The vitriol with which they spew their venomous zealotry has made them a national household name, and rightfully so. That’s right, the Westboro Baptist Church is at it again. They claimed to be going to San Francisco last weekend, for the 50th annual SuperBowl, and pledged to picket last Saturday morning’s book signing of Square Zair Pair, A new children’s book by Journalist of The Year award winner Jase Peeples. The writer received multiple threats of picket via twitter, and very creative ones, mind you. Check it out….
However, one can’t help but wonder…Why a children’s book? Well, I think it is pretty clear that the ‘Church,’ which has been deemed a hate group by both the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, has proven that they are not above much in this world. Founder Fred Phelps was first brought national attention in 1998 during his picket of the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a Wyoming man who was killed for being gay. The church’s fire and brimstone antics have continued even after Fred Phelps’ excommunication and subsequent death. Matter of fact, their picketing of funerals and LGBTQ events has become happenstance in America. Sadly, they vowed to turn their attention to children last weekend. Mostly because Peeples’ Zair Square Pair delivers a message about the importance of acceptance and diversity, and that is a message, in the words of the WBC, that “God Hates.” I personally come from a strict Pentecostal Christian upbringing. So, the group has both fascinated and confounded me for a very long time. As with everything in life that confounds me, I continue to pose the same question. Today I ask, in the case of the Westboro Baptist Church: What Would Wonder Woman Do?
Both are creatures of myth and story (yes, I said it). Both are products of divine birth. Both were gifted with divine powers. Both charged by the almighty(s) to show the world a better way. If you’re wondering who I’m talking about it’s Jesus of Nazareth (Jesus Christ) and Diana of Themyscira (aka Wonder Woman). Many aren’t aware of the clear and direct Messiah-like parallels of her story, but I’m here to tell you that they are there. Or at least they were there for the character’s first 70 or so years prior to DC Comics’ ‘New 52’ revamp…but that’s fodder for another article. Today I’m going to concentrate on the character’s first 70 years with an emphasis on Dr. Marston’s original creation. Because ultimately, that’s the source material and what I believe for what Wonder Woman was intended. In my humble opinion, the ideals of Jesus Christ and Wonder Woman are complimentary and very near to be equally parallel. Since the WBC has claimed to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, I figured I would take their most popular three word slogan “GOD HATES FAGS” and utilize it as a template, to compare: a) their Lord and savior’s message, b) Wonder Woman’s message and c) how the church falls in line with said doctrine. All in an effort to lead me to an answer of ‘what Wonder Woman would do’. Okay,…here we go!
FIRST WORD: ‘GOD’ – Who is this God in the bible that the Westboro Baptist Church follows? The Christian faith says that God is three in one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So, when referring to Jesus Christ we are also referring to God. Well, the bible also gave a very clear and direct definition of who God is. In 1 John 4:8 says that “…God is Love.” (Siri, create a Reminder for me to thank John for being so thoughtful and breaking it down for us). Ok, so how does the bible actually define love? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says that, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” By these definitions, God is love and love is exhibiting goodness and kindness…Seems pretty simple to me, right? Dr. Marston also seemed to have similar views.
In the previous photo, Marston’s Wonder Woman proved to the personifications of Love and Wisdom (Aphrodite & Athena), that she was worthy to have people obey her, due to her mastery of love and wisdom. Essentially, in one panel, Marston made a clear statement that Diana being of service to love and wisdom was the prerequisite for her to lead. His character was literally governed by the two ideals, and was commanded to lead with love and wisdom. Seeing this panel really blew my mind on so many levels. Those who I personally consider to be some of the greatest and most memorable writers of Wonder Woman (Perez, Jimenez, Rucka, Simone, Badower, etc.) continued to expand upon Marston’s idea of Wonder Woman being a creature governed by love and wisdom. It’s very clear, to me and in my opinion, that both God and Wonder Woman have love as their foundation. I have yet to see a display of that kind of love (patience, kindness, etc.) from the Westboro Baptist Church. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure if they are aware, but the Westboro Baptist Church has exhibited the equal and exact opposite of every single description Corinthians gave of what love is supposed to be. Especially with the word ‘hate’ being at the nexus of their most popular slogan. Which brings me to the next word in today’s template for examination…
SECOND WORD: ‘HATES’ – I can’t blame the Westboro Baptist Church for concentrating on this particular word. Hate is actually mentioned often in the bible, and they do a very great job of listing many of the mentions of hate in the good book. There is a definite through line of ideas about hate weaved through the holy text. Though ultimately, if you ‘hate’ and claim to be a follower of Christ then you, “…shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 50: 20-21. This passage is conveniently left out of the Westboro Baptist Church’s list of hate mentions. God (Jesus) also told us himself (directly) that one of the greatest commandments was to love our neighbor as ourselves, and John 3:14-15 says that, “…Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart.” And aren’t we all brothers and sisters in the Lord? So, if I’m correct, God pretty much sees hate as a sin, because “Vengance is MINE sayeth the Lord.” Romans 12:19.
