We're moving...

Posted by Capn Coconuts On Tuesday, February 14, 2012 0 comments
... for real this time.

Blogger is nice and all, but I'd like to have more control over the software I use to blog, and to free myself from being just another blogspot blog.

So, I have moved to http://westborowatch.hostzi.com/ , powered by Wordpress. It'll take a while to move everything from here to there, but it is being done. There will be no more updates on this blog. If you wish to get updates, go to the brand new Wordpress blog.
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Do the Phelpses have the right to picket?

Posted by Capn Coconuts On Wednesday, February 8, 2012 1 comments
I apologize to anyone expecting me to cover the latest picket schedule announcements, but I was just unable to handle the high number of announced pickets this week.

Anyway, about the topic at hand.

In a word, yes. To outright forbid them to picket is unconstitutional and un-American. Here is the first amendment in the United States Bill of Rights:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
From this amendment, there are three categories of things congress cannot do: 1) to make a law respecting the establishment of religion, 2) to prohibit free exercise of religion, and 3) to abridge the freedom of speech or the press, the right of people to peaceably assemble, and the rights of people to petition the government.

Like it or not, keeping Westboro Baptist Church away from funerals is abridging the freedom of speech. Heck, even telling them to get farther away from funerals probably counts as abridging the freedom of speech and the right to assemble.

Also, although their speech counts as hate speech and their picketing is annoying, they also tend to be rather peaceful when assembling (if you can consider hate speech and provocation peaceful). Therefore, to censor them limits free speech.

Alyzza S. Martin has made an entire website devoted to their right to picket. He (she?) covers this material in a bit more detail than I could by myself, so visit http://www.therighttobewrong.net/ if you need more information concerning WBC's freedom of speech.
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The Westboro Picket Schedule: Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN

Posted by Capn Coconuts On Saturday, February 4, 2012 0 comments
On February 5, 2012 (tomorrow for the third time as of this post), Westboro Baptist Church will picket the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. They appear to hate football almost as much as they hate homosexuals...
WBC to picket the Superbowl!
America has made an idol out of football. You care more about who wins than you do about your souls! If you spent even a fraction of the time you give to football on finding out what the Lord God of Eternity requires of you, this counry [sic] wouldn't be in the mess it's in.
I think we all could do with less entertainment, honestly.
We come to warn this foolish generation that the return of the Lord Jesus Christ is at hand:
Re 14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
God has blinded your eyes and stopped up your ears so you do not even see or hear your destruction coming upon you! You have no money, jobs, homes, or hope - but you have your football!
Your only hope is to repent and obey today before it's too late!
Wait, how are they even going to repent and obey if they can't even see imminent destruction happening? Seems pointless to warn them if God decided upon his arbitrary elect long before the world ever began.

... Well, this post is short.
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The Westboro Picket Schedule: Carmel Lutheran Church in Indianapolis, IN

Posted by Capn Coconuts On 0 comments
Yet another target of WBC this coming Sunday. One wonders why they aren't going to be in church themselves. It's not like Indianapolis is a short drive from Topeka.

On February 5, 2012 (again tomorrow as of this post), Westboro Baptist Church will picket Carmel Lutheran Church in Indianapolis. Here is what they have to say.
Carmel Lutheran Church is a den of iniquity! They pedal the God loves everyone lie. Luther would be appalled to have his name attached to the lies you spread.
That implies that 1) simply being mistaken is equivalent to lying, and 2) that they are wrong and you are right. Both implications are wrong (only Calvinist bias and rationalization can "prove" that God doesn't love sinners, as I have shown and will continue to show in this blog).

Also, I would contend that Luther would be more appalled at a you than anyone else... especially after he would have read Addicted to Hate.
You pretend that you follow God's word with your lukewarm stance against fags, abortion, women preachers and pre-marital sex but you sit quietly by and refuse to warn your fellow man their sins are taking them to hell. Shame on you. You'd rather lie to people and tell them God loves them than tell them the truth and risk losing the money coming into that whore house.
Pulling the "everyone that disagrees with me is greedy scum" card again, are you?
Mt 21:12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
This passage has to do with actively selling merchandise in a holy place. Unless this church is selling merchandise in their church in a place where people would be worshiping, this passage does not apply to them.
Re 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Is this coming from a pastor that sues at every opportunity, beat his kids when they were young, forced them to sell candy bars when he was too pathetic to get his own job, sends libelous faxes, tolerates sexual immorality from his own flock, and interprets the Bible as he sees fit?

Oh, the irony!
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The Westboro Picket Schedule: St. Christian Church in Indianapolis, IN

Posted by Capn Coconuts On 0 comments
Woo! Three non-local pickets on the same day! This is the first picket.

On February 5, 2012 (which is tomorrow as of this post), Westboro Baptist Church will picket St. Christian Church in Indianapolis. While having women preachers and being tolerant towards adultery are indeed unbliblical, they are hardly marks of a hell-bound infidel.

Of course, Westboro Baptist Church, taking black and white thinking to the extreme, can't tolerate the smallest fault.
East 91st Street Christian Church sounds good on the surface. Included in their beliefs is; "We believe in the church's mission: making disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all of Jesus commands" Except they're a bunch of liars!
And how, pray tell, do you come to such a strong conclusion?

They don't believe this commandment from God:
Mr 10:11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
Ex 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
It is actually quite funny that they would call them liars when sexual sins have been committed by the Phelpses themselves. Johnathon and Paulette were allowed to return to the congregation in 1988 after having an illegitimate child, and Shirley Phelps-Roper actually had her first child out of wedlock.

But no, the Phelpses can do no wrong, much like the Pharisees of old time.

And they don't follow this commandment since they're full of women preachers:
1Ti 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
At least in the actual church service. This doesn't mean that a woman is terrible at teaching or preaching--just that God made man to be the example for the family and the church.
Mt 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Okay, now this is just stupid. First off, they aren't acting as prophets; secondly, being a less than suitable candidate for teaching does not make one a false teacher.
And they choose to ignore many, many more of God's commandments.
This is almost definitly an exaggeration.
If you truly preached the word of God from your pulpit and truly told your members that they are required to obey God your pews would be empty. Shame on you.
You believe that you preach the truth and your pews aren't completely empty. You are obviously a false prophet fag-enabling baby-eating liar! Shame on you!
WBC must be there to preach some truth. Your pastor is a liar and does not care for your souls. What he cares about is how much money you put in the collection plate. As long as the money keeps coming in, they'll keep preaching lies because it's what you want to hear.
If St. Christian Church was as "holy" as you, they would seize on the opportunity to sue for libel. Why? Because that's exactly what you're doing right now.
Jer 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?
I still fail to see how having women preachers and being tolerant towards adultery automatically makes them depraved liars. I'll probably never see it that way, because I take a lot less liberty towards injecting my dogma into interpreting scripture than you.

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God's Emotion Towards Sinners: Love, or Hate?

