Grace Not Hate

Westboro Baptist

The Westboro Baptist Church came to Richmond, V A today.

Never heard of them?  Do a web search and you’ll be amazed, I (hopefully) saddened.  I don’t want to give them too much time because they don’t deserve too much attention.  When they act, however, they claim to represent Jesus and his church.

I am a follow of Jesus.  I am a part of Jesus’  family called church.  Westboro Baptist do NOT speak for me and do not reflect the teaching, actions, or attitudes of Jesus.

(In fact, I preached about my views of the Gospel – and how I feel it contrast with the views of Westboro. You can listen to it when you click here.)

Based in Topeka, Kansas, the folks at WBC follow the teaching of their pastor Fred Phelps, who proudly affirms God’s hatred – toward Catholics, Muslims, Eastern Orthodox, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and even fellow Baptists.  Their “ministry” is to travel the country “protesting” whomever they are mad at the most on that particular day.

When they made their way to Richmond, two stops were fairly typical.  Early in the AM today (March 2) they arrived downtown to protest at the Holocaust Museum.  There they affirmed a basic tenet of their “church” that God Hates Jews.

Later they stopped at Hermitage High School (where my daughter is a recent graduate).  I drove by and saw them doing their work – surrounded my local media and what seemed like a small army Henrico County’s finest.  Why this school?  That’s simple.  The school sports a “gay student alliance.”  Of all the groups that WBC hates – they proudly use the word HATE – the group they hate the most are the gays.  They seem to spend more time thinking about dudes having sex with other dudes then do the gays themselves.

God Hates Gays was typical slogan on many of their posters.

They have taken their ministry of hate to several different venues.  They hate protest at the funerals of military killed in the line of duty in Iraq, saying that the death was God’s judgment on United States for permissiveness toward  homosexuality.  Thank God for Dead Soldiers and God Is Your Enemy their posters say.

When I drove by their display, today, my stomach began to twist and turn in every conceivable direction.

GOD HATES!  Really?

Let’s leave aside the entire “Isn’t homosexuality a sin?” debate.  That can be a discussion for another post on another day.  Instead, let’s think about that statement: “God Hates.”

WBC isn’t the only “church” or “Christian” group to say something stupid and wrong.

Jerry Falwell blamed 9-11 on Ellen Degeneres.

John Hagee blames Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans immorality.  He also said that Hitler was “doing God’s work.”

Pat Robertson said that that Haitian earthquake was a response to a suppose Haitian “pac with the devil” some two hundreds years ago.

But all this craziness is nothing compared to the ugliness I saw today.

WBC  declares that the holocaust is God’s judgment on the Jews for killing Jesus.

They say that our soldiers die because God Is Our Enemy because we don’t round up and get rid of the gays.  God Hates Your Dead Children they say.  Until we get rid of the gays, God will hate the USA because God Hates Gay Enablers.

Hurricanes – Fires – Flood – Earthquakes – Tsunamis — all God’s judgment because God HATES.

Today I read Luke 13:1-5.

Let’s look at the first five verses for a moment.

” 1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Jesus doesn’t blame anyone for these catastrophes.  But he does offer a warning.  The warning is this: stop pointing towards the behaviors others and offering condemnation.  Look inward – and get your heart right.

I am sure that WBC will never hear about little old me and my ramblings on this blog.  If they do, they’ll just include me in the vast majority of the Christian family who abhor their message.  They will simply say to my congregation, Your Pastor Is A Whore (another of their posters). Any Christian who does not join in their hate mongering will fall under their hatred.

Still, I will pry for them.  I will not hate them.  I will hope they see the verses above – and all the others that contradict their preaching.

Meanwhile, I intend to keep preaching grace – love.  God LOVES – Jews, Muslim, Catholics, and (yes) even Baptists.  God loves gays and lesbians.

God even loves the members of the Westboro Baptist Church and Jesus died for their redemption – and the redemption of us all.

Westboro Baptist

One Response to “Grace Not Hate”

  1. Paris Hilton says:

    I respect the fact that you are comfortable criticizing these individuals who have large followings but bring negative publicity to “Christians” when they say and do such stupid things. Did you know that both John Hagee and Pat Robertson both had heart surgery recently? Why did these blowhards agree to this expensive/risky/unpleasant operation if “God/Jesus” could have made their physical problem disappear like they claim on their TV shows?

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