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Not in Kansas Anymore, Toto…

Fred Phelps is a very strange and hateful personage. He is quite simply a loon and an arsehole. He is also very difficult to take seriously. He is pastor of Westboro “Baptist Church”. Well I guess it’s his church and he can call it what he likes but the sane US Baptists (i.e. all the rest of them) aren’t happy about it.

I first stumbled across GodHatesFags.com a few years back. I thought it was a spoof. I so thought it a spoof that I emailed a sub-editor of a Topeka newspaper who replied saying that Fred Phelps was “regrettably real”. Phelps is nuts. Now it’s imaginable to buy part of his thesis. He doesn’t like gay people. OK, fine, not uncommon but what really distinguishes him from the average homophobic nut-job is where he goes next with it… He is on record as calling George W Bush a “fag-enabler”. Yes that George W Bush. You know the guy who considered changing the constitution to ban gay marriage. I assume “fag-enabler” meant that Bush wasn’t mobilizing the National Guard to burn San Fran’s Castro district to the ground. Oh, and Dick Cheney’s daughter is a lesbian. The Phelpsites (and they are not large in number) also have the websites “GodHatesAmerica.com” and indeed “GodHatesTheWorld.com”. They are big on “hate”. They might be insane nutters but hate is something they do very well. They do hate in spades. Mr Phelps’ previous big hits include picketing funerals and memorial services for AIDS victims and also US soldiers and Marines killed in Iraq and the ‘stan. Not that those soldiers were gay or anything (some will have been no doubt) but in Phelp’s utterly warped mind every IED that goes off is set by God to punish America for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.

The funeral pickets are so utterly despicable that it is a wonder Phelps hasn’t been filled in. That he hasn’t is a testimony to the America that Phelps so rabidly hates. Perhaps he was ignored because picketing the funeral of a soldier because of the USA’s tolerance of homosexuality is quixotic in it’s bizarreness. picketing a bar full of men with moustaches and wearing chaps and not much else and holding hands would make some sort of sense but an Army funeral?

Anyway Mr Phelps has been elected a member of the “Wilders’ Club” by our own dear and ever so liberal Home Secretary. Just one note to KansasCity.com – the county is “Hampshire” not “Hamshire” but I quite like the latter in the context – which was Phelps planning on raising Cain over a play being put on by a college. Jeezus doesn’t Phelps have anything better to do than fly 4000 miles (and some of those flight attendants are rather fruity) to, in the words of his daughter, “…picket a second-rate play, put on by a third-, fourth-rate college. What the heck?” Yes, what the heck indeed. What the hecking heck.

But should he be denied entry for this strange activity? And it is strange. If Wichita Friends University (it does exist) put on a play I didn’t care for I suspect I wouldn’t go. I find it very easy to avoid going to Kansas, living in England and all. It is remarkable how often I actually don’t go to Kansas and see things I find objectionable, such as a sermon from Mr Phelps.

Of course not. Not only does his right to shout spite trump Jacqui Smith’s right to spout shite but are we really scared of such a pathetic and risible figure as Mr Phelps? A gay friend of mine who is also physically disabled wouldn’t find Mr Phelps threatening. Mr Phelps is Roger Irrelevant. He is completely hat-stand. He’s a git but he’s a completely hat-stand git. He once called Santa Claus a kiddie-fiddler. Are we now actually frightened of such utter loons? I’m much more frightened of Jacqui Smith roaming the corridors of Whitehall like some Happy Shopper Boadicea “protecting us” from “nasty men” than of a frankly deranged septuagenarian Septic or a Dutch fella with very odd hair saying stuff that I (largely) agree with.

Anyway. This is what ought to happen (this was how a previous Phelpsian extravaganza ended)…

They recently protested outside Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village over the school’s selection of a gay homecoming king last year. Hundreds of students staged a counter protest and raised money for AIDS research.

That’s how free people ought to respond to nutters, mentalists and archgittery. It is that simple and we don’t need Nanny Smith to do it for us either.

Because, make no mistake, if we hand-over that right to authoritarian pigs in knickers like Jacqui we are no longer free.

Just for you Fred, I present this video…

Yes, commies, the military, the Pet Shop Boys and The Gay Men’s Choir of New York. That video is what I assume Fred Phelp’s nightmares are like.

12 Comments

  1. JuliaM says:

    “The funeral pickets are so utterly despicable that it is a wonder Phelps hasn’t been filled in. That he hasn’t is a testimony to the America that Phelps so rabidly hates.”

    Didn’t I read a while back that a biker outfit offered to form a ‘rolling cordon’ between the mourners and these whackjobs at one funeral…?

  2. Infidel753 says:

    I first discovered Phelps & Co. several years ago. His “church” is said to consist mostly of immediate family members.

    I assume “fag-enabler” meant that Bush wasn’t mobilizing the National Guard to burn San Fran’s Castro district to the ground.

    Well, he believes that homosexuality should be punished by death, in accordance with Leviticus. Since the US does not do this, the US is evil and therefore anyone who contributes to its existence or fights in its defense is evil. That’s his logic.

    The interesting part, to me, is that all he’s doing is expressing what was the conventional thinking throughout the Western world a few centuries ago, back when people actually believed in Christianity. Back then, no one stood around with signs saying “God hates fags” for the same reason they didn’t stand around with signs saying “water is wet” or “the Sun rises in the east”.

    Today, he’s regarded as a total nutcase by pretty much everyone, even by most of our self-proclaimed Christian fundamentalists (though there is a minority of them who still call for the death penalty for homosexuality — I don’t know what they think of him). This shows how much society has changed.

    Our society, anyway. I suspect that more than a few imams and mullahs hold views fairly similar to his.

