What Can Christian Conservatives Learn From Westboro Baptist?

What Can Christian Conservatives Learn From Westboro Baptist? July 19, 2012

I don’t know if any of you follow the Stuff Christians Like blog, but it’s a site I can sometimes get into for light reading and some genuinely funny Christian satire. The proprietor, Jon Acuff, is sort of like a Mark Lowry for young evangelicals. One thing I like about Jon’s style is that he more or less avoids writing on politics and sticks with non-controversial topics everyone can laugh about. However, judging by who he hangs out with and counts among his friends (Rachel Held Evans, Jesus Needs New PR and co.), I’ve suspected that he’s a useful idiot for the left.

My suspicion was confirmed recently when Jon made a few posts about the fact that the Westboro Baptist crowd decided to picket his church, Crosspoint, this week. Although I can’t find a page for the church that states clearly what their policies are with regard to homosexuality, I gather they’re “seeker-friendly,” and according to a statement from the pastor, Westboro “disagrees with their approach to handling sin.” We can fill in the rest. Jon’s own thoughts were fairly mild-mannered (he’s a mild-mannered guy), but the comments threads were revealing. Some of his readers were saying outright that they didn’t even think homosexuality was sinful.
One reader provided a link to the WBC website, so I amusedly decided to take a glance at it.
What I found was bizarre. Sometimes it was unintentionally funny. More than anything, it gave me acute political and religious whiplash.
Here’s the thing: I think most or all of us can agree that anyone who would proudly display a sign saying “Thank God for dead soldiers” is more than a little crazy, yes? Same for someone who would post in large letters on their site “God hates Jews.” And even though I think we should exercise more caution when approaching this issue, we can agree that even saying “God hates fags” is offensive and unhelpful.
Also (and WBC specifically doesn’t have anything on this but I’m thinking of similar sites in that niche), I think most or all of us can agree that anyone who would say Michael W. Smith uses Satanic runes or that we should all burn our copies of Star Wars is more than a little crazy.
But at the same time, we need to be willing to concede areas where the WBC types might actually be onto something. I found whole pages on their site devoted to mainstream media, movies, music etc. that made some legitimate points. The fact is, much of that stuff really IS of the devil. They called Lady Gaga “one of Satan’s favorite daughters.” You know what, I can totally buy that when we’re talking about Lady Gaga.
To give another example, WBC is part of this niche group that claims Obama is the Anti-Christ. I think that’s hyper-exaggerated and false. But I feel no qualms about saying that he’s an evil man, and I feel no qualms about describing the Democratic party as the party of death and filth.
Let me try to sum up what I’m getting at in a nutshell: If you take WBC and their ilk and remove the wildly uncontrolled rhetoric, bizarre exaggerations, and general lack of gray matter while keeping the fearlessness, the refusal to have hang-ups about “demonizing the enemy” when it comes to politics and entertainment, and the contentment to be considered weird and out-of-touch with the culture, I think you’ve got something I can actually get on board with. In fact, that’s a pretty good description of me and my approach to culture.
Now I know that may be taken the wrong way, and I’m prepared to elaborate further in the comments. But if you’re reading this as a deeply committed Christian conservative like myself, I think and hope you’ll see what I mean if you take a few moments to let it sink in.
As a little post-script, people like to foam at the mouth about how hateful the WBC bunch are, but I submit to you this little comment from a reader on the SCL blog. Which generated 87 likes, I might add:
When I’m sad, I imagine that the WBC bunch gets run over by a military convoy followed by a gay pride parade, so all that’s left is goo and glitter. Then I’m not sad anymore.
Raindrops on roses, etc.?
Let the debating begin. Remember to mind your manners.

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  • Totally and unequivocally disagree. There is nothing about Westboro “baptist church” that any Christian should learn from or associate with. Even if some of their words may seem right in spots, they are taking a stand based on hatred, not based on a love for the Word of God. The Bible tells us to “try the spirits” to see if they’re of God, not read what the words on a website say. A Christian’s spirit will not bear witness with anything associated with this “church”. They say lots of nasty things about other folks, but God has especially tough things to say in the Bible about those who pervert the Gospel. I would advise any Christian to abhor anything about the Westboro “baptist church”, with the same confidence with which you would abhor a Satanic “church,” because they are no different.

