Feminism | Posted by Danielle B on 07/12/2011

A Teen Feminist Calls the Westboro Baptist Church

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you the Westboro Baptist Church

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you the Westboro Baptist Church

The Westboro Baptist Church is America’s most infamous hate-mongers, using the bible and Christianity (at least, their brand of Christianity) to justify savage and hateful messages targeted at almost every group imaginable: homosexuals, abortionists, Muslims, Jews, Roman Catholics, even the United States military.

There’s a 99.999% chance that WBC hates you, too.

Free speech is one of many things that makes our nation — well, to be quite frank — pretty damn awesome, but this insane, hate-filled cult abuses that right to personally attack the aforementioned groups and their families. When they’re not stomping the American flag with soccer cleats or posting hateful parodies of popular songs on their website (the homophobic buggers even had the nerve to parody an Elton John song), they travel thousands of miles from their cozy coven in Topeka, Kansas to picket military funerals, gay pride events, Jewish community centers, etc.

They even went so far as to picket the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a young man who was murdered in 1998 for no other reason than the fact that he was gay. In response, WBC posted this on their website:
WBC picketed the funeral of Matthew Shepard, to inject a little truth and sanity into the irrational orgy of lies consuming this world. WBC does not support the murder of Matthew Shepard . . . However, the truth about Matthew Shepard needs to be known. He lived a Satanic lifestyle. He got himself killed trolling for anonymous homosexual sex in a bar at midnight. Unless he repented in the final hours of his life, he is in hell. He will be in hell for all eternity.

Have you bashed in your screen yet? No? Okay, let’s keep going.

Don’t get me wrong, I know what these people are doing. Let’s just say it’s no coincidence that WBC has so many lawyers in the family. They’re media-hounds. They picked the most controversial subjects in existence — homosexuality, religion, patriotism, the government — and have blown them into crazy proportions in order to get people to fire back at them. If somebody so much as lays a finger on one of these “peaceful protesters” BAM! They’re slapped with a billion dollar lawsuit and consecutive life sentences. You gotta hand it to these guys. They’ve got a sweet little operation set up.

Here’s a documentary about WBC called “The Most Hated Family in America.” It’s interesting, but watch it at your own risk! These people are very, very, very, very, very, very (did I say very?) offensive.

Back to the topic at hand, I had a crazy whim to get in contact with WBC yesterday. I wanted to know what it was like to talk to somebody who has such blatant disregard for compassion, humanity — and since WBC’s website mockingly claims that they lose 0 nanoseconds of sleep over other people’s “thoughts and feeeeellllliiiiiiings,” I knew any member of the church would be a perfect match.

It took about an hour and twenty failed call attempts to reach anybody from the church. Clever Netizens have posted the personal phone numbers of all WBC leaders online, but the poor saps can probably only take so many prank calls before they have to acquire new numbers, rendering their old numbers invalid. After hearing The number you have dialed is no longer in service for the twentieth time, finally, I succeeded.

