Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Phelps Clan Must Be Breeding

A lot of time in gay rights debates, to the chagrin of the religious right, Fred Phelps and his clan are invoked as examples of extremism and bigotry from their side of the issue. Many on the religious right try and distance themselves from Phelps by saying he is one man who, with his family, is on a solo crusade and does not represent the Christian right at all. They make this claim despite other groups, with similar ideology springing up throughout the nation.

One of these groups, an outfit calling itself Soulwinners Ministries, is leading their own nationwide picketing party they are calling "Save Our Students". As part of their traveling circus, they decided to picket the dining hall and student union of UNC-Chapel Hill. The picture of the left, with the lovely sign reading "HOMO SEX IS A THREAT TO NATIONAL SECURITY" being held by a friendly man wearing a t-shirt that says "NO HOMOS GO TO HEAVEN" is from that picket. Another reported sign read "Satan says that God loves everyone."

Of course, the antics did not end with just a picket. This group of "Christians", in clear obedience to Christ's command to "Love thy neighbor" accused an all girls a capella group of being lesbians, and started approaching students at dining tables and quizzing them on their sexual orientation and proclaiming that the students were going to burn in hell. One student in particular wrote a letter to the editor of the school's newspaper objecting to having been labeled a "vigorous masturbator" by this lovely group. One has to wonder, being Christians are called to emulate Christ, if Christ Himself would have used that particular phrase, or ran around the dining hall randomly condemning people to hell.

No road trip would be complete, however, without a poorly done Geocities like piece of internet graffiti to publicize it, and our friends have one of their very own (linked above also), though it is lacking pictures and flashing frames. However, they do tell us the purpose for there traveling show on this little site, "Daily, on college campuses, this country’s future policy makers, parents, are injected with insidious ideologies, inoculating them to sodomy, same-sex marriage, fornication, abortion, under the demonic deception denoted 'diversity' and 'tolerance.'" Seriously, what the fuck does that mean? It sounds like a bad George Bush quote. Apparently, thoughts of "vigorous masturbation" precluded them from vigorous proofreading, or vigorous critical thinking, for that matter.

Why does this matter? Surely no one takes these buffoons seriously, right? Well, unfortunately, no, people do. In Sacramento, there is a group of Slavic immigrant Christians who have embarked on a similar type of crusade against the local LGBT community. For the past couple of years there have been pickets and counter pickets, and members of this community have made threats of violence. Those threats became reality on July 1st of this year when a 27 year old gay man was attacked at a local lake by a group of Slavic men who were making anti-gay and racists comments before the attack. The victim, Satendar Singh, died four days later. Two suspects have been named, one has been arrested, and the other fled and, from the last reports I have seen on this case, is believed to be in Russia. While these groups appear to be comical, and its fun to mock their stupidity, their hate is very real, and the danger of some people who think like them acting out on that hate is equally real.

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