Yesterday, the Westboro Baptist Church was found liable of invading the privacy of a grieving family and inflicting undue emotional stress upon them, to the tune of $2.9 million in compensatory damages and $8 million in punitive damages. This is, of course, everybody’s favorite church, with their always-popular website godhatesfags.com (note: the site doesn’t always load; apparently God hates reliable web hosting, too). To say I have some thoughts on these people is probably an understatement.
First of all, let’s assume that we believe in a God, and we give a shit about what he thinks (I consider this premise itself to be quite ridiculous, but bear with me here anyway). So based on this belief, we probably also think that he created the universe and everything in it. Suppose, for some reason, that he creates some things that he likes and some things that he doesn’t like; some of his own creations, like “fags,” he even goes so far as to hate. And I guess even after realizing that he hates them, he’s stubborn enough to continue creating them anyway. (One can only imagine the types of self-hatred issues this might cause.) So then we’ll further assume that some of his children on earth, particularly in the great progressive state of Kansas, are actually enough in tune with this god that they are not only aware of his existence, but they actually know which of his creations he loves and which ones he hates (whether or not he is only indifferent about some creations is still up in the air, I suppose). They furthermore know that, armed with this insight, it is up to them to educate the rest of the world about which of this dude’s own creations he hates (they figure you don’t care too much about learning about those that he loves, since those aren’t nearly as interesting). So they take it upon themselves to spread this word, that of God’s hatred of fags. Naturally the most logical way to go about this would be to protest at the funerals of heterosexual soldiers who died serving their country, right?
Okay, so people are free to believe whatever they choose in this country. And they’re free to express themselves, too. But I think these people got off way too easily with only a civil lawsuit. Personally, if I’ve recently lost a loved one and am attempting to grieve that loss in the form of an archaic mourning ritual, and somebody decides to not only interrupt that ritual, but to do so in the form of actually celebrating the very death that I am mourning, that person isn’t going to be walking away from said engagement, and they’re going to be missing at least a few key organs on their way out, too.
Now, of course not many people take the parishioners from Westboro too seriously. But I don’t think enough people are questioning their motives thoroughly enough. The church is led by a man named Fred Phelps, and the parish consists primarily of members of his extended family. So it’s safe to say that what Fred believes, the Westboro Baptist Church believes. And I submit to you that there is nothing in this world that causes a man to have so much hatred for another group of people as the conflict that arises from repressed feelings clashing with indoctrinated religion. And just as the string of closeted Republicans, or the never-ending series of gay priests, are typically the most outspoken anti-gay activists there are, so too does Fred appear to fit the mold of one whose bigotry seems like it could only be the result of his own repressed feelings and his inability to deal with them.
Just look at ol’ Fred there, and ask yourself this: how much does he love the thought of sex with men? Do you think he fantasizes about fucking other men every hour of the day, or only on the even-numbered ones? Is there anybody in the world who would be more satisfied by a cock unloading in his mouth than good old God-fearing Fred there? I sure don’t think so.
And if you look at it in that light–as a guy who’s inherently homosexual, but so simple-minded that he can’t accept it, even in himself–then it sort of becomes a sad tale, doesn’t it? And yet, he’s so over-the-top with his vitriol that it makes it hard not to hate him whether you feel sorry for him or not (and remember, hatred is apparently a godly sentiment, so you can feel virtuous in expressing it). Not that the man deserves any sympathy; just that it’ll be sadly satisfying when his own inevitable child-raping stories finally surface. It ends up making me wish that I believed in a silly childish nightmare world called Hell, just so I could picture poor old conflicted fag Fred burning in it.