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Westboro Baptist Church.

(117 Posts)

WTAF?? Did I read right?
What is the world coming to? This won't end well.

Dawndonna Tue 30-Apr-13 15:57:46

It goes like this:
Unless we give you our permission to protest against us, that protest will be deemed illegal. If you don't like it try protesting against it, but remember, we will arrest you.
This is government policy.
Oh, and if you protest against student fees, you will be giving a disproportionate prison sentence and even more so if we deem you a rioter.

claig Mon 29-Apr-13 12:46:37

grin I'm sure that Clegg said something of the sort that the Coalition is protecting civil liberties.

Dawndonna Mon 29-Apr-13 10:21:40

The fight to curtail civil liberties is not only happening in America. New Labour removed many of our civil liberties, many of which have thankfully been restored by our Coalition.
Do you mind, I nearly spilt my coffee on my keyboard.

claig Fri 26-Apr-13 15:01:38

'My personal opinion is that the WBC are closer to trolls than anything else.'

Snorbs, I have changed my mind, I think I was wrong, and unfortunately they do look like they are for real. Trolls yes, and almost loopy ones in my opinion. I have just watched a bit of the original Louis Theroux programme and there is Shirley, who I think is the one that I heard on a UK radio show rather than Margie, and she is teaching the little kids her views, and I can't see anyone doing that for an act, it unfortunately looks real.

They seem to be a bit of a cult that are all taught this stuff by the "patriarch's" study of the Bible.

I think they do seem real, but I still think that they play into the hands of people who are not loopy but would like free speech to be reined in. You couldn't make these lot up and that is probably why they are given so much publicity.

claig Fri 26-Apr-13 14:05:41

In all the interviews I have heard of them and on the Louis Theroux show etc, I can't remember hearing that one of them was employed by the Kansas State Department of Corrections. I only found this out on this thread when I googled them. It is strange that none of the interviewers ever seem to have brought this up, unless I missed it.

claig Fri 26-Apr-13 13:59:35

Have watched a video report on them in a Huffington Post news article, and it seems to me that they have some not very bright members who actually believe the stuff that they say. I just find it hard to believe that the people near the top of the organisation actually believe it all. I may be wrong, and maybe they really do.

claig Fri 26-Apr-13 13:45:03

Yes, because of this thread. I had always thought they were a bit fishy, but had never analysed exactly why before.

EldritchCleavage Fri 26-Apr-13 13:42:56

You're overthinking this, seriously.

claig Fri 26-Apr-13 13:39:49

'They've hit on a strategy that gets them attention.'

I agree with that. But I think they are a bit like the pantomime villain or the 'baddie' in a staged fake wrestling match. I think that they are the actor but someone else probably put the show on the road, and some of the media almost sell tickets to watch the show.

Yes, I agree that Frankie Boyle says what I think are offensive things. But he is more popular than the Westboro Baptist Church. There was a programme made about them called something like "the most hated family in America".

Snorbs Fri 26-Apr-13 13:33:25

I don't claim that all of the WBC are 100% committed to the beliefs they espouse. They've hit on a strategy that gets them attention. They don't care that it's negative attention. They just want the publicity for its own sake (cf. Honey Boo Boo etc).

My personal opinion is that the WBC are closer to trolls than anything else. But I think that's all they are; I don't see them being used as a cat's paw.

As for gaining attention by being offensive have you never heard of Frankie Boyle?

claig Fri 26-Apr-13 13:21:25

Can you think of any group that says such offensive things and has what most people consider to be hateful messages, that gets so much media publicity and is interviewed by comedians and on radio phone-ins even in the UK?

I can't. And that is why I think that they are not for real and that those who give them so much access and publicity are probably aware of that.

claig Fri 26-Apr-13 13:09:16


EldritchCleavage Fri 26-Apr-13 13:05:49


claig Fri 26-Apr-13 13:04:30

'I am beginning to think you might be a fake poster placed on MN to damage the credibility of conspiracy theorists...'

Are you one of these conspiracy theorists that I have read about?

claig Fri 26-Apr-13 13:03:11

Yes, that is what I think but I do not know it for sure

EldritchCleavage Fri 26-Apr-13 13:00:55

I don't know for sure if they are a front, I have no evidence, but my feeling is that they are not for real

Really? So far on this thread you have said:

The Westboro Baptist Church, in my opinion, is an organisation whose purpose is to push the envelope and anger the public until politicians are forced to legislate to curtail free speech

It doesn't add up, in my opinion. I think it is a fake group

Conspiracy theorists believe that there are forces that wish to remove some rights of the American people and wish to undermine some parts of the American Constitution

These vile nuts in the Westboro Baptist Church help those forces achieve their goals by undermining the American people's right to free speech

They are obviously protected and have not been prosecuted and stopped from their vile protests and activities because their act plays a role in removing the rights of the decent public

I am beginning to think you might be a fake poster placed on MN to damage the credibility of conspiracy theorists...

claig Fri 26-Apr-13 12:38:50

I am not saying that the fact that she is employed by the state is evidence of WBC being a front, I am just saying that it seems strange to me.

I don't know for sure if they are a front, I have no evidence, but my feeling is that they are not for real. I have heard Margie Phelps on a UK radio station interview and I thought she was too clever to really believe what she was saying and that she was acting.

When I add in how much publicity that they receive, how comedians interview them and what debates are initiated due to their actions, I wonder if they are being used to push an agenda of restricting free speech.

