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The NZ equivalent of the Westboro Baptist Church

Written By: - Date published: 9:26 am, December 8th, 2014 - 90 comments
Categories: human rights, religion, Social issues - Tags:

There is a wonderful Michael Moore clip from the Awful Truth where he takes on Reverend Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church.  That church had achieved some notoriety with its vehemently anti homosexual views and its practice of picketing the funerals of young gay men and harassing their grieving families.

Moore responded by assembling a group of volunteers in a large pink bus christened “the Sodommobile” and toured southern states where sodomy was still illegal.  They managed to purportedly commit an offence in three states at once!  The clip climaxes with Moore’s volunteers singing a Karen Carpenter song while one of Phelps’ supporters sings without irony “God hates fags”.  You have to see it to believe it.  You have to wonder at the blind stupidity and hatred displayed by people who think they are worshiping a god who preaches forgiveness and tolerance.

It seems that New Zealand may have its own Fred Phelps.  The Westcity Bible Baptist Church has posted a biblical passage on its Facebook page suggesting that homosexuals should be put to death.

Westcity Baptist Church anti gay rant

Levi Joule from Gay Express has reported on an email sent by the Church’s Pastor Logan Robertson in response to a request for support for a project dealing with issues faced by LGBT people in the church.  Joule reports that Robertson responded in the following terms:

“We are not interested in your filthy lifestyle or book.

Romans 1 clearly says god has rejected homos and they are worthy of death. You cannot be saved.

Leviticus 20:13 reads”If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

The Bible says you are vile, strange (queer), reprobate, sodomite, natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed (2 Peter 2:12).

I pray that you will commit suicide, you filthy child molesting fag.”

This is appalling, utterly appalling from someone who is meant to provide spiritual guidance to people.  Rather than detail how appalling it is I thought I would rely on Jed Bartlett to do so.

Updated to correct the name.  I understand the Church is not affiliated with the mainstream Baptist Church in New Zealand.

90 comments on “The NZ equivalent of the Westboro Baptist Church”

  1. nadis 1

    I think Westboro has more notoriety for picketing the funerals of US serviceman, and victims of school shootings with their anti-gay message. Completely insane, hopefully Fred Phelps dies soon. Louis Theroux did a really good doco on them a few years back.

  2. Sabine 2

    Fred Phelps has died, and before his death was excommunicated by his church. It appears that he might have had a re-think of his ideas. Several of the Church’Members have left and are now trying to rebuild their lives.

    sadly in this world of fear that we are creating (and yes, with our inactivity and laissez faire attitude we are literally letting stuff happen), it will be ok to bash single mothers as harlots, gay and lesbians and abominations unto the eye of god, to bash the infirm and disabled, and to hold people accountable for their poverty.

    Many many churches now preach that god does want one to be rich, and that those that live a godly life – no matter how miserable – will be rewarded with riches, and that those that don’t get rich quick must be doing something wrong, and if they just repent, fast, self flagellate and tithe above the 10 % all will be well.

    Also Ladies be submissive, a good Helpmeet, obey your Father and then your Husband always, don’t use the pill, and have as many babies as god will send you and above all be sweet, always smile, always be kind, never complain, or be not well. 🙂 .

    Also Gents, be assertive, a good provider, and you shall receive a good Helpmeet, who will be at your service (as is her duty if she wants to be godly).

    Yes. Religion is fucked up, but consider the strange times we live in, and it makes perfect sense. Religion is a tool used over and over again to enforce a rigid system of population control.

    ex roman catholic here 🙂

    • greywarshark 2.1

      Religion generally never wants numbers of population controlled. Simplistic breeding is what they generally go for. It’s interesting that a clever and hard working teenage girl in our extended family who had won awards while at college, and could have been expected to go into engineering and design, has married at the age of 17-18. I am jumping to conclusions here, and may be wrong about her future direction. But I don’t feel that there will be much encouragement for her to keep working and have a career and children and marriage which should be an option for the modern woman.

      Her parents are very church minded. Heaven forbid a woman who has forged a career for herself using the advanced part of her brain. The biological imperative is used against her, and her life limited to helping her husband get on in the world and bringing up their children for similar roles.

