ForumsWEPRWestboro baptist church (Sign the petition)

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IAgreeWithYou
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IAgreeWithYou
509 posts
Nomad

Not sure if there is a thread on this anywhere but now that it is mandatory to look at a petition in the united states if it has over 25,000 signatures there is a movement to classify the Westboro baptist church as a hate group. This will remove their tax exempt status from the government and overall will help stop the stupid things that they do.

Currently there are over 200,000 signatures but I encourage all of you to sign here.

Now that I've said that, what do you guys even think about this stupid organisation? The things they do I think even normal religious people are against and is just terrible.

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Devoidless
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Devoidless
3,685 posts
Jester

I'll only sign it if they add Catholicism and Christianity to the list. Seeing as, you know, they have largely the same beliefs just put a little nicer.

Where do you the think fringe groups get their ideals, hmm?

pangtongshu
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pangtongshu
9,823 posts
Jester

Little thing...

Am I incorrect to believe that if this was, say, an American-Islamic group protesting the same way (protesting homosexuals, military, Jews, Lady Gaga, etc) then the general populous would have a much bigger issue with it?

Devoidless
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Devoidless
3,685 posts
Jester

Of course. People would be outraged that those {insert slur here} were mucking around in 'our country.' Simply just for not subscribing to the 'normal' and 'right' religion.
It wouldn't even matter what they were being radical about. They could say that god hate kittens because people eat celery, or that several copies of "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie..." need to be burned for some stupid reason.

Jacen96
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Jacen96
3,087 posts
Bard

I'll only sign it if they add Catholicism and Christianity to the list. Seeing as, you know, they have largely the same beliefs just put a little nicer.
Funny, I don't see Catholics going around calling everyone evil, rather, every other branch of Christianity calls US evil. (that is us, not United States)

Perhaps they should add Jack Chick to the list.

~~~Darth Caedus
Devoidless
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Devoidless
3,685 posts
Jester

History speaks volumes about the Catholic church. Simply saying that the church does not openly admit to or speak about their past atrocities/current (Read: same as always) beliefs changed nothing.
Besides, the Catholic church has become more of a pandering diplomatic institution as opposed to an actual church these days. They've spent ages to put themselves in the good graces of nations across the world.
Yet I don't want to change the direction of the conversation.

The point is that with everything taken in account, they are not very different.

Ntech
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Ntech
258 posts
Shepherd

I am just saying, regardless of who these people are, we should be careful when reclassifying a religious group as a hate group. I personally believe that this could open the floodgates towards religious persecution. Besides that, "hate" is a fuzzy term which has no meaning -- legally or otherwise.

This does not mean that I disagree with the actions of that so-called church.

Moegreche
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Moegreche
3,819 posts
Duke

@Ntech

we should be careful when reclassifying a religious group as a hate group

I absolutely agree that such a designation should only be made after a good deal of thought and deliberation. People and organisations can make mistakes or have backwards-looking policies. It's worth noting, though, that this is not a reclassification. The WBC, for example, still has protection and its status as a religious organisation.

I personally believe that this could open the floodgates towards religious persecution

On the face of it, this just seems like a slippery slope argument. But this ties directly into your next point for this argument to get off the ground.

"hate" is a fuzzy term which has no meaning -- legally or otherwise

First, just because a term is nebulous doesn't mean it has no meaning. Terms like fairness, virtue, and love are really difficult to pin down. They're very 'thick'. But it doesn't follow from this that we can't, even in ordinary circumstances, use these words or concepts to effectively communicate.
Second, and more importantly, this is false--at least, as far as it goes. 'Hate groups' 'hate speech' and 'hate crimes' do have very clear definitions that are used when discussing these concepts. Here is the Southern Poverty Law Center's definition of a hate group:
The Southern Poverty Law Center defines a hate group as an organization that – based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities – has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.

The organizations on our hate group list vilify others because of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity – prejudices that strike at the heart of our democratic values and fracture society along its most fragile fault lines.

And here is the FBI's definition of a hate crime:

A hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, the FBI has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” Hate itself is not a crime—and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.

So, while hate may be a nebulous/fuzzy term, it can be meaningfully used in these contexts. The end result is that the slippery slope argument from above can't get off the ground. There are no floodgates to open for religious persecution because groups that don't engage in the above practices have nothing to worry about. It's also important to note that neither of these definitions singles out religious groups as somehow uniquely hate-oriented. Any group, regardless of religious affiliation, can be defined as a hate group. It's also worth noting that the FBI's definition of a hate crime explicitly looks to protect against religious bias--it's the second thing listed under biases that constitute hate crimes. And, while the SPLC's definition of hate groups does not explicitly identify religion as a protected characteristic, several groups on their hate list are groups that disparage Jews and Muslims.

This does not mean that I disagree with the actions of that so-called church.

Did you mean agree here? I do hope so. The activities of the WBC are nothing short of deplorable.
FireDragonWarrior2
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FireDragonWarrior2
33 posts
Herald

Again this does come back to freedom of speech. With regards to making them pay taxes, sure. However, all other religious organisations should pay taxes. These religious organisations can claim they are not for profit, but really? The Church owns a lot of land and has their own state (The Vatican). Governments should come before religion as religion is a hobby. A state still needs to run with or without religious groups, and it is the state that keep that going (a good state anyway).

Thrillology
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Thrillology
74 posts
Shepherd

I believe that people keep giving Westboro too much attention -- they crave attention and people continue to give it to them. I ignore them, no one likes them, they pose no credible threat to anyone and just want us to keep feeding them attention. This might sound crazy, but hey they are crazy themselves, but I think they might actually enjoy being labelled a hate group and the attention that comes with being affiliated with such a label.

n1njachikin
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n1njachikin
12 posts
Nomad

I definitely disagree with everything they stand for (Being Christian, Republican, and a future member of the military) but I don't think they should be classified as a hate group. The second the government starts regulating speech, it gets very very dangerous. They are entitled to their own opinion. As long as they don't incite violence, I have no problem with them voicing their opinion, so no, I won't sign. Sorry.

n1njachikin
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n1njachikin
12 posts
Nomad

@Devoidless sounds pretty facist of you

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
3,173 posts
Duke

@n1njachikin
1 Devoidless hasn't been active in years. I doubt he's going to see this.
2 The connection between his statement and militaristic ultranationalist political theory is tentative at best.
3 The WBC is, by definition, a hate group. It's a group that promotes the slander and mistreatment of people, usually for things that can't even be changed or prevented.
4 The US government already regulates speech, and does so relatively well most of the time. Where it fails is preventing the spread of misinformation.
5 The WBC certainly incites violence. They manipulate naïve people into believing (among other things) that homosexuals are evil, and that it's righteous to put them to death. Zealots tend to act on those kinds of belief.

RebelGamer_98
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RebelGamer_98
341 posts
Treasurer

I don't like the WBC and I am embarrassed that I live in the same state as them. I have seen them before when I go to a Kansas State game as they often will protest outside before the game. A friend of my Dad's doesn't like them either especially since her son is gay (btw, she's Catholic and supports her son; I'm also Catholic and I would support my future kids too if any were LGBT+) and she would call them "idiots" and tell them to "go away".

n1njachikin
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n1njachikin
12 posts
Nomad

@FIshPreferred

The US government only regulates speech if it directly incites violence. If the WBC incites violence, I will sign the petition. Saying "I don't like gay people" is not inciting violence. Saying "We should kill all gays" is inciting violence. I need to do more research before I sign.

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