Hate in the name of God
Just when you thought that the world was becoming a little bit more peaceful, you are reminded that there is a core of hatred in society that will never go away.
It is sad that some people have absolutely no tolerance for others. It is sad that some people have no problem joying in the suffering of others.
The problem in this situation is that AIDS is here and the battle to stop it is being thwarted by this preacher. If we do not become committed to stopping the spreading of AIDS in Africa and India and China, then we are all going to be in trouble. We need to be trying to solve the problem as opposed to condemning those who have the disease.
God does not hate. God has not singled out anyone group of human beings for pain and suffering. Life on earth is hard and no one lives a life free of concerns. It is just sad that there are those who thrive on the publicity that comes with being a hateful person.
I wonder what will happen when one of Mr. Phelps' children or grandchildren becomes HIV positive?
Posted on Sun, Dec. 08, 2002
Hate in the service of God drives preacher's busy life
DETROIT - Hatred keeps a heavy schedule for the Rev. Fred Phelps.
The Kansas preacher who plans to set up gay-hating picket lines in Michigan this month leads a year-round, nationwide schedule of protests.
Spending $250,000 a year on airline tickets, Phelps and his followers have cheered at the funerals of AIDS patients, burned Canada's flag in Ottawa and used their church Web site - titled "God Hates Fags" - to vilify not only gays but also Jews, politicians, singer Billy Joel, Canada, Harvard Law School and now Ferndale, Mich.
Phelps says he believes his hate is strictly in the service of God.
"It's my duty to get in people's faces," he said. The word hate pervades his Web site, which includes new words to "God Bless America": "God hates America! Home of the fags."
Phelps, 73, is the father of 13 and grandfather of 52. Family members have been constant allies at some 20,000 protests in the last decade, including many each week in his hometown of Topeka, Kan.
His actions and vocabulary have provoked counter-protests, but opponents who tangle with him often land in court.
In Ferndale and Detroit, at least two Kansas demonstrators will train video cameras on counter-protesters, who could be sued if they interfere with those holding signs with such messages as "Thank God for AIDS."
Phelps and 11 of his children have law degrees. They regularly go to court against opponents, said Topeka City Administrative Officer Dave Graversen.
Ferndale officials have warned residents not to take on Phelps, instead advising citizens to attend the five churches his group has targeted.
Phelps courts news coverage for what he calls a God-given mission. His widest attention came from picketing at the funeral of Mathew Shepard, the gay University of Montana student tied to a fence and beaten to death in 1998.
On Dec. 21, Phelps and 13 family members and other followers will come to Ferndale for two days of protests against churches, city council members and others he says are befriending Satan - that is, in his view, tolerating gays and lesbians.
On Dec. 23, he'll head to downtown Detroit for a protest on the American side of the border with Canada, which he complains has become as gay-friendly as the United States.
"Every time we try to picket in Canada, they arrest us under their hokey hate-crime law," Phelps said last week.
It won't be his first trip to Michigan. In 2000, Phelps led pickets from his Westboro Baptist Church to Traverse City, standing in front of four churches. One was the Catholic church attended by City Manager Richard Lewis.
"We just ignored him and he went away," Lewis said. In Ann Arbor last year, Phelps' pickets marched at a gay-pride rally and outside a gay-friendly bar.
This weekend they were in Pennsylvania, targeting 10 churches and colleges in the Lehigh Valley.
They were provoked by local criticism of a Bethlehem preacher who suggested that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were a result of America's growing tolerance of same-sex unions.
In Ferndale, the demonstrators will "call upon all nations" to make homosexuality punishable by death, Phelps said last week from his church office.
Phelps often pickets churches that he feels are gay-friendly, identified through tips from "several people around the country who send us every article on homosexuality," said his daughter Shirley Phelps Roper.
Ferndale City Manager Tom Barwin said those opposed to Phelps can support groups advocating tolerance for gays and lesbians.
The city's First United Methodist Church bought 6,000 feet of yellow tape that says "Hate Free Zone" and handed them out at a recent rally.
"We aren't going to let anyone come here and tell us which neighbors we should love and which we should hate," said the church pastor, the Rev. Dennis Paulson.
How can we manifest peace on earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both sexes) in our vision of Peace?
The WorldPeace Banner
To the WorldPeace Peace Page