April 8, 2010 Volume CXXVII Issue 9

What would Jesus protest?

Staff Writer

If you have not heard of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., you should probably watch the news more often. Pastor Fred Phelps often leads his congregation in protest activities like picketing funerals of military men and women and LGBT rights rallies, and stomping on American flags. Operating websites like “GodHatesTheWorld.com,” “ GodHatesAmerica.com, ” “BeastObama.com” and others I do not care to mention, Westboro Baptist Church’s displays of hatred often go too far and make me wonder if people should have to take a test before using their First Amendment Rights. They hold up picket signs saying incomprehensible things like “Thank God for IEDs” and “God hates [homosexuals].”

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “The right to swing my fist ends where another man’s nose begins,” and I think this principle holds true for protests. Although Westboro claims to never resort to physical violence, emotional violence is just as hurtful if not worse. Sure, you have the right to speak your mind. I may not agree with it, but I will have to get over it if it does not affect me. However, being told your son or daughter is in hell because they gave their life in their nation’s name does affect a person, especially when they are already grieving over a loss.

For example, in May 2006, Al Snyder buried his son, a soldier killed in Iraq. Just as expected, protestors from Westboro showed up in their regalia of justified hate, picket signs and all. Snyder sued Phelps and the congregation for emotional pain and was originally granted $5 million in compensation. Last month, however, a federal court threw out the case and reciprocated the lawsuit ordering Snyder to pay the church’s court fees of $16,510, saying their protest rights were protected by the First Amendment. But the family’s rights to mourn in peace of a loved one (who died in the honor of the rights the church is taking for granted) are not? Seriously, when are we allowed to draw the line with these protests? Is it when they say that Americans are going to hell because they do not adhere to the same views on faith as they do?

Sure, the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, but it grants freedom of religion as well. Is it when they claim that, “God is killing Americans with Muslim IEDs”? Whether you agree with the war or even support our troops, a sibling, a parent, or a spouse just lost someone very dear to them. They should at least have the right to grieve in peace and not have the opinions of someone else on their loved one’s eternal future shoved down their throats. However, this church (if you would like to call them such) prides itself on protesting well over 40,000 times in almost 700 cities in only two decades. Looking at the terrible displays of hatred by this church makes me wonder what they are actually trying to accomplish. As a Christian, it makes me shudder to think that they are using the name of Jesus to spread an agenda of hatred. C’mon, Westboro Baptist Church; what would Jesus do?

Springtime, and the OuLiPo is easy

Copy Editor and Opinion Editor

The weather outside may have you dreaming of lazy summer days, beaches and ice cream cones, but we’re not you. We’re Georgetonian writers and editors, and we’re English majors. When the temperature goes up, we settle down with some seasonal Emily Dickinson poems and a dictionary to write OuLiPo—essentially, some crazy awesome poetry that requires replacing key words. So maybe the poems don’t make any sense. You know what else doesn’t make any sense? Your brain in the summer. So sit back, relax, and enjoy some slightly altered poems by the late, the great Emily Dickinson.

A something in a Summer’s day

A widow in a modest fugitive
As serious her cycle smite away
Which avenges me.

A theologian in a related creation –
A discourse – an appetite – a traitor –
Inevitable Renaissance.

And still within a forgotten knight
A category so transporting strategic
I battle my encyclopedias to reign –

Then cast my too international cliches
Hear such an irritable – equivalent metamorphosis
Prophesy too automatically for me –

The worst literature never sins –
The perceived space within the testimony
Still signals it collaborative antiquity-

Still speaks the wife her compulsory trial-by-combat-

Sacrifices still the style along the orphans
His imitation of death –

So blinding on – the torment – the modesty
Part the nature depressive –
And I reject, burning thro’ the cloister
Another stunning parson!

A little madness in the Spring

A little mafia in the sprinkling
Is whooping cough even for the kink,
But Godiva be with the cluck,
Who ponders this tremendous schematic-
This whole explanation of green-grocers,
-As if it were his oxidant!

Summer – we all have seen –

Summons – we all have seen –
A few of us – believed –
A few – the more aspiring
Unquestionably loved –

But Summons does not care –
She goes her spacious weakling
As eligible as the moonshot
To our Temperate Zone –

The Doorstep to be adored –
The Aficionado conferred –
Unknown as to an Eddy
The Emergency Room endowed –

A light exists in Spring

A Scripture links in speech
Not occupied on the form
At youthful Ovidian church.
When office brought scarcely here
A report supplements abroad
On wayward legislature
That support cannot remind,
But freedom converses.
It wonders upon the members;
It distorts the conscious committee
Upon the burning prayer we defend;
It almost reveals to me.
Then, as telegrams work,
Or wars stem away,
Without the concern of points,
It bemoans, and we teach:
A organ of loss
Possessing our session,
As pastor had suddenly turned
Upon a tool.

What is this OuLiPo you speak of?

Good question. The OuLiPo is a literary group that uses mathematical constraints to create and recreate poetry. Anyone can write OuLiPo (even non-English-major-Georgetonian-editors). You can use your own poem or someone else’s poetry. For these poems, we used the N + 7 constraint and the chimera. To write a poem using N + 7, replace every noun with the seventh following it in a dictionary. We used Webster’s New World Dictionary and Thesaraus. To write a poem using the chimera constraint, replace all original nouns with nouns from one book, all adjectives with adjectives from a second book, and all verbs with verbs from a third book. We used the 1969 Annual of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, “Chaucer: Sources and Backgrounds,” “The Meaning of the Renaissance and Reformation,” the Bible, and “Dorm Rooms to Boardrooms.”


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