God more likely hates Phelps
Finally, the third quarter stuff is done and I can get back to posting… which is good because this is something I have been wanting to post about for some time.
As you probably know by now, the Westboro Baptist Church has been centering its reason for existence around the message of “God hates fags” and “God hates America” (because America supports fags, apparently). The latest iteration of their protesting against homosexuals is to show up to soldiers’ funerals and flash their placards to the greiving families. Finally, a family has sued for invasion of privacy and emotional distress and won a judgement of 10.9 million dollars. The amount is under question because it completely surpasses the net value of the defendants… which raises the question of how they’re able to finance all the travel trips for the Phelps family who make up the totality of the members of this church.
First of all… it would be criminal of me not to mention something about my feelings on this church. Actually, on second thought, this guy here does a pretty good job.
So on to the judgement. I think the jury was right in its sentiment to want to punish this “church” financially. In a sense, it’s saying, you are doing things that go against the common morality of the people and we are taking away your ability to continue to do so.
The other side of this is a little troubling. Essentially, we may be setting a precedent that the courts can set church content. Remember, churches led the way in the civil rights movement. Their message of peaceful integration was violently opposed by some segments of the population. If the courts had been allowed to determine what preachers could and could not preach about in church, would the church have been as big a force for social change?
I can kind of see where Phelps is coming from. He has a personal conviction about right and wrong. He is trying to draw his guidelines for living from the Bible. And he is trying to make a difference in the world today. The problem though, is that his message, his content, and his delivery system are all wrong and, in fact, contrary to what he’s drawing his conclusions from.