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Mata
I'm sure many of you will have heard of the West Boro Church and their 'God hates fags' campaign. Of all the delightful things, they're now bringing it to Britain.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics...-UK-picket.html

(Apparently, Barack Obama is the antichrist.)

What's the best way to counteract this kind of thing? I'd love to swap Bible quotes with them, but I just don't know if you can try arguing with people who will clearly pick and choose what they wish to listen to and what they don't.

I also wonder: are these people happy? Maybe their lives are made easier when there's a simple line between what's evil and what's glorious.
pgrmdave
The only thing worse than a dumb bully is a smart one. Make no mistake, Fred Phelps is a very smart man who knows exactly what he is doing. I don't understand why he does it, but I suspect that for some reason, he likes the attention. The best thing that could happen, in my opinion, would be a total boycott by all media of his church. No interviews, no news stories, no pictures. Take down his wikipedia article, remove the stories written about him on the internet. Make him have no voice.
leopold
Unfortunately, freedom of speech does come with the drawback that you get over-zealous nutters who abuse it and cause a nuisance. And as much as anyone (myself included) would like to counter their skewed view with some rational discussion, as you already say, they won't listen to anything you have to say unless they agree with it.

We know these guys are trying to metaphorically hit us in the face with their dogma. I'd just ask them why they feel it necessary to save my life, point out it's not their life to save and walk away. I find the "Yeah, whatever" approach works just fine too; if they won't listen to my viewpoint, then why should I listen to theirs?

So perhaps that's the answer. Just don't give them any air-time. If they see there's no point preaching to people who won't listen then they might just bugger off.
CrazyFooIAintGettinOnNoPlane
Freedom of speech should not apply to hate speech.

I don't think you can just ignore them and they'll go away. Arguing with them is just going to make them shout louder. I think the best way to counteract them is by taking part in counter-protests. There was one recently where a bunch of people showed up with nicer signs like "god loves everyone" which was pretty cool smile.gif

Also: pirates!
Yannick
Wait 'til 2013. Start with the "I told you so's", throw in some God-paradoxes, ask why he 'hates amputees', point out exactly how evil he is (while wearing this t-shirt), and end it with there being no purpose in a God that doesn't interfere with your life and a savior that only comes around every few millennia (after going through the ineffectiveness of prayer and explaining that the world would be exactly as it is today regardless if a god started it off or not.)

Assuming that fails because the person you're explaining it to is too thick-headed, either go into vast detail about how moronic s/he is, or walk away.
Rubium
Having only seen the Louis Theroux's documentary on the West Boro Church I'm confused as to whether they actually have supporters in the UK? It would appear unlikely that they would even allow this "group" of uncouth ruffians into the country. unless its got a bigger following than I thought, in which case its a very scary world out there.
Daria
QUOTE (Rubium @ Feb 17 2009, 10:47 PM) *
Having only seen the Louis Theroux's documentary on the West Boro Church I'm confused as to whether they actually have supporters in the UK? It would appear unlikely that they would even allow this "group" of uncouth ruffians into the country. unless its got a bigger following than I thought, in which case its a very scary world out there.

There are plenty of $cientology "churches" in the UK. There is the BNP. There's plenty of space for nutcases to follow Phelps.
Smiler
They are amazingly out there and I can easily see some people in the UK buying it and getting involved for various reasons, right or wrong. The difficulty lies in that as a belief set it's no less valid than anyone else's in the wider umbrella of adoptive Christianity. Yes it's far more extreme, contentiously vocal and not entirely without blatent hypocrisy that's conveniently muted or brushed off by church members but in picking and choosing what they want they're still only following suit and adding to all the other variations. The worst thing is that the extremities are what they thrive on for attention to get the message out and it works. Thread = case in point.

QUOTE (Rubium @ Feb 17 2009, 10:47 PM) *
Having only seen the Louis Theroux's documentary on the West Boro Church I'm confused as to whether they actually have supporters in the UK? It would appear unlikely that they would even allow this "group" of uncouth ruffians into the country. unless its got a bigger following than I thought, in which case its a very scary world out there.