  • Hmmm. Still trying to process some of this. I can definitely see what you are saying. However, I think that Christian’s need to be EXCEEDINGLY clear to the world that the Westboro Baptist cult (Hey, you used ilk 🙂 ) is in no way behaving in a Christian manner or teaching a Christian message. Yes, our culture today is horribly wicked, but that does not give us as Christians the license to hate them. Yes, we need to speak the truth to them about their sin, but in love. “There but for the grace of God, go I.” Conservative Christians and Westboro Baptists and homosexuals ALL are totally filthy in God’s sight and need the cleansing blood of Jesus. It is just sad that these people are out there and then that is what the world thinks Christianity is. We need to speak up and be even louder than the Westboro Baptists. We need to pray for courage and then go out into the streets proclaiming the REAL gospel of Jesus Christ. There’s my two cents. 🙂 Oh, and by the way, the Westboro Baptists are even a little hypocritical. They claim to hate modern music, but they did a “remake” of Michael Jackson’s Bad with words about how “bad” America is. I know they did another one and I am trying to wrack my brain to remember what song it was from. It might have actually been a Lady Gaga song. Seriously…?
    P.S. I think that Michael W. Smith’s music does not have good theology and I don’t watch Star Wars because of its roots in Eastern Mysticism. Call me crazy. 😀

  • Yeah, I saw the remakes. Didn’t listen to them, but can imagine they’re pretty dreadful.
    I didn’t even mention their hatred for patriotism or patriots. I seriously saw them say Charlie Daniels is just as bad as Lady Gaga because he’s patriotic and loves America. Craziness.
    You bring up an interesting point about recognizing the evil of culture but speaking the truth in hatred versus love. I certainly never advocated their rhetoric or the language they use in addressing people—that’s why I said get rid of the uncontrolled stuff and the bizarreness. They basically say that they HOPE evil people go to Hell instead of hoping they would come to a saving knowledge of Christ. And that’s just wrong, even if we are talking about Lady Gaga. I wouldn’t say that I hope she goes to Hell. I would say I hope she… oh I don’t know… mysteriously disappears and ends up in Timbuktu or something. And never comes back. While meanwhile being forced to rethink her life. Or something.
    I think I would be careful how I phrased a sentence saying that Christians are totally filthy and need the blood of Jesus. I know I may be threading a theological needle here, but even though in one sense yes, we absolutely are all born in sin and came to the cross to be redeemed, God doesn’t see the filthy, faithless whore anymore when he looks at one of His children, even though we all need His grace and still slip into sin.
    I also think it’s very important to avoid moral equivalence. This may be opening up another can of worms here, but I hear people say all the time that all sins are equal in God’s sight, and I just can’t agree. The Bible itself has verses and passages that indicate some sins are “greater” than others. I feel like that’s one place where the “everyone is all in the same boat” philosophy could take us, and I’m just not ready to go there.
    Good discussion. Oh by the way, regarding your P. S., I don’t know that I would say all of MWS’s songs “have good theology” either (it’s been a while since I’ve listened to some of them), but that’s a little less extreme than saying he uses Satanic runes and backmasking, don’t you think? 🙂 Also, it’s perfectly okay if you decide you’d rather not watch Star Wars, but I think (hope!) that you’re not seriously worried about my salvation if I say that I enjoy them even though obviously I recognize it is rooted in a false theology.

  • Hi Brian, thanks for commenting and for being blunt. 🙂 It’s good to have feedback from fellow conservatives. I do want to make it clear exactly what I am and am not proposing we “take” from the WBC crowd.
    For example, as I explained to SavedGirl, I am not proposing that we borrow the gleeful attitude towards even wicked people going to Hell, and obviously I don’t recommend that we level hate at good people, as they apparently like to do. (And yes, I realize I just made a distinction between “good” and “evil” instead of throwing in the obligatory not-that-there’s-any-difference-between-me-and-Lady-Gaga-because-we’re-all-bad disclaimer. I have no regrets.)
    Here’s the thing though: I’ve taken flak before from fellow Christian conservatives for saying that the Democrats are the party of death. I’ve seen people under the influence of the likes of Tim Keller who try to insist that we shouldn’t even say Obama is evil because that would be “demonizing the enemy.” They’ll even roll their eyes a little if you say, “Wow, that song or that movie is just evil. I wouldn’t take my kids to it,” and maybe launch into a shallow little dissertation on art, “redemption” and the like. They also like to give stern lectures about what we can try to “learn” from liberals, because the gospel isn’t left or right, y’know.
    These people aren’t what I would call liberals, but I think they aren’t pulling their weight as Christian conservatives either. What I think we as conservatives need to recapture is that visceral, gut reaction against evil and wickedness, to the point where we are perfectly comfortable saying, “We think we have pretty much all the right answers, and the Democrats are evil, and we’re not ashamed to say it.” I don’t like the pussyfooting demeanor that’s crept into conservative circles when it comes to this kind of stuff. We need to be ready to play hardball. Pray for those who persecute you, but fight them to the end.
    That’s what I’m trying to say, and maybe it would have helped if I’d gone into more detail in the post. As for whether WBC are going to hell… I have no idea. I’d just be happy if they’d go away.

