The Westborough Baptist Church, classified as a hate group and not recognized as a legitimate Baptist organization, has received international attention for its message of intolerance. Their rhetoric is simple: God hates fags. They incite the “homosexual agenda” as the catalyst for natural disasters, war, disease and general death. Their slogans run the gamete. From “Too late to pray,” to “God hates America,” to “Fag=anal sex=death” the message is clear and strong. Any traces of tolerance when it comes to homosexuality is washed away by a general hatred of something different. As stated on their website, their views are primarily derived from religious texts. Needless to say, the church reads the biblical text very literally and consequentially applies it as an action. Aside from preaching their message, the church is founded on the principle of taking action. This is to say that the group often protests at the funerals of Iraqi soldiers, AID victims and gay murder victims. In times of misery, Westborough is there to indicate the event was in direct cause to God’s distaste with homosexuality.
Given the groups values, ideals and worldview entering a conversation with them would be quite difficult for me. As a gay man, I would not choose to put myself in a potentially dangerous position. At any rate, entering a conversation with these individuals would yield little to no results for me. They hate homosexuals. I am a homosexual. One would imagine the conversation not going very well. It is difficult to teach tolerance when it has been normalized for a group of people. A conversation would not yield any rational arguments.
Westborough’s worldview is so distinctly different from mine and everything I’ve known that is just seems so incredibly foreign—even other worldly. Like a group of aliens have invaded our nation, they are intent on destroying any bit of tolerance. For me this issue comes down to basic human respect. The fact of the matter is the Phelps’ and Westborough have no respect for human life. To me this indicates a severe lack of intelligence, socialized through an upbringing inundated with hate and intolerance. While my upbringing teaches me to respect all human beings, it is difficult for me to respect such a group of people when they have absolutely no respect for me. There would be no conversation with them. From what I can gather, these people are intent on making their position clear. There is no room for argument. Their rhetoric spews hate in the most extreme form. When it comes down to it, I am more apologetic for the people they are. While I would like to fault them left and right for their messages of hate (ones that threaten, embarrass, and place me on an animalistic level) one has to consider the idea of socialization. This is what they know. They have been taught hate. It’s a sad thing. Westborough’s ignorance is blinding.