Naked City

No Hate, Felt Great

Perhaps this too was an act of God, but the Rev. Fred Phelps didn't get to hate anyone at University Baptist Church on Sept. 9. The Christian cult leader from Wichita -- perhaps America's most rabid homophobe -- and his followers did not show up as planned to shriek and spew at UBC, whose gay-friendly stance has set it at odds with Christian conservatives and leaders of the denomination. (This means the 71-year-old Phelps and his acolytes are falling behind their breakneck pace. The Statesman reported -- dubiously -- that Phelps has personally led 21,000 protests in the past decade, which works out to more than six a day, every day. That's more times than Wilt Chamberlain claimed to have sex!)

Phelps' no-show may have been disappointing to the media or the clutch of counter-demonstrators in attendance. It appeared to be just fine, however, with the more than 600 attendees at the UBC service --the regular UBC membership, plus guests from other Austin congregations who hold similar views on tolerance. (The church bulletin reported 149 attendees at the previous week's service). Pastor Larry Bethune rose to the occasion with a topical sermon punctuated by ever-louder shouts of "God is love!" -- loud enough to be heard out on the Drag.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Mike Clark-Madison
City Council: Activists Push for Austin Public Library Policy Change
City Council: Activists Push for Austin Public Library Policy Change
While the dais considers Convention Center expansion, scooters

May 24, 2019

Austin City Council Prepped to Tackle Palm District, Micro-Mobility, and More
Austin City Council Prepped to Tackle Palm District, Micro-Mobility, and More
A preview of the May 23 Council meeting

May 22, 2019

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle