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America's most hated family - the Phelps - A UK perspective

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by sherbz, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. sherbz

    sherbz Chieftain

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    London
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0006vv7/louis-theroux-surviving-americas-most-hated-family

    Apologies to non UK users, as i assume you will not be able to use the link. But i saw this, after having watched the previous documentary about 10 years previous. And i was struck by a number of things. Let me deal with them in order:

    Fred Phelps
    Was seemingly excommunicated from the church. The reasons given being that he approached the gay rainbow coloured house next door and told them they were "good people". Im not sure how much i read into this. He may well have been senile by that point so at best this revelation could be construed as mildly interesting.

    Shirley Phelps
    Now here is when things get interesting. In the last documentary (you can watch it on youtube i believe - see "Americas most hated family") she was all fire and brimstone just like her father. But in this episode she appeared weak and almost broken. I think Louis (the documentarist) has a point when he says that she may have been marginalised in the church by the elders (all men) - after her fathers death. Furthermore, the new members who have joined all appear to be male social misfits who crave some sort of certainty in their life that modern day America (or UK - as one comes from the UK) does not provide. In many ways, the reasons they cite for joining Westbro baptist church mirror those who go and join other extremist organisations - like say ISIS in Syria. Yet with Shirley - clearly something has changed. Im not sure whether its just down to her father passing away. Maybe it is something different. And largely this centres on:

    The Elders
    The Elders, it seems, may have discarded the whole homophobic centric discourse that Westbro baptist church is famed for. Yet one thing they have retained is the ultimate and absolute primacy of the male in their social groupings. To the point that i actually think the church resembles more a male sex slave cult than anything else. And there is no amount of religion that can dissuade me from that view. Which leads me neatly on to:

    The extent of "Free Religion and Free Speech"
    There is no denying that these two enshrined rights in the constitution of America are lauded pillar stones of western civilisation. However, i question their efficacy here. To me, this "church" seems more like a cult. And also a sexually permissive and dangerous one at that. And i think people like Shirley are seeing the fruits of that borne out. So in some ways - she is as much a victim of her poison as the ones she proffigated it against. Will she leave? I am not sure. But i do think her faith and confidence have taken a severe beating. And absolution is not off the cards. Even if it is from a mere humanistic perspective (like some of her kids or estranged family).

    Megan Phelps
    Here we see a true shining light on the whole sorry situation. This girl is truly inspirational. She clearly still loves her family. And also hopes for some sort of reconciliation. And i truly hope that from her efforts, she can find some sense of peace in life.

    Anyway, thats my thoughts on it. Its fairly old news now. But sometimes old news is worth going over again to see if things have changed. Or if lessons can be learned.
     
  2. Berzerker

    Berzerker Warlord

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    I didn't know that... I live in Phelp's Town and I dont see them any more. They used to stand around picketing and they'd make the local news on a regular basis. The last time I heard about them was when the rainbow house made the news.
     
  3. Lillefix

    Lillefix I'm serious. You can.

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    This is a third one? Completely new? My VPN will come in good use I see.

    When talking about "elders" I can only think about Stephen Hawking and this:


    Anyway thank you for the heads-up. Love Louis Theroux.
     
  4. sherbz

    sherbz Chieftain

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    I was surprised at how much has changed. Even the members openly admit that they have "grown". The question is into what. Its easy to just dismiss them based upon their history. But their current position seems to be insidious in a different way.
     
  5. Berzerker

    Berzerker Warlord

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    I think they bit off more than they could chew when they started picketing the burial ceremonies of soldiers
     

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