Posted by Capn Coconuts On Friday, February 3, 2012 0 comments
Due to the nature of this topic, I highly recommend that you read the entire blog post. You are unlikely to understand the correct answer to the title question if you do not read the entirety of its content.

I trust that many of you know that Westboro Baptist Church believes that God hates almost everybody and especially hates homosexuals. Meanwhile, many Christians would say that God hates the sin but not the sinner.

The definition of hate, according to The Free Dictionary, is as follows:

v. hat·ed, hat·ing, hates
v.tr.
1a. To feel hostility or animosity toward.
b. To detest.
2. To feel dislike or distaste for: hates washing dishes.

v.intr.
To feel hatred.

n.
1. Intense animosity or dislike; hatred.
2. An object of detestation or hatred: My pet hate is tardiness.
In simple terms as far as the transitive verb usage goes, hate is either an expression of hostility or strong dislike of someone or something. For example, there's a difference between planning an assassination attempt on Barack Obama and believing that he's a terrible president. The first form of hate is a danger to society, but the second one is civil, albeit strong and passionate.

Hate's synonyms tend to lean towards its second definition. Detest means "to dislike intensely; abhor", abhor means "to regard with horror or loathing; detest", and loathe means "to dislike (someone or something) intensely; abhor". "Abomination", which has its own lesser-used verb form "abominate", means "something that is a cause of abhorrence or disgust". None of these words imply ill will towards the object that is being hated.

On the flipside, we have love, which has even more different meanings. The classical Greeks, in fact, had a few words for the one word we use in English. I don't remember seeing all of them in the Greek New Testament, but here are they are:

STORGE: This is fondness through familiarity. Family members display this kind of love.
PHILEO: This is a strong bond shared between friends, generally sharing common interests or activities. However, this word has been perverted in the English language; now it serves as a suffix to sexual fetishes and  deviance (e.g. pedophilia). This word is somewhat common in the New Testament.
EROS: This is a more romantic kind of love. As the word suggests, this can be
AGAPE: Sometimes translated "Charity" to connotate giving to those in need, this is love given regardless of circumstance, and is self-sacrificial in nature. The apostle Paul defines this as follows:
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
--1 Corinthians 13:4-7
By Paul's definition, we see that agape is completely unconditional and self-sacrificial.

Now that you know the definitions of both, you are ready for my answer to the title question.

Many Christians believe that God loves all of mankind and hates their sins, not the sinner.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
--John 3:16
Westboro Baptist Church believes about as opposite as you can get: that God hates all of mankind except those that are saved and has no pity for them.
The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
--Psalms 5:5
Given these two verses, you could make at least three different rationalizations:
  • WBC is right; God hates almost everyone! (Christ's atonement is limited)
  • It's just David's words; God doesn't actually hate people. (God's word wasn't written by verbal, plenary inspiration)
  • The Bible is a book of fairy tales, taken seriously only by obtuse crackpots. (Okay, maybe not THAT strong of an opinion...)
It would seem that a case for God loving all of mankind cannot be airtight. So then, I must ask: has anyone heard of something called a love-hate relationship?

Image made by Teigiser on DeviantART

According to Wikipedia,
A love–hate relationship is an interpersonal relationship involving simultaneous or alternating emotions of love and hate. This relationship does not have to be of a romantic nature, and may be instead of a sibling one. It may occur when people have completely lost the intimacy within a loving relationship, yet still retain some passion for, or perhaps some commitment to, each other.
The correct answer to the title question is "That question is loaded and forces a false dichotomy! God has a love-hate relationship with sinners!"

Perhaps, in saying that God's great disgust is directed at only the sins, Christians have unwittingly understated the corruption sin causes. Sin skews human reason and weakens any willpower that could resist it. Sin stains and taints the soul to the point where abhorrence at sin and abhorrence at the sinner are one and the same. Pigs that wallow in filth are disgusting because the filth makes the pigs disgusting. Sinners are disgusted in the eyes of God because sin makes them disgusting.

It is no marvel why David wrote "the foolish shall not stand in thy SIGHT." God can't even look on it. The prophet Habakkuk, when confused about the coming Babylonian captivity, said to God that he knew He couldn't look on iniquity (Habakkuk 1:13). However, there's more to God than Him being disgusted by sinners.

The quote from Wikipedia says that love-hate relationships may occur when people have completely lost intimacy within a relationship. Sin, before a holy and perfect God, separates man and God. The intimacy is lost. And yet, unconditional love endures all things.

In Genesis 3, the sin that cursed the whole world is documented. Eve was deceived by a talking serpent (Satan is called "that old serpent" in the book of Revelation, so it was Satan in the form of a serpent) to do the one thing God said not to do, and Adam didn't even need to be deceived to follow the path of darkness Eve had already started walking on. They died virtually that same day, having lost the intimacy with an all-holy and perfect God.

God's crown of creation had become sinners, but they were still His creation. The intimacy was lost, but the commitment was still there. God was still committed to His creation, and acted to restore that intimacy that was lost between Him and man.

He could only do it by offering someone as holy as Himself to pay man's price. Sacrifice of innocent animals served only to cover sins for a year and to remind the Israelites how terrible their sin was. Sin needed a permanent solution. Once for all. And only one Person could do it.

That Person is Jesus Christ.

The four words "for God so loved"  in John 3:16 are much deeper than you can possibly imagine. The word "agape" is used in this verse. But it is modified by the word "so". Why?

Because God's love supersedes his aversion to the sheer horrendous stain of sin. God's hate does not cause contradiction with statements of His love; it lets us realize that God's love is greater. God was disgusted at sinners, but he loved them so much that God the Father went so far as to let God the Son suffer on the cross at the hands of wicked men, that he might redeem them from the price of sin!

GOD IS LOVE!

Not only did the Father send Jesus Christ to die for our sins, but He came of His own will--Jesus allowed Himself to be executed by the most terrible method ever known to mankind. And not only that--He took upon Himself, the all-holy God, the sins of the whole world!
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
--2 Corinthians 5:21
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (See Isaiah 53:5)
--1 Peter 2:24
He loved us so much that He bore the very thing that he hated, for people who disgusted him because they were plagued by the very thing he hated.

He did this to remove what he hated about us. When a person repents of his sins and puts his faith on Jesus Christ, the man who died to save our souls and rose again to prove He had power over death, the intimacy is restored. The hate-love relationship becomes a love-love relationship, because the holy demand of God is satisfied.

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
--Isaiah 53:10-11

Note that, for this entire post so far, I have only used the "dislike" definition of hatred. As I have shown, it allows for loving the same object at the same time in a love-hate relationship.

However, Westboro Baptist Church seems to believe in the first definition--that God is actually hostile and has animosity towards almost everyone. Unfortunately, this post has gotten too long. In a later blog post, I will evaluate the hostile God idea that spawned from the similarly hostile old man's mind.
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Westboro Watch Postbag: The Story Behind Addicted to Hate...?

