What do progressive Christians have in common with the Westboro Baptists?

Found on Facebook yesterday: “So-called progressive Christians and Westboro Church members are just two sides of the same anti-Christian coin.”

When asked to elaborate, the author of this pithy statement said, “One group is a caricature of God’s grace and the other side is a caricature of His judgement. In other words: Both sides distort God’s character.”

The temptation to engage in negative reciprocity is overwhelming… But I’ll resist for the moment.

I have my own problems with the term “progressive Christian,” simply because it implies an air of superiority. If certain Christians view themselves as progressive, that means other Christians are regressive or, at best, stationary.

The thing is, we all tend to think of ourselves as progressive, as having an edge over people who disagree with us. We all think our theology represents the most reasonable interpretation of reality. Why else would we hold to it?

So if progressive Christians (which, it turns out, includes all of us) and the Westboro Baptists have anything in common, it’s the temptation to define ourselves over and against the evil or retrograde “other.” And when we succumb to this temptation, we really do become two sides of the same anti-Christian coin.

So maybe my Facebook friend is onto something after all. He just doesn’t realize every coin comes from the same mint.

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