Saturday, January 23, 2010

The circus is in town

The world's biggest attention whores, Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church (the "god hates fags" people) are coming to San Francisco, and planning a demonstration in front of my child's school, because god apparently hates Jews as well. The JCC and a production of "Fiddler on the Roof" are also targets.

I've had some fun in the past hacking the protests of religious extremists, but I'll give this a pass. The school quite reasonably is urging everyone to ignore these people completely, since they thrive on attention and fund themselves by suing people who take the bait and beat the crap out of them.

Here's an example of their style:
Congregation Beth Israel & Day School - Rabbis Rape Boys! ... You pretentious Jews are in BIG trouble, and WBC has the duty - job really - to tell you about it. Once upon a time a Messiah came to this world to redeem the elect children. Although it was in FACT needful for him to die on the cross in order to pay that ransom, that does NOT take the responsibility for His death off of the backs of the Jews. Check it out, you lying hypocrites who pretend you can blame Pilate and the Romans who handed the Lord Jesus over to those brutal, fag Roman officers....Each one of you Jews who refuse to help God's true servants, and hide in your little multiple-level-one-stop shops like this place, pretending to be so holy, selfless and kind are just as guilty of these murderers just referred to. AMEN!
One has to wonder: are these people sincere in their beliefs, or are they putting on an act to get attention, or is that not even a meaningful distinction? (similar questions come up in attempts to explain Hitler). Are they so far out of the mainstream that they are just freaks, or do they represent what happens when common human tendencies (in- and outgroup thinking, self-righteousness, and attention-seeking) are taken to extremes?

The thing that most marks these creatures as having left the realm of the human is their practice of violating the sanctity of funerals with their pickets. Most of us, I think, no matter how strong our ideological convictions will stop short of interfering with people mourning their dead. Fred Phelps and his followers cross a line that nobody else in civilized society will, and by making themselves pariahs help make us aware of that line. For that at least we can be thankful for them.


TGGP said...

First Mencius, now you've outed yourself as well! Not me, for I've got no past to refer to. Actually, I think you know my real name, as do a few others, but it's not available to joe web-surfer.

When I first heard of the WBC I thought they were just standard-issue jesus-freaks, but I was actually impressed by some of their video productions. Your Pastor is a Whore is a favorite of mine.

mtraven said...

It's always been pretty trivial to find my real identity. You must not have been trying very hard. I just said a few things on the subject of maintaining separate identities here.

TGGP said...

I wasn't actually trying at all. M* T* doesn't mean anything to me, and I've never cared who the "real" mtraven is.

I guess it's no big deal since your blog doesn't get many commenters, and isn't very offensive.