Fred Phelps and his merry gang of hate preachers that go by the name of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) are coming to the UK later this week. According to the picket schedule on their website, they will be visiting a college in Basingstoke, England where The Laramie Project is to be performed on Friday.
WBC are a notoriously extremist Christian wing in America. They hold pickets across the USA “preaching the word of God”. In the recent past they have picketed the funerals of dead homosexual American servicemen killed in action because of their sexuality.
In reality what WBC do is twist quotes from the Holy Bible in order to support their anti-gay stand. Their raison d’être is to rid the world of the evil that is homosexuality. It’s not about preaching the word of God, they just hide behind that. They are religious extremists.
Now, there are many calls to see them banned from entering the UK under hate laws (similar to those used to prevent Geert Wilders from entering last week). This situation is a tricky one. I have said before that I am a great believer in the “I may not like what you say, however, I will defend to my death your right to say it” philosophy. However, this isn’t straight forward. The WBC are coming to the country specifically to preach hate. If they were an organisation based in this country then I would say, go ahead and let them preach their hate and allow it to be opened to reasoned debate and criticism and ultimately ending up in their arguments being obliterated. Although, there is the argument that Human Rights are universal and apply to all humans and that to stop these people from entering to preach their message of hate could lead to others being banned from entering because their message is offensive to the Government. I’m not sure where I stand on this. I am leaning towards the let them in and leave with their tails between their legs position, but it is a tricky one.