Reason Rally: Westboro Baptist

Wait. I thought they didn’t want Christians. Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Remember how our good friend P.Z. was complaining about Christians showing up at the Reason Rally. Apparently, he wasn’t specific enough. The invitation was sent by Jim Klawon who is the Deputy Vice-President of Administration of the National Atheist Party.

So it’s okay for Christians to attend, provided it’s the Christians that the Reason Rally wants to attend. This is certainly news. Now the next question to ask is why would the Reason Rally want to have a group like Westboro Baptist attend the Reason Rally?

Do you know about Westboro Baptist? That’s the group that shows up at funerals of dead soldiers from wars here in America and pickets them. They’re the ones that march around with the signs that say “God hates fags.” They’re a group led by Fred Phelps and his family.

This is quite an odd happening, but sadly understandable. One would think that those who are presenting themselves as champions of reason would in fact want to celebrate the Christians advocating reason coming to the Reason Rally. They would want to proudly announce to the world “Yes. Ratio Christi is trying to send some evangelicals here to dialogue with us since they’re so sure we’re wrong. Well we’re certainly going to be able to deal with them. We want them to send as many as they can because we want to demonstrate to everyone that we are indeed the champions of reason.”

It’s hard to see this and not think about how Dawkins was invited by a number of groups, Christian and non-Christian, to have a debate with William Lane Craig and refused. It is amazing that while he is too busy to do that, he certainly does have time to debate with O’Reilly.

The most ironic thing about this is that I believe that these two groups have much more in common than they realize. They are just opposite sides of the same coin. Both of them are fully fundamentalist in their approach and both of them are looking to be as outspoken as possible and get noticed by the media for what they do.

The reason I believe that the Westboro group has been invited is to set up a contrast, but that contrast does not work. The Rally might want to paint Westboro as representative of all Christians, but upon what basis? Is it because they call themselves Christians? Would it work if I said Stalin was an atheist and wanted to say then that all atheists were just like Stalin and his atheist followers?

The Rally will already be a major PR disaster and in fact, this is only going to make it worse. Once again, it is my hope that more and more atheists will attend the Rally. I also hope that more Christians will be there to demonstrate what true reason is all about. If atheists want to demonstrate that their side is reasonable, invite the strongest opponents and let that be publicly shown.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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5 Responses to “Reason Rally: Westboro Baptist”

  1. Walt Says:

    I haven’t looked into this at all, but is it possible that Westboro was invited for increased publicity? If so, would this still be a problem? It seems like this could also explain the O’Reilly versus Craig issue you brought up. It seems like Westboro and O’Reilly get millions of eyes watching them on the news whereas polite evangelicals and Craig get maybe thousands of eyes watching them on youtube. Just a thought, I’d be curious to hear what you think.

  2. Austin Says:

    This is rather perplexing. I find it amusing that they would invite Westboro to a rally celebrating reason. How does emotional driven rhetoric interact with reason? Not very well.

  3. Simplexion Says:

    …because WBC are hilarious! Unlike the boring drivel coming from “intelligent” apologists.
    Here, write a blog about this: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/03/14/australian-atheist-bus-ad-says-god-better-have-a-good-excuse/

  4. Ryan Says:

    Westboro weren’t the only Christians there. There was a perimeter set up for protesters and the actual Rally. I don’t know of anyone who would even come close to comparing the rest of the Christian population to Westboro. But I believe the reason they were invited is to show the nation why there are people who hate religion. Especially the fundamentalists.

  5. Wretched Saint Says:

    We should engage the best thinkers both sides has to put forward, not the worst if we are confident in our views. http://www.jordanpfowler.com/2012/03/25/reason-rally-poor-reason-in-the-decision-to-invite-westboro-church/

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