A British friend of mine recently sent me this video. She said while she knew my country was full of awesome people, she wanted to know how I could possibly cope with freaks like these.
I'd seen the video before, and in all honesty...I wasn't impressed. Since my friend was coming at this from an outsider's perspective, I decided to share a few things to put it in context. Here's what I said:
The Westboro Baptist Church are a sad, pathetic little cult. That's all they are. They have about sixty members, most of whom are related, and they're UNIVERSALLY despised. Everyone, from your hippie, left-winger aunt, to your tin-foil hat, Fox News uncle, thinks they're the scum of the Earth. America might be a politically divided nation, but on this issue, we all agree.
Now, having said that...
Russell Brand is a very funny guy, but what the hell was he hoping to accomplish there? The WBC represent no one but themselves. I have a huge bone to pick with the Religious Right and their attacks on gay rights, but trying to equate garden-variety fundamentalists with these lunatics is just absurd. They've been denounced by every celebrity preacher from Billy Graham to Jerry Falwell. Therefore, this interview can't be viewed as a dialogue on the American political climate.
So what's the deal? Are we supposed to believe Brand was simply trying to reach these two fools, show them the error of their ways, and bring them a message of love? Come on. Everyone knows you can't reason with those people. They've been brainwashed by Grandpa Phelps into believing in a psycho-god that exists outside of logic. You'd have better luck talking Satan into an Easter egg hunt.
Again, I love Brand, but he brought them on his show for sensationalism. Watching the clip, I was reminded of Woody Harrelson and Robert Downey Jr.'s interview scene at the end of Natural Born Killers (which was itself based on Geraldo's interview with Charles Manson). Yes, those hate-mongers are evil as shit. It's also pretty evil to capitalize on them.
Americans love to publicly vent about the WBC. That's understandable, because they're so easy to hate. But we need to stop. They don't give a fuck if the whole world hates them. They just want to spread their demented message, and by giving them airtime and ranting about them on Facebook, that's exactly what we're helping them do. If you hear that they're coming to your neighborhood, by all means, prepare your defenses. Otherwise, let's turn our backs on them and let them fade into obscurity instead of giving them the attention they so badly want.