Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman


Westboro Baptist vs. Southern Baptists: How Similar?

posted by swaldman

In the comment thread on my post about Westboro Baptist Church’s visit to Brooklyn, Jay writes:

“I think you underestimate the links between Westboro and the Southern Baptists and other more mainstream Christian religions, nearly all of which trumpet the very same verses when they condemn homosexuality. Similarly, you also don’t seem to realize the history of anti-Semitism in Christian churches. Westboro may be a laughable collection of rude and stupid people, but they are different only in degree to many other Christians. And in the long run, I believe that the homophobia of more respectable churches has harmed far more people than the silly pranks of Westboro.”

I disagree.
By Jay’s logic, the fact that Cuba has national health care means that those who want universal heatlh care here differ “only by degree” with Communist leader Fidel Castro. At a certain point, the differences so outnumber the similarities that implying they’re close cousins becomes misleading.
Yes, Westboro quotes the same Bible passages against homosexuality as conservative Christians — but Westboro also jubilantly celebrates the deaths of gays. Yes, Westboro argues that America’s behavior has angered God (as some conservative Christians have) — but they also picket the funerals of soldiers who have died defending America.
It is absolutely worth conservative Christians examining the logical progression of their ideas, just as those who want more government intervention in health care should consider the worst case scenarios, too. But part of being a good person, and a good society, is knowing how to put on the brakes as you slide down the slippery slope. One essential ingredient is for those who come from the same branch of the genealogical tree as the extremists to denounce them. The Southern Baptists, and other conservative Christians, have done so with Westboro.



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Gerard Nadal

posted September 30, 2009 at 2:46 pm


“It is absolutely worth conservative Christians examining the logical progression of their ideas, just as those who want more government intervention in health care should consider the worst case scenarios, too. But part of being a good person, and a good society, is knowing how to put on the breaks as you slide down the slippery slope.”
The progression of ideas in conservative Christianity can never exceed the limits of love for one another as set down by Jesus and the recognition by St. Paul that we all have fallen short of the glory of God. When hatred enters the equation, the issue at hand is no longer God’s righteousness, but the sin of pride that gives rise to the hatred.



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Mr. Incredible

posted September 30, 2009 at 3:11 pm


==…love for one another as set down by Jesus…==
What IS this biblical “love”?
Does one who loves, biblically, just leave everybody alone, keep to himself and keep quiet?



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Mr. Incredible

posted September 30, 2009 at 3:15 pm


==When hatred enters the equation…==
When IS that? Who gets to determine when that is?
If I speak out against some conduct, and I present a Scripture-upon-Scripture case to back it up, is THAT automatically “hate” just cuz the one on the other end doesn’t like it cuz he wants-ta do what HE wants-ta do?



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Mr. Incredible

posted September 30, 2009 at 3:19 pm


==…part of being a good person…==
Define, biblically, a “‘good’ person.”
What is “good,” and is “good enough” good enough? What’s the passing grade? Does God grade on a curve, or are you?
If you think you’re “good enough,” are you actually good enough? Do you tell God what is “good enough,” or does God tell you?



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Panthera

posted September 30, 2009 at 3:50 pm


Sigh.
Mr. Incredible has, yet again, moved in. Any hope of rational discussion is, with this, gone.
Steven, I am afraid I can’t entirely agree with you here. The difference between merely unpleasant Southern Baptists denying me human status and these horrid people from Kansas is only one of minor degree.
Once the non-Westboro fundamentalist Christians stop denying me basic human rights, we can talk about the differences.



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Mr. Incredible

posted September 30, 2009 at 4:02 pm


Panthera
September 30, 2009 3:50 PM
Sigh.
Mr. Incredible has, yet again, moved in. Any hope of rational discussion is, with this, gone.
——————————————————-
You poor thing.
But thanks for giving me all this power over you. I don’t want it, but you’ve assigned it to me and I’ll do the best I can with it.



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Mr. Incredible

posted September 30, 2009 at 4:04 pm


==…denying me basic human rights…==
What “Rights” are being denied? What may I do that you cannot?



