Monday, June 22, 2009

NYC Synagogue Double-Curse Is Opportunity for Fundraising

Here's a story that will warm your heart. From Haaretz:
When a predominantly gay synagogue in Manahattan learned that a group of ultra-Evangelical Christians were planning a protest outside their building, the congregation decided to turn the hate rally into a fundraising event.

Parishoners from the Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas-based institution, gathered on Sunday outside Congregation Beth Simchat Torah with signs reading "God hates fags" and "Jews stole the land."

The synagogue heard several days in advance of the church's planned demonstration and decided to counter the protesters' publicity drive with one of their own, rather than pursuing legal action.

The congregation encouraged its supporters to donate at least $1 for every six minutes that the demonstration lasted.

Following the 51-minute protest, the synagogue was able to raise more than $10,000 in donations. The congregation, which has been renting the West Village space, hopes to eventually buy a building of its own.

Some 150 people - including members other nearby synagogues and churches - held a counter-demonstration during the fundraising event, where they sang Jewish songs and prayers.

The Westboro Baptist Church is run by Fred Phelps, an outspoken evangelist who claims natural disasters and terrorist attacks are the result of America's "tolerance" of homosexuals. Phelps targeted Congregation Beth Simchat Torah because it works primarily with the Jewish gay and lesbian community. Gay-lesbian synagogue turns hate rally into fundraising event

The Westboro Church group, known for their "God Hates Fags" web site and picketing of ridiculous events such as veterans' funerals, came to our county a few months ago because we have a high school named after a poet who might have been gay. They also made stops in Baltimore and Fairfax, as I recall.

Last week the Southern Poverty Law Center put out a notice titled Rabidly Anti-Gay Westboro Baptist Church Now Targeting Jews, noting that:
Now WBC has turned its ire on the Jewish community, targeting synagogues and Jewish community centers with a new hate-filled taunt, “God Hates Jews.”

The Topeka, Kan., based church began picketing Jewish religious and cultural institutions in April of this year when they issued a press release that read, “Yes, the Jews killed the Lord Jesus…Now they’re carrying water for the fags; that’s what they do best: sin in God’s face every day, with unprecedented and disproportionate amounts of sodomy, fornication, adultery, abortion and idolatry!”

So hey, if God hates fags and God hates Jews, I suppose this NYC gay synagogue figured it was only a matter of time till they got on the schedule. It sounds like it worked out pretty well for them. Ten thousand bucks, pretty good.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, Jim, what is the reason you're so obsessed with this tiny and strange band of publicity seekers?

They've never done anything violent and they aren't atrracting any followers. They've never done anything other than make a bunch of nasty signs to make themselves look bad. So, what's your fixation about here?

I just did internet searching and found out some interesting things.

They don't belong to any denomination even though they call themselves "baptist".

They have websites expressing that "God hates" everyone other than themselves from Indians to Catholics to Mormons.

You may think of them as "ultra-evangelical" but it's hard to know what you mean. The leading evangelical in the world, Billy Graham, has had his meetings picketed by WBC. They carried signs saying Graham was going to hell.

They don't seem to have much to do with the more politically conservative Christian churches either. Jerry Falwell said Phelps was a "first-class nut". WBC picketed Falwell's funeral saying he was going to hell, btw.

Anyway, you seem to think it some PR coup that this nut is anti-gay but he seems to be pretty much anti-everybody.

He pickets and denounces churches just like gay advocacy groups do.

He seems to have more in common with radical gay groups than any orthodox Christian churches.

But, you know, what they are really doing is trying to attract attention and folks like TTF are the ones that give them what they want.

June 22, 2009 1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The synagogue heard several days in advance of the church's planned demonstration and decided to counter the protesters' publicity drive with one of their own, rather than pursuing legal action."

What legal action?

June 22, 2009 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

No baptist church belongs to a denomination; in polity, each congregation is independent.

Falwell blamed 9-11 on God's wrath about queers. Katrina was laid at our doorstep by "mainstream" evangelicals. WBC differs only in tone from these.

June 22, 2009 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While there is a tradition of autonomy in views among Baptists congregations in non-essentials, there are indeed Baptist denominations.

It's hard to imagine any Christian denomination allowing WBC to join.

If WBC had so much in common with Falwell, why did they picket his funeral?

Admit it, WBC is a publicity-seeking machine similar to ACT-UP.

June 22, 2009 2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Facing a tough Republican primary fight next year in his bid for a third term, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is brandishing the heavy artillery: Sarah Palin's endorsement of his campaign.

"If there's a bigger endorsement in the Republican universe, I don't know who it is than Sarah," he declared in a telephone interview over the weekend.

He described the Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee as a "close personal friend" who knows my heart.""

Gallup is echoing last week's findings by NBC/WSJ and Ramussen that Obama's approval rating is sinking, bte.

Obama promised that unemployment would only reach 8% before the recovery started if we would only pass his stimulating stimulus package. It's now nearing 10% and recovery is nowhere in sight. (hey, Barry, try lowering capital gains and marginal tax rates)

Budget deficits to implement Obama's social programs will exhaust America's capacity and leave it too weakened to defend itself if a major world war broke out.

Obama's takeover of private companies will politicize business decisions and hinder economic growth.

North Korea and Iran have responded to his conciliatory stance by cracking down on dissidents, arresting journalists, blatantly declaring their intention to go nuclear and, surprise, shoot a missile toward Hawaii on July 4th.

Obama may have to resign before it's all over if he really cares about his country.

