Louis Theroux: America’s Most Hated Family In Crisis

3 04 2011

America’s Most Hated Family In Crisis is a follow-up to his acclaimed 2007 documentary The Most Hated Family In America, and sees Theroux return to Topeka, Kansas for a second visit to the Westboro Baptist Church.

A fire-and-brimstone Christian group, made up of 80 members of the Phelps family, has garnered worldwide notoriety thanks to their funeral picketing of soldiers killed in action.

Believing they were killed as God’s punishment for America’s toleration of homosexuality, the family wield anti-gay placards while singing their own disturbing lyrics to Lady Gaga tunes.

In the four years since Theroux’s first documentary, a series of defections of family members has shaken up the church. They’ve also been at the centre of a landmark supreme court case (the court ruled that vicious anti-gay rhetoric was constitutionally protected) and their beliefs have become increasingly bizarre.

For Theroux the story has moved on, which is partly why he wanted to return. That and the fact he admits he’s “fascinated” by the Phelps family.

“It sounds really odd to say this but there are aspects of them that are quite nice, given how hateful they and the pickets are,” he says, adding he found his attitude towards them “modulated”.

“When you’re on the pickets you find yourself shocked and sometimes upset by what they’re doing, and then at other times you see them as normal people. The challenge is to try and manage your reaction,” he explains.

“I mean we’re human beings, they’re human beings, in some way you have to guard against demonising them too much, and against becoming desensitised by being around them.”

The documentary is being broadcast tonight at 9pm on BBC2 – make sure you tune in.

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Westboro Baptist reply to Anonymous…good luck with that!

21 02 2011

 





I hate my job

3 05 2010

so it is 7 am and I am in work.

Nothing new there you might think, I am always in work at 7 am, quite often writing these blogs!

Well today is different it is the May bank holiday and as such there are only 3 people in the office and of course I am one of them, not only that but I have been told I have to work overtime.

This wouldn’t be a huge problem to me normally, in fact it isn’t really getting in the way of any plans today but it is the principal that is bothering me.

You see I was also here on Good Friday and Easter Monday, before that I was here on St Patrick’s Day, same for New Year’s Day, St Stephen’s day (boxing day back home) and Christmas Eve; in fact I haven’t had a bank holiday off since January 2008 .

I don’t want to sound bitter but some of my colleagues get every stinking bank holiday off and a whole bunch of public holidays that we don’t even really have an entitlement to.

When I have quizzed this in the past I have been told that it is because they are married or have kids etc. Well this argument unravels a little bit when you take into account that I have a longterm partner and she has a kid.

Geewizz I didn’t realise I was working for the Catholic Church here, at least their draconian views have some sort of historical precedent.

Happy fucking May Day





Pope could cancel his visit to the UK

27 04 2010

The Pope could cancel his planned visit to Britain because of a “hugely offensive” Foreign Office memo mocking his stance on abortion and birth control.

This comes from senior papal aids within the vatican in the wake of a leaked memo which suggested that during his visit the pope should launch his own brand of condoms, bless a gay marriage and open an abortion clinic.

The memo, sent out in March following a “brainstorm” session by Foreign Office staff who are helping prepare for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit in September, warned recipients that the contents “should not be shared externally” because the offending document, titled “The Ideal Visit”, contained “even the most far-fetched of ideas”.

“As well as suggesting the launch of “Benedict” condoms, the memo also proposed that the Pope should “announce sacking of dodgy bishops”, sponsor a network of AIDS clinics, conduct a training course for bishops on child abuse allegations and ordain a female priest.

Embarrassingly for the Queen it also suggested getting the Pope and Her Majesty to sing a duet for charity and changing the national anthem from God Save The Queen to God Save the World.”

“One highly placed source in the Vatican said: “This could have very severe repercussions and is embarrassing for the British government – one has to question whether the action taken is enough.

“It is disgusting. Britain’s ambassador to the Holy See has been in to see the Secretary of State and explain what happened and this will all be relayed to the Pope.

“It’s even possible the trip could be cancelled as this matter is hugely offensive.”

The full article can be seen here in the Telegraph.

Whilst I don’t really think that sitting around insulting the pope and the catholic church is a good use of tax payers money I do think that this memo serves a purpose that maybe it wasn’t intended to.

It serves to reinforce the fact that to a lot of people out there the catholic church is a joke and the current pope an even bigger joke.

Yes I can understand that the vatican is miffed about this I would be too if I were them; however they should put aside some of their indignation for a second and actually look at what is being said and why.

Most people these days are a little shocked and bemused that the Vatican so stubbornly sticks to their outdated ideas and prejudices and make absolutely zero effort to move with the times.

Maybe the pope, the vatican and the catholic church as a whole should take a long hard look at that memo and rather than being outrage should instead run their own brainstorming session as to how they can change so that they are no longer the butt of the jokes.

On a different note I can’t wait to see what these “severe  repercussions” ar for Britain trade sanctions maybe?

Perhaps if things aren’t resolved to their liking we will soon finding a national shortage of plaster statues, bleeding heart paintings, communion wafers and clerical abuse on children.





Just another little reminder…

21 04 2010

A little bit of a change from the norm today; I wanted to give some publicity to a man by the name of Nate Phelps.

Nate is the son of Pastor Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church; some of you might be familiar with their message and the work that they do, some of you might not.

For those of you who don’t know about the WBC here is a quick taster if you will of some of their activities:

This is taken from the BBC documentary ” The Most Hated Family in America” by Louis Theroux.

