Westboro Baptist Church: A Deviant Hate Crime Group?

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Deviant behavior is anything that a person does that is out of the norm. Robbing banks, stealing cars, and assaulting individuals are easily considered deviant behavior, but can people be deviant while still being within their legal rights and without breaking any laws? One congregation that does not break any laws, but is considered to be out-of-line, is the Westboro Baptist Church. The Westboro Baptist Church has been called offensive and their actions are frowned upon by many. Is the Westboro Baptist Church actually a deviant group in disguise?

In order to get to know about the Westboro Baptist Church, a person needs to know a little about who they are, where they came from, and what they represent. The Westboro Baptist Church was created in 1955 by a man named Fred Phelps, in Topeka Kansas, and is considered to follow old school Baptist beliefs (God, 2011). The Westboro membership numbers less than 100 who profess to all of the teachings of the Bible, and preach against every type of sin (God). Uncommonly, the church has no known affiliation to with any other Baptist churches (Parks, 2010). The Westboro members have been known to picket at least six events a day, such as: soldier's funerals, celebrity funerals, homosexual functions, etc. (Parks, 2010).

Signage held by members at these events always include hateful expressions. “God hates fags” and “thank god for dead soldiers” are a few of the signs that people have seen at picketing events (God, 2011). Which is a reflection of their church web site entitled “god hates fags”. Members of the church use several several scriptures from the Bible that discuss homosexuality as sinful for justification of their practices and stance (God, 2011). Accordi...

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