Wednesday, 12 January 2011

More charming Americans

Those delightful folks of the Westboro Baptist Church are planning to picket the funeral of Christine Taylor-Green, the nine-year old girl murdered in Arizona at the weekend. According to them, her death is a punishment from God for America's tolerance of homosexuality. There's a video explaining their reasons, but I'm not inclined to post it. The pastor does have this to say:

"Thank God for the violent shooter, one of your soldier heroes in Tucson – Westboro Baptist church will picket their funerals."

Europe isn't short of fundamentalists from various religions, but they don't tend to attract the support and media coverage associated with American groups: I remember being dragged to the Catholic shrine at Walsingham and finding a Protestant demonstration there, exhorting us to stop worshipping false idols. Even at 12, I remember thinking that there was something odd about the vehemence with which they objected to other people doing something voluntarily, which didn't impact on them at all. And let's not even start on Northern Ireland.

I guess it's part of the fundamentalist outlook. If you're entirely convinced that your beliefs are the only correct ones, you're justified in condemning all others outright, perhaps to the point of violence. Catholicism used to believe this, as did mainstream Protestantism, as did Islam. Some sections of these faiths still do. American religion is more prone to such outbursts because the founding sects were led by hardline persecutors who left Europe to escape the degrading effects of liberalism and Catholicism: the Founding Fathers - largely agnostic - came later and their religious toleration is often overlooked. They didn't seek tolerance, they sought isolation and purity.

In many ways they're like all the leftwing splinter groups: so obsessed with ideological purity that they've entirely lost sight of the purpose of their groups. Certainly the Westboro Baptist Church seems to have very little to say about Jesus and his apparent belief that we should all try to be a bit kinder towards each other. Indeed, such sects see their isolation and small numbers as proof that they're right: the outside world is irredeemably evil and therefore persecutes the Elect believers. Westboro and its allies thrive on the condemnation of liberal society (by which they mean everybody else).

Even an atheist like me can see that Jesus had very little to say encouraging hijacking the funerals of child murder victims.


intelliwench said...

Sometimes I just can't wait for the Rapture to come and scoop all these idiots up, so the rest of us can enjoy the planet in peace & quiet....

The Plashing Vole said...

Yes - they give a great nation a very bad name, simply because they shout louder than everyone else (hence John Stewart's rally of moderates recently).

I really like that bumper sticker which reads 'when the Rapture comes, can I have your car?'

Zoot Horn said...

My friend lost his arm to the rapture. Turned out it was a velocirapture.