According to Chris Rosebrough from FightingForTheFaith.com, our friends at Westoro Baptist Church, and Jay Bakker (son of Jim and Tammy), are suffering from the same spiritual disease: “Theological Smörgåsbord-i-tis.”
That’s right, they both treat the Bible as a sacred salad bar. Westboro Baptist Church chooses only the law (God’s wrath), and Bakker only grace (God’s love).
For those of you who don’t know, Jay Bakker is part of a new breed of Christian ministers who preach what is known as the “Emergence Gospel.” It basically says Jesus saved everyone with his death, and we are all going to Heaven whether we accept it or not. And yes, there is no Hell. Bakker also embraces homosexuals and endorses same-sex-marriage.
Here’s a clip of him on Larry King:
Even though he probably has no clue who I am, I knew Jay when he was a little kid. When his father, Jim Bakker, was in prison for his part in the PTL scandal, Jay and Tammy Sue (his sister) came to stay with a family in our church. He was a little chubby brat, and very annoying. (If you’re reading Jay, I was one of the guys who picked on you a little.) His sister was shy and sweet and wore clothes and makeup that made her look like Boy George.
Despite his crappy upbringing, I must say Jay grew up to be a pretty good guy. Some of you may have seen Jay’s Sundance Channel reality show, One Punk Under God (a good show if you haven’t seen it).
Often, when I read about Jay, and see the crap “the Church” puts him through, I wish he would just let it all go. It is obvious he struggles with the hatefulness and silliness of the Bible. If he would only let go, and let reason seep into his mind’s little protected “God Box,” I know he could be a great voice for atheism. And he could still minister to those in need. (Jay if you are reading, I would love to interview you.)
On the other hand, we all know the Westboro clan. The family and church from which my friend Nate Phelps escaped.
In honor of the passing of Michael Jackson, here’s their version of, We Are The World. It is called “God Hates The World.” Check it out:
Ah, what a classic.
I hate to admit it, but I agree with Chris Rosebrough. Bakker and Phelps do pick and choose from the Bible, and I feel they both are dangerous. Of course, I would prefer the Christian world adopt Jay’s message. However, it is important that we don’t white-wash the true story of the Bible. It is the story of an angry god who demands blood sacrifice to quell his wrath. Also, the Bible very clearly condemns homosexuality. God does hate fags. The, “God hates the sin but loves the sinner,” saying, is not backed up by scripture. At best, you could say, God hates the unrepentant sinner, but would prefer to love them. If we allow Christianity to water down its true message, there will always be people who follow it unquestionably, and fringe groups who will convert followers to their particular extremism.
For us to advance as humans, we must learn morality, ethics, and love come from within us as individuals, not from an outside unseen entity. These attributes have served our evolution, and combined with reason and the advancement of science, will help rid the world of xenophobia, bigotry, and superstition. While I don’t believe we will ever get rid of religion, we can blunt its blades of effectiveness.