Fred vs The Hackers

I make no apology for returning to an old soap box – the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) – since news came this week that several of WBC’s egregious websites had been hacked and taken offline by the anonymous group LulzFinancial.

I must admit to a reasonable degree of schadenfreude when I heard that WBC had been hit in this way – again! I seem to recall that some years ago someone hijacked godhatesfags and pointed it at godhatesfigs – a statement for which there is no small biblical justification!

If you read the bible literally (and particularly the old testament) you’ll find shed loads of things that god hates – adultery and sex outside marriage, for instance, and Shirley Phelps-Roper (Fred’s vicar in the real world) ought to know a thing or two about that. But you don’t see people waving vile placards at funerals to protest about eating meat on a Friday or wearing polyester.

Now before anyone jumps off into the deep end and points out that christians don’t necessarily have too much truck with the OT, almost all of the verses that Fred claims in aid of his repugnant campaign come from there. And if you’re going to take it literally, saying that it’s god’s word and that god must be obeyed, then you have to take the whole kit and caboodle. I haven’t noticed, in all those documentaries, too much evidence of kosher in the Phelps’s kitchens! Perhaps they’re just discreet, but more likely they’re just a bunch of picky-choosey nutjob hypocrites.

It is self-proclaimed on WBC’s websites that they don’t give a rat’s arse what people say about them. Well, that’s fine by me!  I don’t actually give a rat’s arse about what they’re saying. The bible only works, on any level, if you believe it – and I don’t. My beef is with the way WBC goes about spreading their personal interpretation of it.

Watch them in action. Their technique is to say the most outrageous things, but to do it with a smile on their faces – in order to place you in the wrong. They are patronising beyond belief; they turn any argument round on itself; they hide behind the law and the Constitution; and, worst of all, they deliberately set out to “get in your face”, to offend, to hurt. They claim the moral high ground and defend their abhorrent and disgusting behaviour on the grounds that they are servants of god – the same justification used by madmen throughout history to sanitise the persecution, torture and slaughter of those with different beliefs or who lead a different life.

I find WBC repulsive, so disgusting, in fact, that it’s difficult to find words to convey the contempt in which I hold them. But (and this is a BIG BUT, on vellum with illuminated gold capital) I do NOT agree that we have the right to try and shut them up. I might hate what WBC believes and what they stand for, but I believe in their right to hold those views and to express them. They have the right to speak, but we have the right to decide whether or not to listen. The way to bring down the hate-preachers is to confront them head on, to show the world the paucity of their intellect and argument.

LulzFinancial  says “We wish to expose the fraudulent and humble the arrogant among us. We like to consider ourselves hacktivists. We want you to acknowledge that we are the final boss of the Internet.”

In this one statement LulzFinancial sets out an agenda even darker than Fred and the WBC.

Censorship by force leads us down a very nasty road.