God Hates _______.

Fred Phelps and his followers at Westboro Baptist Church (if you can call it a church) are certainly always good for discussion fodder. Although I’ve seen their “God Hates (fill in the blank) signs in the media and in person, I found this one particularly chilling:

In a way, I think we owe Mr. Phelps and his ilk a debt of gratitude. for one, he takes intolerance to such an extreme that nearly all of us – Christians and non-Christians alike – can find common ground in agreeing this kind of propaganda is dehumanizing and cruel. Second, it actually serves to galvanize some sense of unity between Christian conservative and progressives.

If only we could be so unified over something other than common disdain for a negative.

I’m curious about what others think about things like this expressed in the name of Christianity. Not whether it’s acceptable (it’s not), and not whether they’re actually Christian (not for us to say). But I am interested in how a religion based on (as I understand it) love, compassion, mercy and justice for the marginalized can give birth to such a thing.

What is it in our nature (not just Phelps’ nature, but ours too), that feeds off of hate? How do we get to a point as a species where it’s even conceivable to put our children in a shirt like the ones above.

Interested in your thoughts.

 

About Christian Piatt

Christian Piatt is the creator and editor of BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE and BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT JESUS. He co-created and co-edits the “WTF: Where’s the Faith?” young adult series with Chalice Press, and he has a memoir on faith, family and parenting being published in early 2012 called PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.

  • http://twitter.com/ChapinChick Elizabeth Chapin

    “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” -Anne Lamott
    I don’t understand how we got here, but I hope we can #stophating someday soon.

    • http://www.facebook.com/christiandpiatt Christian Piatt

      I was actually thinking of Lamott as I put this together this morning.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=547278290 Jimmie Roan

    Hate’s easier than love, because it doesn’t require sacrifice (short-term, at least. In the long-term, those who hate sacrifice far more.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rick-White/100000091247277 Rick White

    maybe difficult to grasp but all the Phelps’ of the world are doing is splintering Labor. it is all about economics and finite resources…you can’t prove that it isn’t because you can’t prove religion, you can only weaken the sovereign. when this is done, multi-nationals step in and the rest as they say, is history. most people can’t even tell that it is a sophistic argument being used, “god hates…” they are plundering. consider, nothing has ever been broken as proof of anything. in other words, plunder is groundless. this is why the planet is melting, it doesn’t work, it never has in all of human history. it’s like breaking into an evidence room, destroying evidence to build a case. but not many will call them on this, too busy ‘respecting’ the faith. hmm planet will only get hotter, faster all in the name of something that can’t be true. religion is being used to splinter Labor, that’s all. but some are beginning to understand that homophobia splinters Labor specifically. that is all it is meant to do.  there is no such thing as the specter of ‘proper sex’. the same for race.
    so again, the planet will only get hotter, faster all be it, for nothing. 

    • The_L1985

      I’m sorry, but I cannot parse your comment. Try grouping related sentences into paragraphs.

  • Bob Jones

    This actually sounds like an Old Testament God, the Leviticus kind. Hey, folks, the book of Leviticus preceded Jesus by a few centuries. Jesus teaches other ways to respond to people, but some “Christians” just don’t seem to want to listen to him.

  • http://www.fivedills.com Greg Dill

    I applaud Fred Phelps for being so brazen about his hatred. I wonder if many of us have the same level of hatred and disdain for others. But, instead of making banners and picketing, we instead keep it to ourselves. I wonder how many Evangelicals HATE Muslims? How many Evangelicals HATE those liberals who are ruining “our” country? How many Evangelicals HATE those homosexuals who are trying to force their “agenda” into our lives? What about those pedophiles? We certainly HATE them too. And, we certainly HATE those abortion doctors. I often see the hatred emanating from Facebook pages belonging to my conservative friends exercising their free speech and hatred for our current President. While they are not as “in your face” hating like Westboro, they certainly skirt the edges.

    Jesus instituted an entirely different dynamic regarding hatred.

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  (Matthew 5:43-45)

    There are no disclaimers or parenthesis. It says what it says… “Love your enemies”. This is indeed a difficult charge by our King, but then again, living as Kingdom Christians is difficult too.

  • http://www.bipolarlessons.com/ Mary

    I have found more disgusting stuff, but not by this guy. Try looking at http://www.godhatesrapevictims.com. It will chill your blood.

  • http://www.bipolarlessons.com/ Mary

    Check out this article “Why a Hard God is More Attractive” at  www.morganguyton.wordpress.com

    • The_L1985

      I am in entirely the wrong frame of mind to read that–the words “hard” and “attractive” so close together strike me as unintentional innuendo.

