I do not feel the need to disavow every single stupid thing a Christian group has ever done. For one thing, I'm Catholic, so most Christian sects, denominations, etc, have already disavowed me. So when other folks in other Christian groups do something stupid, I generally don't care.
Like, for example, when a creationist museum that has what appears to be a Garden of Eden setting … with a Velociraptor off to the side.
Thankfully, I can usually say, “Yeah, that's stupid,” and move on. Because it is stupid: even ignoring that human beings and dinosaurs were separated by about a few BILLION years of development, you'd think that the museum designer would have picked a dinosaur that was more friendly in appearance, and what wasn't the primary adversary of one of the top grossing films of all time.
So, with idiocies like that, I don't care. It's not my church, not my problem.
Mr. Phelps, who bears no relationship to Jim Phelps of the Mission: Impossible TV series, is not unknown to constant readers of this blog. He is a failed Kansas Democratic Party nominee. He is a failed lawyer (disbarred in 1977). He is 81 years old, and has been banned from entering the United Kingdom, and sent a letter to Saddam Hussein, praising him for his religious tolerance. And he is an all around failed human being.
Most recently, Phelps runs a marginal little Baptist church in the back end of Westboro, Kansas. They run websites called “God Hates the World,” and even “God hates Sweden.”
Obviously, this guy has too much time on his hands if he could work himself into a lather about Sweden.
Constant readers know that I am no fan of politics, politicians, or even people connected with them. I have no particular affection or disdain for the late Mrs. John Edwards. When her husband had illicit offspring, she attacked anyone and everyone who discussed it, even though it was later revealed she knew all about it, even as she called everyone else a liar. While this does not put her into my nominee for sainthood, the woman's dead, get over it.
However, reasons for Mr. Phelps protesting her funeral are … odd. Part of his stated reasons for the protest include: “Elizabeth Edwards & her faithless husband, John, lightly esteemed what they had. They coveted things that were not theirs – and presumptuously thought they could control God.”
Um, what? I can tell more lawyer jokes that start with “John Edwards” than I know what to do with, but, seriously? What drugs are you on, sir?
While I would usually just paint Mr. Phelps with the stupid brush, and say “this is not the Christian you're looking for, move along,” I have had an atheist friend of mine use Phelps as an example of why all religion is for weak-minded fools bewitched by old religious mind tricks (Yes, I put more than one Star Wars reference into an overwritten sentence. I'm a nerd). So, Mr. Phelps has earned some special attention. And it's not the first time on this blog (see Item 9)
Why does he deserve it? Because Mr. Phelps is not a Christian. He actually belongs to no organized religion that I have ever heard of. After all, he wants to spread “God's hate.” While God is somewhat cranky in the Torah, it's mostly a matter of “Screw With My People, I Will End You.” Hate is never stressed as a key component of any modern faith I know of; the others were wiped out centuries ago.
However, Mr. Phelps does remind me of something else. Looking over his history, he does nothing but organize protests. Protests at military funerals, random high schools, celebrity deaths, the San Francisco office of Twitter … the list goes on. And on. His band of bozos spend their time proclaiming that God hates gays. And that God Hates Jews. And God Hates Catholics. And God Hates the military. And God Hates…
Well, “God hates” everyone who isn't Mr. Phelps and his little band of twits.
“God” even “hates” comic book readers. Phelps and his band of fruit loops protested San Diego's Comic Con because “comic books encourage idolatry.” Riiiiiight.
Obviously, if you take any attention away from Mr. Phelps, God hates you.
A narcissist with delusions of godhood … there's a term for that, isn't there? Let me think about that a moment. Wait, it's coming to me … it's coming to me … Yes, I have it.
I think the term I want is “cult leader.”
Yes, “cult leader” and “attention-seeking media whore” sum him up rather neatly, I think.
And while there should be prayers (from actual people of faith) that Mr. Phelps become something other than what he is – maybe an atheist like Daniel Dennett -- I doubt it will happen. In fact, I await the day that Mr. Phelps and company break out a shipment of Kool-Aid, and give the rest of us some well-deserved peace and quiet.
On the other hand, Mr. Phelps is good for something. He has been put on the hit list of the Anti-Defamation League, gay rights groups, and Ann Coulter … I bet you'd never see those three all on the same side, did you?