COMMENTARY | Westboro Baptist Church members aren’t very popular in the United States. And as it turns out, the rest of the world isn’t enthusiastic about them either.
Recently, Adam Hills, an Australian comedian, offered to pay for first-class airfare for WBC members to fly in to Iraq and hold “God Hates Islam” signs in a territory now controlled in part by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
This, as most of you know, is the group responsible for the ISIS beheading video of U.S. journalist James Foley that made rounds on the Internet earlier this week. There have also been similar reports and evidence of ISIS beheading children.
By comparison, the Westboro Baptist Church doesn’t like gay people, or adulterers, or anyone who doesn’t go to their church. They picket funerals for fallen soldiers and dead celebrities, and they’ve rightly earned their despised reputation among the general population.
But they’re not killers.
Yes, you can say they would be killers if they could get away with it. (I would argue to the contrary; they think God will kill everyone they don’t like and incinerate them in everlasting fiery torment, but haven’t shown any indication that they are violent on a personal level.)
Do the words and the actions of WBC members hurt people? Of course. Are their actions covered by the American right to free speech? Unfortunately.
But as plainly awful, hypocritical, wrong, and insane as these people are, sending them to Iraq would pretty much be a guaranteed death sentence at this point.
Disturbingly, this is something many Americans are supporting, at least through the comments section of the Advocate and on Facebook.
Omg this a golden opportunity to get rid of them once and for all!
Perfect. ISIS kills WBC. USA kills ISIS. Everyone wins.
I wish them harm. As ye sow…
Lets get a kickstarter going! We can all help get their one way tickets!
Sometimes people need a hard lesson and having a few of their members murdered and beheaded for pretending like they can stand against an organization as dangerous as ISIS will knock their arrogance and ego down quite a bit.
And those were the nicer comments.
While this may be an unpopular position, I feel it needs to be said, especially considering that the Westboro Baptist Church, as crazies are wont to do, have taken Hills up on his offer.
If Hills has any humanity, he’ll back down and not follow through with the offer. If he doesn’t, however, we need to defend (not support) the WBC members in their journey and do our best to make sure nothing happens to them.
I’d like to think that we as a society can let go of our hatred long enough to eradicate an evil that is far more threatening than any of the WBC could ever be. After all, the majority of Americans feel like they’re a laughingstock anyway.
Endorsing ISIS violence against the WBC to this level is sort of like doing the deed yourself, and when free speech is this flimsy to ordinary Americans, then we as a society are heading in the wrong direction.
UPDATE: Adam Hills has since responded to the Westboro Baptist Church in the video above and decided not to send them.