Louis Theroux's documentary is good but I think Keith Allen's is perhaps, just a touch, better. Covers a lot of the same ground as you'd expect but Keith Allen is well known for his atheistic view and he's also a very well read man who knows the Bible and in it isn't afraid of chalenging points rather than just note them. It's actually quite interesting to see the relationship to's and fro's with certain family members.
Felander
Nuke them from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
Mata
It would be nice to walk up to one of them with their 'God hates fags' signs, read, nod, and say 'Yeah, I hate smoking too'.

Anyway, that's a fair point that most of the rest of Christianity ignores inconsistencies in their lives whne compared to the teachings of Christ. What that makes me wonder is just how far do you have to stray from Christ's teachings before you can no longer call yourself Christian?

Some would say that the following is key to his message:

You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
óMatthew 5:38-42, NIV

Clearly this isn't subscribed to by many Christians, but they are at least taught that it's a good idea. The WBC seem to preach a message that is in complete contradiction to Christ's message, so can they really be counted as Christians?
Phyllis
The best way to counteract it? Easy. Do what these kids did.

smile.gif

Phelps and co. might not even get past immigration. I read somewhere or other that they were turned away at the border in Canada not long ago, where they were going to protest outside a funeral. They stood on the US side and shouted at Canada. I'm pretty sure if they were turned away, we wouldn't be able to hear them across the Atlantic. wink.gif
Mata
I do like the plan of 'the longer you protest, the more money we raise for causes that you hate'. I wonder how well that worked out for them? That's got to give you some pretty divided feelings: should they protest longer and put the other people into poverty, or should they stop as soon as possible? Tricky.

I'm still amazed that the WBC's protests are legal. They're pretty threatening, and I could've sworn that sort of thing is frowned on. Do they get away with it on the grounds of religious freedom in the US? In the UK we've got laws against inciting hatred and violence, and the WBC's slogans are probably covered by that, but does religious freedom in America give you the right to say anything you want (just so long as you don't fly planes into buildings when no-one listens)?
Yannick
QUOTE (Mata @ Feb 19 2009, 10:40 AM) *
I'm still amazed that the WBC's protests are legal. They're pretty threatening, and I could've sworn that sort of thing is frowned on. Do they get away with it on the grounds of religious freedom in the US? In the UK we've got laws against inciting hatred and violence, and the WBC's slogans are probably covered by that, but does religious freedom in America give you the right to say anything you want (just so long as you don't fly planes into buildings when no-one listens)?

Pretty much. As long as you aren't at school, where your rights are limited ( sad.gif ), you can say anything you want. However, if the protest actually is violent, then that goes against the 'peaceful gathering/protesting' that the first amendment entitles you to, and can lead to fining/arrest. On the other hand, if the protesters are peaceful, but the people around them are not, the people, rather than the protesters will be removed. (One time a rally surrounded some mayor's house, middle of the night, and the neighbors started throwing eggs at them. Police were notified, and the neighbors were charged.)
Faerieryn
I show my year 10s a piece that Sky News did a few years back called "Inside the Church of Hate" which I got from these forums. The group I showed it to this year took 10 minutes of a 15 minute film to work out what "fags" meant!! Aside from that though I got some very interesting comment from them. Namely "How dare they!"
pgrmdave
Well, as per the legal status - like I said, they are very smart. They know exactly how far they can push legally, and they know how to bury people who bring suits against them under years of paperwork, how to appeal their cases, etc...

And remember, there are many passages of the bible that support what they think, selective reading can go both ways. While I think that the whole "be nice to everybody" is the central message, I can understand there are highly flawed arguments in favor of other readings.
Mata
There is definitely some teaching in the Bible that is against homosexuality, and I don't think that there is anything that is explicitly in support of it. If a person were to follow all the teachings in the Bible to the letter then I would have to accept that their choice of being anti-gay was consistent with the teachings of their faith; however, when people pick and choose what teachings they want to follow it comes across as a justification for their prejudices.
Eli
^ Izzy: I hate those "peaceful" protests they have downtown, its a bit creepy to drive down the road and see a big sign saying "KKK assembly, next left"

QUOTE (Mata @ Feb 18 2009, 08:34 AM) *
It would be nice to walk up to one of them with their 'God hates fags' signs, read, nod, and say 'Yeah, I hate smoking too'.


