Now, apparently, God hates George W. Bush and America too. After all, Phelps believes that God caused 9/11, because of the gays... which is actually a pretty mainstream religious belief in this country. After all, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell believe the same thing too.
In that same vein, Phelps believes we're losing so many soldiers in Iraq, because they're defending a gay-loving America, and a gay-loving president.
God works in mysterious ways, apparently. improvised explosive devices, car bombs, rocket-propelled grenades, planes falling out of the sky...
So, it's perhaps unsurprising to find out that Phelps and his group are now protesting at the funerals of soldiers who have died in Iraq, singing songs such as "America the Burning" (lyrics) and "God Hates America" (lyrics) over the graves of our dead soldiers.
Do you see a bunch of us "liberals" going to the funerals of soldiers and pulling this kind of crap? No. No you do not. We love our country. Most of us even love its soldiers, whether we like the war they are fighting or not. We just want our country to return to sanity again someday.
Now, I have nothing against Christianity, but what these people teach (...and yes, I mean you too, Robertson, Falwell, Swaggart, etc.) Well, it's not Christianity. It just isn't. These people act as if Jesus was never even born -- all of his teachings of peace, love, understanding, compassion, and hospitality were thrown out in favor of a highly selective version of Old Testament fire and brimstone. We might as well hate shrimp too and drown babies.
I think, in a way, it's the fault of the media. (Quick! He's blaming the media!! Take a picture... you'll never see that again!)
I don't mean reporters, though. I mean media itself, and the way that most humans respond to it. Idiot TV evangelists succeed for the same reason that O'Reilly succeeds for the same reason that Fox News succeeds for the same reason that Jerry Springer succeeds. They're confrontational, extreme, and violent in their rhetoric, while being simple in their message. Voices of reason and moderation get shut out of such systems, because the issues are framed by the extremists, and there's no mindspace and attention left over for reason and complexity.
For example, how could Kerry reasonably argue for a continued presence in Iraq, with better policies that would lead to a quicker withdrawl without coming off like "Bush lite" on that issue? He couldn't. The same sort of arguments pop up on O'Reilly, with the radical argument always winning. Likewise, when someone on Jerry Springer says "Yo' man is not a man! He's a dog! Kick him to the curb!" how do you argue with 300 pounds of Luwanda... even if the issue isn't really that simple... even if Luwanda's IQ isn't over 85? Even if she's never had a successful relationship in her life?
You can't. Your only option is to stake out the opposite (and generally less popular) extremist viewpoint.
This leads to a country preached to by increasingly radical televangelists and run by increasingly more "foaming at the mouth" ideologues. Fortunately, our country tends to pull away from the brink of stupidity most of the time, but if you compare the excesses of Watergate, as opposed to Iran-Contra, and then finally to the excesses of Bush, it seems only reasonable to assume that current trends are dragging us ever closer to the edge of a very deep precipice. I fear for a future where Dubya's policies are as liberal (and wrongdoings as minor...) as Nixon's appear in retrospect today.
"First they came for the gays, but I did nothing, because I wasn't gay. Then they came for the soldiers, but I did nothing, because I wasn't a soldier..." - George W. Bush, 2014