truly, this is sad.
it’s sad. and it’s anti-god.
as eager as i was to go see the commotion behind our office, when my coworker told me who was out there, i was almost dreading seeing the reality of the situation. sure, we had a good laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation and at how absurd the westboro baptist people were, but it was still sad and heartbreaking and deflating and embarassing.
these people are not christ followers. they do not represent christ and are in direct opposition to the true story of god.
before i go any further than these opening remarks, let me give a little background on this group of crazies for those who may not know.
as mentioned, this is a group from westboro baptist church
which is based in topeka, kansas and led by fred phelps
. although they confess to be primitive baptist calvinists, they do not officially associate themselves with any other churches and all the major calvinist denominations have publicly denounced the group. founded in the mid-50’s, wbc, which runs godhatesfags.com
, is adamantly opposed to the following: homosexuality, catholicism, muslims, jews and many countries including the united states, china and sweden (because don’t we all have plenty of reasons to absolutely abhor those dirty swedes…).
throughout the years, innumerable groups have tried to sue wbc, but thanks to the freedoms and rights afforded by the country they hate and protest against, they have been able to escape unscathed and continue their hateful protests. although they have been picketing events and organizations for years, in the past several years, the cult has received a great deal of press because of their protests of iraq soldiers’ funerals. so, there’s a little background. if you want more info, you can follow the provided links.
you know, ideally, i would like to simply ignore these people—and for the most part i do. they want press and media coverage. the problem, though, is that their message of hate toward homosexuals—as absurd as it may seem—has taken hold in subtle ways. several years ago in some research, participants were asked to identify characteristics of christians. at worst, you might assume that people responded by saying weird or out of touch or jesus freaks or maybe even pushy or only out to convert people. those responses would be unfortunate. christians can only wish, though, that the responses would have been that kind. overwhelmingly, the number one response was anti-homosexual.
that is sad and embarrassing and heartbreaking.
let me boldly proclaim something: i don’t blame people for that response based on the way that many christians have railed against homosexuals, participated in discrimination and closed the church doors to this community.
i’m not saying that there aren’t some people out there with agendas against christianity or some kind of score to settle, but this research by the barna group surveyed 440 non-christians and, equally, 440 christians
. this wasn’t just people with an axe to grind against christianity.this was christians! you can click here
to see a very brief summary of the findings. it’s really sad.
let me unequivocally state that to hate homosexuals and to let homosexuality override any other sin is a sin in and of itself. it has nothing to do with christ. it is wrong and sinful.
scripture is pretty clear about hating others. in 1 john we find,
the person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about god, because god is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love.
pretty cut and dry. to hate is to not know god. when the wbc people state that god hates…, it’s clear that they don’t know “the first thing” about god. it isn’t that god loves, but that god is love. it is indistinguishable and inseparable.
so when you have a group of people parading up and down the streets of my city holding signs that say, god hates fags, i bristle to say the very least. this is not the god that i know and follow. if you are gay and reading this and feel that christians hate you, please know that, at bare minimum, this christian loves you. god loves you. it doesn’t matter what you do, god doesn’t hate you and the people who are truly following christ don’t hate you.
on behalf of christians who have shown hatred toward homosexuals or anyone else, i offer an apology.
the crazies that loitered around markham and scott the other day do not represent the faith i know and for them, i apologize and repent.
(there will be an “official” announcement on the blog hopefully very soon, but let me offer a “soft” announcement of what’s some very big news in our life.) in the coming year, we will be starting a church here in little rock—hopefully with our place of gathering in the downtown area. again, if you are a homosexual reading this, let me offer a very early open invitation to our community. you will be loved and respected and engaged just like any straight person who walks through the doors. on a broader note—whether you’re gay or straight—if you’ve ever felt unwelcome in a church or culturally out-of-place or bored or put off by hypocrisy or whatever, this will be a welcoming community where we will honor open dialogue and unifying relationships that reflect christ. (again, more on this big news to come…)
check back (hopefully tomorrow) to read the final part of this series where i’ll be discussing the pirates/pastafarians. i think it will be some good stuff and some much-needed insight.