Islam and Christianity: From Al Qaeda to Westboro

Many ignorant and uneducated Americans believe that all Muslims are terrorists, and that every single Muslim participates in and/or supports terrorist groups. After 9/11, many Americans created and subscribed to this very negative stereotype. I’m not blaming anyone other than the attackers and plane-jackers for this. Yet we, as Americans, have to move on and educate ourselves.

I want to be very clear about something. 9/11 was a horrible and tragic day all across the globe. As Americans, it was an excruciatingly rough time for our pride, our hearts and our country. We owe it to ourselves, each other and the 9/11 victims to never forget. There is no purpose, however, in continuing to lump together innocent people with heinous and sociopathic murderers.

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Westboro Baptist Church protesting. Photo from Geekslop.com.

There are protest groups forming in England with the sole purpose of causing riots and attacking anyone in sight of Muslim descent. This is awful.

Well, we have those groups too — but for our own people.

People of the Islamic faith, or anyone brown for that matter, have a horrible reputation. We’re forgetting about our own people. There Americans are terrorists in their own right, claiming to be executing the will of God.

That’s right, I’m talking about the good old Westboro Baptist Church. Westboro is run on a compound, and the followers of the church move onto the land and join the community. In a documentary, entitled “The Most Hated Family In America,” you meet many members of the church — one of whom first visited the Westboro Church to make a film. After spending a week there, he went home, gathered his family and his things, and moved onto the compound to join the church. He was brainwashed, people.

The leader of the church, Pastor Fred Phelps, is the only one with a voice, and the “leaders” under him are (of course)  his children. I don’t mean this in the metaphorical Christian sense, either. His kids (the ones that didn’t run away from the crazies, anyway) are the only other people in charge of anything. “They can make an occasional decision directly under his guidance and approval. The woman you always see on TV and hear on the radio? That would be Shirley Phelps-Roger, Pastor Phelps’ favorite hate-filled daughter.

The Westboro Baptist Church sounds an awful lot like a cult, huh? Yeah, it sure does. A cult of hate-filled, American-born Christians.

Members of Westboro Baptist Church are the people you see protesting fallen soldiers’ funerals, calling them “faggots” and telling mourners that their loved ones were killed because God hates them and America. The followers of Westboro are the ones who spit on families of soldiers who died serving our great country as they walk by, leaving the funerals of their late children.

These people aren’t just crazy and spitting mad; if you want to talk to them, they have a voicemail box set up so you can call and leave a message! Unfortunately, they recently took the answering machine number down. I find this interesting, because in the documentary you can see the messages left are cleared immediately — without the community listening to a word that is said.

I’ll do a full exposé about Westboro another time; that isn’t the point of this article. As a religious studies major, as well as a human being, I’m tired of hearing ignorance and pure, unadulterated, unwarranted hate toward people who identify as Islamic. Imagine this: you tell someone you’re a Christian, and they treat you like you are a devout member of the Westboro Baptist Church. Sounds pretty f–ked up right?

I’m calling for a change in some of the behavior I’ve witnessed recently. Every religion in the world has fundamentalists, and there will always be people who are completely insane and willing to do anything “in the name of God.” I mean, who says they’re wrong? Jesus and Muhammad both heard voices in their heads. Let’s not assume the whole bunch of apples is spoiled just because one is crazy as f–k.