    • mickysavage 2.2

      Speaking as another ex roman catholic kia kaha Sabine! Hope your recovery is going well!

    • KJS0ne 2.3

      I’m pretty tired of all religions being tarred with the same brush by former Christians and Atheists whose only conception of faith has to be something involving a creator god.

      As a Buddhist, I can tell you for a fact that my religion couldn’t give a stuff about population, contraception, or whether you sleep with the same sex or not. Nor is my religion a tool for anything other than attempting to uncover the true nature of reality. So I may be biased, but I don’t think my religion is in any way ‘fucked up’.

      So next time you go about referring to religion, please bare in mind that religion does not always equate to Christianity/Islam/Judaism. And that when you draw that line and say that religion is fucked up, you’re being annoying to anyone who has a faith other than those three religions.

  3. ianmac 3

    I guess it takes an extremist like Pastor Logan Robertson, who by “virtue” of his bigotry, will be able to attract like minded bigots who will keep him in a great lifestyle. Think Destiny.

  4. vto 5

    People such as you describe are extremists and should be treated as potential terrorists.

    • Deb Kean 5.1

      “People such as you describe are extremists and should be treated as potential terrorists.”
      Don’t worry, haters are already on the case – people have already threatened to kill his wife and children, then him..
      How exactly does that help anyone?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1

        Well, the Bible talks about “an eye for an eye”.

        However, I suspect vto is advocating for formal action taken by the civil authorities.

  5. Tom Jackson 6

    The problem is religion. That’s what the Bible actually says about gays, and crap like this is what happens when people believe in supernatural authorities – reason goes out the window and you can believe whatever you like.

    The Bible is a stink book. You would think that God would sentence to death people who actually deserve it, like hipsters.

    • Sabine 6.2

      there are two books to the ‘bible’

      old testament, new testament.

      this guy is quoting the old testament, before jesus. You know the times when Abraham was ready to kill his firstborn (the one born to the slave cause his wife Sara was very old and only was granted a child once Abraham got to commit adultery with a Slave Girl, which was approved by God, cause God) in the name of the one and only god?

      the new testament is full of stuff like, Him/Her without sin shall cast the first stone, or treat others like ye want to be treated yerself, or love thy neighbour as ya love thy self, etc. etc.

      also there is not one person on this planet that would know THE BIBLE, cause if that book exists its buried in the Catacombs of the Vatican among many other stuff that no one will ever get to see.

      This geezer will most likely refer to the King James Bible http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_James_Version

      Also check Levicitus out, cause he is hard case

      The instructions of Leviticus emphasize ritual, moral and legal practices rather than beliefs.
      but you are not going to hear the good man preach this

      And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

      If they were truly true to what they preach they would call for divorce to be outlawed, but then their money making ventures would empty out of people.

      • Tom Jackson 6.2.1

        Who cares? To think that it is worth believing because it is written in a book written by religious barbarians that makes unsubstantiated historical claims, is just silly.

      • Wonderpup 6.2.2

        The thing I like about the sermon on the mount is that it specifically rejects a lot of the old testament, “It is written that…, but I say unto you [pretty much the opposite]”. I don’t hold much with Jesus as a divine creature, but as a historical one he is really quite interesting.

        There is a solid line of Christian progressive thought that forms a major part of the Labour movement. It may not be seen as terribly relevant, but I think it would be a shame to throw out Keir Hardie and Archibald Baxter with the bathwater.

        • Tom Jackson

          The historical Jesus is a placeholder for modern beliefs. Nobody really knows anything substantial about him or his beliefs – even his existence can be questioned. Our sources for Jesus life and works are very limited, and any reasonable historian would have to conclude that the religion called Christianity was created long after the supposed date of its founder’s death and for all we know bears little similarity to his views.

          The truth is that religious organisations make up the Jesus that suits them.