  • We need to have a negative reaction to sin, but I don’t think that means running around calling people “evil”, particularly a bloc of people like “Democrats”. I believe when we start concerning ourselves too much with political labels, and beating our chest about how “conservative” we are, we lose sight of the goal, which is to win the lost.
    I consider myself to be very conservative, but a million times more importantly than that, I consider myself to be a Bible-believer. I prefer to put my focus on that when dealing with people.
    There is no “lesson” to be learned from WBC. Do you admire the tenacity and passion of Islamic extremists who fly planes into buildings? I don’t. This is not much different, except in a way, worse, because they are doing the works of Satan under a cloak of “Christianity”.
    When Satan was tempting Christ in the wilderness, he actually used the Bible in his tempting. Matthew 4:6 “And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”
    Jesus didn’t say “well, you have a good point there Satan, but you’re using it the wrong way”. Satan did not have a “good point” about anything. Anything he said that sounded like it could be good was actually a perversion of the truth, used to try to “trick” the Lord.
    I believe WBC is a tool being used by Satan to harm the cause of Christ. I also believe that Satan has used the “baptist” monicker and some wording that may “sound good” to fundamental Christians to try to draw them in. Don’t let them fool you into thinking they’re onto something. Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

  • I agree with you that the Church needs to be more vocal and more strong in their stand for the truths of God’s Word. But to use WBC as the “model,” even slightly, is not the way to go. It would be better to choose one of the apostles, or many other heroes of the faith down through the centuries, to make the point.

  • Okay, why wouldn’t you call the Democratic party evil? See, your first paragraph is a perfect illustration of what I was talking about. I completely disagree. “Evil” is a perfectly good word, and we shouldn’t be timid about using it. The Democrats ARE the party of death, and that’s a fact. I think you have a misconception about the interplay between politics and Christianity. When I say that I’m proud to be a conservative, I’m not saying that trumps Christianity. I’m saying it’s the only logical conclusion of Christianity. I’m a conservative because I’m a Christian. And “being a conservative” means a lot more than having a label or making pointless token political gestures. It means caring about people who are murdered in cold blood every day. It means fighting the moral cancer that’s killing our society. It means wanting to preserve all things that are right, and true, and beautiful. I think that stuff is important. And I think it’s incoherent to act like it has to be considered in tension with my faith. It’s like peanut butter and jelly. They belong together.
    If you put your focus on believing the Bible when dealing with people, it’s going to mean having harsh words for some of them. All the truly terrible things about Hell were said by Jesus. Again, I’m not advocating the approach WBC takes, but nor do I want to concede that being a Christian means I have to set aside my core principles and play games with wolves in sheep’s clothing (not that I’m saying this is what you’re advocating, but your rhetoric is used by people who do).
    Regarding the WBC crowd themselves and your comparing them to Satan, you make some interesting points there. Really, they fall into such a bizarrely unique class I find it hard to compare them to anybody. I may have more thoughts on that later, but I’ll have to mull it over.

  • I wouldn’t call the Democratic party “evil” any more so than the Republican party. I don’t consider them all that much different, to be honest. Sure, the Republicans generally oppose abortion, and that does make them better by default, but both major parties are all about gaining more power for themselves, not turning the power over to God. That’s why I think it’s dangerous for Christians to latch onto a particular political party or ideology. Trusting in man’s ideas and man’s rule will always lead to failure. I believe the Bible, and I’m going to vote for candidates and policies that match up with the Bible. This year, that won’t be a Republican or Democratic presidential candidate.
    As opposed to calling one party “evil,” I would say that our entire political system and society have turned away from God.
    I think there are evil people in this world They are that way because they don’t have Christ. But for the grace of God, there go I. There are times for sounding the alarm against people and policies who are against Christ, but it should always be done in a spirit of love and meekness, and with the right weapon. It is not I, or my political ideology, or some pastor, who holds all the answers. It is the Word of God. It’s the only offensive weapon the Lord has given us to fight the fight of faith. Instead of focusing on trumpeting about how evil people are, let’s declare “thus saith the Lord,” and let Him take care of picking out the evil ones.

