As we grapple with the right-wing smear campaign against Cindy Sheehan and the increasingly murky aims of Bush's "Global Struggle Against Extremism", one group has stood up and offered a special kind of perspective on both issues.
And by "special", I mean "special needs".
That's right. The Westboro Baptist Church. Sound familiar? You might recognize the WBC by their aliases which include "God Hates Fags", "Fred Phelps", and "The Only Group That Makes Dr. James Dobson Seem Gay".
The press release appears in the form of an open letter to Cindy Sheehan and purports to offer advice about her question, "Why did my son die in Iraq?" Their advice to Sheehan is not to speak with Bush at all, because...
"Bush is a simplistic, irreversibly Hell-bound hypocrite without hope . . . He's clueless."
"That sounds exactly like you whiny libs," some of the less perceptive Bush voters might be saying out loud through the mini-echo of their EIB Dittohead Drool Cups. Don't speak too soon, MortDowneyLives78. The next paragraph sounds like you.
"To get a truthful, complete, accurate answer to your question you must go to the Jewish prophets of God -- is is to say, the Bible. Then you must honestly and intelligently read the signs of the times in light of the Bible's relevant passages."
But we all have to agree that a few sentences later the text gets really scary:
"Why did your son die in Iraq? Because you raised him for the devil and Hell. You hated him. You taught him "It's okay to be gay," and other God-rejecting lies, that brought the wrath of God down upon this evil nation . . . They turned America over to fags; they're coming home in body bags."
Clearly, religious extremism isn't exclusive to militant factions of Islam in some far away land. It's right here in America, alive and well and hating those "fags". That's not all.
They hate the troops, too. In fact, as I write this, Fred Phelps and his God Hates Fags Urukai are protesting outside the funeral of Army Spc. Christopher Katzenberger of Missouri, who was killed by an IED in Iraq on August 9. The headline on the press release (pdf) reads, "Thank God for IEDs". I won't dignify the rest of the document by quoting it here.
Suffice to say, much of the language is basically the same as what we might hear from a Jihadist. They hate America. They hate the president. They hate the troops. They adore IEDs. And they're doing it all in the name of their respective deities while citing justifications from holy texts.
The Global Struggle Against Extremism, or "Gary" as I've taken to calling it, is a self-defeating endeavor -- an ambiguous war against a belief and/or tactic. However, in the spirit of fairness, if George W. Bush is going haul his invisible six-shooters around the globe arresting and bombing people without allowing them the benefit of constitutional rights, how about including the WBC?
In the eyes of the masterminds behind this war, the WBC simply doesn't qualify as "to the extreme" for three reasons: 1) they're white, 2) they're Americans, and 3) they're Christians. You might be tempted to add a fourth item on the list which is that the WBC hasn't committed acts of terrorism (that we know of). Neither have some of the people who have been locked up and tortured -- sorry, frat clubbed -- at Guantanamo.
Or perhaps the WBC's efforts against the gay community are wickedly useful to a certain political platform. After all, didn't the election of 2004 ultimately teach us that "God hates fags"?