Westboro Baptist Ethical Issues

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Ethically Challenged, Westboro Baptist Robert W. Bechtold SOC 120 Instructor Emily Archer September 1, 2013 Ethically Challenged, Westboro Baptist In June of 2005 the Westboro Baptist Church made international headlines for picketing the funeral of Carrie French, a fallen American soldier killed in Kirkuk, Iraq (Brouwer, 2007). The incident was not the first to gain such notoriety for the group but demonstrations of this sort are what I will focus on for the purpose of this paper. The nearly 600 demonstrations of the Westboro Baptist Church at military funerals present a challenge to the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States: allowing ethically unchallenged communication or…show more content…
The scripture in the bible, as interpreted by Fred Phelps, is the word of God and it is timeless. The rules set forth within the text are to be adhered to without question or aberration. The congregation relies on these rules as a basis for ethical decision making. There is no concern for the consequences to their actions so long as it falls within the confines of the teachings. The application of virtue ethics would require deeper consideration of second and third order effects of their actions. A virtue ethicist within the congregation may ask themselves “where is the benevolence in these protests?” The question may cause the member to question the very teachings of the Pastor. Libby Phelps, granddaughter of Fred Phelps, defected from the church at age 25. She summarized her realization of virtue ethics in an article by the Los Angeles Times by saying "Am I doing the right thing? Should I be telling people they are going to hell?" (Deam, 2013). The introduction of virtue ethics in to a heavily conditioned group such as the Westboro Baptist congregation may have a positive outcome though only on a small percentage if defection or eradication of the ministry is the solution to the issue of the military funeral…show more content…
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