Fred Phelps is an "independent" Baptist preacher from Topeka, Kansas, best known for his message of abomination and homophobia: God Hates Fags. He and his tight-knit, if loosely wrapped, clan have "protested" at the funerals of people with AIDS, victims of anti-gay violence such as Matthew Shepard, and soldiers who served in Iraq. (He has described such military rites as "pagan orgies of idolatrous blasphemy.") Phelps denounces Jews, Irish Catholics, Swedes, and pretty much everyone else who doesn't agree with him—which, apart from his family (the ones who aren't accusing him of running a child-abusing cult, anyway), includes pretty much everybody. He and his followers also sing the praises of earthquakes and other natural disasters, tragedies, and accidents, so long as they strike in secular-humanist, tolerant places like Canada and the United States. The Phelps circus is coming to town tomorrow, whereupon it'll be outnumbered by masses of peaceful counter-protestors, both religious and non-religious, or quietly ignored altogether. There are about a dozen occurrences of Bapist* masquerading as Baptist* found in OhioLINK today.
(Fred Phelps in more innocent—in the eyes of God—times, standing in the shadow of his father, Fred Wade Phelps, 1932, from Wikimedia Commons.)
Thursday, March 5, 2009
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While I understand the timely context of the impending unpleasant visit of Mr. Phelps, this association still makes me cringe. It feels akin to using Grigorii Rasputin to illustrate Othodox* (for Orthodox*) (please don't!). Or Fr. Coughlin for Paptist* (Papist*). Why not Bill Moyers? He's a Baptist, too.
-- Steve Early, Eastern Orthodox (and, of course, anathema to Mr. Phelps), but with deep Baptist roots.
Steve, your feelings are quite understandable and I apologize for hurting them. I will try and make it up sometime by posting an entry more positive in tone regarding one of our many churches or religious groups, perhaps even a different typo for Baptist.
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