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The Westboro Baptist Church should be classified as a hate group

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/24/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,503 times Debate No: 53282
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
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Round 1: Opening statements
Round 2: Facts/Argument
Round 3: Facts/Argument
Round 4: Closing statements

I look forward to my opponent's argument. Good luck.

The Westboro Baptist Church is a hate group for sure.


Who cares? Religion of any type sucks, but people do have the right to believe as they choose.

All people have the right to hate other people, or to hate ideas they do not agree with. It's human nature. Hate is also protected speech under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. You could classify the Ku Klux Klan, NAACP, the Red Cross or Unitarian Universalists as hate groups if you want, and it will make no difference in the scheme of things. They will still exist, they will promote their ideas, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Further, classifying the superstitious cretins of Westboro Baptist Church as a "hate group" only reveals the hatred of those who wish to classify it as a hate group. I recommend simply ignoring them.
Debate Round No. 1


But how could you ingnore them? They picket your town, they picket a dead soldiers funeral. They even threatned to picket the funerals of 20 children who have passed awya. How could you not not classify it as a hate group?


It is very easy to ignore a harmless group of delusional religious fanatics if one considers the source. As long as they do not resort to violence, I truthfully couldn't care less what they do, and I dismiss them accordingly. I consider them fools, yes, but as long as they remain only dissenters with loud mouths, no real harm is done to anyone. Sure, some "feelings" may be hurt; I submit that people should grow thicker skins. I personally find a society of whining hand-wringers disgusting and puerile; perhaps we should simply mind our own businesses.

Further, the Supreme Court of the United States of America has already adjudicated this case, and has affirmed Westboro Baptist's Constitutional right to picket funerals, even those of children, while holding their ridiculous placards, and chanting "god hates f*gs", "thank god for dead soldiers", etc, etc, ad nauseum.

That said, the late Fred Phelps, emeritus head lunatic of Westboro Baptist Church, said that his god "hated f*gs" - not he nor his congregation, and according to Christian scripture, specifically Leviticus, the god Elohim does consider homosexuals abominable in its sight, which can be interpreted as "hating" by a deity, which is beyond the scope of this argument.

Therefore, the fanatics of Westboro Baptist Church are simply practicing their form of religion, distasteful or not, which is a right all people have under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

Pointedly - how does one determine what "hate" is, and who should be the arbiter? Every human being on this planet hates something, from beef liver, to other people, to entire nations. Why should any particular group be arbitrarily classified as "haters" by another group who finds their stance distasteful? Resentment or loathing of one group's stance by another group can be considered "hate" as well, and thus begins a vicious circle of recrimination, based only on emotional opinion. I personally find any group that has an agenda to force their worldview down another's throat odious, but I do realize that they all have the right to their opinion, whether they are of any race, creed, or sexual preference.

One could attempt to counter that the loonies of Westboro Baptist Church are "immoral", but history has proven that morality is a relative construct, based on societal normatives. Conversely, the parishioners of Westboro Baptist Church believe that homosexuality is "immoral", whatever that is or may be, based on their parochial worldview.

Quite simply, one man's hate is another's dissent.
Debate Round No. 2


Everyone from the WBC thinks God is a hater. With evrything that they have, they hate too much, they should be recongnized as a hate group


Quote, verbatim: "Everyone from the WBC thinks God is a hater. With evrything that they have, they hate too much, they should be recongnized as a hate group"

That is an opinion, not a fact. For one thing, you do not know that "everyone" in the Westboro Baptist Church thinks that their god is a hater. Further, what do they really have, other than a Church building and their personal property? In your opinion they hate too much, and for that reason, you state that they should be recognized as a "hate group".

I again ask, who is to be the arbiter of such a pronouncement, and what possible penalties could be accessed against them for being such, without violating their First Amendment rights? Even if you or I decided to arbitrarily classify them as a "hate group" it will make little or no difference to the Westboro Baptist Church, and would only strengthen their charge that they are being "persecuted" by "heathens and atheists". As they are non violent, I think ignoring them is the best option.

According to the Bible, which I think is nothing more than a collection of myths and fairy tales, the god of the Hebrews and Christians, Elohim, is in fact a "hater" of homosexuals, for whatever reason. Examples of this include verses in Old Testament books Genesis and Leviticus, and in New Testament books Romans, Galatians and Jude. One may consider that odious, but the fact remains that such admonitions are part of the Christian and Jewish faiths, which both religions consider to be the words of god itself. So do the parishioners of Westboro Baptist Church, for good or ill; in fact, the words of the Bible do indeed support their position.

