Upon rethinking the thunderf00t video on which I commented yesterday, I came to a stange realization. If all fundamentalists were like the Westboro Baptist Church, the world would be a better place. Not just Christian fundies either. Whenever someone wants to give an example of an extreme fundamentalist sect, they mention the WBC. I think this is a mistake. In all practical terms, the WBC poses no threat to anyone. Here's why.
1. They don't want to convert or change anyone.
They may be jerks who picket funerals. Their beliefs may be insane by anyone's standards, but they don't demand that anyone believe or live as they do. In fact, it is part of their beliefs that most people won't live as they do. Their proud slogans only serve to alert people of their certain doom and, in some perverted way "celebrate" what they see as the glory of God. The WBC also make full use of their right to freedom of speech. You'll never see them demanding that an Atheist billboard be removed. They may picket and protest, but I have never heard them attempt to silence those who disagree with them. They live their lives, everyone else lives as they will. This fits perfectly into their religion and I doubt this will change.
2. Members of the WBC are 100% honest as to what they believe.
Sure "God hates fags" is a nasty thing to say, but it's simple, direct and, again, honest. They don't use weasely buzzwords like "family values" attempt to redefine the word "love". They say exactly what they mean even it makes them seem less appealing. One of the problems with the more extreme members of the Christian right (e.g. Sarah Palin, the AFA, etc.) is that they believe in most of the same theology as the Westboro Baptist Church. They are simply very talented at making the philosophy look good. Is anyone going to deny that the bigots from the American Family Association crusade against homosexuality and abortion because they believe that these are sins punishable by eternal torture? I can guaruntee you that they agree with the WBC on this. Yet this and other organization make it their business, not only to hold such dispicable views, but to spread these views to the rest of the world. They use words like "family" and call upon the "founding fathers" to weasel their way into the hearts and minds of even the less vocal and more moderate Christians.
If you haven't read the Family Leader's "Marriage Vow" pledge that Michelle Bachmann agreed to, I highly recommend it. It is one of the most repugnant documents I think I have ever encountered. It is bigoted, divisive and I found it personally offensive on several levels. What's worse is that there are powerful people, such as Michelle Bachmann, who seem to be living in a Christian lala land in which meddling in the personal lives of free citizens is more important than the job market, terrorism or the national debt. These are the people we should worry about, not the Westboro Baptist Church. The Phelps family is obnoxious, but when I hear similar rhetoric being spewed by people who actually hve power, I become truely frightened.