Now I don't really talk about religion that much on this here blog, mainly because it bores most people to tears. But as an RE teacher and a (reasonably sane) Christian, I do have significant interest in that particular topic area. I was reading sarahcontrary's moving thoughts on her faith today (click here to go there) and it made me think about how people explore and communicate what they believe. However, not everyone does that in a positive way.
Sometimes you come across people so vile that you feel genuinely replused by them and by their beliefs. Fred Phelps and his cronies at the Westboro Baptist Church (you may find their site distasteful) in the US are just such people. You may have seen them on TV waving their 'God hates fags' and 'God hates cripple soldiers' banners around at funerals. They hate everyone; gay people, Jews, the Irish, Sweden(!) and many many others with such a frightening passion that it makes me deeply ashamed that I apply the same basic label of 'Christian' to myself.
However, Phelps would also hate me as the only people he doesn't hate are the 100 odd people who go to his church (intriguingly, most of whom are related to him by blood or marriage). These happy few are the only people going to heaven apparently.
As with any self-important, petty minded bigot; the best way to bring them down a peg or nine is not to engage in sensible argument with them. It has even been suggested by some of Phelp's estranged children, who have sensibly left their father's church, that Westboro exists solely to feed Phelp's addiction to hatred. Below is a video of Fred Phelp's Jnr being interviewed. The Australian interviewer take a novel approach to tackling the big questions....
"You're a very nice tall man..." Genius!
God bless that interviewer (in the proper sense of the word). If Phelps and his ilk make me ashamed to be a Christian sometimes, the reporter makes me feel proud to be a human being.