Posted by Capn Coconuts On Wednesday, February 1, 2012 1 comments
Someone claiming to be close to Jon Michael Bell sent me (and perhaps to Alyzza Martin as well) an e-mail of the story behind the production of Addicted to Hate. Is it for real? Well, I haven't verified anything yet, but it's interesting nonetheless. Here ye goes, audience!
Hello, Cap'n Coconuts and Alyzza!

I was perusing your site and was surprised and pleased that someone has finally done a clean edit of the manuscript. I was close to the author and therefore I am in a position to provide some details on how the story was sprung loose. It has been a presence on the internet for 18 years.

Thank you, Alyzza, for taking the time to polish this work.

Few people realize the digital version of "Addicted to Hate" is not the original manuscript authored by Bell. As you have obviously spent a significant amount of time on the edit, perhaps you will enjoy this background information.

I have long ago lost track of Bell, but I do recall some of the things he told me about the case. It's one I'm sure he still recounts, as he was very amused by the actors and the play.

He was hired personally by the editor to find the goods on Phelps and "cut him off at the knees" in a full length book. This followed some insults Phelps had directed toward the editor and his family that were taken much to heart.

Taschler and Fry were staff writers who had initially been assigned the job, but they had failed to turn up enough dirt to satisfy the enraged editor. At this point, Bell was found and brought to Topeka.

In August of 1993, Bell was able to convince Fred Phelps that, even though he was a journalist, he was vulnerable to a Westboro conversion--something that would have caused the paper no end of embarrassment. As a result, Bell was allowed to spend two weeks living inside the cult's compound and even established a strong romantic rapport with one of Fred's daughters during that time.

You simply can't make this stuff up.

Bell followed his tenure at the Westboro compound with a five-month investigation, concluded in February of 1994, that turned up leads going back decades, including the possibility Phelps had once been addicted to drugs provided illicitly by a local pharmacist. Bell's work also pointed to intriguing links between the Westboro Baptist Church, the Christian Identity Movement, and as yet unidentified military elements in the area around Fort Riley and Junction City. Following the Oklahoma City bombing a year later, the Kansas Attorney General's Office asked to review hundreds of pages of research notes that Bell had amassed.

But when Stauffer Communications, the media corporation that owned the Capital-Journal, was suddenly put on the block, the corporate office lost all taste for a book about Phelps. This is because when a company is sold, all pending lawsuits apparently must be resolved. As it was thought Phelps would sue at first publication--a challenge Stauffer had at first relished-- these new circumstances would have forced a quick and expensive settlement on the publisher.

Perhaps you can understand then why the paper took the steps that it did:

First, it quietly collected all existing copies of the work, then, without warning, it suddenly fired both Bell and the editor who had commissioned the book. It was 1994, and Bell preferred to work on an Olivetti-Lettera 32, a sleek little manual typewriter, thus his product existed only in hardcopy. The publisher knew this and was thorough enough to search Bell's desk and seize a second security copy.

All to little avail.

For the paper, the problem did not go away. Rumors quickly spread around Topeka that the Capital-Journal had been frightened into killing the investigation and firing the principals behind it. In response, the newspaper claimed it would soon print the original, much shorter, and less damning piece written by Taschler and Fry.

Sympathetic employees inside the paper kept Bell informed on the projected publication date, and only days before the Taschler-Fry article was to appear, Bell filed suit to determine ownership of the intellectual property. He also submitted as evidence the entire manuscript, a third copy of which he had secretly kept. Since court testimony is exempt from litigation, the manuscript could now be leaked without fear of a lawsuit from either the publisher or Phelps.

Bell then left more copies on file at the Kinko's in Topeka, Lawrence, and Kansas City. None of this was his own idea, but that of a prominent trial lawyer, Jerry Palmer, who called it "libel laundering" and claimed it was his own invention. It may well have been. Palmer was a former president of the American Trial Lawyers Association.

The next day, The Pitch, a weekly alternative paper in Kansas City, hit the stands with the headline: "Scared Stiff in Topeka: What the Capital-Journal Is Afraid to Tell You about Fred Phelps." This was accomplished by prior arrangement with its editor, CJ Janovy.

Stauffer Communications was left flat-footed. Its ham-handed response was to send attorneys to local radio and television stations, forbidding them to quote from the text. This astonished the national media to the point the Washington Post ran a long article in its Sunday edition concerning how strange it was that a paper would attempt to suppress a story it had commissioned itself.

A few days later, the manuscript was ordered sealed by the court. The master copies of the manuscript left at the Kinko's were seized by Stauffer's attorneys, but not before several dozen were purchased and circulated. The Capital-Journal then ran its own vanilla version of the Phelps' story to general public mockery.

The following weekend, without Bell's knowledge, friendly elements in Topeka held a two-day bash, a rather wild party where the celebrants took turns digitalizing the entire text. While this allowed the book to go immediately up on the net, the manuscript was seriously flawed as a result. It was riddled with words misspelled, replaced, or deleted, while sentences and entire paragraphs were left out or recast in tangled prose.

In addition, and as you guessed, Alyzza, the version submitted to the editor was only the working draft. Bell had thrown in a great deal of information, but had no expectation it would all remain in the final text.

It was the one thing Bell regretted about the adventure. However, he was loathe to remedy it since he was forbidden by the court from further dissemination of his work.

This then was the version that would go viral on the internet and remain there for 18 years until you saw fit to correct it, Alyzza. I know my old buddy is thanking you, wherever he might be.

If I can, I would add that Bell loved closers. At the end,

"fierce white toothed beasts come to trip the flesh of our indolence."

was originally written as:

" fierce white-toothed beasts come to rip the flesh of our indolence."

That, and Yates was William Butler Yeats, the Irish poet. Again, wherever my old drinking and writing buddy is, he's smiling on your gracious deed...

And it's difficult to believe that, in part due to the greed and cowardice of corporate journalism, we're still stuck with Fred today.

So, Cap'n Coconuts, if you wanted to get THAT story out, you'd be an angel indeed...
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The Westboro Picket Schedule: Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO

Posted by Capn Coconuts On Monday, January 30, 2012 0 comments
Why is Kansas City in Montana and not Kansas?

On February 5, 2012, Westboro Baptist Church will picket the Sprint Center to picket the acts of Jeff Dunham, master ventriloquist and "America's favorite comedian" according to Slate.com.

Perhaps that has something to do with why they're picketing his performance there. The text is below:
WBC will picket Jeff Dunham at the Sprint Center in KCMO to warn this generation to flee from the wrath of God to come.
I still don't get why they say things like this when they also say that AMERICA IS DOOMED.
Your entertainment industry has become your idol and is full of filth.
Granted, this has some truth to it.
Jeff Dunham, you have been given one of the largest bullhorns in this nation and have the God-given duty to use that to glorify God.  Why don't you create a puppet and skit that does so?
Why are you asking these questions to people you most likely believe that God hates?
Meanwhile, the faithful servants of God at WBC will remain in your streets crying out wisdom.
[They then proceed to quote Proverbs 1:20-33]
You assume that what you are crying out is wisdom. What you are actually crying out is a gospel-less curse that grieves anyone who hears it. Then you'll sue whoever lays a finger on you instead of turn the other cheek.