    Perhaps that would be a useful tack for pointing out the hypocrisy of your current rulers? “If Phelps is banned for anti-gay rhetoric, why is Imam Dalek al-Faghaytir Abu-Karbom coddled for saying pretty much the same things?”

  3. Infidel753 says:

    Didn’t I read a while back that a biker outfit offered to form a ‘rolling cordon’ between the mourners and these whackjobs at one funeral…?

    Yes, there’s a biker club that does this. They only show up if invited by the family, but they’ve “shielded” quite a few funerals.

  4. NickM says:

    Yes, Julia. I have heard of them but can I hell name them. Sorry.

    Infidel, that sort of thinking is almost too cheap a shot for me. Phelp’s meaningless rabble-rousing (meaningless because only his own inbred family goes along with it) is harmless but some imam who can call thousands into the street is OK. Possibly because he can put thousands into the street. You know calling for the head of cartoonists or burning Sir Salman Rushdie in effigy.

    Or in short is that not how we treat Iran which publically hangs queers? Barry has unclenched the fist from a country whichhas been actively at war with the USA for 30 years. How many divisions does Dinnerjacket have. A heck of a lot more than Phelps.

    If I was in the Whitehouse Iran would get let off the hook when a Mullah crawled all the way to DC to beg. When a fulsome apology for invading the embassy was given and when they stop hanging queers and chanting death to the Jews every Friday.

    Then we can talk and indeed I would be overjoyed to visit Tehran and see the lovely hair of it’s many beautiful women whilst having a beer in one of it’s many bars or cafes…

    I am not prepared to meet anyone halfway if that’s half-way between rational humanity and dark age barbarism. The meeting hall in the renaissance is closed.

  5. El Draque says:

    What is it about gays that makes people hate them? Every revolution wants to repress them, every religion seems to be obsessed with them.
    Of all minorities, they must be the one that only wants to be left alone; they don’t deny anyone else’s lifestyle, or seek to change anyone. They don’t want to spread the word, or to seize power.
    But everyone from Che Guevara upwards has locked them up.

    No, I don’t get what bothers them – unless the Westboro Boys are so deep in the closet they don’t know it’s a closet.

  6. NickM says:

    The thought that Mr Phelps might just be bowling from the pavilion end has indeed occurred…

    Lock ‘em up! Too right! Absolutely. Place them under guard in facilities where they absolutely don’t have access to the opposite sex. Yes, that will sort ‘em!

  7. RobtE says:

    Didn’t I read a while back that a biker outfit offered to form a ‘rolling cordon’ between the mourners and these whackjobs at one funeral…?

    And didn’t that work splendidly for Mick and the boys at Altamont? :-)

  8. Infidel753 says:

    What is it about gays that makes people hate them? Every revolution wants to repress them, every religion seems to be obsessed with them.

    I really think it’s Leviticus’s fault. All the religions I know of that consider homosexuality a sin seem to be the Abrahamic ones (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and offshoots like Mormonis, Baha’ism, and Soviet-Communism). Maybe it’s just a localized taboo from the ancient fertile crescent that happened to get picked up by these religions that spread widely?

    The Greco-Romans didn’t seem to have much of a problem with homosexuality. The Japanese and Chinese seem to consider it repulsive (due to the association with anal sex) but not sinful. I don’t know about India.

  9. Sunfish says:

    When I was in school, Phelps would come to our campus every year for Pride Week. He always timed it so that his protest was across the street from the Drag Fashion Show.

    I’m sure that was a coincidence and that Fred isn’t confused at all. (And what of the rumors that he was arrested for homosexual acts in Canada in the 1950s?)

    When Matthew Shepherd was beaten to death in Wyoming back in 1998, Phelps announced that he’d be rallying at Shepherd’s funeral. Then, the governor of Wyoming gave a statement to the effect of, “We’re committed to Phelps’ right of free speech. However, he’s not very well-liked here and while we will make every effort to preserve law and order, we can’t promise that some irate Wyoming resident won’t part his hair with a deer rifle.”

    He stayed home.

    Julia-
    They’re called the Patriot Guards Riders. And RobtE, they’re not actually a gang like the Hell’s Angels.

  10. NickM says:

    Sunfish is right.

    The Patriot Guards are just good Americans and that is good. So Freddie Phelps got a blow job in Canada in the ’50s (frankly there was fuck all else to do there at the time or even now)…

    Am I surprised? No. I have never met anyone so vehemently fussed about ginger beers who wasn’t secretly batting for the other side. I used to think this a convenient and neat myth but then I lived qa little. Just up the road from me when I was a kid was a Tory “back to basics” MP who wanted to have gays publically flogged. His star fell when he was uncovered paying rent boys. And yes, he liked to be beaten.

    I wish I could just make this stuff up.

  11. RobtE says:

    His star fell when he was uncovered paying rent boys. And yes, he liked to be beaten.

    Well, say what you like about Max Mosely, but he brings a whole new meaning to being strapped for cash.

    Boom, Boom!

    Thank you. Please remember to tip your waitresses generously.

  12. El Draque says:

    Infidel753 – yes, it dates back to Leviticus but whydoes that bit get followed so widely when lots of other stuff – like women not coming to church during a period (still applicable in Anglo-Saxon England – see Bede on the subject) – has been dropped?
    Being in Christian movements enough, you meet lots of people of different churches, and it’s always the smaller groups that oppose contraception the most. I think they want, deep down in a very evolutionary level, to increase their numbers by going forth and multiplying. So if some of them prefer non-fertile sex, it upsets them.

    To me, it doesn’t make sense unless some evolutionary drive is involved. It all gets back to Darwin in the end. Who they don’t like either.

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