The WBC openly publicise their hateful views and are often found picketing across the US, a particular target being the funerals of soldiers, which no matter your view on war most people would deem to be a distasteful act.

However what a lot of people aren’t aware of is the abuse that has been meted out on the family of Fred Phelps as a result of his heinous beliefs.

Nate Phelps put up with terrible physical and emotional abuse until the age of 18 when he left the family and made his own life, you can read Nate’s blog here.

For me one of the most shocking things about Nate’s story and the Westboro Baptist Church is that Fred Phelps is still to this day walking around as a free man,  despite terrible acts of abuse.

Hailing as I do from a country that has for years been embroiled in acts of abuse by people in positions of religious authority I feel very strongly on the subject and would call on all right thinking people to join me in supporting people like Nate Phelps who are making a stand and bringing subjects such as these kicking and screaming into the light of day.

As such I would like to draw your attention to the forthcoming event:

Nate is the estranged son of “God Hates Fags” Pastor Fred Phelps, and he is now returning to his hometown, which he hasn’t been to in many years. Nate will tell his story of growing up in the family that founded the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, which he left at midnight on his 18th birthday.

The Richard Dawkins Foundation will be filming the event as part of an upcoming documentary about Nate’s story of religious abuse, how he survived, and his mission to fix the laws that protect the perpetrators.

The event is FREE TO THE PUBLIC, so we encourage everyone in the area to attend if possible. This is also the first time one of the Phelps children has spoken out publicly against the church in their hometown.

The advertisement can be found in it’s original form on http://richarddawkins.net/articles/5332





Pope could be charged for covering up sex crimes

14 04 2010

The pope could be charged for covering up the crimes of paedophile priests.

There is an awful lot of buzz at the moment about the possibility that when he visits Britain from the 16th- 19th September the Pope could be arrested and charged “crimes against humanity” for his role in helping to cover up the horrific sex crimes carried out by members of the clergy.

“Barrister Geoffrey Robertson and solicitor Mark Stephens are considering whether they could either ask the Crown Prosecution Service to initiate criminal proceedings against the Pope; launch their own civil action or refer his case to the International Criminal Court.

Author Christopher Hitchens said he does not believe the Vatican to be a legal state which raises questions as to whether the Pope, as head of state, could claim diplomatic immunity.

He said: “The UN at its inception refused membership to the Vatican but has allowed it a unique “observer status”, permitting it to become signatory to treaties such as the Law of the Sea and (ironically) the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and to speak and vote at UN conferences where it promotes its controversial dogmas on abortion, contraception and homosexuality.”

The group have cited as precedent the recent case of Israel’s former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, who cancelled a visit to London after a British judge issued an arrest warrant over her alleged involvement with the conflict in Gaza.”

The campaign is also being backed by leading atheist Dr Richard Dawkins;   Dawkins wrote on his blog: “I am optimistic that we shall raise public consciousness to the point where the British government will find it very awkward indeed to go ahead with the Pope’s visit.”

You can read the article from the BBC in full here.

Well I for one say go for it.

I don’t think that it will necessarily amount to anything but I do very strongly feel that it is the right course of action to take.

Some people are going to say that the likes of Hitchens and Dawkins have their own agendas that they are furthering as a result of this, well so what! Of course they have their own agendas, more or less everyone out there has there own agenda,  it doesn’t lessen in anyway the fact that this is the right thing to do.

Whether or not it works, whether or not it is judged to be legally viable, that really doesn’t matter. What matters is that the Catholic Church in general and the Pope in particular need to be made to see that this isn’t something that can be swept under the carpet or smoothed over with a  parochial letter.

At the moment the Vatican are getting very defensive about the whole affair and are going on the counter offensive by trying to make out that they are  the victims in all of this.

That sits badly with me, without actually saying the words they are victim blaming and negating the horrific abuse suffered by thousands over the years.

So yeah put the Pope on trial, it might make him sit up and realise that there are very real consequences here and now, not just the justice of some supreme being who may or may not exist. Somehow that doesn’t really sound very fair when compared to the corporeal lives that have been ruined.





Paedophile Priests compared to Holocaust victims by the Vatican

3 04 2010

As part of a Good Friday sermon the Pope’s personal preacher, Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, likened the  ” accusations against the pope and the church in the sex abuse scandal to “collective violence” suffered by the Jews.”  he then went onto say that a Jewish friend had said that the accusations reminded him of the more shameful elements of Anti-Semitism.

You can view the full story from AP here.

Now I don’t know how anyone else feels about this but personally I can’t help but think what the fuck are they on about, seriously.

How the fuck can you say that people accusing members of the clergy of sexual abuse and paedophilia is comparable with the imprisonment, torture and and genocide of over 6 million people.

For starters, these aren’t empty allegations; i they had all proven to be false they would have a point, it would be seriously stretching things but they would have a point, just. But they don’t.

The church and the Pope have been issuing apologies lef, right and centre for destroying the lives of thousands; all this sermon does is completely invalidate those apologies and make it look like the church is the victim.

Maybe if the Catholic Church didn’t want to be on the receiving end of these allegations they shouldn’t have covered up these abuse cases and should have done something about it at the time as opposed to brushing it under the carpet and hoping it would all go away.

Maybe there is something that I am missing here, maybe what we aren’t being told by the media is that each time a new allegation is made secret service police are bursting into churches, rounding up Priests an shipping them off to death camps…








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