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Mr. Incredible

posted September 30, 2009 at 4:07 pm


==Any hope of rational discussion is, with this, gone.==
Translation: “I can’t get Mr. Incredible to agree with me. He must be irrational cuz I, of course, am rational. I rationalize all the time.”
Feel free to scroll past my posts. I gladly give you full permission.



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Mr. Incredible

posted September 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm


Panthera
September 30, 2009 3:50 PM
Sigh.
Mr. Incredible has, yet again, moved in.
————————————————
I’m invited to post. You’re invited to post. Everybody be invited t’post. There are enough electrons for everybody. We understand your wish that views you don’t like should just disappear. Well, they’re not gonna.



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Ron

posted September 30, 2009 at 6:59 pm


Westboro Baptist vs. Southern Baptists: How Similar?
In my opinion, they really are very similar. Westboro, besides having no brains, simply state publicly what they think/believe, where as Southern Baptists think it but won’t say it as they don’t want to be recognized as such. Granted, my statement is coming off as a catch all but most the Southern Baptists I’ve personally met, fall into this category.



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Mr. Incredible

posted September 30, 2009 at 11:11 pm


Panthera
September 30, 2009 3:50 PM
Sigh.
Mr. Incredible has, yet again, moved in. Any hope of rational discussion is, with this, gone.
———————————————-
It’s truly perplexing how somebody on his high intellectual horse doesn’t have the mental stamina to engage his alleged intellect, put it in gear and prove his opponents wrong.
Instead, all you get is the childish statement above. No attempt even to try to find out what we mean by what we say. No attempt to answer our questions which should, if their opinions are so great, be easily answered. But no.
So, if anybody is shutting down discussion, Panthera is.



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reddopto

posted October 1, 2009 at 3:55 pm


I wikipedia’d Fred Phelps. He’s a Bob Jones Grad, but also a lawyer. He was given an award by the NAACP for fighting and defeating Jim Crow laws in Kansas forty years ago. He’s quite an enigma. It has to be a case of mental illness. What he’s doing now is a pock mark on the face of Christendom.
He has a large judgment for slander against him, although some knuckle-headed judge reduced the judgment to $1.5 million. Phelps was disbarred for perjury and has, therefore, no right to condemn others. The Bible condemns liars and people who commit calumny.



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Mr. Incredible

posted October 1, 2009 at 10:27 pm


==Phelps was disbarred for perjury and has, therefore, no right to condemn others.==
Who says?



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Ron

posted October 2, 2009 at 11:10 pm


Mr. Incredible
October 1, 2009 10:27 PM
==Phelps was disbarred for perjury and has, therefore, no right to condemn others.==
Who says?
Well, he can if he wishes to do so but the hypocrisy is rather deafening.



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Mr. Incredible

posted October 3, 2009 at 3:41 pm


Ron
October 2, 2009 11:10 PM
Mr. Incredible
October 1, 2009 10:27 PM
“==Phelps was disbarred for perjury and has, therefore, no right to condemn others.==
Who says?”
Well, he can if he wishes to do so but the hypocrisy is rather deafening.
——————————————————————–
Who gets to define “hypocrisy”?



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Mr. Incredible

posted October 3, 2009 at 3:43 pm


Mr. Incredible
October 3, 2009 3:41 PM
Ron
October 2, 2009 11:10 PM
Mr. Incredible
October 1, 2009 10:27 PM
“==Phelps was disbarred for perjury and has, therefore, no right to condemn others.==
Who says?”
Well, he can if he wishes to do so but the hypocrisy is rather deafening.
——————————————————————–
So, he has the Right. Which is it??



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Ron

posted October 3, 2009 at 10:46 pm


Mr. Incredible said, “Who gets to define “hypocrisy”?”
common sense does. He can say whatever he wants but the outcome is still the same.