Here is an article of a government employee who was fired for what he wrote in a newspaper. He appealed using the First Amendment case. I don't know what the result of his appeal was.

Snorbs Fri 26-Apr-13 12:06:09

I'll buy that there are some "powerful elites" that want to limit free speech, particularly when that free speech is used to expose their shady dealings. Eg, the efforts to prevent people donating money to wikileaks.

I'll also buy that a few of the WBC happen to be employed by their local government in jobs that, for whatever reason, they have not been sacked from.

I still don't get that those two allegations can be added up and used to produce an answer of "Therefore the WBC is a front being used to discredit free speech."

I'm no expert on US employment law but I do know that it generally operates under the basis of "At-will employment". Essentially this means that your employer can sack you or you can resign with no notice and no cause unless your employment contract explicitly states otherwise. Something like two-thirds of US workers are employed on this basis - they could be fired tomorrow with no recourse.

Typically, though, most (all?) of those employed by state or federal government have employment contracts that do have quite stringent rules that lay out under what circumstances you can be dismissed. These tend to have been collectively bargained by unions and so go far beyond the "at-will" provisions. This is similar to the way that, in the UK, it's difficult to be sacked from the civil service.

Add that to the strong US predilection towards allowing free speech and I can well imagine that WBC members' behaviour outside of work is not regarded sufficient to cause them to be sacked from their government jobs.

The WBC is usually very careful to ensure that they stay within the letter of the law and I would imagine that they are scrupulous about not doing anything that crosses the line of their employment contracts. Plus the WBC is not shy of pursuing legal action when they feel their rights have been denied so I imagine that the line managers of these WBC members are in an unenvious position.

Sure, I could accept that the WBC members deliberately chose local government jobs in favour of private business specifically because once they're employed it would be hard for them to get sacked regardless of what they do in their own time. But to go from that to an assertion that this is evidence of the WBC being a front is ludicrous.

claig Thu 25-Apr-13 13:52:40

'What's that got to do with WBC, though?'

It was about the general question of why powerful elites want to limit free speech. Because it suits them.

claig Thu 25-Apr-13 13:51:15

'they aren't any more extreme on the homosexuality issue than a lot of conservative shock jocks, TV preachers and Fox News hosts'

I don't know because I don't listen to conservative shock jocks or TV preachers. But I occasionally watch Fox News and there is no way that they say anything like the things said by the Westboro Baptist Church about gay people.

EldritchCleavage Thu 25-Apr-13 13:50:22

What's that got to do with WBC, though?

The coalition didn't implement a new Defamation Act and Leveson recommendations because of them.

claig Thu 25-Apr-13 13:48:22

In fact, the internet may be affected by our regulations

Here is a report which has some comments from the well-known political blogger, Iain Dale.

"But the extent to which the new regulation applies to the internet is not yet clear.

Having read the royal charter, Mr Dale wrote: "I think my blog would certainly fall under the remit. And it stinks."

"If I don't sign up and I am successfully sued, a judge would award exemplary damages against me," he said, adding that he could not risk his family's financial future.

"This is madness. All that will do is encourage people with a grudge to make a complaint in the full knowledge that they will never be held responsible for what they are doing," he said."

Press regulation. Internet concerns expressed

EldritchCleavage Thu 25-Apr-13 13:44:05

As to giving them air time, they aren't any more extreme on the homosexuality issue than a lot of conservative shock jocks, TV preachers and Fox News hosts etc. It is the military funeral picketing that makes them stand out, not the underlying views.

What kind of employment reference would tell people your religious affiliation (probably a breach of civil rights in itself)?

Come on, claig. This is your worst conspiracy theory ever.

claig Thu 25-Apr-13 13:36:08

'It was comedy gold.'

I don't think there is anything funny about this group and their obnoxious views and I don't think they should be given air time and I don't think the media should treat their views as a joke. I think the joke is being played on us the public. I think that they are the jester, but I wonder who pulls their strings.

'They probably didn't know when they hired her'

This group has been going for a long time and their offensive views are unlikely to have been a secret, and I am sure that the Kansas State Department of Corrections probably take references before employing people in jobs that deal with prisoners.

"The church has been actively involved in actions against gay people since at least 1991 , when it sought a crackdown on homosexual activity at Gage Park six blocks northwest of the church.[7] In addition to conducting anti-gay protests at military funerals, the organization pickets other celebrity funerals and public events that are likely to get it media attention.[8] Protests have also been held against Jews and some protests have included WBC members stomping on the American flag."

"First Amendment rights are working for the power elites just fine so far. Why create WBC to get rid of them?"

Powerful people in general are not too keen on full disclosure and open information and criticism. Here we have seen a battle to regulate a free press and to increase privacy.

EldritchCleavage Thu 25-Apr-13 13:22:15

If they were for real, our comedians and interviewers would probably not interview them on jokey programmes and let them display their offensive banners and opinions on public TV
Why on earth not? It was comedy gold. And their extreme views on homosexuality are shared by an enormous number of conservative devout Americans.

If they were for real, I find it hard to believe how the Kansas Sate Department of Corrections could employ one of their members in a position of responsibility where she may come into contact and have to make decisions about housing for prisoners who are ex-military or gay
They probably didn't know when they hired her and can't sack her because she'd take a civil rights/religious freedom case out against them and win. Plus, it's Kansas (see my point above).

It seems to me that this group is so over the top that it is not real and is a caricature
Bloody big step from that to 'power elites have created them to take away our rights'. Don't forget, First Amendment rights are working for the power elites just fine so far. Why create WBC to get rid of them?

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