          • Phil

            Absolutely correct

          • Foreign waka

            Tom, it is the prerogative of a free person to choose their belief. I do hope you are not supporting the Romans when they occupied the middle east 2000 years ago or today’s fanatical Muslims that kill Christians in increasing numbers.
            The book of Leviticus is actually a Jewish book that incidentally has nothing to do with Christianity at all – or Jesus for that matter. In fact it was the same religious clergy that saw to it that Jesus was put on the cross.
            The writing of that particular book, as any religious text need to be seen in context. In my view an attempt to bring rules and restriction into a society thousands of years ago had an entirely different lifestyle and social structure. One should not forget that this was not an age of the internet or text messaging.
            As for the words of that “priest” – this is wrong on so many levels that I am aghast.
            With a sense of tolerance and good will – have a Happy and peaceful Christmas.

          • greywarshark

            The truth is that religious organisations make up the Jesus that suits them.
            That’s very modern. Here is your own personalised Jesus etc.

      • phillip ure 6.2.3

        i am currently halfway thru george bernard shaws’ take on the bible/jesus..

        ..(it is the preface to his play..androcoles and the lion’..a preface that is 140 pages long..)

        ..and i wd recommend that exercise to anyone interested in that subject…

        ..his shavian take has much food for thought..

        • greywarshark

          @ phillip u
          You’re always on about food.

          • phillip ure

            i have now finished the shaw preface..

            ..and i can only highly recommend it again..

            ..and i am surprised it is not more widely read/known..

            ..he brings clarity of thought to a very complex subject/issue..

      • Deb Kean 6.2.4

        “also there is not one person on this planet that would know THE BIBLE, cause if that book exists its buried in the Catacombs of the Vatican among many other stuff that no one will ever get to see. ”
        That’s popularly believed amongst atheists, but it’s complete nonsense. Have you ever heard of the Eastern Orthodox? Their church is as old as the Catholic one, and even if the RC church had hidden the Bible which they didn’t, the Orthodox exist and have it..

    • batweka 6.3

      “The problem is religion. That’s what the Bible actually says about gays, and crap like this is what happens when people believe in supernatural authorities – reason goes out the window and you can believe whatever you like.”

      Yeah, because there are no atheistic homophobes.

      “reason goes out the window and you can believe whatever you like.”

      I do love it when rationalists feel the need to tell lies to support their arguments.

      • hoom 6.3.1

        Plenty for sure but atheist homophobes don’t get to quote the bible as an Ultimate Authority excuse.

      • Tom Jackson 6.3.2

        Hoho… the fallacy of affirming the consequent.

        “When people believe in supernatural authorities, crap like this happens” isn’t the same as saying “when crap like this happens it is due to belief in supernatural authorities”.

        I guess religion has affected you so badly that you forgot the most basic logical rules.

        Have pity on those of us who don’t believe in the magical catering wizard.

    • Absolutely Tom.
      Seems to me that Logan Robertson might be the only honest Baptist pastor in New Zealand – he alone has actually outlined the “teachings” of his church.
      The problem is not one cleric accurately representing his faith, it is the concept of religious faith itself.

  6. Morrissey 7

    The Roman Catholic hierarchy is scarcely more enlightened or tolerant. Listen to Archbishop Dunn next time he (lugubriously and regretfully) talks on the subject.

  7. felix 8

    “its practice of picketing the funerals of young gay men and harassing their grieving families”

    It’s even more insane than that. They picket the funerals of dead soldiers on the basis that God wants them dead to punish America for tolerating gays.

  8. Sable 9

    Maybe they should set up shop in Michigan.

  9. The Bible says you are vile, strange (queer), reprobate, sodomite, natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed.

    If Pastor Robertson regards his belief in the Bible as putting obligations on him that he must act on, that’s a death threat. Or, it could be that he believes the Bible shouldn’t be taken literally (lots of it is misanthropic bullshit, after all). Would be interesting to see him clarify that for us.