  • Tony

    I think that many people have such boring lives that they have to fill them with crusades, causes and things to harp on about rather than getting on with living. It’s the same attitude that makes people gossip about others and similar; their own lives are so dull and grey that they try to add some colour by knocking others. Added to that the natural human reactions to a) destroy that which they don’t understand and b) pull down anything that in some way makes them feel inferior (e.g. celebrities or professional people – anyone who seems to have got a handle on life) and there you have it. There are people who feel so bitter about their lot in life that they try to drag everyone else down into their mire; for some reason it makes them feel better.

    These are the kind of attitudes that produce T-shirts like these, and the minds behind them.

  • Kodie

    If you use your vote to keep gay people from having equality instead of putting t-shirts on your children, I don’t really see a practical difference between Phelps and many, if not most, Christians. 

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/comingoutchristian/ Kimberly

    Simply put, it is not Christian and neither is Phelps.  I do not say that lightly because I have been told many times that I am not Christian.  I do not think we can so quickly determine who is and who is not but in this case I am exceptionally clear.  Westboro is not a church (they are a cult of lawyers making money of hate masked as religion) and Phelps is not a Christian. 

  • David Anfenson

    I would propose that Fred is a very unhealthy man psychologically. I met him once, was kicked out of his church for speaking about God’s love for all people, and found his hate towards me and my friend to be  out of control

    • http://www.bipolarlessons.com/ Mary

      I read his website and I would have to agree. He says that God is about hate, not love. People who hate are the most unhappy people in the world. There aren’t many pictures of Hitler smiling. Why on earth would someone choose to be like that I’ll never know. Other than the ego lift that people like that get out of being “right” that lifestyle doesn’t seem to have many perks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1077510123 Wes Shank

    I see this as the fundamental difference between “grumpy Paul” and “hippy Jesus”. (Saw that in the Door years ago.) I think we need to hone in on what Jesus did, which was pretty much all about love. I think Jimmie Roan is dead on – it is so much easier to hate than love. The stories we have about Jesus show him interacting with “a” person – don’t really recall that many stories about him interacting with a group – like Jaycees, or the Shriners. He was dealing with people one-on-one. It’s hard as rip to really hate someone one-on-one versus taking a whole group and labeling them. It’s kind of like your articles about the dumb things we say as Christians. “I have a really good friend that is ______”. What is wrong with just having a really good friend?

    Unfortunately, we focus too much on the result of problems the early church was having via Paul’s writings when we should double-down on what Jesus did.

    I guess an even bigger question would be, how do we love Phelps? I gotta say, that seems harder than hell.

    • http://www.bipolarlessons.com/ Mary

      I may be accused of heresy here, but I believe there is good in everyone. He has lost touch with that part of himself. I will pray that he finds himself and his true connection to God. I am not a Pollyanna, but it can’t hurt.

  • Derek

    When one commits to start living with a higher moral standard than the society’s general standard, it is all too easy to feel above people who choose not to live by that standard, and a feeling of superiority is the beginning of a lot of problems, hate being one.  And I know many of us feel that being LBGT isn’t wrong, myself included, but the point is that if you perceive being LBGT as wrong, then the whole superiority thing starts to happen.  Now, there is nothing wrong with committing to a higher moral standard, in fact to say that there is would be very backwards (we’ll put the LBGT debate aside for now), but one’s attitude should be of reverent obedience to God (or in a more general sense that can apply to anyone, whatever inspired them to commit to that standard), and not expect the rest of the world to make that commitment with you.  And if you feel so obligated to tell other people about your faith, then show them (more with your actions than with your words) how your higher standard has been beneficial to you, instead of showing them how your higher standard makes them sub-par.   

    The point is, its all about attitude.  If one looks out into the world and sees a bunch of lost people living terrible lives, he will begin to hate them.  If one looks out into the world and sees a bunch of people who need to be loved, he will begin to love them.  

    “The devil seeks to pitch all things against itself, and loves to see men slaughter their brothers.  Ye Christians are not to partake in the devil’s game.  The Christian with the mind of the conqueror loves the devil, but the Christian with the mind of a lover of all people is a conqueror of the devil.”

  • katz

    Some of you have met Phelps; do any of you know how to acquire one of his signs?  My uncle wants it for a collection, but apparently WBC keeps a pretty tight hold on them.

  • Matt Fay

    Look at the bright side.  He’s old and won’t be around much longer.  Perhaps there will be a few protestors at his funeral…but then again I doubt anyone will show up.

    • Bear Giles

      Some friends and I were discussing that a few months ago. We ultimately decided that the best response was to have a funky party as close as possible, ideally with lots of disco music. It’s not to celebrate his death, it’s to contrast joy with the hate be brought to so many people. There’s no doubt that his cult will say everyone is actually celebrating that he won’t be around to lead people to the light but we couldn’t figure out anything that /wasn’t/ ultimately a way to show that people and/or demons weren’t celebrating that he won’t be around to lead people to the light.

  • Love is Love

    What EVIL and HELLBOUND parents these poor girls must have.
    God loves everyone, even the hate-filled, stupid people.


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