Westboro Baptist Church Member: Rachel Phelps Hockenbarger

Susie Meister: The Meister Piece » Podcasts show

Summary: NOTE: Unfortunately, this was meant to be the first video podcast, but the first 30 minutes did not process properly, so you can watch two clips below. The podcast contains the full interview and can be found below the videos. As I prepared for this interview many people asked why I would want to bring more attention to this "hate group." My decision to speak to Rachel Phelps Hockenbarger of the Westboro Baptist Church was not done without careful consideration. I think the public and the media typically talk about this group without understanding their theology, reasoning, or motivation. Let there be no mistake, I condemn the beliefs, actions, and theology of the Westboro Baptist Church. I do not think they represent Christians, Baptists, or Calvinists. I believe they have twisted the Bible to justify the condemnation of all who disagree with them. Their narrow-minded approach is antithetical to the message of Jesus and the themes of the Bible including non-judgment, compassion, and gentleness. That being said, I am a doctoral candidate in Religious Studies and I am genuinely interested in how people choose to practice their religious beliefs and how they make sense of their theology even if I find those beliefs offensive.  Whatever you think of the Westboro Baptist Church, they have given a great deal of thought to how they approach Scripture and their faithfulness to that interpretation is unwavering. I can only imagine the impact on religion if all people had such devotion and commitment to their religious tradition and theology. As you listen to this podcast, remember that my approach was one of peace, love, and true interest in learning how they see the Bible and why. I was not interested in debate or hatred, for I believe I must behave in a way that I want them to--it's the Golden Rule.  Perhaps if there is any good that can come from interviews like this one, it is a call for each of us to consider what we believe, why we believe it, and what we can do to improve the world. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2JaR9DcN90 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHyZ4OY_8fA   LISTEN TO THE COMPLETE AUDIO INTERVIEW HERE: