Religious nutjobs at their worst

While I’m being more political than usual, how about one more…

I normally detest Sean Hannity. Basically, he’s Rush Limbaugh without the flashes of cleverness or humor. However, this time, he’s got it right on. I may be around three or four weeks behind the curve on this, but it’s worth looking at the video below of Hannity & Colmes interviewing Shirley Phelps Roper, of the Westboro Baptist Church, a group of religious loonies of God Hates Fags infamy. This is the first time I encountered this video, and, given that none of my fellow SB’ers seems to have mentioned it, I don’t feel so bad in mentioning it now.

If you haven’t seen this yet, watch the whole thing and see what religious fanaticism can do:

Sean Hannity also had this woman on his radio show, the audio of which can be heard here (commentary here). Listen to the rage, the hate, the self-righteousness, the utter certainty that she is right and everyone else is wrong, coupled with an utter lack of concern about the pain she and her group are causing the families of our fallen soldiers. It’s the same utter lack of concern for common human decency that they showed when they used to picket the funerals of gay men with a similar hateful message. As Fred Phelps, founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, put it:

We don’t picket to win people over, idiot. It’s to harden people’s hearts. Make them hate. Make them hate God even more than they already do.

Our goal is to preach the Word of God to this crooked and perverse generation. By our words, some will repent. By our words, some will be condemned. Whether they hear, or whether they forbear, they will know a prophet has been among them… our goal is to glorify God by declaring His whole counsel to everyone… we hope that by our preaching some will be saved.

All it takes for them to succeed at stirring up hate is a superior attitude that only they will be saved, a dehumanization of those they consider sinful (who, in their view, are going to hell anyway), and an utter lack of empathy for anyone outside of their little cult.

I could be wrong about this, but I don’t recall Sean getting this worked up a year and a half ago, when this same group was thanking God for the tsunami. He may have, because I note that at that time Fred Phelps and his band of religious loonies were also calling for a tsunami in America to “cleanse it” and had been thanking God for 9/11. What I do know is that last summer he blamed the “antiwar left” for protesting the funerals of fallen soldiers when in fact it was Fred Phelps and his gang.

I also don’t recall Hannity ever attacking Phelps and his posse for their anti-gay bigotry in the years that their hateful message ws primarily restricted to gays. But let Phelps start picketing the funerals of U.S. soldiers, and suddenly Hannity is all over it on his TV and radio shows. In fact, what prompted me to write this is a confluence of having this video e-mailed to me yesterday and then later in the afternoon skipping through radio stations and hearing that Hannity is still on the story nearly four weeks after the interviews listed above.

One other issue is that the the reaction by government to the Westboro Baptist Church’s despicable and hateful antics is troubling from a free speech perspective. States are passing laws to ban their protests within certain distances of military funerals. As truly worthy of contempt as these loonies and their vile message are, it is not worth compromising the First Amendment to shut them up.