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Posted at 07:00 PM ET, 06/01/2011

Westboro Baptist Church and the KKK — unclear on the concept

You can’t stop watching the video.

The Ku Klux Klan is protesting the Westboro Baptist Church, the infamous group whose memebers carry offensive signs and create distractions at military funerals. I guess there’s a first time for everything.

But when Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” I am positive that this was not what he meant.

The quotes were hilarious. Self-identified Imperial Wizard Dennis Labonte told CNN that he was not a “hate-monger.” Really? The KKK seems like an unusual choice of organization for non-hate-mongers. Maybe he was on the way to a peace gardening party and got confused. Maybe he thinks it’s a group for people who like to dress up as conehead ghosts. That happens to the best of us, although usually it just leads to awkwardness around Halloween. Maybe he thought Imperial Wizards combined all the best elements of Star Wars and the Harry Potter series. No? There must be some reason, because protesting against hatred seems wildly out of character. Maybe they’re going through some sort of midlife crisis.

And how about Westboro Baptist Church member Abigail Phelps, who said that “the KKK have no moral authority on anything.” That’s like the pot telling the kettle that it has no moral authority on anything. Why? “The Bible doesn’t say anywhere that it’s an abomination to be born of a certain gender or race.” Gay people, on the other hand — well, forget loving thy neighbor. There’s an itemized list of abominations in Leviticus somewhere.

The Westboro Baptist Church and Sarah Palin are the two most noteworthy exceptions to the rule that “if you ignore it, it will go away.” At least they would be if we had ever managed to ignore them. You know that you are not a group to which anyone would otherwise listen if you have to make obscene protests at military funerals to get anyone to care about you. That move comes directly from the Psychotic Exes Manual. They seem to be the product of a civics exercise to conjure up the most obnoxious sort of free speech possible.

And the KKK is protesting them?

This is getting awfully complicated, and I might need someone to make me an illustrative table. I keep coming out in agreement with members of the KKK, and that seems wrong. The enemy of my enemy is — Two wrongs make a — No, wait, let me start over.

This is the sort of thing that you assume causes God to face-palm and the Bill of Rights to start chasing itself around in a circle until it gets dizzy and falls over.

One thing that has to be said for the Westboro Baptist Church is that it seems to bring out the best in everyone. Even the KKK agrees that its members have gone too far. And the Supreme Court still upheld their right to do it. That’s saying something.

By  |  07:00 PM ET, 06/01/2011

Tags:  Westboro Baptist Church, KKK, free speech

 
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