Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Westboro Baptist Church and Racism

I think it is quite pertinent to talk about the Westboro Baptist Church. They are a well-known hate group that has quite extreme ideologies, especially against gay people. They are rather notorious for their protests especially when they are at funerals.

A girl from my hometown was killed several years ago at college. She had been kidnapped and then brutally murdered. Her parents were divorced and were from different religious backgrounds: Judaism and Christianity. She was raised with ideals form both religions and therefore had two services, one at a church and one at a temple.  The WBC picketed outside her funeral at the temple claiming that her death was well deserved because she attended and because she was Jewish. Not only is the WBC anti-Jewish, they are also anti-college. This caused much outrage throughout the town because they ruined such an important and meaningful time for the family while they were remembering her life.

Fred Phelps, the founder and leader of the cult, used to be a civil rights attorney. This is interesting, considering he is quite racist. He has a strong anti-gay view and also hates blacks. He makes his views very clear and they are definitely not in conjuncture with civil rights. As a former civil rights attorney, one would think that Phelps would want to help people and want everyone to have equal opportunity and same rights. In fact, he is quite the opposite.

Nathan Phelps, his son, has shed some light on this irony. Nathan left the cult years ago and is against all actions of the WBC. He claims that his father only went into law for civil rights because there was a large opportunity for money. This does not seem surprising considering his previous protests. Why does he have so much hate against people? Another question of importance is how after so many years of helping people gain their civil liberties, can he want to strip those away so quickly? I think we can all agree that Phelps is a clear racist. Does it surprise you that he was only a civil rights attorney for the money? It’s quite upsetting to me that he won a lot of awards for being a civil rights lawyer when he clearly was only helping the people for the money. He didn’t actually want to help them. What do you think about the WBC? Should Fred Phelps have his awards revoked for his clear hatred and opposition to civil rights?

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