Hate has existed in this country since its creation. In our generation, there has not been a more prevalent hate-fueled organization than the Westboro Baptist Church.
For years, this cult-like congregation has spread bigotry and hate, particularly towards homosexuals and the Jewish population. They are infamously known for protesting outside military funeral services, claiming that God kills soldiers as some sort of punishment for America’s tolerance for homosexual people. They believe God is innately vengeful, set on eradicating Earth of sinners.
The leader, Fred Phelps Sr., recently died at the age of 84. The numbers of people that are following the church are dwindling, and most others are hoping this will be the demise of the Westboro Baptist Church. Although their numbers are thinning, they recently picketed at a Lorde concert in Kansas, not long after the death of Fred Phelps Sr.
The Westboro Baptist Church (it’s important to iterate that the Wesboro Baptist Church has no connection with the Baptist denomination) held up their infamous “God Hates Fags” signs, but were met by counter-protestors. The counter-protestors held up a sign reading, “Sorry for your loss.”
To some this may seem like a trivial attempt at a counter-protest, but this editorial board believes this is an adequate protest. In fact, this is a genius idea.
The Westboro Baptist Church has a twisted ideology of the world. They believe God is a vengeful creature that does not tolerate minorities, homosexuals, politicians, etc. The list goes on and on.
They show no empathy towards many groups of individuals. At the Lorde concert, the counter-protestors emphasized this with their sign reading, “Sorry for your loss.” The counter-protestors were demonstrating their ability to forgive and empathize, which the Westboro Baptist Church has been unable to do since its creation.
Megan Coleman, the creator of the sign, shared her intentions with KSHB Kansas. She said, “We realized that it wasn’t so much about antagonizing them, but sending out the counter message that we are here for people who need that message and need that positivity.” She also thought the sign represented what the church could be, instead of what it currently is.
We as ISU students have dealt with situations similar to the Westboro Baptist Church protests. George Edward Smock Jr. (otherwise known as Brother Jed) periodically preaches in the Quad, threatening that if college students continue their lifestyle, we are doomed for eternal damnation.
There is no place for this in modern society. Isn’t it the year 2014? Haven’t we passed the period of the fear-mongering sermon? Through a largely educated population, and growing acceptance and understanding of differing cultures and lifestyles, these messages will unlikely influence the behavior or thinking of our generation. There has been
substantial progress as a society in the past century.
It’s sad to see that blatant hate towards another group of people still exists in today’s America. In the case of the Westboro Baptist Church, religion should not be used as an excuse to support the spread of hate. Hopefully, the “most hated family in America,” the Westboro Baptist Church, will dissipate due to the death of their leader. Mark Twain said it perfectly, “I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.”