Aww..Mata already said it. I hate when people use the word fag..and gay. Their meanings are overly abused on homosexuals. I mean who wants to be called a "Happy cigarette" ?

(Haven't been on forever, miss being informed)

In my personal opinion I don't understand why these people even bother with this sort of protesting. I'm not agreeing with their cause, but if their minds are really set on "GOD" as the answer to everything, then why bother with homosexuals at all if you think they're going to got to hell anyways? I'm not to big on the bible, but I agree with its moral sense. If god says to love all creatures, then why contradict his teachings if your so devoted to following his (FALSE) works? They're all hypocrites and no matter how smart they may be, there still morons and will always be morons in my eyes.
Yannick
Haha, I remember when the KKK and a bunch of black people were protesting on the same day, and it was just total chaos. Would definitely not want to be there. Has anyone noticed how people get upset over everything these days? Personally, I'm not really a fan of being PC (though I still don't call people 'gay' or 'retarded'.) Just say what you want, and if people don't like it, they can leave because there's no such thing as a right to not be offended. ..But I forgot what I'm talking about this.

Also, zomg, Eli = non-theist and religion basher now? ..That's new?

Any chance that if these guys get stuck at border patrol in the UK, when they decide to come back to the US, they're denied access?
Eli
QUOTE (Yannick @ Feb 20 2009, 06:15 PM) *


Also, zomg, Eli = non-theist and religion basher now? ..That's new?


Heh..I've come to my senses?
Yannick
Heh, guess we won't be doing that "turn away, count to 10" thing much anymore. tongue.gif
Faerieryn
As far as I am aware there is nothing against homosexuality itself, just the act of homosexual sex (and between two men- I don't think it mentions women at all). This would suggest that it is indeed possible to be homosexual and follow the bible. I'm not sure though, I could be wrong
Phyllis
I've heard that some Biblical scholars think the "thou shalt not lie with a man as with a woman blah blah" line is about homosexual rape, not consensual sex. It was all the rage back then to rape everyone, men included, when you pillaged a town.

And Izzy, Daria already posted an article saying they've been banned from the UK. You guys have to keep them over there for now. tongue.gif
Yannick
QUOTE (candice @ Feb 22 2009, 05:31 AM) *
And Izzy, Daria already posted an article saying they've been banned from the UK. You guys have to keep them over there for now. tongue.gif

Ugh. Let's get them to protest in Iraq or something.
Phyllis
QUOTE (Yannick @ Feb 22 2009, 03:58 PM) *
Ugh. Let's get them to protest in Iraq or something.

Uh, haven't we done enough damage over there without inflicting Fred Phelps on them?

Let's keep our loonies to ourselves, please! tongue.gif
Phyllis
QUOTE (Yannick @ Feb 22 2009, 03:58 PM) *
Ugh. Let's get them to protest in Iraq or something.

Uh, haven't we done enough damage over there without inflicting Fred Phelps on them?

Let's keep our loonies to ourselves, please! tongue.gif
Moosh
QUOTE (candice @ Feb 22 2009, 08:31 AM) *
I've heard that some Biblical scholars think the "thou shalt not lie with a man as with a woman blah blah" line is about homosexual rape, not consensual sex. It was all the rage back then to rape everyone, men included, when you pillaged a town.

I heard quite an interesting view that "thou shalt not lie with man as you lie with woman" (or whatever the actual words are) is actually a rule against adultery. As in, if you're with a woman, you can't also be with a man. The main support for this comes from the fact that they put in "as you lie with woman", as that's not really necessary, and they didn't bother with the "thou shalt not lie with beasts" and similar.
Yannick
QUOTE (candice @ Feb 22 2009, 02:56 PM) *
QUOTE (Yannick @ Feb 22 2009, 03:58 PM) *
Ugh. Let's get them to protest in Iraq or something.