This is a transcript of my interview with a member of the Westboro Baptist Cult Church. For privacy’s sake (and the fact that I can’t afford to get sued), I’ve changed the interviewee’s name [NOTE: this isn't a parody - it actually happened]:
*Phone ringing*
Schmoopie: This is Schmoopie, may I help you?
Danielle: Hi, are you affiliated with the Westboro Baptist Church?
S: I am.
D: Um, I actually have a few questions.
S: You have a few questions?
D: Yeah, I was actually wondering how you guys felt—
S: Is this kind of a personal inquiry or is this a media inquiry?
D: More personal. It’s just one question . . .
S: Go ahead.
D: What is your church’s view on feminism, women’s rights, that kind of thing?
S: On, on what now?
D: Feminism, women’s rights?
S: Oh well, uh, God — there’s nothin’ wrong with women. *laughs* God didn’t say it was an abomination to be a woman. Uh, yeah, so women are cool.
*audible laughter in the background*
D: Oh, okay. So what about feminism in general? Do you—
S: You, you mean — well if by feminism you mean, uh, women, uh, trying to be all that and a bag of chips?
D: Uh, no, I mean women who are fighting for equal pay, equal treatment under the law, that kind of thing?
S: Well I think that, uh, everybody ought to be treated equal under the law, and I think that women have every right in the world to make as much money as a man does to do the same job.
D: Okay.
S: Yeah, that’s all groovy-gravy right there.
D: So, you don’t believe that if a woman, or even a man, defines themself as a feminist that they would go to hell?
S: Well, I think that anybody who defines themself as a feminist, uh, probably isn’t interested in the bible.
D: Oh, why is that? There are plenty of women who mesh—
S: Did you just, did you ask me a question? Do you want me to answer it?
D: Yes. Sorry.
S: Alright, cool. So anybody who defines themself as a feminist probably doesn’t have the, um, a proper fear of the lord. I’m not trying to throw a big blanket over the whole thing, but what I’m saying is, the kinds of things that you’ve talked about, the kinds of aspects of feminism that you’ve already talked about — equal pay, equal treatment under the law — that doesn’t have anything to do with feminism. And certainly we’re not opposed to anything like that, but I will tell you that some aspects of quote-on-quote feminism is, I think the Westboro Baptist Church absolutely has a problem with. And that is, that would be stuff like this: Um, the bible says “I suffer not a woman to teach,” so the idea of a woma— of female preachers in the pulpits in the churches . . .
D: Mhmm?
S: Is an absolute no-no by scriptural standards. Furthermore, uh, uh, the wife is subject to the husband in all things in that marriage covenant. So in other words, you know the husband or the father in the house is the authority in the house. He’s the final say in the house. So, those aspects of things, that the feminist movement has tried, has tried for a long time now to usurp and to reject. Uh, w-we, we absolutely — look — if man says one thing, and God says another, you know, vis a vis the bible, we’re gonna go with the bible.
D: Okay.
S: But we don’t have, we don’t have any problem with the stuff, huh, the [unintelligible] equal treatment under the law, and the equal pay, and those kinds of things. Who the heck would want to pay a woman and a man a different wage for doing the same job?
D: Exactly. Um, actually feminism as I know it is exactly what you said: it’s fighting for equal rights, equal pay, equal political opportunities, so I was just curious — what is your definition of a feminist?

Directions: 1. Look up book on Amazon 2. Read synopsis 3. Commence punching yourself in the face

Directions: 1. Look up book on Amazon 2. Read synopsis 3. Commence punching yourself in the face

S: Well that’s a little bit, you know look, I have my definition of feminism . . . You know used to, I used to study, uh, philosophy at the Department — at the, the University of Kansas. I worked on a piece there for a while, so I have a philosophical definition of feminism, but then you— feminism is one of those kinda murky, uh, there really isn’t a tightly-wound, uh, you know, disposition there, it’s kinda like nailing jello to a tree. If you ask five different people what feminism is you’re proba— you’re bound to get five different answers. But, so, like I said, those aspects of, of feminism that have to do with equal treatment under the law, we’re all for. But when you usurp the bible’s authority on some aspects of feminism like, say, putting women in the pulpits, and, and having women— and there’s a really good book for you to read on this. I can’t think of the author’s name, but I can tell you what the, the name of the book is. You’ll really like this. It’s called, uh, Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives, and Women Preachers. And that’s, that’s got kind of a bible view of how a true church of the lord Jesus Christ oughta take a look at the roles of women. Well, I like women though. I got daughters and I got friends, sisters in Christ, and I have a wife. Cool?
D: Okay. Thank you very much.
S: Alright.
D: ‘Kay, bye.

Would I have liked a more substantial interview, one where I was actually given the time to sputter out more than “okay” and “mhmm”? Absolutely.

