I’m certain you’ve heard of the vile, blasphemous, ferociously mean, insensitive, disgusting and downright evil actions of the members of the Phelps family of Topeka’s Westboro Baptist church – a group of trash who give Christianity a seriously bad name. This group travels all over the country, protesting at military funerals, and saying that “the deaths of soldiers are God’s way of punishing the country for homosexuality.” Motorcycle groups like the Patriot Riders travel to these funerals as well, to rev between these slime (who call themselves religious) and the suffering family and friends gathering for the funeral of an American hero, a son, a brother, a husband, or a friend.
I want to know whether there is any organization of Baptist churches which “pulls the member’s card” (if there is such a thing as Baptist excommunication). If there isn’t one, there ought to be. Where are the Baptist churches which send out their own members to stand between this evil group and the innocent?
Phil Roberts, President of the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri has said:
“The Southern Baptist Convention has repeatedly stated its position on homosexuality. The 2000 Baptist faith and message said Christians should oppose all forms of sexual immorality including adultery, homosexuality and pornography. However, since 1980, various SBC annual meetings have passed ten resolutions related to homosexuality including one in 1985 testifying of God’s love for homosexuals. It reads: ‘We affirm the Biblical injunction which declares homosexuals, like all sinners, can receive forgiveness and victory through personal faith in Jesus Christ.’
The difference between Fred Phelps and the Southern Baptists is vast. Phelps has a heretical position because, indeed, we are commanded to go and make disciples of all people. That means all religions, ethnicities, and moral categories, realizing that all of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Homosexuals need Jesus Christ just as everyone else does. The sin of homosexuality is a forgiveable sin…..
….Phelps apparently is quite willing to do God’s work for God in terms of condemning them all to hell without mentioning that redemption awaits everyone who comes to faith in Christ….
…[This] man is not representative of the Christian community.
I have a huge problem with this. Roberts is arguing about whether or not homosexuality is a sin; whether it’s forgiveable. This is so not the point!
Whatever your philosophical or spiritual religious notions are about homosexuality, these people supposedly representing the Baptist Church are going from funeral to funeral, disrupting the mourning, the pain, the lives, and the ceremonies to cherish a lost warrior in the name of their religion. It is blasphemous to speak for God or do something evil in God’s name (and that’s from a little Jewish girl).
The Phelps family has been emotionally and psychologically terrorizing military families in mourning for years using the banner of free speech. I love free speech (as you know if you listen to my program), but since you can’t yell “fire” in a movie theatre when there isn’t one, I propose we have laws that prohibit protests at funerals within a five mile radius. The pieces of crap called the Phelps family would then be out of shouting distance, but still have their freedom of speech!
What triggered my writing about this is that one man, Ryan Newell had enough and apparently decided to do something about it since no one else would. Mr. Newell is a decorated military veteran who lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan. He received many medals for his service, including the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He is being charged with five misdemeanors, including stalking and three counts of criminal use of a firearm, as well as impersonating a law enforcement officer after he was found following a van that carried the Westboro church members. The Westboro creeps say they feared for their lives.
What?? They can dish it out but can’t take it? A number of lawyers have volunteered to defend Mr. Newell pro bono. Good for them.
But I’m asking for more than lip service from the Baptist churches around the country. This sort of reminds me of CAIR, the Council of American-Islamic Relations. They go ballistic and start bullying and threatening any time someone speaks their mind about Islam. I don’t, however, see them muscling the bad guys in their midst. I don’t hear about it. I don’t hear them digging out cells or undermining attempts to blow us up. I don’t hear about that. What I hear from CAIR is lip service – defensive, hostile, bullying lip service – and I want to hear MORE from the Baptist churches than the proclamation that “folks need to realize that this man is not representative of the Christian community.” Why not put your body where your mouth is? If he’s blaspheming God in your name for years and years and years, I really have the expectation that you’d clean up your own house.
