The Westborough Baptist Church, under the stewardship of Fred Phelps have often been in the news, and mentioned on this Blog for their extreeme attacks on people they consider to be against God. Their slogans “God Hates Fags”, and “God Hates America” are well known; they believe that God has cursed America for what they see as moral laxitutde. A documentary in the UK done by Louie Theroux, spent some time with them, investigating them. He saw a bit of how they acted, and witnessed some of the reactions to them. People throw things at them, shout at them, and yet the Phelps’ take their young children and their grandchildren along to these very unpopular events. They picket funerals of military personal, they once picketed a funeral of a murdered Amish Girl. They are, for may, the Antithesis of everything that Christianity is for.
In a moving story in the National Post, Nate Phelps talks about his life under Fred Phelps. From the story, it seems that Fred didn’t pick up his religious fervour from his parents, who Nate recalls once brought their grandchildren Christmas present, but they were chased out of the house by their son, and that they should take their pagan festival with them.
Nate Phelps tells a tale of physical abuse at the hands of his Biblical Literalist Father, who, despite early signs of being a force for good, (fighting for equal race rights in america), may have cracked under the pressure. Nate tells of a father who became addicted to Amphetamins to make it through Law School, which is what helped him fight for the equal laws. He had been to the fundamentalist Bob Jones University, before studying law, and it is probably there that Fred Phelps found his approach to the bible.
The result on Nate Phelps is that he has, for obvious reasons, moved away from Religion. Though he didn’t go the full hog, and denounce religion like Richard Dawkins, he still sees that some of Christianity is incompatible with the contradictions in the Bible*. He does, however, concede that some people find it comforting, and wouldn’t want to take it away from them.
He seems to be a soft spoken Taxi driver, who has had a rough time dealing with his childhood.
It is often the Children who are forgotten.
* This, of course, goes hand in with the way, and approach you have to the Bible.