Managing to do a good job of portraying this sick clan without coming off as mean spirited or smug
This was a wonderful documentary for British television about the Reverend Fred Phelps' family and their crusade to make pretty much everyone outside their sick little cult hate them! I say wonderful because while these are very vile people, the interviewer manages to come off as very decent and caring towards some of the most unlovable and nasty people on Earth! He is able to put a human side on the group and extensively interviews Phelps family members. Fred himself is mostly absent from this documentary (for more of him, try watching FALL FROM GRACE) because he was just so incredibly surly and rude that getting more than a smattering of abuse was all the poor interviewer could arrange!!
The Phelps cult, if you are unaware of them, is from Topeka, Kansas and is world famous for their hateful protests--most notably, at soldiers' funerals but also at churches, synagogues and the like across America. Their protests consist of holding up very hateful signs indicating that God is happy that Americans die because we and the rest of the world tolerate homosexuality (in other words, because gays aren't killed outright by society, God will destroy us). Within their tiny cult of about 60 members, there is no mention of God being a God of love or forgiveness. Instead, He is all wrath and hate--and their signs are full of provocative phrases such as "God Hates America" or "Thank God for IEDs". Lovely sort of people, huh?! But the documentary goes beyond just portraying their sick message by trying to humanize, somewhat, the family and show the emotional and psychological toll this message of hate has upon them--and in particular, the children. Fascinating and a great insight into some scary and thoroughly despicable people. I really commend the crew and especially Louis Theroux for a remarkable and exciting documentary.
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