I’m pretty exasperated with these people being allowed to do what they do. It’s America – I know, they’re allowed to protest. I get that, but where are the Baptist churches sending people in buses, trains, cars and planes every time the Phelps family announces that they are going to be somewhere? I would expect Baptists to stand up against blasphemy and to stand up for the families of our fallen American heroes. Lip service is bull. Talk is cheap. Do something about it. Do something legal, do something moral, but do something.TrackBack URI
My blog today has to do with teaching you how to respond to lies. Most importantly, lies about me. At 63 years of age (okay, 63 and a half), I am absolutely blown away by the casual meanness and vulgarity that passes for opinion and discourse. In my early years, if you wrote or verbally gave an argument that had even a tinge of nastiness (forget the vulgarity), both you and your point of view would be flushed…intellectually disqualified. Nowadays though, people feel frighteningly free to criticize with vulgarities, insults, lies, exaggerations, misrepresentations, character assassination and downright ferocious meanness.
Nothing new here. I’ve been commenting on this for a while, but last night a friend approached me…a friend approached me and asked me how he should handle a particular situation. (I thought I was getting into “Dr. Laura gear”). Somebody had contacted him and challenged him about being my friend because, (and to quote that person) “she hates gays”. For almost a dozen years (I think they’re automatically renewed computer-wise daily…you’ve probably seen it or heard about it), a blog appears under different sources, ostensibly asking me to answer questions about some of the Bible’s entries about slavery, daughters…so forth. It supposes that I ever quoted Leviticus that homosexuality is an abomination. That never happened. I repeat: that never happened. I never said that. I don’t believe that.
In fact (which they will deny…don’t you love activism?) I was one of the earliest radio hosts to support organizations such as PFLAG (you know, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and other efforts to encourage openness and acceptance of gays in their own families, much less society. But to my surprise (but not naivetë), to many activists, truth is irrelevant when the intent is to rally support through raising passions, especially negative passions. Get people angry and they stop thinking for themselves.
Here’s the truth: I’m for marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. I’m for children having the benefit of a married mommy and daddy, which by the way also means that you straight women should not intentionally exclude a daddy from your kid’s lives just because you want to be a mommy. But most importantly, you listen every day, you hear I take calls almost daily from gay men and women asking my advice on personal and family matters. These are the people who know the truth about me because, you know what, they actually listen to my daily radio program. They call because they know I can and will help. And every week I receive letters from listeners and fans who are gay and thank me when I take a call or read a letter from another gay listener, and here’s what they think, in their own words (let me get this ready…okay):
“Thank you for reading the email from the gay gentleman. I’m a gay woman (I don’t like the word ‘lesbian’) [she writes] and listen to you faithfully. I applaud you for protecting children and keeping people on the right path. I echo the feelings of the gay man who emailed you today. I am and have been single for 10 years. I just wanted to let you know how much I agree with you on how to make relationships work. I only wish I had found you before my partner left. If I had, I don’t think she would have ended the relationship. I hope more people in gay relationships will listen to you.”
Here’s another one:
“I just heard you read the email over the air from the faithful gay listener. Add me to the column! I’m a gay male in central Virginia who listens to you every day after I get home from work. I’ve been listening regularly for the past three years and I wouldn’t miss it. Gay or straight…white, black, green, purple, or blue…Momma Laura knows how to knock some sense into people’s heads.”
[Laughs] And, something I saved…something I saved. Here’s a call I got recently from a gay listener [listen to the audio here]
Caller: Thank you Dr. Laura.
Dr. L: Thank you.
Caller: I have to say, right off the bat that I need to apologize to you publicly because I wrote you a nasty-gram under the impression that you were against gay people. And I know better now, so I deeply apologize for that.
Dr. L: Thank you. How kind of you and thank you very much, and I accept your apology.
Caller: Thank you.
In fact, I get (brace yourself) disappointed and angry emails each week from people upset that I help gay callers. I give advice to gays and lesbians who call my show. One radio station dropped me because I give advice to gays and lesbians. Quite openly, I have been personally very hurt over the years with the misrepresentation which has led to a generation of folks who haven’t read my books, haven’t attended a “one-woman show”, haven’t listened to my radio show, yet presumed to know me and what I stand for. Having people believe that I’m a bigot and hate me…and “hate” is the word…is horrible, frustrating, demoralizing and unbelievably painful.