It seems to me that Wonder Woman continues to reflect similar principles of loving everyone regardless. Marston exemplified his intention with Wonder Woman when he has her saying things like, “…keep your hands extended to all in friendliness but never holding the gun of persecution and intolerance.” I personally don’t see any kind of ambivalence there. It’s very cut and dry; always be friendly and don’t persecute or be intolerant. Three words sum it up for me: Don’t hate people. That’s were Wonder Woman seemed to stand in my eyes. It’s a stance that once again parallels what I’ve garnered to be the bible’s. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the interpretation of the Westboro Baptist Church with their “God Hates Everyone” slogans. Moving on…
FAGS – This is not a word I would use in mixed company. I believe it to be common knowledge that usage of the word ‘fag’ is clearly one meant to be derogatory towards homosexuals. Since today I’m comparing Jesus Christ and Wonder Woman (a comparison I know for which I’m probably going to catch a little heat), I’ll defer to what each of them has said in their books. Because I feel it is always better to get information ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’. Otherwise, you run the risk of playing the telephone game. First, let’s look at Diana. She was always an advocate for all people. In the previous panel she talked about learning love and respect for human rights. Since Marston did spend some time as a Hollywood writer of sorts, and he was consistently liberal with his views (especially on relationships…*cough-cough*), I can only speculate that he was in support of LGBTQ rights. Some of the greats expanded upon this idea as well. Perez introduced a gay couple with whom Diana spent time, Jimenez reinforced this, and Rucka eluded to a possible gay relationship. But it was Jason Badower who had Diana come right out and say the obvious. In Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman issue #48, she says to Superman, “Clark, my country is all women. To us, it’s not ‘gay’ marriage…Its just marriage.” Jesus Christ was also very good at articulating his stance on gays. He said….oh wait. That’s right. He didn’t say anything at all. Well, I guess that’s that.
I can’t help but notice that the WBC continually puts special emphasis on the word ‘fag’ and systematically adds it to the majority of their phrases describing sinners. Again, just to clarify, they do not attribute this singularly as a derogatory adjective describing gays, but to most things describing sin…curious. My guess is that if I had the magic lasso and wrapped it around Shirley Phelps, she would reveal that my longtime theory is true. My theory is that Fred Phelps was actually a closet homosexual, who in the last year of his life started coming to terms with how harmful it is to hang on to hate. Then when he decided a love based approached was more appropriate, and revealed this new discovery and updated philosophy to Shirley Phelps she excommunicated him from the church in August of 2013. I can just see the knee jerk reaction someone would have when being on the receiving end of that information. I can only imagine how painful it would be to have the foundation of your entire value system be pulled out from beneath you in one fail swoop. Denial via excommunication would be a totally logical and instinctual action in these circumstances. Yes, this is probably the most obvious answer, because it has been proven time and time again, that those who dig in their heels the deepest, and are the strongest advocates against homosexuality; it is those are who are usually struggling with it the most. So, yeah I think that the Westboro Baptist Church is based on the beliefs of a closet homosexual. Why else would “the lady doeth protest too much?” But again, it is just a theory and I could be way off here. Regardless, it’s plain to see that once again, the ideals of Jesus Christ and Wonder Woman appear to line up almost perfectly. While the Westboro Baptist Church’s do not.
So what I’ve learned here today is that in my eyes, the Westboro Baptist Church doesn’t seem to line up with the principles of Jesus Christ. Yet, they are principles Wonder Woman seems to continually parallel. I find that it is unfortunate that a pagan seems to embrace and uphold the principles of Jesus Christ better than a group that claims to serve him. We have seen the group behave unapologetically offensive, express hate, and insight anger and discord in people. So, what would Wonder Woman do? In the previous, we saw that Wonder Woman is of service to love and wisdom via her greatest weapon: truth. I realize that we don’t all serve the same God, but something tells me that isn’t the case in this situation and that there is a clear and identifiable inauthenticity going on here. I think that Wonder Woman, although always prepared for battle and having the power to do what is necessary, would see through the veil of inauthenticity and would first extend her hand in friendliness. Gail Simone had a fantastic quote coming straight from Wonder Woman’s mouth that exemplified this: “Don’t kill if you can wound, Don’t wound if you can subdue, Don’t subdue if you can pacify, and don’t raise your hand at all until you’ve first extended it.” I think that Wonder Woman would always look for truth in the situation. That she would inspire conversation and debate, very much the way that Rucka depicted her in her Reflections book tour. I think that Wonder Woman would see through this hate, and would use Aikido like principles via her greatest weapon of truth to redirect this hate into love. But do not ever take Diana’s mastery of love and wisdom to be a sign of weakness. Love is never weakness, it is strength and power personified that always wins over hate and war. The Westboro Baptist church proved that when they didn’t show last Saturday to Jase Peeples’ book signing, as reported by the Huffington Post. Jase had organized an anti-Hate rally to combat the ‘church’s message of hate with one of love and acceptance. Peeples wrote on his invitation that he wanted to combat their message of hate with one of acceptance and love, and was prepared to engage in actual open conversation. The church of hate knew what was in store for them. They knew this was a loosing battle because like each and every time #LoveWins!
You can check out and purchase Peeples’ book on Amazon and a big thanks to the Westboro Baptist Church for giving the publicity to the book and helping to spread the message of diversity, acceptance, and love.