A model Christian?

Would anyone here like to defend fred phelps or the members of his family/church, westboro baptist?

He considers himself a model Christian, etc., and that he has the only true path to salvation.

You may note his name and the name of his church are not capitalized. That would infer a degree of respect, and, in his case, I have none.

The Supreme Court just ruled that his protesting at the funerals of fallen soldiers, while hurtful, is still free speech.

I actually agree with the ruling, because once you silence one person’s speech, you open the door to silencing all free speech.

But, I also believe that ethically, it would be difficult for me not to want engage the protesters at such funerals.

I am not a Christian, but were I one, I think I would be ashamed that such a man would call himself a Christian as well.

So, you Christians out there, how do you handle the subject of fred phelps and his cronies?

Seeker

There’s a fine line between allowing free speech and allowing hate speech.
Fred Phelps preaches nothing but hate, his teachings are an abuse of the work of Christ. That he associates his revolting opinions with the teachings of Christ is an insult to and a stain on Christianity.

Well, if believing in Christ and being a sinner who is imperfect and makes foolhardy blunders is a model Christian, then he qualifies. But we all do that from time to time don’t we? The issue is his sin of Pride has so blinded him that it has lead him to act in an unchristian like manner.

I agree with SCOTUS on this ruling. The 1st Amendment protects his Right. It also protects our Right to speak freely and to condemn him for his terrible behavior. I think too often in this country people confuse their Right to speak freely as also meaning that no one should criticize us for saying it.

For Liberty to truly exist we must be prepared to protect the Rights of those with whom we vehemently disagree.

I agree with this. I also believe that I am not obliged to listen to someone else’s speech. When someone has lost a loed-one, it is not the time or place for political activism. What Westboro does is hideous. Perhaps a group should be organized that would set up a human barrier to protect the families of our fallen heroes from these verbal assaults on their liberty. Westboro can speak all they want, and we can prevent them from being seen or heard by those in grief, in a nonviolent way.

Jon

I’m massively shocked that his right to say this stuff is actually protected under your constitution. Here we have laws against inciting racial or religious hatred and people have been prosecuted for possessing and publishing material promoting terrorist acts.

Yes, it is a misunderstanding of freedom. Freedom is the right to do what we ought, not, necessarily to do anything we want. We can’t yell “fire” in a movie theater but we are allowed to pummel the grieving with outrageous language. I would agree that this is nothing more than psychological and emotional terrorism and it should not be allowed.

Well, in all respect and honesty, that is the difference between our constitutional representative republic and your parliamentary democracy. There are rights that are antecedent of government, and one of them is free speech, firmly protected (not established) by our constitution.
The problem, as I see it, is who decides what is hate speech? Now, I am not defending Westboro, as I consider them thugs in the verbal sense, but I am defending their right to speak. I am also of the belief that no one ought to be required to listen to their bile.

JOn

I am not a Christian, so I can’t answer. I thought I’d share what happened when those clowns showed up for a funeral for a soldier who’s funeral was near where I live. The whole town showed up early in the morning and lined the streets along the route the funeral would take so that when the Westoboro people came there was no place for them to stand. My understanding is they weren’t able to get near where the family could see them. It was on the local news. I believe I am relaying the story correctly. I wasn’t at the funeral, and I’m going by local news reports.

Your friend
Sufjon

Haha I have to dissent here. Though we might use either “He” or “he” as varying degrees of respect for the Deity, in all other cases I’d say simple English usage demands proper nouns are capitalized. “Respect” does not inter into the picture.

But anyhow, while our fine friend Fred is technically a “Christian”, and while his underlying premise of the immorality of homosexuality is correct, his other claims are utterly both nonsensical and blasphemous. I’ve no interest in “defending” him. :slight_smile:

Fred Phelps is a bad man. The closest I ever came to meeting people from his church was when a group called Soulforce had a gay rights bus campaign of people who called themselves “Freedom Riders” who went to a wide variety of private institutions of higher learning (Christian and otherwise) that restricted the practice of homosexuality. BYU, BJU, Air Force Academy, and so forth. They went there in order to protest, practice civil disobedience, make a statement, talk about being gay while also being Christians, that kind of thing. Prior communication led to a mutual agreement to a more interactive and structured approach in some instances, though.

Leading up to when Soulforce showed up, there were rumors that people from Westboro might make the trip, bring offensive signs, and so on. They didn’t wind up coming; I don’t know for sure exactly why they decided not to.

I’m glad they didn’t show up. If they had shown up, I would have interacted with them (briefly), told them they’re an embarrassment, and that they should go away. Then I would have walked over to Public Safety in order to report the incident and get someone on the phone with the provost, and then the folks from Westboro would have been forced to leave.