He doesn't know what he's doing.

June 22, 2009 2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would put this group in the same category with Wayne Besen's hate protests against ex-gay's meetings in churches!

June 22, 2009 3:35 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

There are, in fact, no Baptist denominations. Organizations such as the Southern Baptist Convention are exactly what they say they are, organizations sponsored by a collection of independent congregations. Each individual congregation determines its membership, hires its clergy and other employees, and decides on its doctrine. Most importantly, each congregation exists as a separate legal corporation owning its own property. You are mistaken. There are no Baptist denominations. A central tenet of Baptist polity is congregationalism.

Now, would any Christian denomination allow WBC to join? I don't know. It's important to remember that the SBC, although it isn't a denomination and has changed its dogma on this matter, originally formed as an alliance of congregations that supported slavery for religious reasons. It's worth remembering their past when they oppose fair treatment of lgbt people.

Again, how is WBC different in substance from Thomas Road Baptist Church and it's affiliated Liberty College and Liberty Counsel?

June 23, 2009 7:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tend to think of congregationalist bodies as denominations

if you don't want to, go ahead and dwell in your ignorance

here's the definition of denomination:

"a religious organization whose congregations are united in their adherence to its beliefs and practices"

SBC does indeed have beliefs and practices unique to their "organization"

if not, there wouldn't be any reason for their organization

"how is WBC different in substance from Thomas Road Baptist Church and it's affiliated Liberty College and Liberty Counsel?"

how are they similar?

as for differences, Thomas Road doesn't believe that people that don't carry signs saying "God hates fags" are going to hell

you may remember that WBC picketed the funeral of the founder of Thomas Road, saying he was going to hell

apparently, WBC thinks there's a difference

you might want to invite Phelps out for tea and talk about the differences since he appears to have found some he feels are significant

it would be two nuts, talking it out and comparing notes

btw, how is your typical high school GSA different in substance from the local chapter of NAMBLA?

June 23, 2009 8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

new HIV atlas is out, showing how tolerance of homosexuality leads to higher AIDS rates

top five cities:

1. Miami
2. New Orleans
3. Baton Rouge
4. Washington, D.C.
5. Baltimore

all these places are highly tolerant of large gay communities

June 23, 2009 9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"all these places are highly tolerant of large gay communities"

Where is San Francisco? New York City?

These are all cities with large black populations, anon, that's what this list signifies.

June 23, 2009 9:30 AM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

Using the same 326 nanoseconds that Anon used to analyze the new HIV data, it is easily conlcuded that cities with 3 syllable names are most likely to have a high infection rates. ("D.C." are initials, not syllables.)

Note that Los Angeles, (4 syllables), home to may gay people who appear on television, does not appear in the top 5 list.

Have a nice day,


June 23, 2009 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

try zeroing in on West Hollywood

L.A. has a large hispanic population, a community largely intolerant of homosexual deviance

June 23, 2009 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Where is San Francisco? New York City?"

I had referenced metropolitan regions.

If you look at individual counties, Marin and San Francisco in the Bay Area and all boroughs of New York other than Staten Island are close to the top.

June 23, 2009 1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

looks like tolerance is an unhealthy policy for gays

June 23, 2009 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

The problem is that many poor people without health insurance coverage live in these large metropolitan areas. In 1980, five years before President Reagan ever uttered the term "AIDS" in public, half of the "ghetto poor" lived in 10 US cities, including Baltimore and New Orleans. Unless these cities found ways to fund free medical clinics that taught prevention as well as administered treatments, their rates of AIDS would have climbed just like they climbed in Africa until the ABC Program was funded and helped slow the spread of HIV infections there.

Newer HIV/AIDS prevention programs are more effective than those first instituted in the US. In the mid 1980s, during Reagan's term as President, 150,000 American were newly diagnosed with HIV/AIDS each year but by the late 1990s, during Clinton's term as President, the HIV/AIDS rates had been reduced to 40,000 new diagnoses each year.

Back to the topic of this thread -- the latest Nixon tapes to be transcribed reveal his thinking on Jews and Christianity back in the 1970s. Salon reports in a conversation with the Rev. Billy Graham, Nixon discussed complaints by some U.S. Jews about certain efforts to promote evangelical Christianity. "What I really think is deep down in this country, there is a lot of anti-Semitism, and all this is going to do is stir it up,” Nixon said, according to Savage. Later in the conversation, he said, “It may be they have a death wish. You know that’s been the problem with our Jewish friends for centuries." Did Nixon do anything about the anti-Semitism he felt evangelical Christianity would stir up?

It's interesting to note that the instigator of the use of the "Southern Strategy" in the 1960s said this the day the Supreme Court upheld Roe v. Wade:

"There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white .... Or a rape."

That sounds to me like Nixon thought interracial babies and those produced by rape were equivalent in that they were both abort-able.

June 24, 2009 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...


Link to CDC data on HIV/AIDS infection rates during the mid 1980s and late 1990s.

June 24, 2009 10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you guys have a point about rate being higher in slums.

Any data comparing middle class gays in tolerant areas with middle class gays in non-tolerant areas?

I think you'll find that tolerance of homosexuality leads to an increased rate of AIDS infections.

It would be amazing if it were not so.

btw, listening to Nixon speculate on the thoughts of evangelicals is somewhat like listening to Napoleon speculate on the the religious revivals in America during his day.

an interesting bit of irrelevant ignorance

June 26, 2009 2:13 PM  

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