That's more along the lines of being a total jerk than being wise.
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What is WBC's motive?

Posted by Capn Coconuts On Saturday, January 28, 2012 0 comments
THIS IS WHAT WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH ACTUALLY BELIEVES... well, not quite.

There are some people who believe that Westboro Baptist Church is just in it for attention. In essence, they probably don't believe what they preach and just feel the urge to troll people for the lulz.

There are also some people who believe that Westboro Baptist Church is some sort of "scam"--that it deliberately does its actions for the sake of money. The only reason the congregation pickets is for idiots to do something stupid so they can sue them for money.

But, as far as the church as a whole goes, both groups are wrong. Westboro Baptist Church members actually believe what they picket. It's embedded into their minds every Sunday; their punishing schedules revolve around their beliefs, and historical evidence leaves no other alternative.

Both theories make assumptions. The attention theory assumes that the church would be more willing to spend money to travel through the United States than they would be willing to troll on internet message boards for free, and the latter assumes that their motive is greed. Fred Phelps's motive is not greed or negative attention, though he seems to enjoy the latter. His motive can only be hate. As Mark Phelps describes his father:

"My father is addicted to hate. Why? I can't say. But I know he has to let it out. As rage. In doing so, he has violated the sacred trust of a parent and a pastor."
--Mark Phelps, son of Pastor Fred Phelps
Mark believes that, since his father is unable to vent his rage towards his family anymore, he must vent it towards other people. This may explain (at least in part) why Westboro Baptist Church never picketed anywhere until 1991, and how Fred managed to get himself disbarred from Kansas courts in 1979 and federal courts in 1989. Hate may very well be the motive of Fred Phelps, making him a narrow-minded bigot who believes that God hates the world as much as he does. And what is a better target to hate in this day and age than the LGBT crowd?

So, then, my answer to the question in the title is this: deep down, Fred's motive is that he hates people. For the church as a whole, their motive is that they actually believe it because Fred indoctrinated them with it.

Don't subscribe to wishful thinking. WBC actually is as messed up as they appear.
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Westboro Baptist Church member endorses Obama?

Posted by Capn Coconuts On Thursday, January 26, 2012 0 comments
At first I was like "what the heck?"...

But then I was like "what the heck?".

They say that Obama is the Antichrist, and then one of them says that he'd rather have Obama as president than anyone else. And then says that anyone actually decent wouldn't run for president (ironic, given that Fred Phelps ran for governor three times).

I'll think about suitable commentary for this post, but as of right now I don't really have much.
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What are Baptists?

Posted by Capn Coconuts On Tuesday, January 24, 2012 0 comments
I believe a subject of this nature is necessary because:
  1. Westboro Baptist Church is... well, a Baptist church, and
  2. I'm a Baptist and strongly disapprove of them.
The Baptist "denomination", so to speak, is so named because of its tenet that baptism is for believers only and is done by immersion. They were often called "Anabaptists" in a derogatory manner because they rebaptized those who they believed hadn't been baptized right under Protestant denominations.

Speaking of which, Baptists do not identify themselves as Protestants; they see themselves as having an unbroken line of doctrine to the early apostles themselves, though the believers of said doctrines called themselves Waldensians, Paulicians, Donatists, or something else instead of Baptists. They have many quotes from men of ages long gone to support their belief:
"The Baptists are the only known body of known Christians that have never symbolized with Rome."
--Sir Isaac Newton 
"The institution of the Anabaptists is no novelty, but for 1300 years has caused great trouble in the church."
--Ulrich Zwingli, Protestant reformer 
"The sentiments of Baptists and their practice of baptism FROM THE APOSTOLIC AGE to the present, have had a continued claim of advocates, and public monuments of their existence in every century can be produced."
--Alexander Campbell, founder of the Campbellites
But the history of Baptists is not the purpose of this blog post. If you wish to have that history, I recommend that you look for and purchase A History of the Baptists by John T. Christian.

So wait, is that it? Just a dispute on an ordinance?

Well, no. Baptists have several distinctives, which many of them put into this nifty acrostic:

  • B: Bible as Sole Authority. The Bible is the only authority for Christian faith and practice. Jesus ripped the Pharisees a new one for putting tradition over the weightier matters of the law, so we see no need to do the exact same thing they did. Sola scriptura all the way.
  • A: Autonomy of the Local Church. Each church runs itself, basically. There are no boards or hierarchies that make decisions for individual assemblies. Thus, one cannot expect individual churches to always 100% agree on everything, particularly when comparing good Baptist churches and Westboro Baptist Church.
  • P: Priesthood of Every Believer. Each believer can personally come to God through our great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, because he is the only mediator between God and men (1 Ti. 2:5).
  • T: Two offices: Pastor and Deacon. Just two groups that have any authority over how the church is run.
  • I: Individual Soul Liberty. Each person has the right to believe what he wishes to believe in this life, free from any governmental demand. Believers do, however, have the right to influence others and vice versa.
  • S: Saved (and baptized) church membership. Each church is an assembly of local believers. Unbelievers and the unbaptized (or baptized wrong) may visit the assembly but cannot join in membership until they are saved and baptized right.
  • T: Two ordinances: Baptism and the Lord's Supper. We believe that both of these were meant to be ordinances performed by all local churches, not just something done in the book of Acts.
  • S: Separation of Church and State: Neither the Church nor the State have any authority over each other. Baptists do not believe that government should be run (in this age) by a theocracy, or that the church should be government-run for any reason. Both are free to influence each other, though.

Because most Baptists are members of an independent church (exceptions exist--churches under the Southern Baptist Convention sacrifice some autonomy), the Baptist group has several sub-groups, some of them overlapping or encompassing others. Here are a few of them.

Primitive Baptists, also known as Hard Shell Baptists or Anti-Mission Baptists, hold to strong Calvinistic beliefs and refuse to support the idea of having mission boards. They generally don't like the idea of supporting missionaries, although a preacher going to foreign lands to preach is alright. Primitive Baptists came from the 18th century Separate Baptists that spawned from the Great Awakening. Westboro Baptist Church members are (radical) Primitive Baptists.

Reformed Baptists also hold to strong Calvinistic beliefs, but they do not seem to have strong views against mission boards. While not as common as General Baptists today, many great men in past times were Reformed Baptists, such as John Bunyan and Charles Spurgeon (who I respect despite being Calvinists). Reformed Baptists came from the old Particular Baptists in 15th century England.

General Baptists explicitly believe in a general atonement--that is, that Jesus Christ died on the cross for all mankind. Therefore, they do not hold to Calvinistic theology. The administrator of Westboro Watch, Cap'n Coconuts, leans towards General Baptist views.

Independent Baptists are Baptists that are completely autonomous and independent from any denominations or conventions. Cap'n Coconuts is an Independent Baptist. Westboro Baptist Church is independent, not only because it believes as such, but also because no convention would want to deal with them.