Analyze that conversation as you will, but I just think it proves that the members of WBC are incredibly closed-minded. Schmoopie may have pretended to be progressive and enlightened by oh-so-intelligently proclaiming his love and appreciation for the female sex (and I quote: “women are cool”), but he’s obviously no different than the author of the horrendous book he suggested to me:

  • Someone who doesn’t think women are fit to teach anyone with a male appendage,
  • someone who thinks wives should keep their mouths shut rather than have opinions of their own, and
  • someone who thinks women shouldn’t even be allowed to cut their freaking hair.

I’ve thought a lot about this since yesterday. I’ve stewed over it. Rued over it. And as drunkenly ridiculous as this may sound, I think America needs groups like the Westboro Baptist Church to crop up every once in a while. Why? Because they show us the wrong way to live. They show us what hate really looks like, thereby solidifying many of our beliefs in true justice, love, tolerance, and equality.

So thank you, WBC, for being such major jackasses!

And remember kiddies, if the Westboro Baptist Church hates you, that must mean you’re doing something right!

Danielle also writes for her own blog, Experimentations of a Teenage Feminist

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  • Katherine C. @ at 11:21 am, July 12th, 2011

    I think that you were incredibly brave to actually talk to one of those people. Just thinking about it actually makes me feel nauseus (sp?). When I did cold calls for the Obama campaign, I more than once got this vitriolic spew of hatred out of the phone and had to vomit after I hung up. I know, I need to grow a thicker skin.

    This was wonderfully, spunkily written. I always enjoy your posts.

  • Fox @ at 1:05 pm, July 12th, 2011

    Twats. Though that seems a rather tame interview to some others they’ve given. Kudos to you on actually having the nerve to speak with them.

  • Rhiannon @ at 1:41 pm, July 12th, 2011

    I HAVE A NEW ROLE MODEL!!

  • Lolita @ at 2:35 pm, July 12th, 2011

    May I please have the URL for the video? I’m trying to use it for a few of my classes.

  • Alice @ at 6:44 pm, July 12th, 2011

    Danielle, it was very brave of you to take on these people. However it’s shoddy journalism to tell your interviewee that your enquiry is a personal one when it’s clearly a media enquiry. Also, I’m not sure what the legalities are in your state, so this may not apply to you, but in a lot of places it’s illegal to record someone without their permission. At the very least this approach was unethical from a journalistic point of view. As brave as you were to have dealt with such horrible people, the right thing to have done would have been to explain your position to your interviewee.

  • Meg @ at 8:38 pm, July 12th, 2011

    be careful with stuff like this. recording people without their knowledge and permission is often very illegal, and the WBC is known for using the legal system to fund their ridiculous bullshit. part of the reason they protest at funerals is to provoke grieving people into physical violence so they can sue.

  • old yeller @ at 10:16 pm, July 12th, 2011

    You should really look at the views of mainstream conservative religious groups before assuming your little interview is evidence of anything meaningful about the Westboro Baptist Church.

    The opinion he voiced was fairly in line with opinions held by vast numbers of religious conservatives with NO affiliation to WBC. It is also not very shocking, telling, or earth shaking. I recommend actually doing some research on what the “other side” thinks about feminism before jumping to conclusions.

    Also try approaching the matter with an open mind. Don’t approach it with an attitude of looking for evidence to back up your own preformed opinion… Try to have an open mind, and try to understand WHY people believe the things they do, instead of writing them off as close-minded jackasses who are “living life wrong”.

    You should re-read your post in about 15 years and write a follow up (after you finish cringing).

  • Dylan @ at 5:02 pm, July 13th, 2011

    I’ve found that it is helpful when considering the WBC to compare them with someone like Howard Stern or Rush Limbaugh. They are a *business* before anything else, and they make their protests as offensive as possible to provoke a reaction that they can sue for. They will sue cops for trying to stop their protests, or civilians for assaulting their members. You must remember that just about every adult member of the WBC is a lawyer. In their actions they are little more than trolls, but they have found a way to turn the rage they inspire into money for themselves.

