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Hannah J

Thanks for sharing Rich, I am very curious about the developments that go on within the church. I think the family I was raised in is Westboro-lite, so I see many reflections in the relationships and conversations they have. I actually cried when the woman with MS was being made fun of for "shaking with rage". Very potent emotions. Again, thanks for sharing.

Jenny

Thanks for posting this--what a strange and horrible way to live. Listening to those little boys try to explain that the "world is full of fags" made me ill and yes, sad. I don't really know what kind of insight can be gleaned from showing how much these people hate but I hope it spurs people to teach the merits of love over hate. :(

Julia

I watched this last night, actually. It was sad at so many parts, like when Louis visited one of the members who was kicked out for wearing a bikini, and then her parents, and they were outwardly so cold to her "sins" but you could see they missed her. They even seemed confused about why she "left." Also really said was the Asian guy from San Fran who seemed like he desperately wanted to be un-gay. I liked when he would try to ask the sisters/cousins rational questions and you could see them crack a little.

matt

I've heard rumors, whisperings maybe, that WBC is a big prank, that none of the members actually believe what they are saying, and so are being as ridiculous and outlandish as possible to make people outraged AGAINST homophobia. If this is the case, then is it any wonder they notoriously protest soldiers funerals? After all what is more of a right wing activity than a soldiers funeral (combining patriotica with religion after all). To upset even the conservatives with their homophobia must be doing something right?

And if they are truly the nutjobs they seem, then they really are working miracles for our cause. How torn must hardcore conservative christians be about chosing between their hatred for the protests and their hatred of gays? To force people to re-examine their own intolerances, whether intentional or not, is interesting.

I almost think of them as performance art in that respect.

Qrter

I would recommend you watch the first documentary Theroux made on the WBC, five years ago, before you watch this one. It's interesting to see how they have actually become more irrational and weirder over those five years. It feels like there's nowhere left to go, but no, we're not at the bottom yet.

The Gaga stuff is incredible, especially the little dance routine the young women have clearly spent a lot of time on. To me it again illustrates the strange dichotomy that Theroux speaks about, where they live their lives like 'normal' people (normal meaning: allowing yourself to have fun, interact socially with people and allow yourself some semblance of regular human emotion) on one level, and warble on and on about their doctrine on another. There's a real disconnect there, which they themselves seem to blot out.

If anyone is interested, Kevin Smith recently had two of the WBC leavers (Josh and Libbie Phelps) visit one of his movie screenings (a movie which is partly based on a violent version of the Phelps clan) and the discussion he had with them was recorded for one of his (free) podcasts - it's nr. 15 in this list:

http://smodcast.com/plusone/

(There's a rather lengthy introduction, skip to minute 53 for the Phelpses.)

Lauren

this is so disturbing. i kept wanting to stop watching, but i was so appalled that i couldn't turn it off. i guess that's what they want. it is so sad. i'm not christian per se, but isn't the whole christian doctrine supposed to be about mercy and love? i see none of that from these people.

me

Britney album review pls. x

Anne

Eh. The only thing I got from this is you really need to make an "at the end of the day" supercut! Even these guys dropped it about a half dozen times. At the end of the day, I'm starting to think it's the most obnoxious reality TV verbal tic.

kate welsh

I didn't like what i saw. Wish they would be all apprehended. Arggghh

kate newton

Thanks for the info on this one. Much appreciated

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Will

I sort of love there new versions of Lady Gaga songs. If I had the balls, I would surely make one my ring tone.

Johan

That press conference where they parodied Crazy Train was actually quite badass.

zamblee

I think that all of those girls are just a few nice words away from jumping in a car with some random dude and taking off.

Amiee

Oh thanks for this - I am mildly obsessed with Theroux!

When I saw the first doc I remember thinking at least they weren't trying to conceal a message of hate with the language of love, concern and respect for other's, like so many other religious people do. Their homophobia is out in the open and they say what I suspect so many other fundamentalists are thinking when they talk about protecting families and all the other shite they say - it's just an assault on everyone's logic to realize these are part of something so entirely based on hatred, misery and intolerance.

ally

i think it's odd that they don't seem to have any kind of dress code.... that dad wearing that fake ed hardy shirt and shit. the amish and other sects dress how they do to reject modern society. if they are so against a "humanistic" world, why do they embrace it in dress?

NutraSlim

Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this [which is done] to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

J Tay

Matt - being a lifelong Topekan, I can assure you that this group is no 'prank'. They are an embarassment to my city and the thousands of wonderful people who live here.

investigatoryjournalist

"... but the kids born into this toxicity have little choice until much later. For at least some period of time, they are doomed."

This is the saddest part, to me. It's painful to watch these tormented children trying to maintain church (specifically parental) approval without losing themselves. I wish I could rescue them.

L. Duhon

As a Christian, an American, and a human being, I am appalled and offended by these people. Watching what they were doing to their children made me physically ill. :-(

Picolina

No surprise there is such putrid hate speach coming from this family. Fred Phelps is an abusive monstor who regularly beat his wife and children.
Read his sons accounts of growing up in constant fear of their father's savage beatings: http://www.killcreek.com/devolution/addicted.html
This is a portrayal of multi-generational familial fear, manifesting into a national campaign against everyone outside their ranks. The only reason these criminals are not persecuted is because they hide behind the cover of religion.

SmellsARat

i'm confused: if the world is so evil, why do they know so much about Lady Gaga? and when the 18 year-old starting answering a question by saying "weellllll, obviousleeeee...." why does she know who Antoine Dodson is?!

and why does the gay Asian kid wanna join an all white anti-gay church?

and the swastika doesn't mean youre a Nazi, it just means...you are happy...about the Holocaust?

icant.

MJ

I watched the first documentary Louis Theroux did about WBC and they really have become more bizarre, even self-parodic, to the extent that a wishful little part of me wonders if this is all an elaborate prank. When Nick Broomfield did his documentary about Eugene Terre'Blance, he didn't make him look like this awful tyrant, but like a ridiculous figure to be laughed at. If anything, I think that's a lot more damaging to a person's reputation if they really do want to incite hatred and fear.

That said, even while I sat shaking my head at their Lady Gaga parodies, it did make me very sad. The two girls that left WBC (especially the girl who had been hounded for wearing a bikini) did seem to miss their families very much and any real emotion anyone felt in the community was quickly masked over, meaning that even if some of the younger members do hightail it out of there, they're going to have a pretty hard time adjusting to normal relationships.

Ven

I felt physically ill when the filmmaker-turned-WBCer started talking about how he said that what was coming for the Jews would make the Holocaust look pleasant. These people are disgusting. In no light could genocide look pleasant.

Even funnier than the Gaga stuff was Shirley's parody of "Fat Bottomed Girls," which she parodied while disregarding the subject of the song (sexual attraction to girls with big butts; "Fat bottomed girls/They make the rockin' world go round") and the fact that Freddie Mercury was SUPER. GAY. I could almost laugh.

Sorry about the tl;dr there.

Affordable Insurance

Listening to those little boys try to explain that the "world is full of fags" made me ill and yes, sad. I don't really know what kind of insight can be gleaned from showing how much these people hate but I hope it spurs people to teach the merits of love over hate. No surprise there is such putrid hate speach coming from this family.

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