Southern Baptists are those under the Southern Baptist Convention. While Southern Baptist churches have some autonomy, some organization happens at the state and national convention level, and thus they are not fully independent. Southern Baptists have Separate Baptists in their line of ancestry.

As I said before, if you wish to learn more about the history of the Baptists, John T. Christian is your author, and A History of the Baptists is your book. Or two books, rather. One volume is dedicated to early Christianity and European Baptists, and the other is dedicated to early American ones. Just shop carefully; there are some people on Amazon who would like to rip you off (as of this post, someone is selling Volume 1 for $242.22!).
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Calvinism and Westboro Baptist Church: Predestination Exposed

Posted by Capn Coconuts On Monday, January 23, 2012 0 comments
In the last post of Calvinism and Westboro Baptist Church, we went through a brief history of Calvin and his theology and some of its tenets. In particular, I described the Five Points of Calvinism, also known as TULIP:
  • T: Total Depravity. Due to the Fall of Man caused by Adam and Eve, mankind is totally enslaved in sin. Because of this, man is inclined to serve his own lusts and desires instead of the God to the point of being morally unable to follow God without His intervention. (Total here means that sin affects every part of man--it doesn't mean that every man is as evil as possible.)
  • U: Unconditional Election. God has chosen from the beginning who he will reconcile to himself--not based on their virtue, merit, or faith, but grounded in his mercy alone. God chooses to extend mercy to those he chooses and refuses mercy to those he hasn't chosen.
  • L: Limited Atonement. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is meant to atone for only the elect God has chosen, and no one else. It is limited in scope, not in power.
  • I: Irresistable Grace. God's grace to the elect will, at some point in their lives, forcibly overcome all their resistance to accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
  • P: Perseverance of the Saints. As God is the sovereign predestinator of the fate of all mankind, none of the elect can cease to be the elect and lose their salvation. Christians that fall away were either not saved to begin with or will return to Christianity.
In this post, I intend to show just how ugly the U, L, and I are.


Unconditional Arbitration 

The latter four are parts of a doctrine known as predestination. In a general sense, predestination is God wills (at a certain point in time, or before "time" ever began) something to happen (after that point). In the Calvinist sense, it's God putting a select few into the Unconditional Elect based on His grace alone and not on the works or faith of the man.

The particulars need attention here. Predestination based on foreknowledge of faith is different from predestination based on God's grace. The former implies that God's grace encompasses all of mankind, even though God goes along and picks the elect before they get saved. The latter implies that God simply refused to offer grace to everyone and may as well have treated each soul as a lottery ticket.

Odds of getting God's grace: YOU ALREADY LOST

I can only therefore conclude that the Unconditional Election, and by extension God's grace, is arbitrary.

Limited Logic

If God's grace is arbitrary, than God's atonement, love, and hatred must be arbitrary. To the Calvinist, John 3:16 might as well be:
For God so loved the elect (and only the elect), that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever is part of His elect (and only the elect) should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
WBC's excuse (which is also used by many other Calvinists) for believing this is that the word κοσμος (pronounced "kahs-mahs") never means all of mankind, or that it at least doesn't have that meaning there.
No. You are probably thinking of John 3:16, which says no such thing. The word translated "world" in that verse (kosmos) NEVER means every individual of mankind who has ever lived (see, e.g., John 17:9)
--WBC FAQ
I fail to see how Jesus not currently praying for the whole human race logically extends to "never loving the human race ever", but an in-depth tearing into the FAQ will have to wait for later. Right now, my point is that they don't believe it ever means "all of mankind". Ever. Not even in early church writings or secular Greek literature.

The Thayer's and Strong's dictionaries tell a different story. Here's an abridged Thayer's definition of that word.
1) an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government
2) ornament, decoration, adornment, i.e. the arrangement of the stars, ‘the heavenly hosts’, as the ornament of the heavens.
3) the world, the universe
4) the circle of the earth, the earth
5) the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family
6) the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ
7) world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly
     7a) the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ
8) any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort
     8a) the Gentiles as contrasted to the Jews
     8b) of believers only
WBC just believes that definition doesn't exist because it doesn't suit their beliefs. But, for a second, let's just assume WBC is right and God doesn't really love everyone on the planet. He just hates all workers of iniquity 24/7, teeth clenched, itching to damn those miserable little piles of secrets.

Then we read this.
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
--1 Timothy 2:1-6
I rest my case, though love and hatred will have to be further discussed in a later post.

Irresistible Implications

Remember the lottery ticket illustration I used above? I used it for a reason. When you have a lottery ticket, you have no idea what you'll win, or if you'll win anything at all. And once you scratch away the outer layers, you find out whether you won or lost.

A friend gave me some lottery tickets once. Now I wouldn't have bought them because the lottery isn't exactly a charity, but he already did, so I saw no harm in using them.

I lost. Every. Single. Time. It wasn't my fault I had lost on all of those tickets. My friend didn't know what was on the tickets either, so it couldn't be his fault.

But what if he did know? What if he knew that every ticket would have no prize and deliberately gave the losing tickets to me? Either he's just messing with me, or he's a total jerk. But then, I didn't really have anything to lose with those tickets. It's not like I'd be cast into hell for losing.

But that's how the Unconditional Election Lottery works.

Is it your fault if you lose God's Super Ultra Mega Million Unconditional Elect Lottery? Is it your fault if God deliberately gave the winning tickets to people who weren't you? Is it primarily your fault if you are doomed to a life of sin and eternal torment in the lake of fire because you lost?

Is it your fault that God lied when he had Paul and Peter write down that he wasn't a respecter of persons, let alone an arbitrary, nonsensical respecter of persons?!

But enough about losing. This section is about WINNING.

ALL YOUR GRACE ARE BELONG TO CHARLIE SHEEN. YOU HAVE NO CHANCE TO WIN MAKE YOUR TIME.

You see, not only is the Unconditional Elect Lottery rigged against most people, but it's rigged in favor of a select few. And they didn't do or believe anything to win.

It's not right to expect God to give salvation by grace through works. God's too incorruptible for corrupted men to satisfy. That's why Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins--something incorruptible had to pay the price of the corrupted so that the corrupted could be made incorruptible. It doesn't matter how many good things you do--one slip up and you've fallen short. Indulgences, mass, confessions before corrupted men, doing more good than bad, etc. can't earn you any merit in the eyes of an all-holy God.

Salvation by grace through faith, on the other hand, indicates that one realizes he can't just pay back for burning down an orphanage by building a new one, and instead pleads for mercy based on what the Incorruptible Christ did for him. There is no merit. Only belief, confession, repentance, and acceptance exist.

Salvation by grace through Unconditional Election just gives the elect a reason to be puffed up, because they're arbitrarily better than everyone else. God arbitrarily respected them and arbitrarily hated everyone else.