  • Mid-week news round-up: military at pride parade, the sexist dairy campaign and more! « The Sin City Siren @ at 10:01 am, July 14th, 2011

    [...] If your outrage meter is off the charts after all that, here’s something that might make you feel better: A teen feminist calls Westboro Baptist Church to confront them (via Fbomb). [...]

  • Mid-week highlights and lowlights « THE TIRED FEMINIST @ at 11:13 am, July 14th, 2011

    [...] If your outrage meter is off the charts after all that, here’s something that might make you feel better: A teen feminist calls Westboro Baptist Church to confront them (via Fbomb). [...]

  • firefly @ at 6:39 pm, July 15th, 2011

    This is what To Kill A Mockingbird warned us about. The whole, a Bible in a man’s hand is worse in a bottle of alcohol in another’s? The Bible itself isn’t inherently bad, but just like the Constitution, it was created a long time ago where standards were different. And apparently, you weren’t allowed to shave because the Bible said so.

    Good going, Danielle! After hearing how that abomination of a church treats people, I would not be brave enough to call them. Thank you for taking action and inspiring others to do the same. :)

  • Sunday Scraps 19 | rosiesaysblog @ at 9:54 am, July 17th, 2011

    [...] WESTBORO: The F-bomb has the transcript of a teenage girl who calls the Westboro Baptist Church to clarify a few pieces of their doctrine. [...]

  • Weekly Feminist Reader @ at 11:52 am, July 17th, 2011

    [...] B of the Fbomb interviews a member of the Westboro Baptist [...]

  • Ciara @ at 4:03 pm, July 17th, 2011

    I cannot stand these people; as someone that is going to be a (female, liberal) minister, the way they misconstrue religion and biblical texts makes me ill.
    However, the WBC guy was right about one thing- everyone defines feminism differently. I’ve had women I was dating tell me I was “supporting the patriarchy” by being sex-positive, stripping my way through undergrad (Hosea4:14… look it up, it rocks), and for shaving and wearing make-up.
    That said.. they protest Jewish community centers? Have they not read the new testament.. you know, all the places where people call Jesus ‘Rabbi’?

  • A Teen Feminist Calls the Westboro Baptist Church « hahayourefunny @ at 9:53 pm, July 17th, 2011

    [...] A Teen Feminist Calls the Westboro Baptist Church | fbomb. i love everything about this… especially the fact that a young woman took the initiative to [...]

  • Sarah @ at 8:45 am, July 18th, 2011

    I just wanted to throw in a quick comment. I really appreciate that you paint these guys as a cult, instead of insisting that it’s the Christian faith that’s ugly and hateful. I think it’s important to remember these people are just crazy and full of hate. I mean, not JUST, but it’s nice that you separated them from true movements of faith. I feel sad for people when the best they can say about women is that we’re “cool.”

  • Brian Time @ at 11:16 am, July 18th, 2011

    As a former Christian and a current Atheist, I have to point out that you are making some sweeping generalizations and taking alot of Schmoopie’s replies out of context. First, when Schmoopie refers to scripture forbidding women to teach, it is referring to Christian teaching, not teaching in general, and especially not teaching “anyone with a male appendage” (pretty dramatic BTW). Also, you are misguided in your perception of the Christian male-led household. It’s not like the wife is to keep her trap shut. Wives in these scenarios share their thoughts on family choices probably just as much as a non-christian household, but there is a ‘buck stops here” element in that the man of the household has the “final say” if the decision isn’t unanimous. And even in these cases, sometimes the “head of the house” role-structure breaks down when the man makes a choice the wife doesn’t agree with and he ends up in the dog house. I’ve witnessed scenarios such as these first hand.
    Even though like you Danielle, I have disagreements with these tenets of Christianity, your broad-stroke analysis is dramatic and immature. Also, I think it’s worth celebrating that there are some Christians out there who believe women should have true equality in the work place.
    Also, what’s up with lying to this person about your intent pertaining to this material? This was obviously a media inquiry, not a personal inquiry. That fact alone takes away the credibility of your piece.

