What About Mark?
For one of the few times since I’ve been responding to “The Point,” I thoroughly agree with Mark Hyman. In his editorial on Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, Hyman says its members are “despicable morons.” Any person with two brain cells to rub together would have to concur.
Phelps is the hate monger whose church regularly demonstrates at the funerals of people who have died of AIDS. They famously picketed at the memorial service for Matthew Shepherd, the young Wyoming man who was beaten to death because he was gay.
To be completely honest, I admit that the cynical side of me can’t help but notice that while Hyman condemns the church, he doesn’t explicitly say that their views on homosexuality are objectionable. Rather, he focuses on the group’s demonstrations at funerals.
Moreover, Hyman only specifically mentions their recent picketing of the funerals of American service personnel and West Virginia miners (whom church members apparently think died as God’s punishment for America’s tolerance of homosexuality). He doesn’t mention Matthew Shepherd or that the group came to infamous prominence primarily because of its demonstrations at the funerals of people who died of AIDS. If the WBC hadn’t gone on record as hoping for more U.S. casualties in Iraq and merely continued with their homophobic rantings, would Hyman have noticed or cared? Is it their hatred that’s objectionable, or merely the fact that their hatred has spilled over into “hating the troops” that’s the problem?
And given the fan base Hyman plays to, I can’t help but wonder how many “Point”-heads surfed over to the WBC website after hearing Hyman’s commentary because they were at least vaguely sympathetic to the church’s views.
But beggars can’t be choosers, and Hyman certainly didn’t have to take up the topic of the WBC at all. It might sound like faint praise to cheer Hyman for voicing objections to Phelps & Co. (sort of like offering kudos to someone for taking the position that Hitler was, on the whole, a less-than-pleasant fellow), but when you’re right, you’re right. Rather than bashing Hyman for not being as vociferous and inclusive in his attacks on the WBC as I would like, I’d rather give him a pat on the back and encourage him to go after more of the people and groups on the Radical Right that are an embarrassment to legitimate conservatism. It is here that Hyman could perhaps do the most good (the whole “Only Nixon could go to China” thing).
Heck, maybe this could lead to Hyman moving ever so slightly to the political mainstream.
You can do it Mark . . . just keep reminding yourself of Bill Murray's mantra in What About Bob?: baby steps, baby steps.
And that’s The Counterpoint.