Several times in the Bible, FAITH/BELIEF is the requirement for salvation. Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, and more contain evidence that BELIEF is the key. If our belief isn't what saves us and being in the arbitrary elect is, what's the point of mentioning BELIEF so many times? Why not leave it out of the Bible and put references to the elect God predestined before time started instead?

Because Calvinist predestination is wrong.
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I am considering moving

Posted by Capn Coconuts On Thursday, January 19, 2012 1 comments
I'm considering dropping this Blogger-powered blog and moving elsewhere using Wordpress software due to its many features that Blogger doesn't have (or doesn't have as well).

Nonetheless, I will continue to update Westboro Watch on blogger until the decision is final. I've been amassing a queue of wonderful topics to talk about. There's no way I'm running out of content to blog about anytime soon.
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The Westboro Picket Schedule: Harvy Milk High School in New York City

Posted by Capn Coconuts On Monday, January 16, 2012 0 comments
Looks a lot like just another city building. Yankees have no creativity!

Is it Harvy Milk or Harvey Bernard Milk?

Regardless, Westboro Baptist Church is planning to picket there on the 24th of January. I'm not sure why a school in the Big Apple would name itself after a Californian politician... unless whoever named it really, really liked gays.

Westboro Baptist Church picketing at it is inevitable.

All the description text became bold on my end for some reason. I'm not entirely sure why because the filter at my college blocks some of the styles of the site (presumably due to Hate Speech or something). It could be possible that one of the Phelpses made it bold because they really don't like Harvey Milk.
Harvy Milk is in hell! The only thing important about him is that he lived in proud rebellion against the Lord his God! Now, his life is done and real time has begun.
Real time? What does that even mean?
Harvy Milk will remain in hell for eternity. For ever and ever, with no time off for good behavior. God Hates Fags. A profound theological statement, that would fix this country and this generation. Each word being pregnant with powerful meaning!
I'm working on a blog post on the subject of whether God hates and/or loves workers of iniquity. Yes, "and/or". I assure you readers that it will make sense when you read it.

And no, it wouldn't fix this country and generation because they believe that God arbitrarily decided who he would love and save before Genesis 1:1. It will only fix them if they're the elect, and the elect will be fixed regardless of whether or not they picket. So, in reality, it won't fix anything.
Listen to Pastor Phelps explain that sign! http://twitvid.com/RL4JM
Their video will have to wait for another blog post; this one's getting too long.
BEAUTIFUL!
Well, it's not a terribly made video, but I wouldn't call it art. :P
Rebels, you cannot change God. You cannot multiply enough words to remove the sin of Doomed america before God.
So you claim that your message could fix America, then claim that it is doomed? You're contradicting yourself.
10 years ago, God sent two planes, like juggernauts through time and space to bring down the pride of the twin towers. That was the time to REPENT! By God, you would not repent. In fact, you got worse. 10 years later, New York, in blatent defiance against God (even as you displayed the remains of Pompaii, destroyed by God for their sodomitical practices) legalized same-sex marriage. God is not mocked! You sowed in the fields of Sodom and you will reap her abrupt, complete destruction!
40 years ago, Fred Phelps would beat whoever misspelled "Pompeii" with a mattock handle until he went numb. Then he'd beat him again.

Nonetheless, the Romans in general did allow some homosexual conduct. But if the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius was a display of the wrath of God, there is more than just homosexuality that God could have gone after: worship of false gods, persecution of Christians, etc.
Westboro Baptist Church has been faithful, rising early, daily and betimes to warn you for 21 years now. THAT is the mercy and compassion of God upon this nation. BUT, you have mocked the messengers of God, despised his word and misused his prophets until the wrath of God is now risen against you, and there is NO REMEDY!
But WBC, I thought you didn't believe that God so loved the whole world! Compassion is a complex emotion, made of love and sorrow. You're contradicting yourself again.

Also, if God had mercy on America, he wouldn't have kept most of it out of his elect.

Prove me wrong.
HERE YOU ARE DOOMED USA:2 Chr 36:11   Zedekiah (Obama etc.) was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. 12  And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the LORD. 13  And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel. 14  Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. 15  And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: 16  But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. All you have left is Imminent Destruction!
Granted, I don't deny that God could destroy America for iniquity. But I have a hard time believing that homosexuality would be the primary reason. It might be partially legalized in America, but it isn't rampant just yet. Abortion is a much better candidate IMO.
Westboro Baptist Church prays daily and patiently:  Dear Lord Jesus, please come and destroy this land!
I don't think that's what Paul had in mind.
"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.."
--1 Timothy 2:1-6
WBC, you claim you love your neighbors through picketing, and yet you curse them with your prayers. No intercession. No supplication. No giving of thanks. Just vitriolic, hateful imprecations.

Jesus didn't come to destroy men's lives. He came to save them (Luke 9:51-56), even if they aren't part of the Calvinist Arbitrary ElectTM.
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Outlawing Homosexuality is Pointless

Posted by Capn Coconuts On Saturday, January 14, 2012 0 comments
One of the boiling controversies today is homosexuality. People lobby for the outlawing of it. People lobby for the support of it. It seems to breed hate, leading to violent crimes (such as the murder of Matthew Shepard). It's also a very big reason why Westboro Baptist Church engages in picketing, so avoiding the subject is impossible.

I believe there are two questions that need to be answered here: 1) is homosexuality wrong, and 2) should it be legal? Yes, the two are separate questions, which I hope will make sense later.

If you believe that the Bible was verbally and plenarily inspired by God, you don't really have a choice in the former. Though it's mentioned very few times, homosexuality does have a very negative light in the few places where it is mentioned.
"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."--Leviticus 18:22
Granted, some things changed after Jesus Christ died. For one, the burden of the Mosaic Law wasn't necessary for believers. However, there's a difference between eating non-kosher foods and engaging in something that was called an abomination, which means "an action that is vicious or vile; an action that arouses disgust or abhorrence."

Moreover, the condemnation is explicit in the New Testament.
"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet."--Romans 1:26, 27
It is true that mention of homosexuality is uncommon in the Bible. However, while repetition of something can indicate that it is more important, something being mentioned only a few times doesn't make it not important at all. Even if there's no external reason for its scarcity (e.g. "the practice was uncommon"), there's a reason you're supposed to read the fine print in a contract. That said, I believe that Westboro Baptist Church gives the issue far too much emphasis, as it is their primary emphasis. Why not emphasize "GOD HATES BABY KILLERS" or "GOD HATES SOPA" over "GOD HATES FAGS", or at least balance out the emphasis of issues?

But I digress. From at least those verses above, it should be expected that Orthodox Jews and conservative Christians believe that homosexuality is very, very bad. Given that Islam is the other major Abrahamic religion, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess what they believe concerning it.

Hinduism is a completely different story. Texts like the Vedas and ancient poetry depict saints, demigods, and gods having homosexual relationships. Feudal Japan recognized homosexual practices, especially in the Samurai period.

It can thus be inferred that the answer to the first question depends greatly on your religious beliefs. But, as a Christian who isn't liberal, I see homosexuality as wrong. But again, religioug beliefs.