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Mr. Incredible

posted October 4, 2009 at 3:20 am


Ron
October 3, 2009 10:46 PM
Mr. Incredible said, “Who gets to define “hypocrisy”?”
common sense does.
——————————————————————–
Whose “common sense”?
Ron
October 3, 2009 10:46 PM
He can say whatever he wants…
——————————————————————–
Didn’t you say something to the effect that he has no Right to say what he says? So, which is it?
Ron
October 3, 2009 10:46 PM
… but the outcome is still the same.
——————————————————————–
Yes, we know: You reject anything that doesn’t agree with what YOU think. You wanna impose your views on everybody else.



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Ron

posted October 4, 2009 at 12:06 pm


No mr incredible, I do not reject anything that doesn’t agree with what I think, nor do i seek to twist the comments and make something into what it is not, either. That seems to be your forte. As I said, He’s a hypocrite. You can take this or define it however you wish, I really don’t care.
As far as what Phelps says, I never said he could or couldn’t say. That was your assertion, not mine.
By the way, common sense is generally something that is agreed upon by society, though non spoken. Define it as you will, I don’t care.
Pagans, in general and speaking solely for myself, I have no desire to dictate what others views can and can not be. I simply state what I think. Personally, I’ve only run into one religion and specifically one sect that has the desire to dictate what others can have or not have, think or not think, believe or not believe, and that is the conservative Christian sect.



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Mr. Incredible

posted October 4, 2009 at 11:29 pm


Ron
October 4, 2009 12:06 PM
No mr incredible, I do not reject anything that doesn’t agree with what I think…
——————————————————————–
Oh, it must just seem that way.
Ron
October 4, 2009 12:06 PM
… nor do i seek to twist the comments…
——————————————————————–
Nor do I.
Ron
October 4, 2009 12:06 PM
… and make something into what it is not, either.
——————————————————————–
I don’t do that, either.
Ron
October 4, 2009 12:06 PM
That seems to be your forte.
——————————————————————–
Is THAT the way you excuse what you write?
Ron
October 4, 2009 12:06 PM
… He’s a hypocrite.
——————————————————————–
In what way?
Ron
October 4, 2009 12:06 PM
You can take this or define it however you wish…
——————————————————————–
B-b-b-b-b-but YOU wrote it!
Ron
October 4, 2009 12:06 PM
… I really don’t care.
——————————————————————–
Then, why did you bring it up?
Ron
October 4, 2009 12:06 PM
As far as what Phelps says, I never said he could or couldn’t say.
——————————————————————–
YOU said that he doesn’t have the Right to expression.
Ron
October 4, 2009 12:06 PM
That was your assertion, not mine.
——————————————————————–
It isn’t mine. Maybe somebody else with your name wrote it.
Ron
October 4, 2009 12:06 PM
… common sense is generally something that is agreed upon by society…
——————————————————————–
When was the vote taken? Where is this agreement?
Ron
October 4, 2009 12:06 PM
… though non spoken.
——————————————————————–
Then, how’d you know what it is? How do you know what the agreement is?
Ron
October 4, 2009 12:06 PM
Define it as you will…
——————————————————————–
B-b-b-b-but YOU brought it up.
Ron
October 4, 2009 12:06 PM
… I don’t care.
——————————————————————–
Then, why did you bring it up?
Ron
October 4, 2009 12:06 PM
Pagans, in general and speaking solely for myself, I have no desire to dictate what others views can and can not be.
——————————————————————–
Though that’s what you’re doing here.
Ron
October 4, 2009 12:06 PM
I simply state what I think.
——————————————————————–
That’s what everybody is doing.
Ron
October 4, 2009 12:06 PM
Personally, I’ve only run into one religion and specifically one sect that has the desire to dictate what others can have or not have, think or not think, believe or not believe, and that is the conservative Christian sect.
——————————————————————–
Then, do what you might tell others who are offended by pornography to do — that is, don’t listen to it; don’t read it; don’t watch it.



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Mr. Incredible

posted October 4, 2009 at 11:31 pm


Ron
October 4, 2009 12:06 PM
… common sense is generally something that is agreed upon by society…
——————————————————————–
So, YOUR idea of “common sense” should be mine, too, is THAT it?
If everybody’s idea of “common sense” is different, what’s common about it?



