Letter to the London Review of Books
Nicholas Guyatt, in his piece on the US Christian right, mentions that at the funeral of the notorious religious huckster Jerry Falwell, one lamb from Pastor Falwell’s flock was caught with homemade bombs in his car, claiming that he’d brought them in case liberal protesters threatened the cortège. In the event, the protesters weren’t ‘liberal’: they were members of an even more extreme religious sect, the Westboro Baptist Church, which denounced Falwell as a ‘corpulent false prophet’. The WBC, whose members believe the Iraq war is God’s way of punishing America for its permissive attitudes towards homosexuality, have weathered years of denunciation by more moderate clerics, such as Falwell. Yet when I interviewed them at one of their demonstrations, WBC members said they regard the US Constitution, including its provision guaranteeing freedom of speech and religion, as one of God’s greatest blessings. It’s a melancholy fact that many US Christians appreciate their Constitution only when their own beliefs are the ones ridiculed and suppressed.
Ciudad del Este, Paraguay