What is it that drives religious belief? And for believers, how deep are your convictions? Are you so committed to your religion that you are willing to become one of the most hated people in America?
In a country where on average almost half (46%) of eligible voters don’t vote, it wouldn’t be too far of a leap to assume that most people will not stand up for their convictions, especially if those convictions run against popular opinion.
As we’ve been reporting almost daily, one of the most volatile issues that’s boiling just under the surface of our modern day society is religious extremism. Unfortunately, the moderates and more open minded people of our society are not as motivated by their convictions as those with deeply held religious beliefs. And we're seeing it: The tentacles of Christian dominionism, Islamic extremism, and cult like behavior can be found all over the news. We’ve seen some of the hate mail directed toward organizations that promote freedom of religion … and freedom from religion. Judging from the news and from the hate mail, it’s an uglier situation than most mainstream Christians or non-believers have any idea. It’s our opinion at God Discussion that we will never transcend extremism and religious fundamentalism until we can identify it, understand it, learn where these beliefs come from, and discover how and why they are nurtured.
So that’s why in our next God Discussion Internet radio show, we’ll be talking with Shirley Phelps-Roper of the Westboro Baptist Church.
According to their website, the Westboro Baptist Church took its ministry to the streets in 1991, and since that time, had 43,581 demonstrations that they call “opposing the fag lifestyle of soul-damning, nation-destroying filth.” They have shown up with signs at military funerals, civilian funerals, school plays and other affairs. These activities have raised First Amendment issues that will be heard by the United States Supreme Court, which announced in March that it will hear Albert Snyder’s appeal to reinstate a $5 million verdict against the Westboro protestors, who had picketed outside his son’s military funeral in Maryland. When the case was first brought to trial, a jury in Baltimore awarded Albert Snyder damages for emotional distress and invasion of privacy, but a federal appeals court threw out the verdict, opining that the church’s "imaginative and hyperbolic rhetoric" was protected by the First Amendment. The case, styled Snyder v. Phelps (09-751) will be argued in the fall.
There's a very good case summary here: http://www.citmedialaw.org/threats/snyder-v-phelps
High profile First Amendment attorney Jonathan L. Katz is representing the Phelps and Westboro Baptist church. The ACLU, which often supports gay rights, has supported the church’s free speech rights. 48 states have signed on to a petition to the Supreme Court defending Mr. Snyder. The states of Maine and Virginia did not join.
What We're Planning to Talk About During the Show.
While the court cases are interesting, we're going to address the deeper questions with Mrs. Phelps-Roper; i.e., Biblical questions such as predestination, the nature of God, and the purpose of humankind.
As always, the chat room will be open and we will take live, on-air questions if the guest is willing to address them.
Following this discussion, our friend and co-news host, Adam, the Man of Earth, will share his experiences at the famous Creation Museum in Kentucky. A pet project of Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum describes itself:
The state-of-the-art 70,000 square foot museum brings the pages of the Bible to life, casting its characters and animals in dynamic form and placing them in familiar settings. Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden. Children play and dinosaurs roam near Eden’s Rivers. The serpent coils cunningly in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Majestic murals, great masterpieces brimming with pulsating colors and details, provide a backdrop for many of the settings.
Have a Question But Can't Make the Show?
The show will be archived as an MP3 and on YouTube. If you're unable to join us but have a question you'd like us to ask, please add it to our comments section below and we'll try to address it.
Time: Thursday, June 24, 2010 @ 7:00 p.m. PACIFIC (see time conversions below)
God Discussion on Blog Talk Radio:
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