I need to begin this post with a pre-emptive apology. At some point in the proceedings I may well lose all coherence and start typing like the internet equivalent of Bobcat Goldthwait in Police Academy. Over the past few months I’ve posted on various little annoyances and irritations and some bigger issues that affect the whole of society. But what I’m about to talk about gets me so riled up that I would physically burst into flames if it weren’t for the fact it would ruin the upholstery. This means it’s entirely possible that halfway through writing this post, it will just turn into a stream of expletives and then devolve into gibberish as my head begins hitting the keyboard like a truck hitting a carton of eggs.
“Get to the point you rambling oaf!” (I know you’re thinking it.)
So onto the issue at hand, the Westboro Baptist Church or if you prefer, WBC. I prefer to think WBC stands for “What a Bunch of C….” Well I think you can work that one out. If you’ve never heard of them before, this, (and it pains me to use Wrongapedia to explain anything) is a pretty good starting point: http://goo.gl/0Wx8
Now you’re sufficiently outraged, I can continue…
I have several different facets to my personality and personal beliefs (it’s a rich tapestry, ogres have layers and so forth) and this detestable shower of swine offend pretty much every single one of them.
Firstly, there’s the part of me from a military family. Now whatever you think about the current global… situation (actually I think “clusterfuck” is the only word that capable of accurately summing it up) or the way Governments use militaries like their personal attack dogs. Whatever you think of those things, picketing funerals really is just not cricket, it’s not even baseball! (That was the most polite way of putting it without it resulting in the aforementioned Goldthwait situation.)
I must admit though, the WBC are brave. Brave in the way that only religious zealots can be, you know, what normal people would call stupid. Picketing the funerals of soldiers, which are often attended by other soldiers, is not the most sensible thing you could do. It probably ranks somewhere between pouring bleach on your cornflakes and junk-punching a Grizzly Bear.
It’s a testament to the self-control of the soldiers and their families as well as the spirit of free speech that no one has beaten the WBC to death with whatever scum-covered rock they crawled out from under.
As well as being disgusted at the WBC’s presence at soldiers funerals. There’s the actual reason for their protests and what seems to be the core of their beliefs: unabashed, unrelenting and irrational homophobia. The reason they picket soldiers funerals is because they believe that it’s good that the soldiers have died because they fought on behalf of a country that allows homosexuals to live.
I’m an egalitarian, I hate homophobia, I think it’s backward, illogical and frankly just downright rude. Personally I think a person’s preferred variety of genitals is of no more concern to anyone but the individual than a person’s preferred brand of Ketchup. (Well, except for ketchup marketing executives and even then, only the ketchup.) To hate someone for it is, well, stupid. That’s the only word for it.
Most of the WBCs activities seem to revolve around the idea that homosexuals are the spawn of Satan and anyone who tolerates them is going to hell. Their two most oft used words are “God” and “Fags”. Although they also hate Catholics, Protestants, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, the disabled, Australians, Italians and, I imagine, Louis Theroux. In fact, it seems the only positive thing you can say about them is that they do disapprove of racism. However using that as any sort of defence is like saying “well at least Adolf Eichmann paid his taxes”.
It’s not just soldier’s funerals they picket either, it’s the victims of homophobic murders and essentially anyone who is gay, believed in gay rights or ever made eye contact with a gay person in the street.
As a matter of fact I was moved to write this post by the actions of Aaron Jackson. Jackson is an activist and all around stand-up chap, who purchased the house across from WBC leader and all around intolerable jackass, Fred Phelps, at great expense, painted it in rainbow colours and turned it into an LGBT center.
Now until this point I’ve referred to the Witless Bunch of Cretins as a whole, but I need to point out that I’m talking about the adults. The reason I say that is also the third way they manage to sicken me. The Phelps family who are at the core of the “Church” and the rest of the associated “people” indoctrinate their children from a young age. This doesn’t sit well with me, I don’t particularly agree with pushing children into any religious or political ideology but it is especially contemptible to push children into a group that preaches nothing but hatred. For instance I remember being incandescent with rage when I heard the British National Party have a “youth movement”. Mainly because I can think of another “National Party” who had a youth movement and we all know how that turned out…
As well as being ethically wrong, it’s morally wrong to force children into that lifestyle because you’re choosing to move them from society into a life outside the normal social system. If when they’re 18 they choose to become complete asshats and go and live in a commune and spend all day planning hate-crimes and committing incest (I’m just guessing) then we as society will deal with them when it happens, but to bring children up so they don’t know of any other way to live is beyond reprehensible.
Fortunately, like the drive through chemist and toaster chicken, the WBC reside in America. (That’s not a dig, America, you’re beautiful people.) But they were featured as guests on popular British daytime societal shit-storm the Jeremy Kyle show. If you’ve never seen Jeremy Kyle, I can sum it up by saying that it’s a Springer-esque talk show where teenagers have their children DNA tested to find out which of their smack dealers is the father of their unfortunate and doomed offspring.
Even in that context, the WBC still managed to stand out in their rage-inducing bastardry. They weren’t actually in the Jeremy Kyle studio either, but appeared via satellite linkup. I believe there was a ruling that said they were not allowed to enter the UK. Although I prefer to think they were told they’d better not fly over, lest they be beaten with bags of duty-free the second they stepped off the plane like a flaming terrorist at a Scottish airport. (There’s a lesson there; don’t annoy jet-lagged or sunburned Scots. Even literally being on fire will not save you from a kicking.)
If I were an eccentric billionaire, I would spend half my time investing in crackpot inventions so ridiculous they’d make the head of a Japanese TV shopping channel ask me to leave the building. The other half would be spent just trolling the hell out of the Phelps family. I wouldn’t do anything illegal or violent, I don’t want to make them martyrs. I would just keep thinking up ways to irritate the hell out of Fred Phelps. I mean just be so unbelievably annoying that I’d end up giving him an ulcer, a painful one. In fact, I’d fund an institute where teams of white coat clad scientists would spend all day researching new ways for me to piss off the WBC.