To round out my personal annoyance this story also makes me confront myself in two ways. One, I like to think of myself as a non-violent person. Yet, if I imagine myself confronting Fred Phelps and his followers at the funeral of my comrades, I realize that I am not only capable of violence but would actually enjoy it. I hate it when I realize what a sick person I actually am. Secondly, while I’ve always felt embarrassment at Fred Phelps’ hateful antics, it was never internalized the way it is today — when he is protesting at the funeral of slain servicemen. This reveals the subtle way that I just didn’t care as much when it was people who are further outside my personal sphere. I was wrong about that. I should always have been this outraged. I will be in the future. To some degree I realize that Phelps and his followers just want media attention and I am playing into his hand. If we want people like this to go away we should stop paying attention to them. I know this, but sometimes I can’t contain my outrage. Update: My favorite co-worker sent me a link to this wikipedia entryMembers of Westboro Baptist Church. The obvious pull quote is this one.
Phelps and Westboro do not permit members to marry outside the church. Since there are very few members outside of the Phelps and Hockenbarger clans, and with the exception of the Drain family few new members have joined, the clans have begun to marry each other, resulting in a form of inbreeding. Members of Westboro Baptist Church