Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Dad Teaches Little Son to Hate Gays, Jews, All Americans: Phelps’ Legacy of Hatred

WBC often uses child protestors - PinkNews photo

Topeka, Kansas – Steve Drain, a member of Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church, is proud of his 7-year-old son Bo.  Young Bo has learned to hate on a grand scale: Gays, “hundred and hundreds of Jews,” all citizens of the United States, are bound for eternal hellfire.  ABC News 20/20 reports that from the cradle, children of the notorious, gay-hating Topeka church are taught that anyone who violates their interpretation of the Bible is bound for everlasting punishment.  Gay people are particularly singled out in Bo’s young mind, thanks to the indoctrination he has received from his father, mother, and teachers at WBC. Bo sincerely believes gays by the millions are headed for damnation: “You get destroyed and you get put in hell. Hell is like a burning place where it can never be stopped, burning, and it can burn millions of people every day,” he said.  Because the government allows diversity, and for the most part does not punish lesbians, transgender people, and gays, Bo has been taught that all Americans are de facto “fag enablers.”  His father, Steve, was so impressed by the message of Phelps back in 2000 when he came to film a story on the church, he returned to Florida, packed up his family, and moved them to Topeka to join the 70-member congregation.  He and his wife Luci live just outside the church compound with their four children.  The allure of the church is not unlike other utopian, world-hating sects from the past: certainty based on a fundamentalist reading of the Bible and morality, security in a swiftly changing world, salvation from hellfire, and purity from the stains of sin and immorality.  The Southern Poverty Law Center has highlighted this church before, and others like it because of the potential for violence that religious bigotry and hate speech breed.  While the connection between indoctrination in hatred and physical violence is hotly debated, and courts have upheld the first amendment rights of groups like Westboro Baptist Church to protest at synagogues, LGBT churches, schools, and the funerals of fallen U.S. soldiers, there is little doubt that when fringe personalities act violently to harm vulnerable individuals and groups, “true believers” like WBC see the hand of God in the deeds.  When the Drains take their children to picket the funerals of military service members killed in the line of duty, they and the other members of WBC praise God for taking the life of another “fag enabler.”  According to ABC’s 20/20, Steve Drain, Bo’s father, said the church arrives at the funerals to let families know their loved ones are in hell because they fought for a supposedly damned country. “Remember what we all say: No God fearing man or woman would lift a finger fighting for a country awashed in sin like this,” Steve Drain said to his son.  Though the Drains have an estranged eldest daughter, Lauren, who rejects the hatred her family and WBC has taught her, the younger children are content to protest, picket, and preach for hate, at least for now.  Bo tells ABC News, “I’m preaching and I’m going with this church, and that’s what the church says. I’m going to go with that my entire life”—A sobering thought for Father’s Day.

June 19, 2010 - Posted by | Anti-Semitism, Florida, Fred Phelps, funerals, gay men, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Kansas, Lesbian women, military, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, Slurs and epithets, Southern Poverty Law Center, transgender persons, transphobia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

  1. I think the rest of the world would be grateful if he also taught his kids that they should stay in a cement bunker for the rest of their lives isolated from all forms of communication because the world is wrong, evil, or what have you.

    Comment by Ben Andersen | January 4, 2011

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