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Panthera

posted October 5, 2009 at 9:24 am


Mr. Incredible,
You and I have one thing – and possible only this one thing – in common. Our approach to communicating on these blogs is enormously different from that of nearly everyone else.
Since English is not my native tongue, I approach writing in the language much as I once approached an essay in Latin, also not my native tongue. That was a little joke, by the way – it occurs to me that we do have another thing in common: Neither of us has much of a sense of humor.
The common language of these blogs is not, however, my stilted English. It is the living language of native speakers. With a great deal of effort and little to show for it, I have tried hard over the last years to express myself in terms which my neighbors here in Dixie would feel comfortable writing. Well, not exactly their terms, since our main concern is horses and dawgs and there is a second person plural pronoun as distinct from the standard ‘you’. But I am trying to write as clearly as I can because I wish to be understood.
Now to you.
Your style of communication doesn’t work very well with anyone here except for those who already share your views. Since you obviously desire a dialogue, mayhap (whoops, let’s say: ‘maybe’) it is time to reconsider whether line after line after line of rebuttal and attack on every single term and expression from your opponent serves the purpose of opening dialogue?
Neither of us is going to develop a sense of humor, but surely, if Jesus could enjoy the Wedding of Cana, we have at least some obligation as Christians to at least try to work together.



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Ron

posted October 5, 2009 at 10:40 am


mr incredible, I’ll say exactly what I think about something, so I don’t have to twist anything to get my point across.
I never said that phelps does not have the right of expression, you’re twisting my words into something they are not, plain and simple.
If you have a point, then say it without dodging everything.
Getting back to the original topic, Westboro Baptist vs. Southern Baptists: how similar?
IMO, they’re pretty much the same with the exception that southern Baptist rarely say publicly what’s really on their minds because they’d would appear too similar at least this has been personal experience with them.



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Panthera

posted October 5, 2009 at 11:39 am


Fortunately,
The Southern Baptists may well have spoken their minds and this is precisely why the hateful monsters behind Prop8 are so determined not to turnover their hate filled documents to the Federal court. It won’t take long to show that the real reason for denying us human status by rescinding our state Constitutional right to marry was indeed the desire to harm us.
The same with the Catholic and Mormon churches. It’s hatred, pure and simple.



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Jay Jonson

posted October 10, 2009 at 4:03 pm


Stephen, I don’t dispute that there are many differences between Southern Baptists and the Westboro people. But there are continuities as well, and one thing I find disturbing about conservative Christians generally, and Southern Baptists in particular, is that they accept no culpability for their actions.
Surely, much of the mistreatment of gay people over the years has resulted from religious animus. Until a 2003 Supreme Court ruling, laws in 13 (mainly Southern) states could have imprisoned gay people for private consensual sex; and these laws were used to disadvantage gay people in all sorts of ways, from child custody litigation to getting an occupational license. Attempts to repeal these laws were uniformly opposed by the Southern Baptist Church, often joined by the Roman Catholic Church and others. These churches have successful opposed antidiscrimnation laws in the majority of states, and in the 21 states that have adopted some form of antidiscrimination protection on the basis of sexual orientation, they have done so over the objection of churches.
The Southern Baptist Church has boycotted Disney for many years because the company offers domestic partner benefits to its employees.
When I was growing up in the Southern Baptist Church in the 1960s I was subjected to spiritual terrorism. I suspect the same thing goes in many churches today, though probably not as openly.
It is easy to condemn the Westboro people. Who would want to look like them? So, of course, the Southern Baptists don’t want people to connect the dots that link the churches. But the Westboro people are only an extreme version of the very same animus that infects many conservative religious people.



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Husband

posted October 29, 2009 at 3:28 pm


panthera,
“it is time to reconsider whether line after line after line of rebuttal and attack on every single term and expression from your opponent serves the purpose of opening dialogue”
The mistake is in believing the Incredibles want dialogue, when instead what they want is their way, their religious beliefs to be the law of the land. Nothing else will satisfy Mr. Phelps, er, Mr. Incredible.



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