In December, she went to a public library in Lawrence, Kansas. She was looking through books on philosophy and religion, and it struck her that people had devoted their entire lives to studying these questions of how to live and what is right and wrong. “The idea that only WBC had the right answer seemed crazy,” she says. “It just seemed impossible.”
For nearly all of her twenty-seven years, Megan believed it: believed what her grandfather Fred Phelps preached from the pulpit; believed what her dad Brent and her mom Shirley taught during the family’s daily Bible studies.
"...Phelps [has] had some notable wins. He won nearly $20,000 in a 1978 case against a school. In the mid-1990s, he absolutely took the City of Topeka and Shawnee County to the cleaners, winning around $200,000 in compensation for legal fees. It is worth noting here that these legal fees are presumably paid to 'Phelps-Chartered' law firm (founded by Fred Phelps, and its current roster of attorneys is either directly or by marriage related to Phelps), then recycled back into the WBC rather than paying outside lawyers.
Still, one wonders if that is enough money to sustain the church, even if we assume the WBC is winning a wide variety of smaller settlements being won across the country (with help from the ACLU), it does not seem as lawsuits alone would provide enough money to run an organization that allegedly spends $250,000 a year on picketing. That they have tax-exempt status as a church helps.
...All in all, it seems that the Phelpses use the courts more as a weapon than a means of earning a living–although I frankly have no idea how they can support themselves. Are there family members earning a legitimate living? Do they sustain themselves on donations? One shudders at the thought. I’m not a lawyer, but it does seem that if you should not engage the Phelpses and their affiliates because they will sue you, and that will be annoying, likely resulting in legal bills and a general waste of your time." *
i hope she finds some peace and then i hope she finds a way to do restitution for those she has wronged.Serious question: whom has she wronged, and how? Has WBC engaged in any activity other than exercising their right to free and repugnant speech?
i hope she finds some peace and then i hope she finds a way to do restitution for those she has wronged.
They recognize certain sounds and respond to those sounds with the sounds they learned. They don't critically analyze the incoming sounds at all. One of those sounds they recognize is "why do you preach if you don't think people can be saved" to which they respond with the sound "it's not our job to save, only to preach". It's what I call the divine Nuremberg defense.
What kind of person looks at the Phelps family and thinks it looks like a good way to live?
On weekends, Megan joined her family on pickets. Even though she wasn’t quite sure what the church was protesting, she learned quickly.
She learned that her neighbors and teachers and classmates were hell-bound deviates, and that the path to heaven runs directly and solely through the Westboro Baptist Church. Not least of all, she learned that walking away from the church meant walking away from God, and that anyone who did so would be relegated to the harshest corners of hell.
For the most part, Megan embraced the teachings, spending her afternoons breaking down scripture in the park with Shirley and her evenings at the house with family, discussing the meaning of this doctrine and that verse. Always asking questions. Always trying to make sense of the information.
But Megan sometimes found herself wondering about a future outside. It was more of an abstract thought than anything, she says now, but there was a point in middle school when she was doing a lot of extracurricular activities, like volleyball and the school musical, and spending more time with kids from school when it began to occur to her that maybe these kids who liked the same music and watched the same movies weren’t so bad, after all.
Maybe the things they did weren’t so terrible.
Maybe a life without the church wouldn’t be so bad.
“That’s the thing,” Megan says. “When I would feel like, well, maybe these people aren’t — maybe the stuff they do isn’t that bad, well, at the same time, as you start to go there in your mind, you have these people (at home) that are constantly asking you questions and forcing you to go back and look at what the standards are.”
“Anybody can repent if God gives them repentance, according to the church. But this one thing—it gives the impression that homosexuality is an unforgivable sin,” she says. “It didn’t make sense. It seemed a wrong message for us to be sending. It’s like saying, ‘You’re doomed! Bye!’ and gives no hope for salvation.”
Anyone know if WBC analogs exist in lands other than the US?
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Ugandan Lawmaker Demands Every Country in Africa Enact Life Imprisonment for Homosexuals: VIDEO.
PBS NewsHour Covers Danger for Gays in Uganda and Re-emergence of Anti-Homosexuality Bill: VIDEO.
Though he believes he should be the next governor of Kansas, Pastor Phelps has never believed in Christmas. A mattock is a pick-hoe using a wooden handle heavier than a bat. Fred swung it with both hands like a ballplayer and with all his might. "The first blow stunned your whole body," says Mark. "By the third blow, your backside was so tender, even the lightest strike was agonizing, but he'd still hit you like he wanted to put it over the fence. By 20, though, you'd have grown numb with pain. That was when my father would quit and start on my brother. Later, when the feeling had returned and it hurt worse than before, he'd do it again. "After 40 strokes, I was weak and nauseous and very pale. My body hurt terribly. Then it was Nate's turn. He got 40 each time. "I staggered to the bathtub where my mom was wetting a towel to swab my face. Behind me, I could hear the mattock and my brother was choking and moaning. He was crying and he wouldn't stop." The voice in the phone halts. After an awkward moment, clearing of throats, it continues: "Then I heard my father shouting my name. My mom was right there, but she wouldn't help me. It hurt so badly during the third beating that I kept wanting to drop so he would hit me in the head. I was hoping I'd be knocked out, or killed...anything to end the pain. "After that...it was waiting that was terrible. You didn't know if, when he was done with Nate, he'd hurt you again. I was shaking in a cold panic. Twenty-five years since it happened, and the same sick feeling in my stomach comes back now..." Did he? Come back to you?
"No. He just kept beating Nate. It went on and on and on. I remember the sharp sound of the blows and how finally my brother stopped screaming... "It was very quiet. All I could think of was would he do that to me now. I could see my brother lying there in shock, and I knew in a moment it would be my turn. "I can't describe the basic animal fear you have in your gut at a time like that. Where someone has complete power over you. And they're hurting you. And there is no escape. No way out. If your mom couldn't help you...I can't explain it to anyone except perhaps a survivor from a POW camp." Last year, Nate Phelps, sixth of Pastor Phelps' 13 children, accused his father of child abuse in the national media. The information was presented as a footnote to the larger story of Fred Phelps' anti-gay campaign. But the deep currents that lie beneath the apparent apple-cheeks of the Phelps' clan were stirring. A series of interviews with Nate resulted in an eyewitness account of life growing up in the Phelps camp. These reports contained allegations of persistent and poisonous child abuse, wife-beating, drug addiction, kidnapping, terrorism, wholesale tax fraud, and business fraud. In addition, Nate described the cult-like disassembly of young adult identities into shadow-souls, using physical and emotional coercion- coercion which may have been a leading factor in the suicide of an emotionally troubled teenage girl.
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