My guess about what happened, however, is something like this: The provost and the college president and anyone else who matters knew about the possibility of such a visit, and they probably communicated with Fred Phelps in order to let him know the extent to which they would have our cooperation. (That extent would be zero). Then Phelps decided it wasn’t worth it to make the trip. All I know for sure is that there were rumors that they might come and then they wound up not coming, but those are my guesses about why it happened at way. And that’s also what I would have done if Westboro had shown up.

As to freedom of speech, it is permissible (even if offensive and hateful) as long as there is no danger of imminent lawless action. That said, private institutions are permitted a greater degree of latitude in restricting speech on their grounds. In any circumstance where the usual activity of Westboro people can be restricted, I am glad when it happens.

In Canada Bill C-415, I can’t find if it passed into law, I’ll do some more searching
this article is a bit dated wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=29328

" ‘Hate literature’

In an “action alert” distributed last week, Rushfeldt wrote that if C-415 becomes law in Canada, “the following consequences will result, especially once hate crime charges are brought before the courts”:

[INDENT]The Bible, at least certain portions of the Bible, may be declared “hate literature.”

Churches will not be able to mention certain Scriptures.

Clergy may be subjected to criminal charges if they refuse to marry homosexuals.

Parents may be subjected to criminal charges if they refuse to allow their children to attend classes that teach about and promote homosexual behavior.

Expressing disagreement with homosexual behavior or the homosexual agenda, either verbally or in writing, would be considered hate propaganda.

Educators, including those at private religious schools, will not be able to refuse to teach homosexual curriculum.

Religious institutions will not be allowed to teach anything non-supportive of homosexual sex.

Canadian Blood Services will not be allowed to screen risk-behavior donors.

Governments (including local municipalities) will be prevented from passing (even debating) sex standards laws.
In his letter to constituents, Robinson defends the necessity of the bill by using the example of American Fred Phelps, known for his website “www.godhatesfags.com.” Robinson said that when Phelps wanted to come to Canada to “pursue his campaign of hatred against gay and lesbian people,” Canadian police lamented that there was nothing in the criminal code to stop him. " [/INDENT]

Well, the “news” story cited is an opinion piece, not straight news, but it does provide an example of why phelps mustn’t be muzzled, no matter how disgusting his comments.

It is a slippery slope to begin dictating what is hate speech and what isn’t. The example of citing a portion of The Bible that could be considered hate speech or speech inciting violence against others is a valid one.

But most people I know don’t interpret it that way.

I like the idea of counter demonstrations. People could provide a human shield between those who are burying a loved one, and those who would inflict their venom on them.

Knowing what I do about Christian teachings, I would never cite phelps as an example of a member of that religion.

But, he also is a poignant reminder for me that fanaticism is nasty and can, sometimes, be dangerous regardless of the religious cloak in which the fanatic wraps himself.

Seeker

I think maybe if he would perhaps, have a few beers, maybe take a vacation, do SOMETHING to get rid of the crankiness that seems to posess him. He may be better off. The thing that really drives me nuts, is that his Granddaughters really do have alot of talent with their singing voices. It is really too bad they will probably never be able to live to their full potential, due to the closed nature of this group. :frowning: Peace

I do despise what he teaches, but as a Libertarian and as a soldier, I am willing to die, to allow him his God given contstitutional rights. Peace :thumbsup: And God bless those that DO counter demonstrate against this ignorance. :thumbsup:

IMO, just because someone calls themselves anything doesn’t make them what they claim. I’ve seen nothing that would make me think these people, that person is a Christian, but who am I to judge.

It doesn’t appear this guy stands for God’s Word nor does he follow the example Jesus gave us. It is true God is against homosexuallity, but as any other sin, God wants to take us from our sin and make us new creatures in Christ.

The problem with sexual sins is that they are so hard to leave.

Have you heard what they stand against? They stand against legalizing homosexuality. While I’m anti their actions, I think the USofA should take heed that God deal severely with a society that is openly pro-homosexual. God loves the homosexual and would deliver them from their sin if they’d just turn to Him. The tactics of this church seems to drive people in the opposite direction. Our soldiers don’t make laws or interpret them. They are not the problem.

BTW, I’ve been lead to believe great empires like Rome crumbled from within and one factor to their crumbling was the widespread practice of homosexuality and bisexual encounters.

No we just preserve the peoples constitutional rights. The area of Homosexuality is the only one I would agree with them on. However, their methods in getting out their message are not very effective. They turn people off. I agree that the U.S.A. should rethink their acceptance of a life style, that is potentially damageing, and can lead to other more serious issues that infringe on the rights of those against this life style. not to mention, what is the left going to champion next. I dont think we disagree here. Peace :thumbsup:

IMO, their tatics do not promote the love of God.

Thank you for your service to our country. God bless you.

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