Archive for October 8th, 2010

occupation: fools

October 8, 2010

“I hope God f*cks up your life so bad…”

That, according to a student in one of my Intro classes yesterday, was a congregant’s expression of solicitude for the fate of his soul during his visit to a church in White House, Tennessee.

“God is cursing America. Every death is in God’s hands, and he’s just getting warmed up.”

That was Margie Phelps, attorney and daughter of Topeka, Kansas minister Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church,  speaking to reporters outside the Supreme Court after arguing her father’s right to crash the funerals of soldiers and villify them in God’s name.

And: “Your destruction is imminent. [sic] Don’t say the servants of God didn’t warn you.”

The Westboro Baptists think the God who created homosexuals is punishing them, and the rest of us for tolerating them.

Hearing these words on the very day when I’d made my standard classroom pitch for pragmatic pluralism in matters of faith and reason, measuring the value of belief by its fruits, etc., was a good reality check for me. Should faith “give way” to reason, as we were discussing in class? Yes, when the fruits are as rotten as those lately on display in Washington (and Tennessee).

As Muhammad al-Warraq said: “He who orders his slave to do things that he knows him to be incapable of doing, then punishes him, is a fool.”

The late George Carlin, having heard enough about “God’s will” accounting for plagues and the deaths of innocent children in tornadoes and the like, asked “Who does this guy God think he is?!” George’s routine probably will offend even many of those who find his act funny, with its relentless, scatalogical profanity. I don’t happen to share his view that all religion is bullshit.

But unlike the Phelps’s, I’ll always defend his humanity.