  • Well okay, and I think we can definitely agree that the Republicans are nothing to write home about either. I’m preparing a post about why I’m staying home this year. But I think there’s a big difference between being a conservative and being a Republican, don’t you? I can say I’m a conservative without being bound to just one party.

  • Here’s the other thing—if you want to talk about a PLATFORM, and what the party as a whole ostensibly stands for, there is a big difference between the Democrats and Republicans. To what extent individual candidates embody those ideals is a different question.

  • Yes, I know what you mean. I don’t think Republicans are all that conservative, at least anymore.
    Calling oneself “conservative” is better than calling oneself a “Republican,” to be sure. But it just rubs me the wrong way to see folks put so much focus on being “conservative,” because to me it carries the connotation that their basis of operation is their political philosophy. I much prefer to use the term “Bible-believer,” to make it clear that it is not my philosophy that matters, but what God says. Some of what God says may be “conservative,” and sometimes it may even be “liberal”. Those labels aren’t important in the eternal scheme of things.

  • John Situmbeko

    Wow! Its the first time I’m hearing of this Westboro Baptist church. I’m surprised they call themselves christians. They are the exact opposite of how christians ought to be. Such are the people that give Christianity a negative reputation. According to wikipedia they spend some $250,000 a year on picketing. I even wonder how they make this money. With their heavy picketing schedule, do they have time to work? And one really sad thing is they really believe they are doing God’s work. God is love but they make of Him a cruel hateful Being. If their eyes would be opened they would behold legions of demons leading them on as they go about their father’s business.
    Nonetheless brethren we should not hate them, or we will be haters like them. We should pray for them.

  • Yeah, they’re big news over here in America. Unfortunately many people seem to think they’re typical of evangelical Christians because the media focuses so much attention on them. The truth is they’re just a crazy splinter group. But no matter how much we say that we’re not crazy like they are, the godless liberals won’t believe us. I think as Christians we should resign ourselves to the fact that we’ll be identified with crazy people and go about our business without really caring what other people think.

  • At the moment I’m not thinking of any policy of the liberals that is more godly or closer to what the Bible says than conservative policy… that’s for a different post though.

  • By the way, just to clarify, the word “ilk” need not be negative. It just means “other people like the people we’re discussing.” Which could actually be positive depending on the circumstances.

  • Golfman

    You ever stop and think that maybe, just maybe, there may be Christian liberals. There are many so-called conservative leaders that have just as much or more sin in there life as some of my liberal friends and I don’t see you calling them godless. You play right into the worlds view of Christians by taking anything positive from that group of godless nuts.

  • Hi golfman, formerly known as “Mark” on this site. Actually no, I suspect there aren’t that many Christian liberals out there, unless you want to come up with an interesting redefinition of “Christian” or “liberal.” At the same time, I don’t recall ever saying that every conservative is a Christian. Liberals are godless as a group, and they have a godless group philosophy. Conservatives who fall from grace are betraying their own platform.

  • To elaborate further, I think the only people who might qualify as both Christian and liberal are people who just aren’t that bright and have been taken in by liberal ideas while still remaining sincere themselves. In other words, I have some hope that God will have mercy on the useful idiots.

  • Golfman

    Spoken like a true christian…

  • Don’t get me wrong, there I people I know and love who have bought into some of this stuff. I have every confidence in their sincerity as Christians. But I do think it’s disappointing for those of us who can see through the deception.
    (To avoid any confusion, this is not in reference to the main post but in reference to a sub-conversation between me and Mark about whether it’s possible for someone to be both Christian and liberal.)

  • Lydia

    Just for information’s sake, there are a couple of things I want to mention about WBC here that I hadn’t known before reading about the SCOTUS case, which I think myself should have gone differently. First, I didn’t previously know that they would put up on signs and on the Internet horrible personal comments about randomly selected dead American soldiers implying that they were going to hell, that their parents had raised them to go to hell, and so forth, just because the men had been in the military. Stuff like (this is a made-up example but if the general type), “Joe and Kathy, you raised Bob to serve a sodomite government in a homosexual military, and now he’s going to hell. You damned him by raising him to go into the military.” I mean, that’s horrible in a whole new way–as a real form of individual, personal harassment against randomly chosen individuals, that would normally be subject to civil suit as a tort. It shouldn’t have been upheld as “free speech” but rather treated as similar to leaving abusive messages on a person’s answering machine.
    Second, I didn’t know before that the signs they carried contained obscene pictures depicting homosexual acts. Protesting against them, but still depicting them. That should be able to be stopped under local decency and anti-obscenity laws. What are alleged Christians doing deliberately displaying obscene signs?
    So anyway, they’re total crazies.
    I completely agree, however, that many Christians have reacted to their existence in an incorrect way, by “bending the stick backwards” and telling us that we can’t use phrases like “the party of death” or “evil politicians.” Like we’re trying to prove our niceness credentials. We shouldn’t bother doing that.