The answer to the second question depends on how government should work, at least in this day and age. Israel in the Old Testament spent time as both a theocracy and a monarchy (which still had an official religion). Furthermore, the Bible records various miracles, prophecies, and other supernatural things happening during that time. If you had the gall to violate laws on sexuality in a setting like that, you had a death penalty coming.

But now it's the 21st century, and the dispensation of law and miracles on par with parting the Red Sea are long gone.

Perhaps we haven't reflected on it much, but the reasoning for outlawing homosexuality is almost entirely on a religious basis. Other than ensuring our survival as a species, there's very little, if anything, that can be said against homosexuality from a secular standpoint. It's also very difficult to imagine how homosexuality affects your fellow neighbors.

When church and state are separate (which I believe is necessary in this age to maintain each person's individual soul liberty), there is no reason for the state to enforce the morals of the church. Therefore, there is no reason for the United States to outlaw homosexuality, and Christians who lobby for or advocate doing so are wasting their time, energy, and money.

For evangelistic Christians, there's even more reason not to attempt this: making something illegal does nothing for the souls of those who are now outlaws. If anything, making it illegal would persecute homosexuals, and persecuting people for religious reasons makes your religion look bad. If Christians put more energy towards trying to prove why homosexuality is wrong with compassion instead of being homophobes lobbying for the outlawing of homosexual marriage, they would be more pleasing to their Master. Christians would certainly gain more converts if they used common sense and compassion instead of persecution.
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Still fiddling around

Posted by Capn Coconuts On Friday, January 13, 2012 0 comments
As you can see, I added a background image to the blog header and a few other things. Someone recommended to me that I should add more images, so I'm going to think about how I can spruce up the blog a bit more.

I don't want to go overboard, though. I like the simple design I'm using right now.

If you have any suggestions for Westboro Watch, do not cease to comment and ask for them.
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The Westboro Picket Schedule: Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA

Posted by Capn Coconuts On Thursday, January 12, 2012 0 comments
On January 15, 2011, The Westboro Baptist Church will picket at the Beverly Hilton Hotel from 3 to 5 PM.

The description is brief and feels slightly more tame than the descriptions for previous pickets. I don't have too much to say about it, but I'll try anyway since one of my goals is to comment on everything in the picket schedule.
WBC will picket the Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.  The film makers and actors who perform in the films have been given a great podium from which they have the duty to cry aloud, spare not, lift up their voice like a trumpet and shew the people their transgression and (America) their sin.  Isa. 58:1
 I find it odd that they would say this, since such would imply that the film makers and actors were born again Christians.
This generation waxes worse and worse as the years go by.
This is what the Bible teaches, and is consistent with at least the loss of traditional family values and the decrease of zealous (in a good way) Christians over time. They are correct according to the Bible.
The film industry has greatly contributed to the decline in society.
I cannot doubt that the film industry could have had an effect, along with communist-minded humanists trying to run public education and other things. But I do have an issue with this:
They promote filth and sin at every opportunity, then have awards ceremonies to celebrate promoting sin and disobedience to God's word.
This is too general a statement. Even if porn movies and movies advocating homosexuality and the like promote filth in sin, this does not mean that the whole industry does it at every opportunity. I also doubt that celebrating promoting sin and disobedience to God's word is their primary intent. I'd assume that celebrating good movies is their intent, and their idea of good movies could have any amount of filth in them.
Be sure to read GodHatestheMedia.com for more information about the people who influence our film and media outlets and thereby influence society.
I suppose I'll eventually wind up doing this to comment on it, but I've got other, more important things to take care of at the moment.

They are also planning to picket at the Harvy Milk High School in New York City from 3:30 to 4 PM, but don't have any description for the event at this time. Since there is no description, I can't provide commentary and thus cannot dedicate a blog post to it.
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Calvinism and Westboro Baptist Church: An Introduction

Posted by Capn Coconuts On Wednesday, January 11, 2012 0 comments
As Westboro Watch is about the beliefs and actions of Westboro Baptist Church, it isn't complete without an examination on Calvinism. Why not go into a brief history lesson about John Calvin (obviously the man this dogma was named after) and his followers?

An Incredibly Condensed History of Calvinism

In 1517, Martin Luther wrote to his bishop, criticizing the selling of indulgences (partial or full remission of sins paid with money) used to fund the rebuilding of St. Peter's Basilica, among other things he saw as corrupt within the Roman Catholic Church. With his letter he sent The Ninety Five Theses which would spread throughout Europe. This was the primary catalyst of the Reformation, in which people with minds like Luther joined to protest corruption in the Roman Catholic Church.

Two notable minds were Huldrych Zwingli (key reformer in Switzerland) and John Calvin (key reformer in France).

In 1533, Calvin had a religious experience which majorly changed his mindset. Though scholars disagree on the interpretation of his accounts, it is known that Calvin left the Roman Catholic Church afterward and began work in the Reformation when he published his Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1536. Influenced by the works of Augustine, he adopted the doctrines of predestination and absolute sovereignty of God.

Calvin's followers eventually crossed paths with Jacobus Arminius (founder of the opposing theology known as Arminianism) and his followers. Arminius's followers, desiring not to be called after him, named themselves Remonstrants.

When Arminius died before he could fulfill a request for a 14-page document on his views, the Remonstrants fulfilled the request in his stead, making the Five Articles of Remonstrance. These articles were reviewed by the Synod of Dort, in which Arminians were denied entry. The Calvinists in the Synod of Dort eventually ruled that Arminianism was heretical and provided the Five Points of Calvinism as a response.

The TULIP of Doom

The Five Points of Calvinism (which most Calvinists hold to, including WBC) are as follows:
  • T: Total Depravity. Due to the Fall of Man caused by Adam and Eve, mankind is totally enslaved in sin. Because of this, man is inclined to serve his own lusts and desires instead of the God to the point of being morally unable to follow God without His intervention. (Total here means that sin affects every part of man--it doesn't mean that every man is as evil as possible.)
  • U: Unconditional Election. God has chosen from the beginning who he will reconcile to himself--not based on their virtue, merit, or faith, but grounded in his mercy alone. God chooses to extend mercy to those he chooses and refuses mercy to those he hasn't chosen.
  • L: Limited Atonement. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is meant to atone for only the elect God has chosen, and no one else. It is limited in scope, not in power.
  • I: Irresistable Grace. God's grace to the elect will, at some point in their lives, forcibly overcome all their resistance to accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
  • P: Perseverance of the Saints. As God is the sovereign predestinator of the fate of all mankind, none of the elect can cease to be the elect and lose their salvation. Christians that fall away were either not saved to begin with or will return to Christianity.
Other Beliefs

Calvinists also believe in Covenant Theology (which splits the Bible history and theology into separate covenants) and the regulative principle of worship (anything that isn't permitted in the Bible is not allowed in worship, even if there was no specific passage condemning its inclusion). These theological bits may not be covered as much as the five points simply because they do not matter as much when looking at the Westboro Baptist Church's practices.

