Monday, February 28, 2005

Hate in America: Can we Blame Republicans

I think this is a bit of a sticky issue. I'm called to it by Pam's House Blend, a blog that describes itself as "American. Female. Lesbian. Ethnically diverse. Opinionated. Proud member of the Reality-Based Community." Yup, Pam's got an agenda, but if she's biased I'll drink that koolaid. She alerts us to Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church's latest "action," where they will protest a speaking engagement by John Edwards by attacking Mr. Edwards dead son. Here's the flier for the event. (Maybe we can raise the traffic over there at Westboro and hurt them by raising their internet bills?)

There is, of course, no question that Phelps and his crew are the scum of the earth and a disgrace even to a Republican that employed hate in attacking gays and lesbians. Phelps and his crew are famous for protesting the death of Matthew Sheppard, for instance, with their insistence on erecting a "memorial." They even protest at other churches, and often, with the most recent such protest yesterday at Reverend Terry Fox's Immanuel Baptist Church in Wichita. It seems Fox agreed publicly with something Tiffany Muller, Kansas' only out public official said, and thus he has earned the wrath of Westboro.

The issue here isn't that Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church are easily the scummiest and most venal group in America. I'm curious more about what responsibility the Republican Party has in condemning this sick behavior. They certainly were forced to denounce David Duke many, many years ago. This group is easily as sick and destructive to the America as Duke's KKK, so why do we not hear anything from the Republicans about Westboro, which seemingly is doing its dirty work for them (of course, they haven't shrunk from dirty work much in recent years -- is that the real answer to my question?).

Bob Dole is from Kansas. Why doesn't he speak out? Sam Brownback (email form), why don't you speak out against hate so ugly and obvious? Pat Roberts (email form), as Senator you have an opportunity to stand up for true family values, why don't you do so? Is it really so risky to stand up against this filth that these Republicans fear doing it?

Are Republican values so shallow that these guys can't even speak out against such evil in their own state, or do they seriously think, through some sort of electoral calculus, that it would cost them votes to take on Fred Phelps? If the latter is the case, then the Republicans are further out in Right Field with the Right Wing Ding Christian Clerics than I thought.