Sunday, July 15, 2012 there were seven churches in Tennessee or Kansas scheduled to be picketed by Westboro (Primitive) Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas. The pickets were scheduled to begin as early as 7:45 a.m. and end at 12:30 p.m. Westboro leads the pickets but those who join the picket lines are not all members of this apparently small congregation lead by Fred Phelps, Sr. (It would be interesting to know how many actually are members of WBC.)
This congregation leads pickets all over the United States and is primarily known for picketing military funerals where signs such as “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” are displayed. They aren’t picketing the war. They aren’t picketing violence. They aren’t asking for militaries to lay down their arms, locally or globally. Their main protest is homosexuality. Google them and their website is entitled “GodHatesFags”.
They defend their picketing, and the Supreme Court has backed them up, under the First Amendment. Their reasoning for picketing at military funerals as written by Margie Phelps, Fred Phelps Sr.’s daughter, “…is to use an available public platform, when the living contemplate death, to deliver the message that there is a consequence for sin.” According to their web site all government policies support homosexuality so the use of military funerals is justified. Oh really?
Now they appear to be targeting churches and of Cross Point Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee; Westboro’s website reads that their picket’s purpose is “….to remind these so-called Bible Belt Christians that this nation was turned over to the fags on their watch. They paid their preachers to lie to them and look the other way as they sinned. Cross Point advertises itself as “friendly and relaxed” boasting about its “KIDZ WORLD” play area. All this fluff and phony friendliness might make them feel comfortable temporarily, but it won’t by (buy) them a drop of water to cool their tongues in Hell. Meanwhile, they ignore the concept of church discipline by allowing divorced and remarried members to the peril of their souls.”
Westboro goes on to charge Cross Point with a failure to speak out against homosexuality. “While playing and socializing at Cross Point, the fags continue their march to control this land. The members of Cross Point do nothing to speak out about what God has said about this abomination because they have no moral authority to do so.”
Westboro quotes Isaiah 66:24 as a basis for picketing Cross Point. In fact, Westboro has a scriptural reference for nearly everything on their website from their website name pointing to the reference Leviticus 20:23 to Ephesians 5:20-27 used against Grace Point Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee.
They quote numbers to support God’s judgment on America for allowing homosexuality such as “6527 soldiers God has killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, 48,436 pickets by Westboro Baptist Church, 869 cities target by WBC, 1099 weeks of daily pickets, 2541 people who have died and gone to hell (in the time since I downloaded the page), and 0 nanoseconds of sleep that WBC’s members lose over your opinions and feeeeellllliiiiigs.” (Numbers based on stat’s shown on website Sunday, July 15.)
Hate rolls off this website. So much it makes me shudder. So much it made me want to close the window and deny its existence. To be in the presence of so much hate is frightening to me.
I understand that Cross Point’s pastor asked his church members not to stay away from church because WBC had announced their plans to picket. News coverage on ABC News WKRN-TV of Nashville’s website reported by Karen Higbee recorded that Westboro Baptist Church’s picketers showed up for a few minutes during Cross Point’s second service but were gone before that service let out. There were two comments on the news stations web page.
What I also wish would have happened is that across Nashville pastors from every denomination of every church, large and small, would have asked their congregations to meet at Cross Point that morning. While the ranks of WBC grow with people filled with hatred and malice it would be something to see the church, it’s yards, its parking lot, and it’s KIDZ WORLD – the entire block packed with Christians in support of their own. I wish the same thing would have happened at each of the churches targeted for Sunday’s pickets and continue until WBC goes home and stays.
Surely, if WBC boasts of nearly 50,000 picketers we can swell our ranks with multiples of that? For you see, you can’t pick and choose your scripture to walk the Christian walk. True while WBC has scriptures to “support their agenda” they ignore those that do not support their way of presenting their agenda.
Matthew 7:1-3, 5:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church, and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
What of all the passages on love? Grace? Mercy? Forgiveness?
I Corinthians 6:9-10,
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters not adulterers not male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves nor the greedy nor the drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Those funerals Westboro protests are for men and women who have died DEFENDING everyone’s right to be free, to live and protest and speak out against their government, their religious leaders. To use such a platform to protest against one sin, ignoring the multitude of other sins is wrong on so many levels.
What I think about homosexuality isn’t the issue.
What Westboro and her members think about homosexuality shouldn’t be the issue.
What God thinks and what God does, and how God chooses to one day judge is the issue. God isn’t standing on those picket lines.
Human beings whose thinking can be twisted and misguided are manning those picket lines. Human beings whose lives would be hard pressed to stand up to the measurement they are using to measure others when you include ALL the sins of all the people.
Once in America’s history good Christian men and women called for “witches” to be burned at the stake citing that witchcraft was a sin. They were right. The problem turned out to be, the people they burned or drown weren’t witches. At one time good Christian men and women misused scripture to support their right to own other human beings to be slaves. The problem with that is God never approved of slavery; twist all the scripture you want.
Furthermore, what does Westboro accomplish with their protests? Their repeated 15 seconds of fame where again Christians are seen as narrow minded, judgmental bigots? Does any homosexual “wake up” and denounce their lifestyle? I would sincerely doubt it.
Westboro’s actions just make me sad. Jesus sums up it up quite nicely in John 8:1-11 when teachers of the law and Pharisees brought to him a woman caught in adultery and asked him to agree with them that she should be stoned. By law, the teachers and Pharisees were right; adultery was a sin that earned a man or a woman the sentence of death by stoning. Jesus however, knowing their hearts, replied to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” One by one the men dropped their stones, the oldest of them first and the younger following. Jesus then asked the woman where the woman’s accusers were and when she told him no one remained, Jesus said to her, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
So should we all, leave our lives of sins while helping our fellow fallen brothers and sisters find their way to the light that is the love of Jesus Christ. Does being right give anyone the right to judge, condemn and humiliate anyone else? I just don’t think so.
This is my opinion. Westboro Baptist Church doesn’t care about my opinion. Frankly, neither should you. The opinion that matters is God’s and your’s. Are they in alignment? Then what I think or what Westboro thinks isn’t important. Is it?