I got this off Slashdot... written by a guy who is probably a True Christian. After reading the Wikipedia entries, do you think he is engaging in some spin? Could the Westbro family be in it for the money, or are they just genuine ISO standard psychopaths?
To be entirely accurate, WSBC isn't really a Christian church.
Now, because I can just hear the Atheist trolls firing up their "No True Scotsman fallacy" engines, Understand that WSBC is not a church in ANY traditional sense of the meaning other than they are a unified group and they have regular meetings. In that respect they are as much a church as your local NAMBLA affliate group.
If you look down the WSBC roster you will see that first of all, they are ALL related to one another either by marriage or by birth. It's basically the Phelps clan with some other family appendages.
Secondly, you may notice that all or nearly all of the Phelpses are LAWYERS. In fact, they are all very accomplished tort lawyers and/or law staff. When you look at their history you will see that they ALWAYS sue people that assault them, and they almost always win. They have made MILLIONS off of suing people that attack them for their repugnant views.
This is also how they manage to remain classified a church; They are based in a state where church classification rules are loose, and they utilize that and their status as lawyers to keep that classification. (Saves on taxes when the Church makes all the money.)
Then they go out and set up situations where they will likely be assaulted just to make money off of the poor righteous bastards that want to go after them. They keep the threat of violence reasonably low by filming everything and bringing women and children along as human shields, and then when one of them inevitably gets punched or shoved or pushed or gets a hangnail, they sue everyone there, especially any families that are involved in the events they are protesting at.
This is why I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Freedom Riders. Basically a motorcycle gang that specifically follows the WSBC around whenever they protest a soldier's funeral. they surround them and then block them from view with HUGE signs and American flags and drown them out with revving Harley Davidson motorcycles. They never touch anyone from WSBC, but they prevent them from causing any emotional harm to the families of dead soldiers. They've been so effective the Phelpses have nearly abandoned going after soldier's funerals.
This is why I say that the Phelpses are NOT a Christian church. They are just a bunch of dirty lawyers using hate and law to make money hand over fist. I suspect that they may very well believe at least some of the bile they spew, but it is FAR more about money than it is about faith. Frankly, if not for the fact that they seem to be so much about making money hand over fist I'd almost suspect they were an attempt to troll Christianity and tax law surrounding the churches.
The reason you predict people are going to respond that way is that you know full well that is exactly the logical fallacy you are indulging in.
No, it is not. I list the TWO things that they have in common with Christian churches, and then go on to list all the things they do NOT have in common with Christian churches. In fact I very specifically point to that they are FEIGNING being a church for tax purposes, and use their lawyer skills to retain that classification.
The problem with using the "No true Scotsman Fallacy" argument is that it:
A. Is only an informal fallacy. (Sometimes Angus really ISN'T a true Scotsman.)
B. Due to (a) it is used overbroadly to shut down argument. The WSBC case is almost textbook:
1 - Crazy group uses Christianity as cover for evil.
2 - Atheists conflate this group with all Christians everywhere as a way of pushing their own agenda.
3 - Christians of all stripes roundly condemn crazy group and reject them while pointing out that these people aren't really Christian.
4 - Atheists start screaming "No True Scotsman! No true Scotsman!" and continue to conflate the two groups.
C. If you are going to conflate a small group engaging in clearly fringe behavior with a larger mainstream group, it is YOUR responsibility as the accuser to show the links. NOT the responsibility of the accused to show lack of links.
I haven't been to slashdot and I don't know if I can reply but if I can I will.
Reply to his first post:
you are an idiot and NAMBLA just like churches are unhealthy for society as well as unhealthy for individuals.
Reply to his second post:
Point “1” doesn't stand up to anaylsis:
Christianity is evil, there is no “cover”.
And, point “2” is incorrect:
There is no conflation occurring.
“3” is a red herring:
“All stripes” is a designation used to setup up the appeal to authority argument.
Yep, point “4”, well:.
Point “4” is wishful thinking.
May I please, may I....