Thursday, March 20, 2014

Westboro Baptists Eat Their Own

One of the downsides of founding a virulent hate group is that someday they may turn on you. According to this story, amidst rumors of his failing health, it has come to light that the Westboro Baptist Church excommunicated founder Fred Phelps back in August. Furthermore, his daughter Margie announced on Twitter that when he dies the church plans to picket his funeral. Normally I wouldn't comment on this as I think these clowns get way too much press already - they are, after all, a group of about twenty people, most of whom are Phelps' relatives. So we're talking about a group that's like what would happen if you got all your cousins and their families together and declared yourself a new religious denomination, but who nonetheless have a massively outsized media profile. However, the cautionary tale here shows what can happen if your group's entire ideology is based on hatred. Eventually nobody is pure enough to qualify.

With reports that the Rev. Fred Phelps Sr. is near death, many quipped the Westboro Baptist Church, the very organization he founded, would picket his funeral as they have so many others in the past. It might sound like a joke, but apparently it’s the real deal: The WBC will hold a demonstration at the funeral of their former pastor.

Phelps Sr., 84, got back in the news Sunday when his estranged son Nathan posted a note to Facebook saying the pastor is currently in hospice care and was excommunicated from the organization for reasons that remain unclear. As twisted as it may be, his daughter Margie (who is a part of the WBC) said on Twitter the hate-fueled organization would definitely be at his funeral, if only to picket.


“My dad Pastor Fred Phelps is a hell bound f*g enabling whore,” she shockingly wrote on Twitter Sunday evening. “#Westboro Baptist Church to protest this whores Funeral.” Margie had nothing but revulsion to spread in regards to her father’s ailing health. She added he is “now a hell bound whore.” Speculation as to why he was excommunicated is rampant on the Internet, with some assuming the WBC members found out Phelps was actually gay and others thinking he might have had a change in heart as his health declined. There’s no definite answer as of now.

Despite Margie and Nathan’s public statements that Phelps Sr.’s passing is imminent, the WBC issued a “Recent Media FAQ” that denied the former pastor was not doing well. It said he “is a person of advanced age, and such people sometimes have health issues.” But the organization seemed annoyed at the insinuation that their founder was “near death” since it’s “highly speculative” and “foolish considering that all such matters are the sole prerogative of God.” As far as Phelps being “excluded” from fellowship, the organization succinctly replied: “Membership issues are private.”

I did a little more digging on this and it turns out Phelps' transgression was recommending that his members take a "gentler approach." To be clear, there's a whole lot Westboro Baptist could do that would be "gentler" without really jeopardizing their complete asshole status. But the members of Phelps' little cult would apparently have none of it and ousted him instead. It is true that without their offensive stunts the group would pretty much disappear from the public consciousness, as they are smaller than the local Twin Cities OTO body which gets no press at all. Nonetheless, it's pretty remarkable for a group that prides itself on being so purely Christian would throw their leader out at the first sign of actual Christian compassion.

UPDATE: A few hours after I posted this article it was announced that Phelps passed away today. I suppose we'll find out soon if his relatives really do show up to picket his funeral.

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1 comment:

Simon Tomasi said...

Will the Patriot Guard riders protect him from his own family? The answer seems obvious, and yet Western governments do the equivalent to organizations hellbent on their destruction.
Let's listen to the wisdom of the Cherokee and feed the right wolf.