  • Brian Time @ at 11:25 am, July 18th, 2011

    Haha I just caught the ‘Teen’ part of the title. That explains alot.

  • Toongrrl @ at 8:56 pm, July 18th, 2011

    Brava! You are so cool on that phone!

  • Toongrrl @ at 9:08 pm, July 18th, 2011

    Brava! You make this 21 year old proud!

  • Sergio Castillo @ at 12:35 pm, July 20th, 2011

    I always have admired USA for their Freedom, y just saw this interview and I could not believe that in Century 21, exists this kind of people with this sick minds and antiamerican, my congratulations to the interviewer of being so calm and professional with this
    fanatics.Who are really the money providers of this extremists?

  • Carolyn @ at 3:15 pm, July 20th, 2011

    I’m impressed by your courage in talking to them. This also demonstrates to me once again that many people have no idea what feminism is actually about. Although Schmoopie here is not exactly the norm when it comes to ‘people.’

  • vishi @ at 1:08 pm, October 10th, 2011

    I thought it was actually kind of funny the way Schmoopie was trying to make it sound like he is all for feminism and rights when everything he actually stands for and the WBC stands for is the complete opposite. Yes women should get equal opportunity in the workplace but once they get home they must obey their husbands and “he’s the final say in the house”, which means that the opinion of the woman is insignificant. If a woman is not given a say in her own house, what makes people think that she will get a say in the workplace? After that he goes on to say that women can have rights as long as it doesn’t “usurp the bible’s authority” and goes on to suggest the book, which talks about how women shouldn’t even have the right to “cut their hair”. Wow! But Schmoopie has no problem with women because he has a daughter who he, along with the rest of the church, has probably brainwashed to agree with the church’s believes and if they decide to rebel, obviously they’re going to hell. I completely agree with you on the simple fact that WBC is a bunch of narrow-minded people who are deluded and unfortunately passing on their ridiculous believes to future generations.

  • Christine @ at 9:05 pm, October 10th, 2011

    I agree with you, Vishi. How can this man say that he supports equal pay for women in the workplace, but then say that women should be subservient to men at home?? This whole interview is completely ridiculous!

  • Shreya @ at 9:35 pm, October 10th, 2011

    I agree with you Vishi that equality and woman’s right just isn’t about her voice in the workplace. It should be spread in all areas- such as in their house.

  • Post 3: Gender roles in the Westboro Church « katrinablevins @ at 1:20 am, November 16th, 2011

    [...] http://thefbomb.org/2011/07/a-teen-feminist-calls-the-westboro-baptist-church/ [...]

  • Katherine P @ at 7:06 pm, November 16th, 2011

    Damn it this was on ABC1 and I forgot to watch it. These people aren’t Christian, they are so not Christian. It makes me sick.

  • signs of end times @ at 2:10 pm, April 6th, 2013

    Keep the posts coming it was helpful

  • The Raisin Girl @ at 4:30 pm, January 22nd, 2014

    It’s been my theory for a long time that Westboro Baptist Church actually serves the purpose of setting the lower boundary for how fucked up our society can get as a whole. The most racist, sexist, homophobic people I have ever known will still look at WBC and go “uh, no, that’s just too far.”

    Still, I have to agree with some of the previous comments: if you went in with the intent of having a personal conversation that you then decided to use as a blog post, that’s verging on invasion of privacy. If you went in with the intent of using the phone call as a blog post, you lied, which isn’t actually illegal but does hurt your credibility. And laws on recording conversations vary by state. In my state it’s legal as long as one of the people being recorded is aware of it, but I don’t know what it is in your state, or what it is in Kansas.

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