"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Unfortunate ad placement

I was reading the Sunday paper today when I came upon an article about a truly vile sect of American religious whackos. Rev. Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, are a church of hate, and a shameful embarrassment to those of any faith -- especially Baptists whose name this so-called "minister" claims to represent. In addition to the usual garbage condemning Jews and homosexuals, Phelps and his followers (mostly his relatives) are particularly reviled for their habit of picketing the funerals of American soldiers killed in the line of duty in Iraq. They insult the families and other mourners of these victims by showing up with large signs reading "Thank God for Dead Soldiers", and "God Hates Your Tears".

The 76-year old Phelps, a disbarred former attorney, thinks that God hates you and you're a sinner who is going to hell. Period. He and his followers have at least a 15-year history of preaching such hatred and intolerance; they have demonstrated at the memorial service for television's "Mr. Rogers" (claiming he deserved to die for his failure to condemn homosexuality), as well as at services for 9/11 victims and West Virginia miners. Phelps claims that natural disasters are righteous fate visited upon depraved humanity by a vengeful God. "We pray for more tornados," he recently told an Associated Press reporter. "We pray for more hurricanes, that Katrina was just a tiny little preamble."

The man disgusts me, and I find it hard to believe that anyone could spew such venom in the name of God. The only other possible explanation, which I prefer to think, is that he simply is insane. Fortunately, Phelps and his flock of lunatics are out there alone; no other religious group has endorsed their views.

But that is not what amazed me the most about this story, nor the reason I am writing this post. No. This post is a plea for newspaper copywriters and editors to be more careful about page layout and composition. Look at the scan of the article below which features a prominent color photo of Westboro followers holding up their signs outside a Veteran's Administration building in Iowa.

Then look at the paid advertisement directly below the picture.

An unfortunate coincidence for Bro. Clark and First Penecostal Church, and I have a feeling some hell is definitely going to be raised at the newspaper office on Monday morning.


  • At 6/05/2006 07:06:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We would all be better off if they edited anything to do with the Phelps clan completely out of the news.

  • At 6/05/2006 07:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It is very sad to see such hatred preached in the name of God who loves everyone. It is also unfortunate that so many people think Rev. Phelps is a representation of those from the midwest and Kansas. Hatred is not a family value in my home.

  • At 6/06/2006 10:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This person and his followers will face God someday. God will say "
    Depart from me I knew you not" That is a judgement they can't ignore. No wonder our young people are confused.

  • At 6/06/2006 10:33:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Judgement day is coming for these people, and I would not like being in their shoes!

  • At 6/08/2006 10:27:00 PM, Blogger April said…

    They came to Grand Forks (of all freakin' places) to protest the local Gay and Lesbian Society, and they pretty much got ignored and stuff thrown at them, they stood on one of the busiest streets and I know I flipped 'um off a coupld of times. WHats sad, is that they had children standing there with them, holding signs that I'm sure, they do not fully understand.

  • At 6/12/2006 12:40:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Toast said…

    Thanks for your comments, folks. It's bad enough to hurt people, but to do so in the name of the Lord as Phelps has done is unforgivable. I think a special place in hell has been reserved for this hatemonger.


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