    • Olwyn 10.1

      If Pastor Robertson’s interpretation of the Bible is thoroughly literal, then here is his method for getting rid of bathroom mould:

      To purify the house he is to take two birds and some cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop. He shall kill one of the birds over fresh water in a clay pot. Then he is to take the cedar wood, the hyssop, the scarlet yarn and the live bird, dip them into the blood of the dead bird and the fresh water, and sprinkle the house seven times. He shall purify the house with the bird’s blood, the fresh water, the live bird, the cedar wood, the hyssop and the scarlet yarn. Then he is to release the live bird in the open fields outside the town. In this way he will make atonement for the house, and it will be clean.” – Leviticus 14, 49-53

      • greywarshark 10.1.1

        What does the Bible say about getting printing ink out of wool.? I’ve just dropped a few spots of cyan and magenta from liquid ink I got on line and it is a nice icebreaker merino wool top. Trying water laundry detergent paste of white vinegar and baking soda. Haven’t tried proprietary stuff, first using the homey close to hand stuff. Any ideas?

        • Olwyn

          Just from memory, I don’t think the Bible has a lot to say about that one 🙂 I had a quick look on the net and most people seemed to think that aerosol stain removers worked better for that sort of thing than pump or soaking ones. If it is a loved jumper it is also worth ringing a dry-cleaner and asking how much they would charge to do it, as they are practiced in these things.

          • Anne

            @ greywarshark
            Yeah… sorry to interrupt the biblical reverie, but I suggest you try “Frend” from your local SM. It’s in a bright pink plastic container in the detergent section and all you have to do is spray the liquid on the garment. Leave it on for about an hour (being ink) and then toss into washing machine on a “gentle wash and spin”. Repeat if necessary.

            All very practical and lacking literary fervour but you know what I meeean… 💡

            • greywarshark

              Olwyn and Anne
              Thanks I did manage to shift it. Got out the pink bottles but went with the dilute with water then paste of baking soda and white vinegar and xx seems to be okay. I’ll find out when it is dry. I didn’t have aerosols so lucky that what i had worked.

              Watch out when you change inkjet cartridges especially the cheapo ones. They are giving me good use, cheaper and seem to go for longer, but I didn’t know about the drip. Suggest you spread out some news-paper on the floor covering carpet etc. Old Heralds would come into their own for this.

      • Foreign waka 10.1.2

        This is the Jewish Tora and not the Bible…

        • Olwyn

          It is not in the New Testament, but it is in the Bible, Leviticus being part of the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. In some translations the mould is referred to as “leprosy” because mould was taken to be a sort of leprosy of the house.

          • Foreign waka

            Olwyn, the old testament is before Christ – so it wont be the Christian Bible.
            The old Testament is in many ways shared in the main religion, Judaism, Islam, the book of Abraham in Christianity.
            Christianity however is based on the life of Jesus or Christ, being the the son of god – neither Jewish nor Muslim belief this. They accept him as prophet but not as savior of the human soul. This is the centerpiece of difference that also has led to many wars “my god is better than yours” “Kain and Abel”.

            • Olwyn

              The book Leviticus is still published in Christian Bibles, although it is true that instructions of this kind are not part of Christian teaching, and never have been. But if you look at the post, the Pastor quoted from Leviticus to support a claim that homosexuals should be killed. And I was essentially saying, well if you are going to draw such claims from Leviticus, then here is another claim that, to be consistent, you should also consider.

      • Deb Kean 10.1.3

        ” Leviticus 14, 49-53″
        Sigh, the same old argument… have you never heard of the New Testament? That also condemns homosexuality, the practice not the people… anyone can leave their gay fetish behind, if they choose to – but many or most don’t.

        • Molly

          “…the practice not the people… anyone can leave their gay fetish behind, if they choose to – but many or most don’t.”


          Apart from the dog-whistle framing and false notion of your last sentence – why should they?

          • The Al1en

            Heterosexuals can ignore their sexuality as well, but same point as Molly, why should they?

            Deb Kean should come out (no pun intended) and like most rational sane people, denounce this sick in the head minister and his vile, hate speech teachings.

            What supposed ‘christian’ would advocate and pray for suicide or government murder?

  10. Clemgeopin 11

    Christ was all about love. There is nothing wrong with Christ or his teachings. What is wrong is with the people and preachers who are narrow minded, shallow and misrepresent the spirit of Christ. At least the present Pope Francis seems to be a compassionate good Christan who is trying to make long due changes and setting a better example.

