A lesson in justice from the late Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church

I haven’t heard of the man before, and paid no attention when NPR announced the segment on the passing of “Anti-Gay activist Fred Phelps, a widely reviled figure… Phelps led the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Its members are infamous for picketing funerals with signs proclaiming God’s hatred of gay people.”

But a piece of his rhetoric caught my attention. Here is a snip from the transcript:

FRED PHELPS: That’s my job, man, to cause this evil country to know her abominations.

MORRIS: Fred Phelps, speaking here eight years ago in the paneled office of his small Topeka church. In his mind, every catastrophe, attack or misfortune was God’s retribution for America’s failure to castigate gays.

PHELPS: We’re insisting that this country take the cup of the fury of God’s wrath, we’re putting it to their lips, and we’re making them drink it.

Whatever you think of Mr. Phelp’s diagnosis of our country’s problems, the larger question is this: can all those problems be indeed attributed to a single cause?

I think they can be; though I would rather argue that our country’s problem is a systemic, constitutionalized absence of justice. Judges’ right to act “maliciously and corruptly” and to substitute parties’ argument with judges’ fabrications and falsehoods – the rights which turns “due process of the law” into a travesty, combined with America’s apathy and lack of the slightest protest against this obvious and blatant violation of the biblical injunction to “seek justice” is I think at the root of the country’s obvious decline.

Here is how it works. Since justice is unachievable, and our rights and liberties (including the right to free speech) are being denied so the establishment could run the country, abuses are being covered up, free discussion throttled, reasonable ideas (including the rationale for religious violence and terrorism – which is the area of expertise of yours truly) are being suppressed. Hence, the possibly right views are being excluded from the public debate, while the definitely wrong (albeit “multicultural” and therefore “politically correct”) ones are given the right-of-way. Why than be surprised that the country goes to hell in a hand basket?

Much can happen “for want of a nail,” as the proverb has it, and when that “nail” is justice, huge negative consequences follow – such as terrorism, wars, and man-made technoligical disasters.

No matter what you think of Mr. Phelps’ views on gays, the big picture he saw – that “for want of a nail the kingdom was lost” – is essentially right.

So let’s take that lesson to heart, and restore justice to our so-called “justice system” that is presently so obviously devoid of justice – before our kingdom is gone, too…

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