Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tim Russert Update

Not the tired Franco joke, not more snarking at the media -- most of whom did have the twin excuses of having known him and not understanding the world is more than NYC-DC-Paris-London-Chicago-LA-and-"other."

Nope. Serious news: nitwit Fred Phelps and his followers came to gloat at the man's funeral. With versions of his usual cute little signs. Rachael Lucas has more.

I have worked for, with and in charge of plenty of people who took their Christianity straight up, with unadorned literalism and a twist of hellfire for the unredeemed and mostly, they were all right people to be around. Sure, we didn't agree on a few thousand basic issues (which we tended to avoid discussing -- call us cop-outs if you will), but that didn't keep 'em from bein' okay enough and if they found my tone-deafness to religion obnoxious, they were willin' to overlook it. A few were jerks. I don't know of any of them who would do the sort of gravedancing Fred and his brood indulge in. Gah.

This is the sort of thing that gives a faith a bad name. It's not ijit-bombering but it's a precursor.

13 comments:

rickn8or said...

Anybody Fred doesn't like is pretty much okay in my book.

But, despite the media frenzy, Tim is Still Dead.

Sailorcurt said...

Please don't equate Fred Phelps with any sort of religiosity.

He is a nutjob and his merry band is nothing more than a cult. His cult's behavior and activities are anathema to the very religion he hides behind.

Judging Christianity or religion in general based upon the antics of one small deluded and unstable group of people is like judging all gun owners based upon the actions of the few every year who "accidentally" shoot someone else.

We, of all people, should know better.

Roberta X said...

I don't for a second presume Fred's gang is typical of Christianity -- but they are a pretty good example of what happens when zeal goes off the tracks.

Anonymous said...

If Fred Phelps gives good Christians a bad name, when are these same good Christians going to do something about it. In northern California there is a nut case by the name of Dick Otterstad that acts in a similar fashion as Phelps. He has a website called savebiblicalmarriage.org. On this website there is about fifty or so churches listed that supposedly support Otterstad and his group. These churches are doing nothing to get off the list. Why??

Sailorcurt said...

I don't speak for those other churches and I'm not familiar with Dick Otterstad.

What, exactly, are we supposed to do about it? I speak out against Phelps, My pastor does, others do...do you recommend we attack him? Have him assassinated? Burn him at the stake?

I'll tell you what I do personally: I joined the Patriot Guard Riders. The group was formed as a direct result of Fred Phelps' protesting at the funerals of military people who died in battle. The Riders are an honor guard that serves to shield the family from their hateful protests. Most of us are bikers. Most are retired military. Most are Christians.

At any rate, this is a free country. People are free to be idiots if they want. The proper response is to denounce them (as I, and other Christians do), make perfectly clear that their policies and opinions don't represent the faith as a whole (hence my comment on this post), do our best to keep them from harming others (hence the PGR) and otherwise ignore them (like this...

Roberta X said...

Because they do support him? Because they don't know they are on the list? Could be either one. Could be they're afraid to ask to be taken off the list, lest they be accused of supporting all manner of sinfulness and vice.

Never underestimate the power of the loudly self-righteous. I'm pretty sure there's something in the Gospels that applies here.

Sailorcurt said...

I agree with you Roberta, but religion isn't the culprit. The culprit is an overinflated sense of self-righteousness. It doesn't matter whether it's the Westboro Baptist Cult, the Weather Underground, PETA, AlGore and the Global Warming Show or Torquemada.

Roberta X said...

Three cheers for the PGR! --Sailorcurt's right, that's how you deal with Fred and his ilk. Obnoxious though he is, silencing him would be wrong. --Limiting the damage he can do, on the other hand, has been very effective; so effective that perhaps he had to get creative in finding funerals to picket.

Sailorcurt said...

Oops. Roberta replied again while I was typing. My last reply to Roberta was to her comment posted at 8:36am, not the 9:06pm comment.

Roberta X said...

Sailorcurt, we are in total agreement as to the root causes. I thought I was being more clear about that. I don't blame religion here, it's just the excuse he (and scads of other offenders against the peace, some far worse) use.

LabRat said...

Actually, based on what his adult children who've broken away have said, there's a good chance that the problem isn't religion or zeal but that Fred's a psychopath. He hasn't been a member of any Baptist convention for decades, after he was thrown out of his old church for telling a parishioner to solve a marital problem by beating the shit out of his wife.

Look up "Addicted To Hate". It's pretty hair-raising.

Roberta X said...

Well put, Labrat.

I really do wonder if there's not a continuum from "excess of zeal" through "fanaticism" to pyschopathology.

There are many areas of human thought and action were we find both dedicated fans and those who have gone clean 'round the bend. It is not always easy to tell them apart but I persist in suspecting there is some basic difference between the two groups. If that is the case in re things like firearms or science-fiction fandom, it can only be more so when dealing with something as complex, multifaceted and contnetious as religious faith.

I'm especially unqualified to offer advice about religion -- but I do have a clue about manners. Fred and crew are, at best, ill-mannered louts. Y'know how as gunnies, we will remark that some of our number "aren't good representaives of our group?" Westboro Baptist is that way for religion, our own little Taliban wanna-bes without the organizational ability.

phlegmfatale said...

Asshats with pretenses of having a hotline to God/Deity/etc on who's in & who's out are every bit as taxing as the folks who want to slap a burqa on me.