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Monday, August 30, 2010

Picking Apart the Picketers


I have some really interesting thoughts and a unique perspective on the picketers of Westoboro Baptist Church. Before I start, let's establish that yes I don't agree with what they are doing or the way they are going about things. But my job as a blogger is to give a unique angle on the subject and that's what I'm going to do today. Let's start by talking about the most hated woman in America....Shirley Phelps Roper.

The inspiration for the blog came from when I was reading an article that held an interview with Nate Phelps, Fred's estranged son. In the article, he talks about a childhood where he was brutally tortured by his father and made to learn the Bible.....or else. Being a child of Fred Phelps guaranteed a hellish childhood which included many brutal beatings and physical punishments.

And yes, when Shirley goes on TV with her family, the SEEM very angry and abusive. But I've watched enough documentaries of people who have talked with them and been in their home to know that they are actually really nice, respectful people. Even in their home when they debate with you, you can tell the children know how to talk in a respectful manner.

What amazes me is that this woman, who has had such a tortured childhood didn't take that rage and abuse onto her own children. After watching multiple documentaries, it seems like these kids have a really good relationship with their mother and there are no signs of child abuse. And trust me when I say that i know what child abuse looks like because I came from a home where me and my sibilings should have been removed by child services. The torture and horror of my childhood was unimaginable.

Putting aside the fact that many of us disagree with the doctrines of their home, other than that her kids are actually quite high functioning. None of them are showing signs of torture and that was obvious to all the documentary makers that came to visit their family. The world has been really judgmental and harsh but maybe we need to do our research abit.  What exactly are we supposed to expect of a woman that Fred Phelps tortured on a daily basis throughout her childhood?

One scene that sticks out in my mind was when comedian Keith Allen confronts Shirley and her son Sam and asked if he is the son born out of wedlock. It was very interesting to see her body language in the video. Keith was interrogating Sam and Shirley actually stood in front of him and said "Why don't you ask me instead of him?"  When she stood in front of him, that is a defensive body language.  It is a mother defending her son. And you know what? It shows that she has natural motherly instinct in her. She did the most natural thing in the world as a mother, she wanted to protect Sam. There have been other mothers who had a child born out of wedlock and actually abused them and said the child was of the devil and wanted nothing to do with them. There seems to be none of that in this case.

All of us are welcome to have our different opinions on the Phelps but I want to offer you this perspective. Fred Phelps offered next to nothing to his own kids when it came to giving them a loving home and showing them a great parenting role model. His kids ended up with alot of deep psychological issues. But when you see Shirley's kids, none of them have abuse issues.  She obviously did something right.  As unnatural as some of the behavior you've seen on TV is, it looks like all her natural parenting instincts kicked in when it came to raising her children. One things for certain, although there is much talk on hell, she's made sure her home is not a living hell for her kids.

Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas