In 1955, Fred Phelps headed the first service of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. Since then, the church has become internationally famous for hatred and anti-gay protests.
Less of a church and more of a cult, this hate organization has been defined by its protests at the funerals of fallen soldiers. The group proclaims these soldiers’ deaths were God’s way of punishing our nation for tolerating “fags.” On top of the groups proclaimed hate for homosexuals, Phelps has taken the cult in an anti-Semitic direction.
“I guess you could say a fag is a Jew pretty much,” said 8-year-old Noah Phelps-Roper, son of Phelps, in an interview with “20/20.”
The members of Westboro have begun picketing synagogues and Jewish cultural institutions around the country. Children and adults hold signs that read “God hates Jews,” “God hates Israel” and “Israel is doomed.”
In an interview with the Southern Poverty Law Center, Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of Phelps, explained the purpose of the new campaign is to do Jews a favor by begging them to repent before they are destroyed.
“I’m telling you, those Jews are filthy,” she said.
Westboro has started the Web site JewsKilledJesus.com. The site is filled with propaganda that would make Adolf Hitler and a Nazi-controlled Germany proud. Aside from the anti-Semitic text that infests each page, Westboro has entered the business of creating music videos.
In sing-along fashion, Westboro has created a parody of “Hey Jude” by The Beatles entitled “Hey Jews.” As a diverse choir — infants, children, adolescents and adults — members of Westboro sway and sing anti-Semitic rants while lyrics scroll across the bottom of the screen. They sing “Hey Jews, / don’t hate your God, / Fag and dyke rabbis teach rebellion. / You lie about the holocaust days, / The fruit of your womb, / They’re little hellions. / You’re going to feast upon your children.”
Westboro has created numerous parodies including “Beat It” by Michael Jackson entitled “Read It.” “Read It” encourages Jewish individuals to educate themselves about their evil ways, warning them if they do not repent, they will be doomed. The Web site also includes many caricatures of Jewish people. One depicts a hatefully stereotypical image of a Jewish man offering a handshake, only to have a knife, dripping fresh blood, hidden behind his back.
Furthermore, there is an image of a Jewish individual drowning in addition to text that reads, “You Jews have become famous worldwide for being fag-enablers, baby killers, pornographers, adulterers, fornicators and greedy idolaters.”
For a lack of something better to do, Westboro has also demonstrated its disgust with Catholics. The music video, “50 Ways to Eat Your Baby,” includes grotesque lyrics describing different means to consume an infant. “There must be 50 ways to eat your baby, / 50 ways to eat your baby, / You just give ’em to the pope, dope.” Images in this video are so horrific I was forced to close my laptop without taking the time to stop the video.
While it is easy to dismiss Westboro as a crazy cult, we cannot stand by and let this horrific act continue without speaking up. Disgusted by Westboro, I bring this topic to your attention so that you are knowledgeable of the actions that occur in our own backyard.
To solve the problems that disease the planet, we must first make ourselves aware of the them. Westboro is just one example of a dreadful misjustice that needs to be solved.
Although I’m aware it is unlikely anything will change the opinions of the members of Westboro, I remain standing and encourage you to speak in support of all those victimized by hate. As individuals, we must live lives defined by actions of tolerance, empathy and education.
These actions will make significant differences over time in removing many evils from this earth and making a difference in millions of lives.
– Bobby Gomez is a senior in elementary education. Please send comments to email@example.com.