each time you attempt to make a personal attack on me, it detracts from your argument. If you have a point, which by the way I think you do, then you should attempt to express it clearly, and with facts. I will listen; in fact we all will listen.

    As an update to my article, the WBC is now planning to picket the funeral of the seven children who died in a horrible fire in Pennsylvania. They are survived by the mother, father, and one of the siblings. I cannot even comprehend the torment that this family is going through. I also do not understand why the WBC is going after this funeral.

    I have seen all of the arguments about what the service men and women represent in this ongoing debate, but please, someone, let me know why these children? Why this funeral?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Here’s the WBC press release explaining their rationale for picketing in PA. Keith, since you live in PA, will you be attending this event as a counter-protestor? If so, check out this Facebook page.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    @105,

    And no matter how warped those beliefs are, you think that people should allow this to happen merely because they have rights (that people had to fight for) & a voice?

    If, in fact the WBC’s actions are “morally good because it indirectly calls attention to the cost of war”. Then I say that the cost of war is morally good because it DIRECTLY calls attention to just how f*cked up people can act when they are brainwashed with any of this religious nonsense!! And the only way to stop such atrocities is to ban religion all together because we don’t need that fear & intimidation to treat ALL people with respect & kindness!

    The sad thing here is that these mental midgets are causing further pain in people’s lives not with facts that are already understood but on the basis of a retarded fairy tale that doesn’t have one iota of evidence to support it. Not even after a thousand years?! Seriously, look what mankind has invented & uncovered scientifically in that amount of time!

    BTW, here’s a little religious fun for all those people (yea, the WBC) who pull verses from the bible to judge people.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Brian aka Guppusmaximus (#110), are you serious about wanting to “ban religion all together”? Or is that just a rhetorical flourish?

    If you are serious, I’m curious as to how you would, as a practical matter, go about doing that. Let’s start, to make it easy, with the United States. I say “to make it easy” because we have a relatively free society with a pretty flexible system of government. So how would it work? Perhaps a constitutional amendment would be the ticket. Or is your idea to work outside the constitutional framework and, say, establish a dictatorship, which would greatly facilitate banning religion. Let’s hear some pragmatic proposals!

  • Is It Easter Yet

    #107 Assume: Fred Phelps is a Christian.
    Also Assume: Publication of flyers (#109) misrepresenting God as a hater of Pennsylvanians is a bad thing, the latest in a long rap list of bad things.

    There is a Biblical way to deal with such Christians.

    In the first epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 5, Paul describes that it was “commonly reported” that a member of the Corinthian church was involved in sin so abhorrent that “it was not even named among the Gentiles.” Paul’s prescription was to put him out of the church, “to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” Paul reprimanded the church for tolerating this man for as long as they did.

    (Contrast and compare to the book of Job.)

    The “love and forgiveness” you recommend, Alan, isn’t recommended by Paul until some time after the sinner’s delivery unto Satan, which apparently, by this time, had had the desired effect. In his SECOND epistle to the Corinthian church, Paul writes: “For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears… 6Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. 7So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. 8Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.”

    God’s love for Fred Phelps, and for the people Fred Phelps says God hates, oftentimes involves letting Satan do whatever he wants with them, for a limited time. “For whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth.”

    Maybe I’m hastening the day, Alan, when the love and forgiveness you recommend for Fred Phelps can be applied in a biblically correct manner by the church. I recommend that all good patriots follow the money trail to discover how a man who pastors a tiny church can afford to galavant all over the country making a full time nuisance of himself. The Phelps family stays in the black by suing folks? No lawyer who spends as much time on the road and at funerals as the Phelps do would have enough time to be successful at that.

    When the source of Fred Phelps’ funds is discovered I predict that he will, effectively, be delivered unto Satan. “All hell will break loose,” that’s for sure, and I hope that Fred Phelps isn’t the only one getting refined when it does.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    @ 111,

    You got me, man. Besides a grassroots approach, I have no idea how I could dismantle the mass brainwashing that has had such a long time to set in. My offering doesn’t contain the fantastic & boundless ending that religion has. But, the truth is never as embellished as fantasy. I guess, I just have to keep the faith in my own path. To pick apart this nonsense with logic and, hopefully, it will become a grand movement of sorts! Kinda like Jesus but different. Maybe, the “Anti-Christ”?? I think I found my calling. Thanks Alan.

  • Keith Brenneis

    Is It Easter Yet (#112)

    Your biblical quotes are great, and have given me pause to think about my own comments.

    There is, however, one clarification to your 2 Corinthians quote. The Church at Corinth allowed “the sinner” to engage in sexual sin, and turned a blind eye to it.

    The church, on Paul’s advice, cast him out. Presumably after much sifting by satin, the man repented of his sin, and approached the church for fellowship again.

    The church, going by the letter of the law presented in Paul’s correspondence, refused to allow the man back in. Paul said (my paraphrase) “Wait a minute guys, you need to allow for repentance. The guy repented, so who are you to hold against him what God has forgiven”.

    With that said, I have not seen any sign of repentance, from Fred Phelps, or his church. Perhaps this means that they are still being sifted, or perhaps they do know God as one of His children, leaving them to write their own moral code.

    I have searched high and low for any indication that Westboro Baptist Church endorses, or follows the fundamental tenants of the Christian faith. This does not mean that such a statement has not been made.

    If Mr. Phelps, or his church, repent of what they have done, and seek forgiveness from God, then who am I to question what God has freely given. On that day, I would embrace Mr. Phelps as a brother in Jesus Christ.

  • http://keithbrenneis.blogspot.com Keith Brenneis

    Alan (#109)

    It is a fairly messed up person or organization who feels that they have God as their thug every time someone pisses them off.

    The thought that they portray God as a “angry God”, who would smite down seven innocent children, because someone filed a civil suite against WBC just sickens me to the core.

    In answer to your question, I will not be attending any protest for two reasons.

    First, I do not believe it will help, and will probably bring more attention to WBC, which will just keep this whole mess going.

    Second, The logistical details in getting myself there, coupled with the cost in physical energy, would be too much.

    I guess I will just keep doing what I have, by playing the armchair blogger, bringing this issue to a forum where it can be discussed.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    @115,

    “The thought that they portray God as a “angry God”, who would smite down seven innocent children, because someone filed a civil suite against WBC just sickens me to the core.”

    This is were it gets really scary because the WBC might be right (if you truly believe in this nonsense). No where in the new testament, does it say that Jesus came back to abolish or abrogate what was done in the old testament. In fact, in the old testament, “God” was a scary being.

  • Josh Ulrich

    i totally agree with Kieth. they are a house of nuts

  • maría

    On the contrary, don’t tell me that all those catholics, lutherans, orthodox people are christians, because they AREN’T since they support such antibiblic teachings as the trinity, eternal punishment in hell, everybody going to heaven, or simply, the inmortality of the human soul.
    Christians? yeah right.
    Read the Bible. You can agree or not with what you read, you can want to put it into practice or not. But don’t call what’s white black, and what’s black white.

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