Thursday, January 13, 2005

Say Hello To Freedom From Religion...

Someone sent me an email making me aware of a Ted Koppel ABC News "Nightline" broadcast about a gay male teenager named Michael Shackelford in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The teenager and his Sand Springs church were unfairly protested by a church out of Topeka, Kansas called the "Westboro Baptist Church" and the Reverend Fred Phelps that travels around America and the world protesting what amounts to tolerance of "sinners." They seem to be most obsessed with acceptance of homosexuality.

I'm not here to debate whether homosexuality is right or wrong. What I'm more interested in debating is this particular church's behavior and the behavior of its "followers." They've made a lot of national news lately by traveling around the country protesting various individuals and institutions.

It's my observation that when so-called "Christians" wrap themselves in the Bible and start waving it in peoples' faces, they set back the cause of all Christians. The strategy seems to be to protest individuals and institutions that are "soft" like Michael Shackelford's church in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. Destroy an 18-year-old's life by making a big local Tulsa media splash -- yeah, that's really a good example of "Christianity" in action.

Bible-thumping, hypocritical parents usually end up creating children that are rebels and conformists. Part of them will end up becoming just like their parents, and the other part of them will end up rebelling and trying to be the opposite. Bible-thumpers typically present one face to the people at church, and quite another to their children at home. The kids at home live with the parents day in and day out and know what they are really like. Reasonableness in the face of a Bible-thumper is not allowed. Bible-thumping hypocrites on the right produce the anti-religious zealots on the left. Both sides begin to evolve each other in an ever-widening circle of madness.

The danger of this type of church is that its absurdity will actually bring an end to the Freedom of Religion we have always enjoyed in America. Thanks to the Thumpers it will soon be completely taboo to even admit in mixed public that one is the least bit spiritual. The Thumpers are bringing on their own persecution as well as persecution of all people who proclaim themselves Christians, whether they are reasonable people or not. All are tarred with the same black brush.

When people see behavior so outrageous and unreasonable from those proclaiming themselves to be "Christians" they want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The immediate reaction is "Well, if this is religion I want nothing to do with it. If this is God and Jesus then I'll be an atheist."

Don't take my word for it -- see how you react -- check out the "Westboro Baptist Church" website and see for yourself. They've got another website as well as Is a pattern starting to emerge? Here's a typical sample link on the website:

Thank God for Tsunami. Thank God for 3,000 dead Americans!

With stuff like this coming from the far right, is it then any wonder why our society is being marched towards a godless, monolithic, atheistic society where the government itself is revered as God? There is such a thing as Good and Evil, no question about it. Evil takes two main lines of attack -- it either convinces people that there is no right or wrong, that evil doesn't exist in the hearts of men and women; or it wraps itself in the Bible, quoting versus and chapters like mechanical, mindless robots, freely hurling accusations and wagging it's fingers in peoples' faces. This type of thing makes freedom from religion look appealing to the masses.

That's my take.



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