That aside, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right of anyone to practice any faith they want to practice, without governmental interference. In addition, they have the right to think that their god is a "hater", based on their scriptures, referenced above.

One man's hate is another's dissent - not only that, when it comes to Westboro Baptist Church, it is their belief, and beliefs cannot be sanctioned, let alone prohibited.
Debate Round No. 3


An opinion? I am pretty sure that half of America is tired of hearing "god hates f***". How is this not a hate group? I understand we should ignore, but they really should be classified as a hate group.

Thank you for this argument. You did good.


Yes, yours is an opinion, and opinions are subjective determinations, often based on emotion, rather than facts. All is opinion, as humans are arbitrary creatures, but that is another matter.

Basic human rights, e.g., freedom of speech, are not granted, nor are they rescinded by a majority. The right to dissent, no matter how odious, is guaranteed for everyone by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution; it must apply to everyone or it means nothing.

A governmental body classifying any group as a "hate group", would abrogate that right. In the case of Westboro Baptist Church, their right to behave like annoying, puerile lunatics has already been decided by the Supreme Court, in Snyder v. Phelps, 131 S. Ct. 1207 (2011). That said, rather then reiterating, I stand by what I have written earlier.

Thank you for your time.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Conway193 7 years ago
I'm the Devil's advocate here. Such should be obvious, considering that I am a convinced atheist - in exactly what way is Westboro Baptist Church an "Enemy of the State"? Further, what criterion would such a value judgement be based on? They have physically harmed no one with their lunacy - do you actually think people should be killed for their opinions? How does that jibe with the First Amendment, which is the law of the land?
Posted by irreverent_god 7 years ago
When I took my oath to enter the Air Force, I swore to defend our country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Given that I have seen the WBC cause greater harm than some of the people that have been imprisoned for it, I would actually have to classify the WBC as 'Enemies of the State.' If I were to watch them all burned alive, I cannot honestly say that I would feel anything, at all.
Posted by Conway193 7 years ago
Apparently, you do not understand how and why the First Amendment prohibits government from abridging freedom of speech or religion, regardless of how odious it may seem. I would also like to see you provide citations with regard to alleged "violence" from the loonies at Westboro Baptist Church toward any of their charges.

Thank you,

Posted by Irishboy 7 years ago
Westboro Baptist church is a hate group, and they have used violence on their kids to make them believe. The leader of the Westboro baptist church used to hit his kids to keep them in line and follow him. Hate groups don't have to resort to violence, but have to hate someone strongly and make sure they know it. I believe the freedom of speech has been abused. I think it should be illegal for the Westboro baptist church to picket anything or anyone who is different. Pro wins hands down.
Posted by dan1966 7 years ago
The Westburo people are misinformed as to how the message of GOD is to be given to others, they use him as a personal sword rather than a redeemer. Christ himself rebuked John in Luke 19 when he wanted to call fire down on a city for refusing to see the Christ.

But God's scriptures still stand....homosexuals, lesbians, pedophiles, adulterers, fornicators, murders, swindlers and those in opposition to the LORD thy GOD "SHALL NOT INHERET" the kingdom of GOD, if you live for your sin and the bile of this word...which hates are a walking dead corpse and you'll be a burning dead corpse when you die mortally. That includes these unrepentant Westburo idiots who will not call the sinner to conviction and forgiveness and instead want him to die.
Posted by Conway193 7 years ago
Yeah, sort of like the US Federal government hating those who do not conform to the status quo, or follow the herd of bleating drones.
Posted by zmikecuber 7 years ago
Define "hate group"
Posted by philochristos 7 years ago
Fanath, it sounds like you're agreeing with me, but I can't tell for sure.
Posted by Fanath 7 years ago
If there is a group that goes out an publicly demonstrates hatred, hostility, and/Or violence then yes. Just because someone may be correct in their belief doesn't mean that someone is immune to being a hate group.

That's like saying that because gay rights group may be correct, they're immune to being a hate group, even if they burn down a church supporting traditional marriage...
Posted by philochristos 7 years ago
Fanath, wouldn't that mean that any organized group or movement that opposed the Westboro Baptist Church is a hate group?
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