I’m teaching Comm classes this term at Central Washington University. Specifically, I’m teaching Media & Culture and First Amendment classes. What that means is that a handful of students, those who are taking both classes, have me for four hours a day.
But it also means constant, engaging dialogue, which carries over from one class to the next. Most of the students are out of King County (Seattle area). They are bright and well-read. Several are well-traveled, and are very actively involved in social justice issues. They have a keen sense of humor and high levels of compassion.
The First Amendment class is a bit smaller than the Media class, so that allows for more students to be involved in the discussions. We’ve addressed war, flag-burning, porn, cussing, protesting, politics and parenting.
Today we talked about Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church.
The students were surprised to learn that the folks from Westboro had been to Ellensburg to protest.
It’s hard not to want to silence WBC, especially when you read, as we did, the latest press release from them:
GOD HATES AMERICA & IS KILLING OUR TROOPS IN HIS WRATH.
Military funerals have become pagan orgies of idolatrous blasphemy, where they pray to the dunghill gods of Sodom & play taps to a fallen fool.This message to be preached in respectful, lawful proximity to the memorial of Capt. Joshua S. LawrenceFri., Oct. 21, at 12:15 p.m.Goodlettsville FBC613 S. Main Street, Goodlettsville, TN
Capt. Lawrence died in vain, and that America is a nation of sodomite hypocrites.“Except the Lord build the house, They labor in vain that build it;Except the Lord keep the city, The watchman waketh but in vain.” Psa. 127:1.The Lord no longer builds the American house; nor does the Lord watch over and protect America. These soldiers are dying for the homosexual and other sins of America. God is now America’s enemy, and God Himself is fighting against America.
THANK GOD FOR IEDs.
Just makes your blood boil, don’t it?
There was a lot of discussion among the students about Westboro and First Amendment rights.
One student pointed out that even the KKK had denounced WBC and Fred Phelps, proving that even hate groups have a code of ethics and standards.
If the KKK rejects you for being bad ass, does that make you a total degenerate?
And if the answer to that question is yes, then by golly, shouldn’t you be stripped of your First Amendment rights?
These are the sorts of things we discuss.
And it was while discussing that very issue that it occurred to me that God is the embodiment of the First Amendment.
He gives audience to everyone.
Before God everyone has a voice.
No one is denied the right to speak because they are too small, too ugly, or too hateful.
God hears us all out
and Westboro Baptist Church folks.
God wisely lets us state our grievances
He listens patiently to our rants
And He nods like a mother when we whine like a two-year-old.
Surely there are times when God would like to take a baseball bat and beat us upside the head, hoping to knock some sense into us,
But he doesn’t.
God embodies the First Amendment.
He’s committed to making sure that every person knows that in His presence, you matter.
He wants to hear it.
So go ahead.
Get it all out. The ranting. The raging. The hating.
And when you’re done.
He’ll still be there, giving you his undivided attention.
Because when you stand before the Judge of all Judges, the thing he wants you to know for certain is that you matter.
In God’s presence, everyone is granted equal access.
So say what you will.
Say what you fear
God is listening.
He might not like what you have to say
Or the way you say it
But He’s already defended to the death your right to say it.