And with that, Olympia is officially postsatirical

Fred Phelps and his posse of undermedicated gangsters for the LORD (or some PCP-addled version of the Christ Jesus) never met a display of religious intolerance they didn’t like. By now everyone’s aware of what’s gone on in Olympia, Washington–the stolen sign, protests and counter-protests and all that.
Reports the Spokane Spokesman-Review:

The emotional saga over religious displays at Washington’s state capitol grew even more bizarre today, as a controversial Kansas group requested permission to put up a sign titled “Santa Claus Will Take You to Hell.”
The Westboro Baptist Church, which spreads its virulently anti-gay message by demonstrating at funerals and high-profile events, wants the sign posted near a nativity scene and atheist sign at the capitol.
The sign claims that “God’s hate” is to blame for the weak economy, that Santa’s a child molester, and that the deaths of U.S. troops are somehow the fault of Santa.

But the WBCers (who more closely resemble Clostridia bacteria than the agents the body employs to fight them) aren’t keeping busy by making noise alone; as the almost-as-obnoxious Andrew Dice Clay used to say, “I been workin’. I got poiems.” The Seattle Post-Intelligencer‘s “BigBlog” includes the full text of the WBC’s message:

“You’d better watch out, get ready to cry, You’d better go hide, I’m telling you why ‘cuz Santa Claus will take you to hell. He is your favorite idol, you worship at his feet, but when you stand before your God He won’t help you take the heat. So get this fact straight: you’re feeling God’s hate, Santa’s to blame for the economy’s fate, Santa Claus will take you to hell.”
The Catholic League’s ever-virulent Wild Bill Donahue is barking about the mess–I’m surprised it took him this long–but as he’s not nearly as entertaining as the Phelpses in his own rabid and raging version of insanity, there’s no need to quote him.
As hilarious as this all is from 3,000 miles away, I’m betting that most city residents aren’t amused by the distractions and what can only be construed as bad publicity. Gregoire’s entire office must be apoplectic. But one good thing is going to come out of this: Not just Olympia but a lot of U.S. cities are going to recognize that religious displays in government buildings are not only a recipe for disaster, they are its main dish. I don’t doubt that Christians will blame the atheists for putting up their sign, since godlessness is already routinely blamed for far more impalpable and unlikely ills. But that’s fine; because the “there are no gods” sign was a new twist, maybe the tumult was indeed chiefly the atheists’ doing (not “fault”), but someone needed to give the nation a wake-up call as to the disastrously goofy consequences of not sticking to what Jefferson et al. had the foresight to pen into the law of the land some 230 years ago.
Point made, but will it be taken?

  1. #1 by monson on December 12, 2008 - 11:01 am

    Well, I always wonder what Santa has to do with Christ. I wish all those crazy christers would fight santa claus.
    Santa is pretend just like god.

  2. #2 by abb3w on December 12, 2008 - 11:59 am

    As much as I am a fan of TJ, integrity requires I point out he merely authored the Virginia Statute of Religious freedom. His good friend James Madison deserves the credit for the First Amendment’s wisdom.
    Also, I’m perfectly content with this shouting to continue much as it is. As long as the debate remains civil, I see no harm in loud; perhaps it might encourage people to think about what we believe and why.

  3. #3 by Phillip IV on December 12, 2008 - 1:06 pm

    I think the point just might be taken, this time around – few elected officials are likely to learn the constitutional lesson from this whole fiasco, but many are going to learn the public relations lesson.

  4. #4 by chris on December 12, 2008 - 1:09 pm

    Yikes this is like something out of Saturday Moring Breakfast Cerial.

  5. #5 by rBST on December 12, 2008 - 1:58 pm

    Well, I always knew that most over-the-top Christians were ill-informed, but someone ought to educate them on “Santa 101.” When you’re bad he doesn’t send you to hell: He leaves you with nothing more than a stocking full of coal.
    While he witholds that iPod you had been hoping for, at least he leaves you with something you can at least use to heat your home.
    What always strikes me silly about this time of year is the relationship of God vs. Christ vs. Santa. On the one hand you’re got two figures whom you do or do not believe in, though everyone expects children to grow to realize that Santa is just a figurine of the holiday, but not a man who really resides at the North Pole. When kids eventually declare, “I don’t think Santa is real,” most parents, I expect, either fess up or allow their kids to come to their own conclusions.
    If you question the existence in God you get punished for having thought such awful things. Or…whatever it is that parents do when they are terrified of the thought that their child might be onto something.
    And then you’ve got Christ. And not just any Christ, a baby Christ. Or a boy Christ depending on how you read the history books. While the Baby Jesus Butt Plug (Google it) isn’t exactly how I prefer to celebrate the holiday season, there’s aomsrhing about the store-bought manger scene display that always unsettles me. You always hear stories of some child born in India that resembles a Hindu divinity, which is amusingly met with derision by most Christians (and non-Christians with a high school diploma). But then they pay worship to a grilled cheese sandwich (and subsequently auction it off on eBay).
    I just don’t have any more patience with this stuff so I’m just working towards doing my part in order to find an iPod ‘neath the tree on Yule.

  6. #6 by Lofcaudio on December 12, 2008 - 3:47 pm

    Well, I always knew that most over-the-top Christians were ill-informed
    Do the Westboro Baptist loons consider themselves Christians? I honestly don’t know since their message seems to be one of only judgment and anger with not a word about mercy and grace. They also have no use for the “God = love” concept since their whole shtick appears to be “God hates _________” (Fill in the blank with: fags, Jews, Swedes, etc.)
    I will give them credit for getting people’s attention, since for what is simply one family (the Phelps and their progeny), they have made quite a name for themselves. I’d be curious where their funding comes from since a church as small as theirs (less than 100) cannot on their own finance their operating expenses.
    Does anyone know if these people call themselves Christians?

  7. #7 by rBST on December 12, 2008 - 4:11 pm

    Good point.
    I was merely playing silly on the verbiage of the Santa sign.

  8. #8 by Kevin Beck on December 12, 2008 - 4:53 pm

    It seems that they do, but no one else does. Anyone can act like an asshole and claim that God (or Jesus, or Quetzalcoatl, or…) commands it. Nothing those sickos say or do reflects on Christianity in my eyes, and mainstream Christians obviously despise them.

  9. #9 by Julie on December 12, 2008 - 5:17 pm

    I don’t know — was I the only one that thought their sign would make a really cool bumper sticker? Or maybe the name of the next CD from Motorhead?

  10. #10 by JuliaL on December 12, 2008 - 9:19 pm


    Well, I always wonder what Santa has to do with Christ.

    Santa Claus is an evolved version of Saint Nicholas, a fourth-century Turkish Bishop who devoted all his life to Christianity and was known for his kindness and generosity to the poor. While our U.S. picture of what he looks like comes from the poem by Clement Moore and athe drawings of Thomas Nast, in some places in the world he is still portrayed in Bishop’s robes.

%d bloggers like this: