Westboro Baptist Church: A Deviant Hate Crime Group?

2724 words - 11 pages

Deviant behavior is anything that a person does that is out of the norm. Robbing banks, stealing cars, and assaulting individuals are easily considered deviant behavior, but can people be deviant while still being within their legal rights and without breaking any laws? One congregation that does not break any laws, but is considered to be out-of-line, is the Westboro Baptist Church. The Westboro Baptist Church has been called offensive and their actions are frowned upon by many. Is the Westboro Baptist Church actually a deviant group in disguise?
In order to get to know about the Westboro Baptist Church, a person needs to know a little about who they are, where they came ...view middle of the document...

The Bible does not teach messages about god loving everyone equally (God, 2011). The Westboro Baptist Church discuss on their web site that the Bible has very strict rules about how a person is suppose to live their life. (God, 2011). Being homosexual, or even allowing homosexuality to occur, is against those rules (God, 2011). A person must follow the Bible to an extreme to be considered sinless (God, 2011).
One of the biggest questions that people wonder when they encounter the Westboro Baptist Church, is how they can get away with what they are doing. Is the Westboro Baptist Church violating any laws? The Supreme Court ruled eight to one, that the Westboro Baptist Church is within their first amendment rights, and that their picketing, and attendance at fallen soldier's funerals are within their rights (Richey, 2011). The court case was brought about by a father of a fallen soldier who felt that the Westboro Baptist church had violated his son's rights by protesting at his son's funeral (Jonsson, 2011). People were enraged at the court's ruling, and felt that situations like those of the fallen soldier's could have been avoided if the Supreme Court had ruled differently (Richey, 2011) It is likely that the case opened up the door for the Westboro Baptist Church to feel more confident about their actions, since the Supreme Court basically stated that there will not be any repercussion for their actions since they were within their rights.
Even though the Westboro Baptist Church is within their rights,the behavior of the members of the from the Westboro Baptist church is seen as deviant in American society. Everyone dies, and with most deaths come funerals. Funerals are part of the grieving process for families and friends of loved ones who have passed. Statements made by Westboro Baptist Church members during these protests suggest that the membership ignores the grieving process and uses the funeral ritual as an opportunity for forwarding their beliefs. “You're going to hell”, “god hates fags”, and “thank god for 9/11” were on some of the picket signs that were used at one fallen soldier’s funeral (Gregory, 2010). The Westboro Baptist Church claimed that the reason that they protest at soldier's funerals is because god is punishing soldiers since America is allowing homosexuality (Gregory, 2010).
Even though the Supreme Court ruled that the Westboro Baptist Church is within their rights, recent actions by community groups suggest that their behavior is not acceptable by the general public. In Mcalester, Oklahoma on November 14, 2010, members of the Westboro Baptist Church protested a fallen soldier’s funeral and were greeted with slashed tires when attempting to leave (Gamallo, 2010). Further, individuals in the community were unwilling to provide assistance and church members had to call AAA for aid (Gamallo, 2010). The simple actions of the people of Mcalester indicates that the actions of the Westboro Baptist...

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