In the next part of this series, I will look at the five points with a critical eye.
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Loving Thy Neighbor: Part 2--Electric Boogaloo

Posted by Capn Coconuts On Monday, January 9, 2012 0 comments
In the first entry of the Loving Thy Neighbor series, I discussed the story of the Good Samaritan and his compassion compared to Westboro Baptist Church's lack of compassion. I'll start this part by continuing from that story.

As I mentioned before, the Samaritans were the descendants of both captive Israelites and Gentiles, making them an "impure" race. The Jews hated them because they were impure, and the Samaritans hated them back. So much, in fact, that they might as well have been enemies. Fortunately for us, Jesus had something to say about loving our enemies.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:44:48)
Much care should be taken around the words "son" and "children". While they have a literal meaning the same as their meanings today, they could have a less literal meaning. "Son" could refer to a descendant (e.g. son of Abraham), a pupil or follower, someone physically existing and having abilities as a man (which is why Jesus called Himself the Son of man), someone in the likeness of another, or whoever God esteems as a son. Because salvation is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8) and is obtained by calling upon the Lord (Romans 10: 9-13), I'd have to say that "children" in this verse (which uses the same Greek word for "son" in the Textus Receptus) is referring to those in His likeness.

In short, we are like God when we love our enemies. We are made like God because He loves all of mankind so much that He offered Himself for them.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; WHO WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; WHO GAVE HIMSELF A RANSOM FOR ALL, to be testified in due time. (1 Ti. 2:3-6, emphasis added Note: the Greek word thelo means "I wish/will." The wording in verse 4, where thelo is, is a little wonky in the 21st century, but the verse basically means "Who is willing that all men be saved...".)
As they embrace strict Calvinism, simply quoting John 3:16 isn't enough. WBC's members believe that "the world" refers to only the elect. According to them, "world" does not mean "all of earth's inhabitants" anywhere in the Bible.
And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. (Psalms 9:8)
Apparently this means that God will only judge the righteous in righteousness, because "world" exclusively means "elect" here. This interpretation is awfully fitting with the unpleasant implications of Calvinism, as I am about to demonstrate.

As we saw in the previous episode of Loving Thy Neighbor, WBC members miserably fail in loving their neighbors and have deceived themselves into thinking that picketing and suing people is an exemplary display of loving their neighbors. What they believe about God, however, is much worse.

While they believe that they love their enemies, they also believe that God has no love for them and HATE, HATE, HATE!!!s them so much that he'd actively predestine them to Hell before they were ever born. They believe in a God with no compassion, yet they fool themselves into thinking they have it.

If the Westboro God was the Samaritan, He'd have no compassion on the beaten Jew. He wouldn't be "good". He'd be as unholy as the priest and Levite who ignored the man. He would contradict His own parable, making Him a hypocrite. He'd be a meta-hypocrite 40 times over, as "hypocrite", "hypocrites", and "hypocrisy" are mentioned and condemned in the Bible that many times.

He'd have created most people so that they could go to Hell. He'd have provided no salvation or anything for them. They had no free will over their souls. They had no choice. The path to righteousness is only available to a select few.

The Calvinist God is the most hypocritical and cruel monster the world has ever seen.

And you dare call that distorted image of the Lord God Jehovah holy?

I could be accused for blasphemy for that logic, and I have. But anyone who attacks me with an ad hominem like that missed the point that their beliefs are blasphemous, and I'm only taking them to their logical conclusion.

It could be argued that God doesn't have to follow the same standards He gives mankind, and it has. That basically gives their idea of God an excuse to be a hypocrite, to be cruel, and to rape anyone he sees fit. 

I don't believe in that God. I don't give my God excuses, because He doesn't need them. I believe in a God in whom is no sin (1 John 3:5). 

I believe that God is love, and that He loves all of mankind. I believe that He loved the depraved Ninevites he sent Jonah to. I believe He loved the Samaritans that He met after talking with the woman at the well. I believe He loved the multitudes He saw at Galilee, so much that He compared them to a harvest with few laborers and commanded his disciples to pray for more lauborers (Matthew 9:35-38).

I believe He loves the whole world, and gave Himself for it. I believe that Westboro is wrong.
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The Westboro Picket Schedule: Thomas F. Eagleton Courthouse in St. Louis, MO

Posted by Capn Coconuts On Thursday, January 5, 2012 0 comments
In case you didn't notice from last time, there are no links to WBC's hate site for Google's sake.

On January 9, 2012, the Westboro Baptist Church will picket at the Thomas F. Eagleton Courthouse.
WBC to picket the 8th circuit arguments as you try yet another avenue to shut up the words of the Living God. 
Apparently something is going on in the courthouse that may censor WBC's message. I searched for exactly what would be happening and could not find anything that helped, so I have to take their word for it.
At issue here is the sovereignty of the Living God and whether the servants of the Almighty God may be punished for lawfully proclaiming and praising the marvelous words of the Most High, to wit:
As much as I hate to admit it, the rights of Westboro Baptist Church to free speech should be defended. If we censor the hate groups, we may wind up setting a precedent that can unfairly censor others.

That said, Fred Phelps is really pushing it:
thank God for killing american soldiers in His wrath and executing His promised vengeance on a people that will not hear and obey the law of God!
And yet they have the gall to say that pickets is how they display their love towards their neighbor! Please read the previous post, Loving thy Neighbor: Part 1 to see why this is false.
The servants of Satan screech from the roof tops:
The land is not able to bear all [H]is words.  Amos 7:10
Freddy believes that, since people cannot bear his words, he must be in the right. He's using a logical fallacy called Affirming the Consequent, and it works like this:
The words of God are hated by wicked men.
Wicked men hate my words.
Therefore, I must be speaking the words of God.
By his logic, Scientology is the word of God because wicked men (by his standards) hate it. Hitler must have spoken the words of God because people hate him. The sysops at Encyclopedia Dramatica, the uber-offensive not-safe-for-work-or-humanity satirical wiki, must be absolute angels because they manage to anger loads and loads of people who then threaten to take them down.

Logic is not one of Fred's strong suits.
So your answer is to try to keep His servants from warning that your destruction is imminent and that your sons and daughters are still coming home in body bags.  But your faithful servants will continue to deliver the message and tell you to SHUT UP and DRINK from the cup of God's fury!
Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you.  Jeremiah 25:27
Heed the warning and obey your God today!
They intentionally pick the verses that seemingly leave compassion out of the picture. It's as if they believe God has no compassion for the lost. No, wait, that IS what they believe.

Their beliefs don't sound so hot when you read a verse like this.
Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  (Ezekiel 33:11)
I understand the audience to whom this was originally written for, but the statements are general. They encompass all of mankind. God is not pleased to send the wicked to Hell. How can these people picket "thank God for dead soldiers" and "pray for more dead soldiers" when God isn't pleased in taking the lost ones into eternity?

Why do they even go so far as to picket "planes crash, God laughs"? Why? Why? WHY???
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