Time To Stand
The Supreme Court of the United States just upheld the right of Westboro Baptist Church to picket funerals. Although they have been around for a long time protesting anything related to the gay community, they have recently gained notoriety nationwide for protesting the funerals of fallen American soldiers. Their rational for such actions is that the troops died defending a country that promotes what in their eyes amounts to the worst of abominations.
Few mainstream Christian groups would call Westboro a true church. Most will admit that they are simply a hate group. Their small congregation is made up almost entirely by the Phelps family itself. This family lives and breaths hate. If you have ever heard their spokesperson, daughter Shirley, or the patriarch Fred, you know how mad they are with pure hate. I first encountered the group in 2000, when they picketed AIDS Walk Los Angeles, in which I was participating. Their hate was so vehement it enraged me instantly. I have heard several interviews on TV and radio of Shirley, and almost every time she has insulted her way through it, frequently calling the host “dumbass” and belittling anyone who questions the group’s beliefs. Her insanity is quite easy to dismiss for what it is, pure lunacy of a deranged cult. However, please don’t dismiss it so easily.
Christians update their facebook statuses about Oprah’s latest slight perceived against their beliefs and how the secular world belittles their religion. Never have I seen anyone within the church publicly speak out against Westboro. When I have asked why there is silence, I am often told that Westboro is just a crazy cult and everyone knows that. Speaking to many people outside the church, I can tell you that many have their doubts that “Bible” Christians are opposed at all Westboro’s hate. People tell me that they believe the church tolerates Westboro because deep down they feel the same way. I don’t believe most Christians agree with Westboro, but I don’t have the proof.
Please, if you are in the church, if you consider yourself and evangelical, conservative, Bible-believer, Christ disciple, whatever, please stand up and stand against this hate group. There is a serious danger of the whole church being relegated to history because of the perception that it loves to hate. Please speak up, please speak out. Don’t confirm the suspicions of the world with your silence. It’s time to stand.