Uh, haven't we done enough damage over there without inflicting Fred Phelps on them?

Let's keep our loonies to ourselves, please! tongue.gif

No, I meant so the Iraqis can do something about them. All's fair in war?
Eli
It's supposed to be all's fair in love and war. I'm sure their method of dealing will them will probably kill them.
Yannick
Well yeah, but I can't imagine much love going on between them, so I left that part out. tongue.gif And, that's exactly what I meant.
leopold
As far as I can gather, most Iraqi people didn't want any sort of skirmish with anyone, they kind of got dumped with it. Sending them Fred Phelps may just turn them against the US and give the Talibananas more willing victims. Er, I mean supporters.

As Cand says, keep your nutters over there.

The problem with following the bible to the letter is that it has a tendency to contradict itself. The biggest contradictions surround the big fella himself: The bible teaches that he is merciful and forgiving, but that doesn't really explain him purging the planet with a big old flood or anything that Ezekiel teaches about smiting wrongdoers with great vengeance and furious anger. And of course, the bit where God refuses to prove he exists because "proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing", but yet sends his son down to save us all, thus proving his existence. Yes, that and the Babel Fish tongue.gif

And the Bible does teach of wrath against homosexuals. Sodom, anyone?
Mata
Well... If you're offering, Leo wub.gif
michael1384
QUOTE (Daria @ Feb 19 2009, 04:20 PM) *



YES! I was worried there for a moment.

What is with these people?
leopold
QUOTE (Mata @ Feb 24 2009, 01:29 PM) *
Well... If you're offering, Leo wub.gif

laugh.gif

Nice try, Mata, but you know me, strictly hetero.
Sir Psycho Sexy
QUOTE (candice @ Feb 22 2009, 08:31 AM) *
I've heard that some Biblical scholars think the "thou shalt not lie with a man as with a woman blah blah" line is about homosexual rape, not consensual sex. It was all the rage back then to rape everyone, men included, when you pillaged a town.


There's another school of thought that 'man' was mistranslated from 'boy', in the same way that at some point 'forty days and forty nights' was probably a mistranslation of something closer to 'many days and many nights'.
leopold
Ah, yes. It's the same issue as that bit about it being "easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven." I heard something about the eye of the needle was mistranslated, it was supposed to be the eye of something else. Or perhaps nothing to do with an eye at all. Still, when you listen to Hebrew being spoken, it can be hard to tell if the speaker is saying something to you or just coughing something up, so it's hardly surprising that stuff gets lost in translation.

Which leads me to correct myself from earlier. Apparently God's wrath on the Sodomites wasn't about homosexual sex. The people of Sodom (and Gomorrah, let's not forget) were perceived by Him to be a depraved and Godless bunch in general, which is why He smote them all. Well, except for Lot and his two boys. He was saving Lot's missus as well, but she just had to look back, didn't she rolleyes.gif

Still, at least Lot was never stuck for seasoning laugh.gif
Faerieryn
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah goes that God sent Angels to talk some sense into them. They were so beautiful that they were instantly set upon and raped. The bible doesn't say whether they were male or female but being the male centric religious text that it is (or the readers anyway) it was percievd that the angels were male. It is unclear whether God attacked Sodom and Gomorrah for homosexual rape, rape of angels or just rape in general! Lot was saved because he tried to stop them (amongst other things!) At least that is the way I've always seen it!
Moosh
Well, the rape of the angels is the usual interpretation, but it is something that can be doubted.

Genesis 19:5 "And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them."

Now, "know" in the Bible can mean sex, but it could also simply mean that people wanted to know about these angels, 'cos they hadn't seen any angels before. If some angels came down into your neighbour's house wouldn't you want to know about them too?