    • Olwyn 11.1

      +1. I certainly did not put up the mould-removal method in opposition to Christianity or the Judeo-Christian tradition as a whole, but to show how selective Biblical literalism tends to be. Moreover, Robertson’s exchanges with the guy from Express show that he is completely overlooking the central message of his religion.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 11.2

      So Leviticus is some sort of translation mistake then ?

      • emergency mike 11.2.1

        Leviticus was completed hundreds of years before Christ.

        • Tom Jackson

          So homos are back in then, are they? Better tell the majority of the world’s Xtians.

          • Foreign waka

            Matt. 7:1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
            “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone” attributed to be said by Jesus.

          • emergency mike

            I was simply pointing out to ghostwhowalksnz that there’s no good reason to throw out Christ’s teachings because of some old world hogwash in Leviticus.

            There’s all manner of ridiculous dogma scattered throughout the old testament, along with some profound beauty and wisdom. Each person is their own free agent to take what they want from it. Despite whatever bible clutching loonies you might see in a Michael Moore film or the like, following Christ doesn’t have to mean being obliged to defend every word of it. It’s Jesus’ example and message, and it’s relevence to the kind of person you choose to be that matter, not ‘the book’. It doesn’t even matter if he never even existed.

            Wait, what am I saying… I’m talking to someone who magically knows the minds of the majority of the world’s Christians. Please, share the knowledge Professor Xavier. Do carry on painting them all with your righteous stereotyping brush.

        • lprent

          I love the old testament. I am always “amazed” that so many good christians don’t know it better. All of the really interesting bits of it.

          Genesis 19 for instance is such a revelation about how goodly men should handle their virgin daughters.

          I can usually make most moral christians swear off the old testament.

          Of course this git looks just psychotic, so I suspect he probably has few morals.

    • Pope Francis seems to be a compassionate good Christian only because he doesn’t believe the nonsense in his holy book, which means he is not really a Christian at all.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 11.3.1

        Yes, saying things you don’t really believe makes you ethically compromised, eh Matthew 🙄

        • Matthew Hooton

          I would say, in his case, he is gently trying to modernise his organisation without risking a reaction from his cardinals. It must be extremely difficult. His latest move is he says hellfire doesn’t exist, and nor did Adam and Eve. I assume he never believed they did. The historic significance of those statements can scarcely be overstated. No Adam and Eve means no original sin, and no hell means no place to be punished for it.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            I’m sure careful study of the teachings and methods of the Catholic Church can be very instructive to someone with your interests.

          • The Al1en

            “and no hell means no place to be punished for it.”

            Hoping much?

          • Olwyn

            It is one thing to think that the story of Adam and Eve is allegorical, and another to think that this means the concept of original sin is pointless – the second does not necessarily follow from the first. And the pope could well think that separation from God is something that no one who really understood what was at stake would wish upon themselves, without the further need for fire and brimstone. In short, the historical significance of such statements can be overstated.

          • greywarshark

            Okay to that, as long as he doesn’t say “No Virginia, there is no Santa Claus!”

            • Foreign waka

              You may have to look this up, Santa Claus is a reinvention of St Nicolas, a Russian Priest who traveled during winter on a sled (yes!) from home to home in those frozen out backs bringing food and clothes to the poor. He is celebrated on the 6th December in all of Christian Europe.
              The Americans, ever so eager to deny the Christian faith have adopted the image, polished it in Coca Cola fashion and sold it to the world as “Father Christmas” – the word Christmas means Christ mass and surely cannot be misinterpreted.
              In that sense, a lot of people are already praying to an odd deity, aren’t they?

              • greywarshark

                @ Foreign Waka
                Thinking about the USA I have just found Benny Hinn and his fallover Ministry.

                Breaking a curse

                and some sort of game with enny Hinn as hero

                JC can be marketed in so many interesting ways.

          • batweka

            “I would say, in his case, he is gently trying to modernise his organisation without risking a reaction from his cardinals. It must be extremely difficult. His latest move is he says hellfire doesn’t exist, and nor did Adam and Eve. I assume he never believed they did. The historic significance of those statements can scarcely be overstated. No Adam and Eve means no original sin, and no hell means no place to be punished for it.”

            Him and Andrew Little should get together for a chinwag.

