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I have been following the increasing media presence of the WBC, or Westboro baptist church. One of those unique religious sects in America, most notably notorious for picketing the funerals of soldiers who have unfortunately returned from Iraq in a body bag. These fevered cultists protest and abhor everything from America itself, to homosexuality. They have stated to be thankful for dead US soldiers, for 9/11, for AIDS, and in fact, everything  vaguely connected with human suffering. In their opinion, all these events are punishments from God. In fact, God apparently is a personal agent of vengence for anyone who opposes the WBC, which is nice I guess.

Now I don’t like organised religion, or any structured organisation that plays on the human herd instinct and that realisation of mortality that leads people to start saving up pennies in heaven. But the one thing that stuck in my throat about this bunch, is that they are their media coverage often shows children holding signs proclaiming GOD HATES FAGS.

Now, I think groups like this are deluded, knee-jerk idiots and incestuous fanatics. And I really don’t have any views on their beliefs, but the one thing that I really, really fucking hate is children being indoctrinated and used for the purposes of the belief and the religious activities of their parents.

Personally I think it should be listed alongside physical, mental and sexual abuse.

Religious Abuse.

So, I checked out their site, GODHATESFAGS.COM, and posted a message to them via their contact link.

It read as follows.

I would like to tell you a story, so if you have the time to indulge me, it would be appreciated though I understand you are busy people.

I am English and when I was young, maybe about 6 or 7, I went to Sunday school in the small English village where my family lived. It was held in a rather bleak old building (St Osyth dated back to the Viking Invasions of Eastern England and many buildings are more than 200 years old)

The room was dark and dusty, lined with dark wooden desks. The story goes that one day I returned from Sunday school and said to my mother. “We talk to God, but why do we if we can’t see him?” It was a fair question I guess given my age and lack of understanding of the concepts of religion and belief. My mother stopped Sunday school from that point, because she felt that it was a ritualistic form of indoctrination into religion that at such an age I could not fully appreciate or understand. I consider that extremely wise even now decades later, when I have come to understand God, and how the relationship works. I don’t really have a point of view on your beliefs, because I’m not American and my relationship with God is a personal matter and nothing to do with religion. However I am concerned with how you can bring your children to protests with you, because even with the constant indoctrination of religious belief concepts in a controlled environment, a child, like I was back then, really lacks the ability to choose and absorb concepts like this. The obvious outcome of your protests is that they generate a serious and unpredictable reaction in others, and so if children are present, the anger and frustration of others towards you and your actions will be absorbed by your children, who by nature have yet to build up the psychological maturity to deal with it. This is a dangerous process and to be honest, hardly fair to a growing consciousness. An adult can hopefully make an informed choice, but children should be protected from such things. Holding banners and boards covered with slogans they don’t even understand is wrong, and abusive. I believe God would frown on this, even if the parents are of your mindset. You have a mission and that’s fair enough, but you are taking away from your own offspring, life’s most valuable quality, one that the world in recent times has made great steps to abolish…that fleeting time of innocence in childhood.

It is something so precious, yet something that inevitably is taken from us as we grow.

Let your children have that time while they can, without hastening its end with protest, angry crowds and media coverage. If anything, you should be protecting them from this.

Children are the future. It is up to you what future they have and if they can exist within it with choice, autonomy and wisdom.

I have not as yet received a reply.

If you have the time, check out the WBC on Youtube, a collection of their signs at http://www.signmovies.net. (The music videos are worth a look because they are just sooooo out there, your jaw will hit the floor)

And then if you feel as I do, go to their site and write them.

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