Monday, August 16, 2010

Suppose The Westboro Baptist Church Wanted To Build Two Blocks From Ground Zero?

Above, members of the Westboro Baptist Church protest a soldier's funeral in Vermont,

Yesterday I published a blog entry about the building of a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero in New York City, not far from where the September 11th terror attacks took the lives of nearly 3,000 innocent victims. The entry took nearly eight hours to write, and it's composition took five writing sessions spread out over two days.

And I thought I had said everything I wanted to say....namely, that extreme Muslim terrorists, not Muslims, were responsible for 9/11.....and that building a mosque at the site was within the Muslim group's rights; I agreed with the position of President Barack Obama and Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

And I disagreed with the critics of those who questioned the reasons for building a mosque at the site; there is a thing called The United States Constitution that guarantees freedom of assembly, speech, and worship to all, not to a select few.

But at 4:00am this morning I woke up- it was a bad dream. I was seeing a Bizzaroland dreamscape, a New York City that didn't have a mosque two blocks from the former WTC site.

Rather, there was another religious group housed there.....The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, had opened a satellite church in New York; 8 million sinners, 8 million souls going to hell en masse.

But I'll digress for a minute....let's talk about those religious groups who could occupy the site, and have little or no objections.

No one would have a problem with Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, or other Eastern Orthodox Churches at the site. Coptics? Well, they're Arabs, but they're they're OK.

Anglicans, Episcopalian, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian.....heck, any mainstream Christian Church would be alright, even the ones who perform same sex marriage; this is New York, ya know.

Evangelical Christians and Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Jews can build at the site....

Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses? Well, there's enough doormen in NYC to slow down any door to door missionary work, at least limiting it to "normal business hours".

Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs....they're part of the mainstream.

Santeria? Well....maybe some trouble with animal rights people....but OK, they can build a church there.

Wiccans....they're "white witches", aren't they? in AVATAR? Oh, what the heck, they're OK.

Scientologists? John Travolta and Tom Cruise can't be wrong, can they?

Atheists, Agnostics, and Unitarians? One group believes in nothing, another isn't sure, and the third believes in SOMETHING, but can't quite define what it is. They're harmless....let them build SOMETHING there.

Which leads us to the Westboro Baptist Church, and their pastor, Fred Phelps.....remember them? They are the ones who picket other churches, events, stadiums, funerals, and cemeteries with signs that say things like "God Hates Fags", "God Hates America", and "God Hates Israel". The WBC is not part of any Baptist conventions or associations, and claims to adhere to Primitive Baptist and Calvinist principles. And to be fair, the WBC is NOT a representative of any mainstream Christian group

But- for argument's sake- what if the WBC moved into the same building that the Muslim group wants to turn into a mosque/Islamic cultural center?

I talked about these guys a few months ago. On April 14 the WBC was set to picket actress Dixie Carter's funeral, claiming Ms. Carter "...lived her life in adultery. She divorced her husband and married two other men along the way. God says that is living in adultery!".

In the view of the WBC, America is being punished for it's sins by being engaged in war in Iraq and Afghanistan, hence the protests at the funerals of military members killed in action....and they believe that 9/11 was more Divine Retribution leveled at America.

I could go chapter and verse about the Westboro Baptist Church and their hatred of Jews, Catholics, other Protestants, homosexuals, and a long, long, list of all they find sinful.....just check out some of these pictures. But the bottomline is the WBC, spewing hate and venom, could occupy the same space that Muslims want to use for a mosque, and little could be done to stop them. Their picketing (41,000 protests since 1991) could be curtailed by requiring them to have permits, but as far as having freedom of speech and assembly, and of religious expression, they are protected by the Constitution, even being as loathesome as they are.

I wonder how, in this Bizzarroland scenario, would the usual suspects react.....what would Palin, Boehner, Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, and the other voices with an opnion an everything, say about a far, far off the charts radical right Christian group occupying a building so close to Ground Zero, hallowed ground, and an event the WBC cheered as God's punishment?

Would those voices be as strong in repudiation as the one's we've heard in reaction to the building of a mosque? Surely there would have been fewer political ramifications.....and probably much less media coverage.

Just something to think about.


Sue said...

Do you dream about blogging, ALL night long?? I do! Isn't it annoying to have your brain go non-stop always thinking about the stupid blog?? I even dreamt about my followers list and the fact I have 49 and want so bad for it to be the big five-O, I "saw" all these little pictures showing up, my followers list was growing right before my eyes! LOL

So, we were talking about the dreaded mosque debacle...

Right-wingers would say NOTHING about that hideous hateful WBC. NOTHING! Bigots, they are. Keith had a good special comment tonight, he said all those Iraqis American patriots care so much about that we killed Saddam Hussein because of our caring spirit, THEY are MUSLIMS!! So we care about them but we don't want them living and breathing on our soil!!

Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

Sue- I didn't catch Keith's comment until I saw it at 4 am! I was watching Giants and Jets last night ( I had to break away from this stuff for a few hours).

But then I woke up in the wee hours....and I was thinking about what I was going to write next!

Yeah, there is a special irony particularly in Iraq, where Americans have fought and died for more close to eight years for Iraqi freedom (so said Dubya), protecting a their rights of freedom of speech, assembly, and worship while the religion most Iraqis practice is being used as a wedge issue by "the Usual Suspects" in the United States.

Speaking of Dubya, while every public official from President to dog catcher is being asked for their position on the building of the mosque/Islamic center, how about someone asking the former President his opinion?

I'll bet his answer will sound very similar to Barack Obama's.

Dave said...

Please say how many people the WBC have killed. What terrorist attacks have they plotted and executed? Are they responsible for killing thousands of innocent people for their God? The rhetoric of the WBC is certainly offensive but they don't kill people.

Sue said...

Dave, Muslim-Americans don't kill people either, it's pretty well known the terrorists who killed 3,000 people of all faiths, not just Christians, were Muslims. That does not make all Muslims, and certainly not the freedom loving, peace loving, Muslims who live in our country and go about their lives normally just like you and I, evil!!

All they want is a place to pray. Just like Christians want a place to pray. The building is NOT in the twin towers ashes, in fact there is a mosque 4 blocks from the twin towers ashes. So how far away is far enough for bigots??

Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

Dave- as far as we know, nobody from the WBC is responsible for one single terrorist attack.

And yes, they are offensive.

Now, from the wording of your comment you seem to infer that there is collective guilt for 9/11 assigned to all Muslims, either overtly or covertly.

And as far as we know, no one connected to the proposed Islamic community center in Manhattan has killed thousands of innocent people either.

Rick H said...

1) I believe right-wingers would be outraged if WBC built a church there.
2) If members of the WBC did their usual protesting but it was about the twin towers dead, they would quickly be beaten-up by angry New Yorkers.
3)The WBC is an extremist group, but the mosque claims to be a cross-cultural, reaching-out type thing.
So given they both have the constitutional right to build, I don't see why the mosque builders wouldn't want to find a less sensitive place. The more they dig in their heels the more suspicious I become of them.

Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

Rick- I understand your suspicions, but their adamant stance might be something as simple as a reluctance to be singled out for special handling. To the best of our knowledge, no one connected with the "mosque"/cultural center is a terrorist, or had connections to 9/11.

Rosa Parks said "No" to riding in the back of the bus. I think they are utilizing that same principle.

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