If you want to use Fred “God Hates Fags” Phelps as an example of Christian extremism, the natural and logical evolution of Dobson and his sort, you might want to re-think that. This blogger did some research and discovered Phelps may have a few roots still in the old faith, but he’s really working on something entirely different.
I had always just assumed that Phelps represented the furthest outreach of extremism on the subject of homosexuality and its relation to traditional Christianity. But today, doing some reading, I discovered that there’s nothing remotely “traditional” about Westboro Baptist.
In fact, it appears that Westboro has created not just an incredibly vulgar and non-Christlike approach to homosexuality, but that it’s working on a new religion altogether, complete with new scriptures.
Members of WBC generally avoid the name “Christian” when referring to themselves, preferring the mysterious term “Tachmonite.” This apparently refers to a servant of King David’s, but I’m not sure of the derivation or the intention.
I’m sure there’s not a decent Christian out there, liberal or conservative, who’s not relieved to know this. As for the rest of us, rant against fundamentalism if you like, but for accuracy’s sake, better to leave Phelps out of it.
[Hat tip, Eve-Tushnet]