Westboro Interfaith Council

WARNING: This post not only features a shorter f-word, but places it on the lips of most of the church folk in Westboro. A meeting of the religious people in Westboro (on the west side of Topeka, Kansas) was convened in order to present a more balanced view of the community's religious congregations regarding homosexuality than has been presented by the Westboro Baptist Church. These are their responses. [Special thanks to Corey Y., who collected some of the most enlightening answers.] Westboro Baptist Church: God hates fags. Westboro Christian Fellowship:…

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Alma Shrugged: Mormons and Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand has long had a intense following among a certain segment of the population. However, it now seems that prooftexts from Rand have transcended the masturbatory fantasies of adolescent boys and are now to be found in the Facebook timelines of adult people with families, jobs, and real-world responsibilities. It is not entirely clear to me why adult people with responsibilities have Facebook timelines, but since I do as well, I'm not going to focus my critique there. Rather, I am going to discuss the reverence some Latter-day Saints…

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Let My People Go (Back To the State Hospital, When Appropriate)

In the United Stated, disproportionate numbers of homeless people and criminal offenders suffer from mental illnesses. There is good reason to believe that there is a causal relationship between mental illness and certain socially problematic behaviors. Social scientists have uncovered evidence for this relationship; you may do the same, in the comfort of your own mind, by asking “Why might a person who believes that everyone around him is plotting his demise find it difficult to hold down a job and keep an apartment? Also, why might such a person…

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To Pray the Cray Away

[This is the first in a two part series about mental illness. This post will be about religion and mental health and the second post will be about mental health and public policy.] The longstanding antagonism between many religious groups and professionals in behavioral health fields is a significant but inadequately discussed conflict. As a member of a religious community that has not always had an entirely positive relationships with mental health practitioners (especially psychiatrists) who also happens to live with a significant mental illness (bipolar disorder), I find this…

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Hatred Is Not a Mental Illness

It has been observed that, when black men commit acts of violence, they are characterized as “thugs” or even “animals,” but when white men commit violent acts, they are described as “mentally ill,” “disturbed,” or “demented.” This is exactly what has happened in the case of Dylann Roof, the confessed shooter in the Emanuel AME Church incident on Wednesday. First, some context: as a person who lives with a significant mental illness, I recognize that mental illness is a real problem and that it is more common that many people…

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