Either way, the rest of Gen 19 makes it fairly clear that God sent the angels with the intention to destroy Sodom, anything that happened to them whilst they were there was not the reason.
I_am_the_best
I don't think it's appropriate to make judgements of the Bible based on the English wording because it's a translation.
Jonman
I already have an action plan should the Westboro muppets turn up within driving distance of me. Here it is:

1: Round up a carload or two of friends (no more).
2: Make our own signs (see below)
3: Go stand right next to the Westboro lot with our own signs. Passerbys will assume that we're all one group. It's beautiful, because it exercises the exact same freedom-of-expression laws that allow them to do their schtick.
4: A couple of your friends film the whole thing from a slight distance. Youtube here we come!

Here's some of the signs I've come up with so far:

WE ARE IDIOTS (this is why you need some friends, that way, you can claim that the 'we' is referring to you and your friends).

GOD HATES FROGS

GOD HATES FRAGS (with a picture of the Master Chief with a big red X through him)

WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME?

YOU LOOK NICE TODAY. HAVE YOU LOST WEIGHT?

IGNORE US

MOVE ALONG - NOTHING TO SEE HERE

WE MADE THESE SIGNS OURSELVES
Eli
QUOTE (I_am_the_best @ Mar 6 2009, 01:26 PM) *
I don't think it's appropriate to make judgments of the Bible based on the English wording because it's a translation.

I agree, from what I know, the bible is based off the Dead Sea Scrolls? Yeah and..uh its written in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic before 100 C.E. The parchment or whatever is torn and the ink's probably eroded off in a lot of places, most of it is probably guess.
Phyllis
QUOTE (Jonman @ Mar 6 2009, 07:00 PM) *
Make our own signs

I've seen a few photos of people who have done things like that, and I think this is my favorite one:


biggrin.gif
Jaq
QUOTE (leopold @ Feb 26 2009, 08:34 AM) *
Ah, yes. It's the same issue as that bit about it being "easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven." I heard something about the eye of the needle was mistranslated, it was supposed to be the eye of something else. Or perhaps nothing to do with an eye at all. Still, when you listen to Hebrew being spoken, it can be hard to tell if the speaker is saying something to you or just coughing something up, so it's hardly surprising that stuff gets lost in translation.


I've heard that too, but that the mistranslated word was 'camel' Apparently it should read "easier for a 'rope to pass through the eye of a needle ..." Apparently rope and camel sound or are spelled very similarly in Hebrew. It makes for a less colourful, but more reasonable proverb.

woo, tangent.

I saw this news story online a few weeks ago about another counterprotest. The counterprotesters showed up with plain white flags and banners and they simply stood in front of the WB people, blocking their signs.
Pixelgoth
I had some Jehovah Witnesses or Christians come to my door at 10am the other morning. I thought it was the postman (MUST get a spy hole) and opened the door in my PJs and dressing gown to be greeted with "Good Morning. We're going round the neighbourhood asking if 'God' exists?" If I'd been more with it I'd have said "No" and shut the door in their faces but I'm not rude so would probably have said "Why are you asking me, surely you know the answer to that already?!".....and then shut the door in their faces laugh.gif

I actually played the 'I've only just got up so f off' card and that seemed to work. I hadn't only just got up, I work from home in my PJs sometimes but that's not the point....they were annoying me and asking what I consider to be a stupid question about a topic I had no time to get into. Plus if they'd walked into my house, seen my bessom, my spellbooks and candles they'd probably have tried to perform an exorcism there and then!

I don't mind what religion and/or spiritual path you follow but DON'T expect me to be converted or even have time to listen to it if I don't want to. Ordinarily I might listen/debate but only if I'm asked nicely. They could have said "Do you mind if we talk to you about God?" and then I could have said "Sorry no, I'm busy but thanks for not shoving it down my throat" biggrin.gif
I_am_the_best
QUOTE (Jaq @ Mar 15 2009, 02:57 PM) *
QUOTE (leopold @ Feb 26 2009, 08:34 AM) *
Ah, yes. It's the same issue as that bit about it being "easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven." I heard something about the eye of the needle was mistranslated, it was supposed to be the eye of something else. Or perhaps nothing to do with an eye at all. Still, when you listen to Hebrew being spoken, it can be hard to tell if the speaker is saying something to you or just coughing something up, so it's hardly surprising that stuff gets lost in translation.