      • Clemgeopin 11.3.2

        A nice book for some light understanding.

        ‘Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?: . . . and Other Questions from the Astronomers’ In-box at the Vatican Observatory, October 2014
        by Guy Consolmagno SJ (Author), Paul Mueller (Author)

        And oh, here is a cute prayer I found : “Oh God, if there be a God, save my soul, if I have a soul.”

      • emergency mike 11.3.3

        “Pope Francis seems to be a compassionate good Christian only because he doesn’t believe the nonsense in his holy book, which means he is not really a Christian at all.”

        A Christian is one who follows the teachings of Jesus. Blind literally belief in the entire contents of the bible is not a requirement.

        Why doesn’t it surprise me Matthew, that your concept of the defining moral framework of your civilization is as deep as a paddling pool.

    • How would you know?

      FFS the four gospels were composed decades after the events supposedly took place, and probably weren’t even meant to be a historical record (and then there’s the apocrypha and suchlike to deal with). It’s hard enough to ascertain the beliefs and doings of ancient people who were much more widely documented than Jesus. This case is impossible, as is demonstrated by all the different churches who think that their particular version is correct and inerrant.

      To base one’s worldview on such severely limited and fragmentary evidence is moronic.

      • greywarshark 11.4.1

        @ Tom J
        Why always be so unswervingly certain and definite. We’re getting near Christmas so soften up and let a bit of human fuzziness drift past while you relax on Cloud 9 and sip your favourite beverage.

  11. Lindsey 12

    These grifters need this kind of extremism to attract the deluded, the stupid and the ignorant to the congregation and then to the donations bucket. They cherry pick from scripture to re-inforce the prejudices of their “marks”. They don’t have them picketing McDonalds about cheeseburgers, or Kmart about mixed fabric clothes because they know they will be laughed off the street, but a bit of gay bashing seems to do the trick for them.

  12. Surely this Pastor is pushing violence and terror to his congregation. As a result of his wrong interpretation of a Holy Book an unstable person may become radicalised and murder a stranger on the streets. In God’s name. Sound familiar ?

  13. minarch 14

    The Ku Klux Klan consider themselves to be a Christian Organisation

    takes all sorts eh ..

  14. millsy 15

    I wonder how many names in that congregation would also turn up on the Conservative Party membership list….

  15. greywarshark 16

    Opening up a personal line to God gives a person integrity and lots of people are willing to buy that, and pay a pretty price.

    I have recently bought an old pb on David Koresh – Waco which burned up at the end surrounded by armed officials under the aegis of the Tobacco and Spirituous Liquors Revenue Act or such. It would be farce if it was a film and the Blues Brothers would have broken through in a huge old Caddie and all the lawmakers would have chased it with a sound and light show that would have amused the population for 10 miles around.
    Unfortunately it ended in great tragedy and it was everyone else’s fault.

    It certainly is hard to deal with these megalomaniac types. As those who remember Jones over in Africa in Guiana with his group of virtual slaves. A fact finding member of Congress? or the Californian politicians was shot by his thugs.

    Then there was a group of Swiss who all took poison at one particularly crucial moment in time.

    There was Aimee Semple McPherson a leader in radio evangelism in the USA. heard a bit from a bbc program on Radionz the other day. Here is a link to it and it is really fascinating.

  16. Red delusion 17

    Crazy dogma and hate is not restricted just to religion! A fair few examples on left and right and this site Once any one says they know the truth head for the hills

  17. NickS 18


    Not even the King James version(s) mention anything about sodomites, and in general Peters 2 is all about false teachers/priests.

    Cue broken irony meters…

  18. Murray Rawshark 19

    And on the 11th day the lord of hosts created KY jelly,
    and once more laid with man as if he were womankind,
    and he saw that his loins were pleasured,
    and the rhythmic thrusting pleased him greatly,
    and thus spoke the lord of hosts:
    It shall henceforth not be abominable in my eyes
    but pleasurable in my bum
    Go forth and multiply, or anything else that turns you on.

  19. tricledrown 20

    Robertson fits all the profiles of a low intelligence bigot.
    He is insecure with his own sexuality.

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