As if crazy religious zealots don’t have a bad enough reputation…
Along comes Westboro Baptist Church patriarch-coot Fred Phelps, Sr., who has jumped into the middle of the Tucson, Arizona shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a lunatic spree that left six people dead.
Phelps loves publicity. His Westboro followers travel the country in an effort to angry up the blood of otherwise apathetic Americans. For some reason, they’re completely focused on homosexuality, and Phelps, Sr. preaches that God is punishing the United States for — well, just about everything, but mostly homosexuality. They’re the folks who go to military funerals and preach that God kills American soldiers because of homosexuality.
The Westboro Baptist Church announced after the shootings in Tucson that they would picket the funeral of Christina Green, a 9 year-old third-grader who was there to see Congresswoman Giffords.
It’s their specialty, that kind of aggressive baiting. They proudly embrace the backlash, because their belief system is wrapped up in the idea of “if everyone hates us, we MUST be doing things right.”
While they were packing their bags for Tucson, Pastor Phelps released a video saying “God sent the shooter.”
We won’t show you the whole thing here. If you feel like jumping into a cesspool of vitriol, you can go to the WBCVideo channel, here. Remember, spitting at the screen won’t do any good.
We have instead compiled a brief audio clip, illustrated with stills from the Phelps video. It’s a smaller dose of hatefulness, but you should still be warned that it’s not real pretty:
The people of Arizona don’t think it’s very pretty either. Today the Arizona legislature unanimously (and quickly) passed a bill to make a funeral protection zone — specifically for the victims of the Tucson shootings.
The WBC says it won’t matter, they plan on being outside the zone anyway.
As to the issue of Sarah Palin‘s famous “bullseye” graphic targeting Congresswoman Giffords in the last election, Fred Phelps does a handy job of co-opting Palin’s imagery while calling her a “mouthy witch” as well as a “cowardly brute.” Republican targets on Democrats, it seems, don’t count for much when God hisself has drawn one big fat target on the whole darn U.S. of A.
The people who were killed in the Tucson shooting are:
John Roll, a 63 year-old federal judge.
Christina Taylor Green, a 9 year-old third-grader.
Gabe Simmerman, a 30 year-old congressional staffer.
Phyllis Schneck, a 79 year-old widow and church volunteer.
Dorwin Stoddard, a 76 year-old father and husband who saved his wife.
Dorothy Morris, a 76 year-old mother and wife whose husband was injured trying to save her.