I've heard that too, but that the mistranslated word was 'camel' Apparently it should read "easier for a 'rope to pass through the eye of a needle ..." Apparently rope and camel sound or are spelled very similarly in Hebrew. It makes for a less colourful, but more reasonable proverb.



That's not very true. Apart from both ending with the same letter...
Gamal... Khevel...
leopold
Fair enough. But let's assume that this book was translated some time ago, chances are it's been through several consecutive translations and that at least once, something's been mistranslated slightly. It's like Chinese whispers, or plugging a phrase through Babelfish several times.

Or, failing that, it was someone whose modern-day equivalent is the Far Eastern company whose translation skills are sadly lacking in any finesse. How many times have we seen instructions that say stuff like "For the augmentation of the volume, to be turning the knob of volume in the correct clock direction", or how about "Insertion of the spindle A into the block G with great magnitude of force can bring about the bad failure of the part". Or how about the classic, "All your base are belong to us."

The whole concept of translation is fraught with difficulties, when you think about it. Let's say you have someone with no grasp of English, you hold up a red ball and say "Ball". How do they know what that means? They could take it as being the colour, the shape, the material, or even an invitation to play. I guess it only makes matters worse when you use a phonetic-based language where the slightest difference in the sound alters it's meaning. As for "rope" and "camel", with a little artistic licence I can pronounce them in a similar way (on the basis I've no idea how they actually sound!!) so perhaps that's got something to do with it as well.


Pix, I know what you mean about the Jehova's Witnesses as well. Some phrases I'd really like to try out are:
"Actually, I'm still feeling weak after my blood transfusion, can we do this another time?"
"You're lucky to catch me in, I was just off to buy birthday presents."
"Sorry, I can't stop, I'm organising a works do"
"Blimey, you look like that woman off of 'Bewitched'"

Actually, there's hundreds of options for insults - look at this list of things they can't do!
Phyllis
I don't particularly think that the doorknocking Jehova's Witnesses and Mormons are comparable to Fred Phelps and Co. Evangelists can be pushy and annoying, sure, but that really pales in comparison to the hatred that is spewed by the Westboro Baptist Church.

Most of the evangelists who come around to preach at me leave politely when I say "No, thank you, I'm not interested." I can't see the WBC being dissuaded by anything as simple as that!
Pixelgoth
QUOTE (candice @ Mar 25 2009, 06:55 PM) *
I don't particularly think that the doorknocking Jehova's Witnesses and Mormons are comparable to Fred Phelps and Co. Evangelists can be pushy and annoying, sure, but that really pales in comparison to the hatred that is spewed by the Westboro Baptist Church.

Most of the evangelists who come around to preach at me leave politely when I say "No, thank you, I'm not interested." I can't see the WBC being dissuaded by anything as simple as that!


I certainly wasn't saying they were. My point was it annoys me when people force their religious opinions on me however it is done.
Mata
The last time I had Jehovah's witnesses around, I told them that I was Taoist and they were so delighted that they had met someone who actually had formed an opinion on religion that they didn't really mind that I didn't agree with anything that they said.

That list of things they can't do is great: they can't 'Promote anything Superstitious'. I'm sure that is suggested without a hint of irony, which just makes it all the funnier.
Sky
QUOTE (I_am_the_best @ Mar 6 2009, 06:26 PM) *
I don't think it's appropriate to make judgements of the Bible based on the English wording because it's a translation.


I'm not sure about this. It can't be any more appropriate to follow the teachings of the Bible having only read the translation, which a lot of people are brought up to do, which then has so massive an effect on everyone that you kind of have to make judgements. I can accept that I'm making judgements on something that's a bit removed from what it originally was, but I feel that if the Bible's going to go around propagating itself, I get to make judgements...

One of my judgements is that they should have been more precise about what they meant by everything.
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