Lessons learned from the Westboro Baptist Church

Documenting the Crazies

Well isn’t this just a darling song, which opens this clip from the BBC’s documentary The Most Hated Family in America about the Westboro Baptist Church, the lunatic (we needed a stronger word than “conservative”) Kansas church founded by Fred Phelps that operates the website, and our homepage, GodHatesFags.com. It aired back in December 2007, and yet seems all the more relevant and worth revisiting, as the Phelps clan continues its mission against our community. The church’s latest target, you’ll recall, is Silverton, Oregon, home to transgender mayor Stu Rasmussen. All this is an exercise in free speech — something we wholeheartedly encourage. We’re entirely fine with Westboro’s right to call gay men and women sinners and the work of the devil, because it shines a light on just how ridiculous their arguments are. It’s just too bad they had to bring their kids into it.

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  • Smartypants

    Oh Japhy, do you really think lunatic does justice to Fred Phelps brand of evil insanity?

    For me, lunatic conjures images of straitjacketed inmates of bedlam rocking back and forth while screaming imprecations at the world. It describes the crazy side of the Phelps clan, but almost pretty much misses their malevolence. To find a more apt word I went to the thesaurus.

    Here are the alternative nouns offered at thesaurus.com:
    crackpot, crank, cuckoo, demoniac, flake, fruitcake, kook, lamebrain, loon, maniac, neurotic, nut, paranoid, psycho, psychopath, psychotic, scatterbrain, schizophrenic, sociopath.

    Reviewing the options, demoniac seems to best capture the frothing at the mouth evil that Phelps and his minions –erm, family– embody. Plus it has appropriately religious connotations. But I’m open to argument. So Queerty readers, do you have any other suggestions for how to describe Phelps?

  • Alan Stephenson

    Inbreeding is never pretty….

  • ChristopherM

    I think the Phelps clan does far more good for gay folks than harm. The bile they spew is the logical conclusion of the more moderated hate we get from people like Mike Huckabee when he says we haven’t suffered enough to be a civil rights movement. People start making those connections that hating on the gays is foolish, whether from Phelps or the other wingnuts.

  • Farah

    ChristopherM, It didn’t occur to me to look at it that way…I would hope that people would take a second to connect those dots because you’re right it isn’t that far off from what cunts like newt, muckabee, rush, hanity, and o’rielly spew.
    Also, I don’t understand how these “people” have gone so long without being beaten, shot at, have their houses burned, ect. cause even the most intolerant fucks I live around (straight up rednecks) would be put into a fury if anyone dare say anything about a dead American soldier the way they do. Their eyes truly scare me. God, I am so sick after watching just a few minutes of this. How that reporter lasted that many days at their compound is beyond me.

  • ChicagoJimmy

    I think it says a lot about gay people that this church hasn’t been torched. I’m glad we aren’t the desperate haters people always seem to think we are. Let’s make sure we leave the really horrid violence and atrocities to the other side.

  • Farah

    completely agree ChicagoJimmy…I just think its remarkable that ANYONE hasn’t tried to choke the life out of one of them

  • Andrew

    Ooo…don’t forget they’re going to stop here in Portland, OR on 11/24 to protest Portland State University’s gender-neutral bathrooms and our Queer Resource Center. I can hardly wait.

  • ChristopherM

    Farah, you’d agree with Jimmy even more if you met these nuts. I went to a counter-demonstration they held outside a church that was baptizing the triplet babies of two gay men (via surrogate), and these nutjobs are just vile horrid people. I get mad as hell at injustice, Prop 8 being a prime example, but I can’t imagine the miserable lives the Phelps clan leads.

  • Katie

    wow. i thought that watching that would make me even more disgusted. but, now i just feel pity for them. what a truly miserable life for those children.

  • Bruno

    Frankly at this stage I consider it a blessing to an event if the Phelps crew ends up there. It’s free publicity, and they only make religious people all look like crazier than most really are. And that’s saying something.

    Imagine how much they could help the cause of passing a gay marriage amendment in California if they just brought in the anti-publicity we need.

  • Javier

    @Bruno: I definitely agree. We need to figure out how to turn the Anti-gay Prop 8 idiotic rhetoric against them by using the Phelps’. We need America to see that the Phelps family is the mirror image of all those who hate gays (only less out-loud). No one would want to be associated with their hateful image. We need to connect the two and use it to our advantage.

  • psy

    I wouldn’t blame the members for their actions after watching that. They’re in a cult and as such, aren’t really in fully control of their faculties. The person to blame is the charismatic leader (Phelps).

    (ex-cult member here)

  • Michael vdB

    “You are gonna eat YOUR BABIES!!!” OH MY LORD!

    I feel sorry for the children that have to be raised in that. Phelps thinks he is above everyone and just blows people off because he is too smart for them.

    Anyone can claim God is with them, but only they who show love only know the true message.

  • Patrick

    Watching this whole thing was a revelation. This is what you become when your whole world is defined by hatred, anger and isolation.

    I’ve been angry over Prop 8 since its passage. The message that we need to reach out with love and tolerance in spite of our anger finally made sense to me today. You risk losing your heart and ending up like these sad folks if you let your anger permanently get the better of you. I’ll definitely keep that in mind as I fight on.

  • AZgaybe

    i’m mystified what compels them besides their apparent dumbness.

  • Tim

    What really confuses me about Phelps is at one time he was a good guy,
    he was an early opponent of segregation and even won an award from the local NAACP for his work with black clients.
    It makes me wonder where he went wrong.

  • brandon


    god started “talking” to him. rofl

  • Charles J. Mueller

    When I was a youngster growing up during the war (WWII), they locked crazy people up in an asylum where they could do no harm to themselves or others.

    Today, the crazy people are allowed to set-up churchs and spew their craziness, hurting not only themselves, but all those around them as well.

    Personally, I liked the old way better.

  • Brian Miller

    Every time some anti-gay hater does their “love the sinner” bullshit, I say they’re just like Fred Phelps and clan.

    They get pissed off and then I say that well, Fred is just more honest and plain in his language — while they’re using pretty words to sugarcoat their poison.

  • Tin Tin

    Shirley is so insane she almost seems like fun!

  • Charles J. Mueller

    I can wrap my noggin around that, Brian Miller.

    I’d much rather see my enemy and not have to worry about a “love the sinner” type sneaking up and knifing me in the back.

Comments are closed.