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God Hates ****

by Jeremy Hooper

200807151726You know what's really tough to do? To write a 560-word piece on Westboro Baptist Church, yet not mention gays or the family's opposition to them even once. After all, the church's main website is "godhatesfags.com" and they've been protesting the funerals of gays far longer than they've been picketing the funerals of soldiers. So it's just a fact that the Phelps family is indelibly linked to the fight for and against gay rights, no matter how you slice it.

However, writing a 560-word piece on Westboro's upcoming picket of Tony Snow's funeral without once mentioning gays is exactly what the conservatives at WorldNetDaily have done. See for yourself at link:

Infamous Kansas church: Tony Snow burns in hell [WND]

So why is this significant to us? Well, because we would be willing to bet that the oversight was not just a coincidence, but rather a deliberate choice by the socially conservative publication. And why do we think this? Well, because even though their methods are obviously different, at the end of the day, Westboro Baptist and the editors at WorldNetDaily share a common message when it comes to gays: Homo folk must repent or they'll go to hell. So if the WorldNet writers try to make the Phelps family look nutty for picketing the funeral of a fallen conservative personality, yet also draw attention to the fact that both WBC and WND are fighting against LGBT rights, it raises far more questions than if they simply mention that the family has gained notoriety for picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers. A few dots of discrimination might get connected if WorldNetDaily both mentions that Westboro Baptist finds gay people to be unsavory, and that their own readers view gay people to be a public health hazard.

Just a theory.

**NOTE: As an estranged member of the Phelps family, Nate Phelps, mentions in our comments section, the WND article does contain one photo of an anti-gay sign being held by a family member. But for us, this really negates nothing. And in fact, their non-acknowledgement of it almost more fully highlights WND's failure to mention the gay stuff.

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Your thoughts

I'm amazed websites like that are ever allowed to stay up, don't they go against all sorts of moral ethics, etc? I'm all for free speech, but not when hate and bigotry is concerned. There are limits.

I really think the web should have limits on what is legally up and what should be taken down. Democracy is not something I always totally agree with. ;-)

Posted by: Chandira | Jul 15, 2008 5:53:02 PM

A very astute analysis of WND's coverage, Jeremy. I think you've hit the proverbial nail on the head.

(Interestingly, the photo included with the article does show one of the Phelps protesters holding a sign that reads "FAG SIN = 9-11." But this photo is from a military funeral and the signs in the foreground deal with the military, not gays.)

Posted by: David | Jul 16, 2008 1:38:34 AM

Weeeeeeeird, I had noticed that too yesterday. I always troll our fine journalistic establishment for their predictably worded polls and reactionary conservafail merchandise on sale. Good for a few laughs.

Posted by: Chris | Jul 16, 2008 8:37:10 AM

I don't disagree with your general argument that the conservative, "moral majority" right are hoisted on their own petard when they are found criticizing my family's bizarre activities toward the gay community. However, it's a bit disingenuous to use this article to make your argument when there is a photo of one of their signs attacking gays.

Posted by: Nate Phelps | Jul 16, 2008 11:16:34 AM

Hey Nate -- always good to see you here, and your firsthand insight is always very appreciated. In fact, I wish you would share more, more, more.

As for the one sign: It wasn't disingenuous at all. I didn't deliberately overlook it. I saw that one sign, and it changed my opinion none. In fact, WND's choice to run that one photo would, in my mind, only heighten their own short-sighted presentation. Why didn't they acknowledge it in the text?!

I fully understand where you're coming from. But I think it's a little unfair to act as if that one sign completely negates the argument. It doesn't. It is a tiny, tiny portion of the overall piece, and a portion that they did not themselves pen or, again, even acknowledge.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jul 16, 2008 11:28:59 AM

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