Bryan Fischer sees silver lining in Phelps ruling

First, Ed Brayton beat me to this observation:

No irony meter could survive this blow:

Justices Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas are all wrong in their ruling on the reprehensible Westboro Baptist Church protests at military funerals. Alito alone is right. As he says, the First Amendment is “not a license for vicious verbal assault.” The gay-haters at Westboro have plenty of free speech avenues open to them – books, articles, video, audio, TV, radio, public forums, internet postings, emails etc. But they do not have a right to “intentionally inflict severe emotional injury on private persons.” The Supremes in this 8-1 decision have taken ugliness off its leash, turned it loose, and legitimized the most vile forms of public verbal attack. They have cried havoc and let slip the dogs of vitriol.

Seriously? The guy who claims that gays are responsible for the Third Reich and the Holocaust because only gays could be as savage as the Nazis and who demands that gays be sent to mandatory reeducation camps to turn them straight is complaining that the Supreme Court protects the only slightly more barbaric rhetoric of the Phelps cult? Words fail.

Despite his criticism, Fischer finds a silver lining in the court ruling:

The only upside here is that if the Supreme Court says it’s okay to say “God hates fags” – something that’s not even true, since the truth is the God loves homosexuals enough that he sent his only Son to die for them – then it certainly must be okay for students in a classroom, for public officials, and for radio talk show hosts to express reasoned and rational criticism of homosexual conduct without any kind of penalty whatsoever. We just need to tell heterophobes and Christophobes to get a grip, lighten up, back off, and read the Supreme Court’s Westboro ruling and go away.

Pretty much it is open season on gays now which is a good thing if you engage in Fischer’s version of “reasoned and rational criticism.” Blaming gays for “six million dead Jews” and saying that “there is no quicker way to assign the United States to the scrap heap of history than to normalize homosexual behavior in our military” is actually pretty close to some of Westboro theology. The reason the Phelps clan pickets the funerals of soldiers is because they believe God is allowing soldiers to die to punish the US for tolerance of gays. Here is the description of these beliefs from Snyder v. Phelps:

For the past 20 years, the congregation of the Westboro Baptist Church has picketed military funerals to communicate its belief that God hates the United States for its tolerance of homosexuality, particularly in America’s military. The church’s picketing has also condemned the Catholic Church for scandals involving its clergy. Fred Phelps, who founded the church, and six Westboro Baptist parishioners (all relatives of Phelps) traveled to Maryland to picket the funeral of Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq in the line of duty. The picketing took place on public land approximately 1,000 feet from the church where the funeral was held, in accordance with guidance from local law enforcement officers. The picketers peacefully displayed their signs—stating, e.g., “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” “Fags Doom Nations,” “America is Doomed,” “Priests Rape Boys,” and “You’re Going to Hell”—for about 30 minutes before the funeral began.

Perhaps the main difference between the Phelps message and Bryan Fischer’s views expressed on the American Family Association website is their differing opinions about the timing of God’s wrath on American – now or later. Phelps believes that God is now punishing America; Fischer believes it will come sometime in the future based on the same cause.

But never fear, such “reasoned and rational criticism” is now safe whether provided by the Phelps or the American Family Association. 

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  • Richard Willmer

    Those two guys are completely bonkers: their inability to be in any meaningful way self-critical makes them rather like one Adolf Hitler …

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    I appear to have upset Dr Brown…. not my intention. Hit a raw nerve with the links to videos produced by some Churches… oh well.

  • Lynn David

    Is it odd that I agree with Fischer on the issue concerning Westboro. For instance, I would argue that a reverent silence is also speech and has the upper-hand in a private setting. Westboro’s protests are to specifically deny that component of speech and moreoften what is a component of religious speech in what is a private moment, if not private setting. In point of fact, Westboro may be intruding up on the rights of people in the free exercise their religion. So I would say that Westboro has two strikes against them.

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  • Jayhuck

    Well, at least we know we have some constitutionally-protected entertainment in the man Fischer. Ugh :)