Comment roundup 2/8.

Sitting in Ohare airport (my favorite place on earth – thank you, TSA, for protecting the world from my mouthwash) on my way to the North Texas Secular Convention, I saw this comment.

The Westboro Baptist Church is not affiliated with any known Baptist convention or associations but is part of Phelps-Chartered Co., the Phelps family’s law firm. This is a family of lawyers using this “god hates you” thing to make money. It is time for this scam and the hate to end. They are NOT what they say they are! THEY ARE NOT A church, THIS IS A HATE GROUP!!

You act like those two things are mutually exclusive; as if a church cannot be a hate group.  News flash, bucko: lots of people hate in the name of god.  And the people who believe god wants them to make others suffer are no more right than the ones who believe god wants them to make others happy.  It’s faith both ways.  Once you open the door to doing things for bad reasons, people do not only do good things for bad reasons.

You can point at the WBC and say they lack compassion, but that can be said of lots of religious people (and their churches).  But make no mistake: the WBC has daily bible study, they pray constantly, and they know their faith backwards and forwards.  They love the lord.  They’re a church.  It turns out that faith doesn’t make people more moral.  In fact, it often convinces them that the most base, ugly ideas are getting a cosmic thumbs up from the only opinion in the universe that matters.

What’s more, Christians and other religious people make up almost the entirety of the anti-gay rights movement.  All of it.  Show me someone in the United States who doesn’t think gays should get equal rights, and I’ll show you someone who loves their holy book and makes it the center of their life.  Saying they “love the sinner” doesn’t make them any less deleterious to the rights and happiness of others than the WBC.

Also, find your fucking caps lock key.  Then it will only be your crummy logic speaking for your intellectual prowess.  Capital letters and extra exclamation points don’t make your point look erudite or passionate, it makes you look like you’re throwing a tantrum.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson

    Best thing about leaving the religion altogether, no more having to feel embarrassed that those idiots exist. It is hard to say that Christianity is good when you got those morons picketing funerals. It is even worse when you look at the other churches and see the same basic message, just repeated more nicely. I got into an argument a little while ago because Kirk Cameron got called a bigot. Some were saying he was being polite and nice. I said “that’s great, but he still said bigoted things, only he was nice about it.” Which meant he doesn’t get a free pass.

    If I said something horribly racist politely, no one would say “hey, he was nice about his racism.” Same with all those churches preaching “love the sinner but hate the sin.”


    Also, find your fucking caps lock key. Then it will only be your crummy logic speaking for your intellectual prowess. Capital letters and extra exclamation points don’t make your point look erudite or passionate, it makes you look like you’re throwing a tantrum.


    Actually, the random capitalization bugs the crap out of me. I like to use it when I get bored and don’t feel like being serious. There are better ways to add emphasis, if needed. Doing that makes me think the person on the other end is shouting at their computer incoherently. That’s my fucking job.

    • Andrew Kohler

      I cannot claim to be above using caps lock when I become especially exasperated, but I like to think that I at least try to keep my shouting coherent. (Not that it’s up to me to assess if I’m successful or not!)

      What I find curious about the comment in question: why is the word “church” NOT in caps lock? (To adopt the commenter’s style.) Every other word in the sentence is capitalized, after all. Perhaps the word “church” is too dignified and sacrosanct for such vulgar treatment?

      Alas, nothing new this week to live up to the truly epic Alessandra….

      • Andrew Kohler

        P.S. The lack of caps locks for “church” may not have been as striking had the preceding indefinite article not also been capitalized. Shouldn’t there be agreement? Seems terribly ungrammatical to me.

  • Art Vandelay

    That’s funny, JT…I was responding to that comment while you were posting this. Of course you said it about eight thousand times better than me.

  • baal

    “THEY ARE NOT A church”
    I was musing earlier today how you’d define a church in such a way that the average WASP church or RCC would count as a ‘church’ and WBC or Scientology would not. Unless you fall down to a “well so long as it’s close to xtian core values on average” figment, I couldn’t. The problem with the sorting rule i have in quotes is that you can’t have legislation that require polling on a secular religion scholars; it’s too vague.

    So yes, they are a church by the usual ways we describe churches.

  • Rikitiki

    My fundamentalist sister gave me that “Love the sinner, but hate the sin” line, so I asked her when she became a Hindu. “Whaa??!” she asked. And I explained that, far from being a Christian thing, that’s a Ghandi quote.

    • tubi

      This is the first I’ve heard that attributed directly to Gandhi. Do you have a source?

      • Glodson

        This is the best I could come up.

        It’s actually from St. Augustine. His letter 211 (c. 424) contains the phrase Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum, which translates roughly as “With love for mankind and hatred of sins.”

        The phrase has become more famous expressed as “Love the sinner but hate the sin” or “Hate the sin and not the sinner” (the latter form appearing in Mohandas Gandhi’s 1929 autobiography)

  • Rikitiki

    Thank you, Glodson for educating me. My bad for not tracking down the original source.
    So, it was Augustine’s sentiment turning into Ghandi’s quote…good to know.

    • Glodson

      It is no problem. I didn’t know the exact source either.

      I think it holds that Ghandi said the phrase. I cannot say if he was repeating the notion from Augustine, or if it was his own independent idea.

  • iknklast

    Ah, but JT, don’t you know? The fact that they’re anti-gay proves that they’re not Christians…because they don’t meet the definition of Christian that is narrowly applicable to the one person posting that comment. Of course, that’s probably true of almost all the rest of the 2 billion Christians in the world, too, but what the hell…this fellow knows a Christian when he sees one.