So my answer to my friend who wanted to know what he should say to people who challenge him being my friend, is to tell those people to listen to my show. I am happy to have any and all draw their own conclusions about me from an informed position, for a change, by listening to my program for a month or two. So there is a lesson in all of this: don’t let anybody tell you how to feel about another person without exploring the situation yourself and don’t waste hate. Save hate for those who…like the Taliban, hang to their necks until dead seven year old children in order to scare a village and take control. That’s where hate ought to go.
I’ve had a liberal commentator on live television in Canada suggest that someone should slit my throat because of my support of traditional marriage. He was not countered at that moment, nor criticized later. I, however, had to have bomb-sniffing dogs case a Canadian stadium before I gave a charity fundraising talk because of some nasty threats.
A fellow in West Hollywood didn’t see the irony in showing hatred towards Sarah Palin by hanging her in effigy…after all, if it’s not one of “us,” then it’s explained or excused as simply funny or an exercise of free-speech.
Calls to my radio program come from people of both genders, all age groups (5 to 81), the spectrum of races and those of various socio-economic standing, liberals and conservatives, and “straight” as well as “gay.” It would seem that socio-political positions be damned, since most all people have an interest in the well-being of their children, their intimate, family, work, or community relationships, their inner struggles, as well as morals, values, ethics, and principles.
When I helped a young male caller with his “boyfriend” problems – which are no different in their content from “girlfriend” problems: common sense, fears, communication, – I got a spate of letters like this
“I can’t stand it anymore! I know Dr. Laura can’t refuse to help people who call in, but I am SO sick of homosexuals being crammed down our throats. I can’t even turn on Dr. Laura’s show and get away from it.
“Decent, moral, religious, family-oriented people listen to Dr. Laura’s show and don’t want to listen to that crap. I feel like gay people are trying to throw their sexual preferences in our face more and more all the time with calling in to radio shows, lawsuits against people who don’t bend over backwards for them, children’s books, greeting cards, etc. The world really is going to HELL! I would really have a hard time answering calls like that if I was Dr. Laura.”
The station that aired my radio show dropped it because “She talks to homosexuals as though they were human.”
These comments are generally more than balanced by ones like the following:
“I’ve been a listener… for years and years. I’ve always enjoyed your show and appreciated your approach. One of your conversations today prompted me to write you. I am gay, and have had a long and challenging process in accepting my sexuality. Not only am I gay, but I’m a Christian, and generally hold conservative beliefs. Many of my friends have bought into the “victim” mindset that our community is told we have to fall into. In my opinion, all this seeks to do for anyone is to separate and divide. They believe that everyone needs to completely accept and support gays.
“While I personally believe that this is how I was born and how God made me, I also realize that many people do not share my view. While I disagree with them, I respect their right to hold that opinion. You made an excellent point today when you highlighted the difference between tolerance and acceptance. Right or wrong, good or bad, It’s simply unreasonable for anyone to demand complete acceptance of anything from anyone else.
“I wish with all my heart that my gay and lesbian friends would get past their biases and listen to what you have to say about right and wrong, healthy behaviors and appropriate ways of handling conflict. Thank you for being you, standing up to those who cowardly try to tear you down and silence you, and for coming into my radio every day. You have helped me more than you will ever know!!”
Speaking of hate, there’s a new television series (ABC, Thursday, 10 PM) called “Life on Mars.” A New York City police detective goes spinning back in time from the year 2008 to 1973 – where he is stuck. The 1973 cop he teams up with and he have interesting “cultural” differences. For example, the 2008 cop describes an assault that just happened as “a hate crime.” The 1973 cop mockingly retorts – “As opposed to an “I really, really like you crime?” – pointing out the absurdity inherent in such classifications – as though all men and women were not created equal nor equal in the sight of the law.TrackBack URI