Saturday, December 11, 2010

Taking The Pulpit Away From The Bully

While it is not a popular position to espouse this time of year and while I am a deeply flawed human being (perhaps even irredeemably so if recent history is any indication), I am not a hypocrite. Thus while I appreciate the fact that countless individuals - including many who I love and respect - have faith in and believe in the existence of God, I respectfully dissent from that position. Too much bad shit has played on the screens of the multiplex of my mind. On my best days, I battle as perhaps we all do to have enough faith in myself to get out and do what I have to do to survive. I am the sole repository of whatever faith I have in anything or anyone. Why? Not because I am wholly reliable. Far from it. But by placing all of my faith in me and on me I can immediately hold accountable the person most likely to disappoint me - the person most likely to let me down. I have never been a fan of the middleman.

That being said, I am hard-pressed to think of a day when I have wished and hoped more fervently that I am wrong on this issue than this morning. Today, the family of Elizabeth Edwards shall bury her. While the burial shall be private, the funeral preceding it shall be open to the public. Mrs. Edwards bravely fought a very public battle against breast cancer, which diagnosis was announced to the world in the final breaths of the 2004 Presidential campaign. A campaign in which her now-estranged husband John occupied the #2 spot on the ticket for the Democrats. Mrs. Edwards died earlier this week, having succumbed to the cancer that spread into her liver from her breast. She was sixty-one years old. In addition to her dog of a husband, she is survived by three children ranging in age from twenty-eight to ten. She shall be buried next to her son Wade who died in a 1996 car accident.

Presuming that they carry through on their threat, the mouth-breeding miscreants who lap up the offensive, repugnant bullshit spewed at them by their leader Reverend Fred Phelps, wrap themselves in the name of God and exist under the banner of the Westboro Baptist Church, shall spend approximately ninety minutes prior to the funeral protesting against Mrs. Edwards. Westboro - when it announced its intent to picket - declared that it was doing so because God hated Mrs. Edwards and she is dead not because of her cancer but because she thought she could control God.

It is at this point that I would say to all those I know who believe in the existence of a higher power merely this: if Phelps and the rest of his band of hate-mongering douche bags really are people of God and are doing the Lord's work, then I shall gladly take my chances playing for the other team. Just call it in the air Freddie and buckle up your chin strap because once the whistle blows, it is absolutely game on. Presumably Phelps and his flock (And I'll take "Type of Animal that Travels in a Flock" for $1000 Alex and answer, "What are Sheep?") had not yet congregated in Kansas when that epic twister tore young Dottie and Toto away from Hank and Em's farm and landed them in Oz for if the Westboro bunch was already there methinks that our young Jayhawk expatriate would have opened up some type of business right there on the green in Oz and lived there happily ever after.

If the names Fred Phelps and Westboro ring a familiar chord in your memory, then perhaps it is because you have read or heard of their lengths to which this group of cowards will go to disrupt the funeral services of our servicemen and servicewomen killed in combat. During this Fall's term the United States Supreme Court heard argument in the matter of Snyder v. Phelps, a lawsuit filed by the father of a United States Marine killed in combat whose funeral was disrupted by the vile conduct of Phelps and his followers. Mr. Snyder won a $5M judgment against Phelps and Westboro, which judgment was vacated on appeal.

Apparently Phelps and his clan (sorry, his congregation) are not content to spread hate solely at the funerals of military personnel. Thus today they shall do what they can to disrupt the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards and to interfere with the efforts of those who love her to bid her farewell. Phelps' act is so time-worn and predictable it would almost be funny if he was not himself such a fear-inducing human being. He is what he is: a loudmouth and a bully. No one ever obtained permanent relief and lasting peace running away from a bully. It is only achieved by kicking his teeth through the back of his face and after he picks himself up off of the ground, doing it to him again. And then doing it again and again and again until at some point he either loses the ability to get up off of the ground or when he does, he slithers away into the ether. I suppose credit should be given for branding his particular type of hate under the auspices of something he calls a "church" - a word that presumably conjures up a visual image that ultimately resembles what Westboro actually is not at all.

If there is some sort of celestial scorekeeper up there watching over all of us, then today is a day I would like him to show us (OK, just me) a sign. While I am hoping for something Biblical such as a round of spontaneous combustion for Rev. Phelps and his fanatics (sorry again, his congregation), I would settle for something of a less-eternal nature. I shall leave it up to the imagination of the Almighty. Of the two of us, who do you think has more creativity?

One of us created the narwhal for crying out loud. Before you are inclined to give him too much credit for that, remember that the one who created the narwhal is the same one who created Phelps....... not look at me - my hands are as clean as my conscience.


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