Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Thank you, Tony Blair....

Recently, the self-styled "reverend" Fred Phelps has started organizing protests at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq. His premise is that since America has chosen not to condemn homosexuals, that God has therefore withdrawn any blessing from the US, and in fact now hates the entire nation. Thus it serves the soldiers right, for fighting for a queer-loving nation like the US.

This sickens me. Phelps always has sickened me, to be honest; when I think obsess about the evil he spouts, I can feel my blood boiling (which is exactly what the bastard wants...dammit). He uses the Bible just as Hitler did - to kill, hate and destroy. There are very few people who I believe truly fit the description of "pure evil" - but Phelps is one of 'em.

But help has come from across the Big Pond, from our British cousins. In an interesting exercise, I took this article from CNN.com, and modified it ever so slightly. (I was originally going to link to Phelps' website to show some of the most awful protest images - with the poor saps smiling as they hold signs like "God Sent The IEDs" - but to be honest, I don't want to give them a way to link back here. You can see the horrific images yourself...)
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has announced new measures to deport and exclude from UK those advocating hatred and violence.

Blair, speaking nearly a month after deadly bombings on London's transit system, said Friday the UK's human rights act would be amended if necessary to counter Islamic religious extremists.

The government also plans to draw up a list of extremist Web sites, book shops and organizations that promote these extremists, he said.

"Let no one be in any doubt that the rules of the game are changing," Blair told a London news conference, his last before breaking for a summer holiday.

The prime minister said the Government plans a one-month consultation period to determine new criteria for excluding and deporting people from Britain.

"We will establish, with the Muslim religious community, a commission to advise on how, consistent with people's complete freedom to worship in the way they want, and to follow their own religion and culture, there is better integration of those parts of the community presently inadequately integrated," Blair said.

Blair said new legislation, which is expected to be passed by the end of the year, will also outlaw "indirect incitement" of terrorism.

The measure is seen as an effort to crack down on extremist Islamic pseudo-religious clerics who glorify acts of terrorism.
Oh, and Mr. Phelps - there are lots and lots of Marine and Special Forces men and women who are friends of the soldiers whose funerals you've been picketing. And may your so-called God help you if some of those folks ever catch up with you...


Tom Scharbach said...

Great Britain does not have the constitutional protection for freedom of speech and freedom of religion that we have in the United States.

The First Amendment, and the protections it offers to robust and vigorous speech, is the foundation stone of our freedom as individuals in this country, and I think that citizens should strongly resist any and all efforts to erode that freedom.

We have the idea, in this country that the best way to defeat the Phelps' of the world is to allow them free reign in the marketplace of ideas.

Quaint, maybe unworkable, certainly unpopular. But I think that the First Amendment is the wisest thing our founders did.

Anonymous said...

I think you may be overstating Phelps's influence. He represents a tiny minority of small-minded inbreads at some tiny midwestern church who happen to carry big signs and basically come off as media whores. But to my knowledge, he hasn't killed anybody or encouraged his followers to strap on a bomb belt and hop on the "A" train.

Contrast this to the imams in some London mosques who spew hatred and contempt for the very society that allows them the freedom to practice their religion which, up to this point, has tolerated their desire not to assimilate but to lead insular, sheltered lives in their communities.

I have no problem with Blair deporting this vermin. And if Methodists start bombing buses, I would have no problem with Bush, or any president, taking a hard line.

Steve F. said...

It's easy to forget folks like Matthew Shepard, Harvey Milk, and the long chain of people who have been attacked, beaten, and killed because they were gay. A lot of the homophobic hatred walkin' around in the US finds its source in Christian churches. I'm not saying they're all like Phelps' "church," but there's a lot of hate that's anchored to some religious belief out there (not just directed at GLBT folk, either).

Unknown said...

I interviewed Fred when I was a reporter in Topeka. He is not as stupid as some may think. (His views are reprehensible, however)

I had to drive past his protesters every Sunday morning on my way to church. It is sad to see young children being schooled in the ways of hate and ignorance. It's amazing that they will picket the most conservative churches in the city, including those that have very anti-homosexual stands.

There are several teams of protestors so that they can fan out across the city and country. They always carry video cameras with them to film anyone who might harrass them. Ironically, anyone who does will be and has been sued.

People never sue him because his sister still is a practicing attorney. (He is disbarred). She ties up the courts with motion after motion, which makes it financially impossible for people to continue their suits. Most people believe that Fred gets money from racists elsewhere to finance his activities.

Topeka had to stop allowing people to donate money to the city in order to have a memorial engraved on a park bench because of Fred. He wanted to fill individual benches with hate-filled memorials to dead homosexuals. The city couldn't discriminate against him. It is sad that our laws allow such behavior, including the picketing. He can't be stopped because he alway is on public property.

Sadly, he gets way too much press, which makes him seem more important than he is. Even the late John F. Kennedy Jr.'s George magazine ran an issue calling him one of the most fascinating political figures in the country. Fred ate that up.

Fred and gang - most of whom are family - have their own church compound within the nice neighborhood in which they live. They have bought up all the houses along the four sides of the block and run a high fence between the houses. I believe a couple of his children have been able to escape the family ideology and that a son has even written a book. I don't know what it is, however.

I understand that anyone who tries to attend the church, which is held in his large home, is met with suspicion, if they can even get in the door.
What most people don't know but would if they visited his websites would be that Fred is a totally perverted Calvinist and believes that anyone not holding to his extreme form of Calvinism is going to hell. Truth is, anyone who doesn't worship Fred is going to hell

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes...I've heard about this nutjob. Phelps makes his way to Colorado Springs on a regular basis to picket Focus on the Family...because they're not conservative ENOUGH.


Anonymous said...

Dagnabit...fast fingers, and I didn't get to sign properly. Let's try this again.

I also wanted to second Stan in saying that seeing children schooled in hate is heartbreaking.

Dave said...

Well Alright! He pickets Focus on the Family. Well, at least he's doing something right. I think he does more to benefit the gay community through his escapades than he does to hurt it. So many middle of the road people would dream of being associated with such attitudes.

Dave said...

excuse me, So many middle of the road people WOULDN'T dream of being associated with such attitudes.

wesd said...

What's always stunned me...

I spend amazingly little time resisting homosexual urges.

Therefore it's a little hard for me to understand getting bent over someone else's sexuality.

I really don't know what Fred's issue is, but...

When I work through my own issues, the sunlight of the spirit shines a great deal more, when I then read spiritual passages. There turns out to be quite a bit more good-naturedness behind Paul's brusque exterior.

Paul was not a literary buffoon. His writing cajoles the reader. Trying to read him literally attempts to rob him of his literary prowess - and, usually entirely misses his point.

Unknown said...

Dave said that Phelps's escapades have done more to help the gay community.

He is correct in this. When the Topeka City Council was considering gay rights ordinance, there were people who were afraid to speak against it because they didn't want to be lumped in with Fred.

On the other hand, there also have been pastors who have not signed full page ads taken out by some of the more "liberal" churches and non-Christian religious groups calling for opposition to Fred because they didn't want people to think they agreed with all of their theology.

Having been a pastor, I understand the internal church issues that pastors must deal with and I empathize with church leaders. But having said that, fearing to take a stand one way or the other in the name of Christ because of how others might perceive you is cowardly.

It certainly is not following in the footsteps of Jesus.