  • Wow, I didn’t know about the signs portraying homosexual acts. That’s new info to me. Totally wrong, and un-Christian. I was aware of some of their hateful statements about dead soldiers. Thank you for providing a few more specifics. I completely agree that their entire attitude and campaign against random innocent people has absolutely nothing worth salvaging in it. Nothing whatsoever.
    But yes, I am trying to look at it from the angle of what might happen if we bend the stick backwards, as you put it. We’re so concerned not to be thought crazy that we stop short of where we actually should go as Bible-believing Christians. It’s perfectly possible to be radically counter-cultural, even as compared to fellow conservatives, while still freely acknowledging that cults like this are nuts. There really just aren’t too many people out there who are willing to be really radical and unequivocal, and I feel like it’s a shame that WBC has taken that healthy zeal and twisted it to the point where conservatives are backing off too far in the other direction. We need to reclaim that from the cooks and present it in an uncooky way.

  • When I see the Westboro Baptist “Church” protesting in such a hateful manner, I can’t help but laugh. “God Hates Fags,” “God Hates Jews,” “God Hates Ugly People,” what have you…..GOD IS LOVE, PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!! The only thing that God hates is sin. Now, if they were holding up signs saying, “God Hates The Fact That You Are Sinning,” then yeah, that’s perfectly legit, but to say that God hates any one person….I’m sorry, that is NOT the God I worship. The God I worship is a loving, compassionate, merciful God who loves ALL His people….so much so that he sent his only begotten Son to die in our place so that we may have everlasting life. Last time I checked, John 3:16 didn’t say, “For God so loved the heterosexual baptists at Westboro….” No, it says, “For God so loved THE WORLD…..” If you ask me, I would define that was “EVERY LAST PERSON ON THIS PLANET.”
    I leave the judging up to God Almighty. It’s not my place to decide who is going to Heaven or Hell (which is a good thing, because if it were, given my human nature, Hell would probably be busting at the seams!). The Bible says, “There is none righteous,” which I believe means that no one here on earth can be considered “better” or “higher” than anyone else. We are all human, and we have all fallen short of the Glory of God. To say that one person is lower (or higher) than you or me is about as anti-Christian as declaring that God hates somebody.

  • Yes, God is love, and it’s unbiblical to say that He hates any one group of PEOPLE as opposed to hating their sin. “Love the sinner hate the sin” is a slogan that’s been around for a while, and I think it’s fairly solid.
    As for “judging,” there we may disagree. I can recognize the areas where I fail God while still judging that this or that disgusting behavior is sinful. Jesus is commonly misinterpreted as having told us our hands are completely tied as far as even allowing ourselves to say something is sinful. I don’t agree with that. Now I wouldn’t go about it the way WBC does (and as Lydia has pointed out they’ll even go so far as to portray pornography on their picket signs), but I would say we should still be unyielding and firm in our rhetoric.
    Regarding people who are “better” or “worse…” there’s a whole theological debate in there. Perhaps you’ve seen the graphic that takes a bar graph with Mother Theresa towering over Adolf Hitler from our perspective, then pulls way back to show you God’s standard drawn as a line impossibly far above both the Mother Theresa bar and the Hitler bar. Now theologically, I do think that’s correct, and we can cite some clear biblical passages, like the Romans one you referred to about how all have fallen short of the glory of God. Nobody gets to heaven on their own merit. All need the blood of Jesus. That’s true and well and good.
    But the fact is… Mother Theresa DOES tower over Adolf Hitler in one sense. Does this mean she didn’t need the cross? No, wrong, she did, but there are still concrete realities we have to deal with in this life and this world. Mother Theresa imitated Christ and Hitler did not. That doesn’t count for nothing in God’s eyes. God ultimately wants us to be perfect. In this life it’s impossible, but we’re at least supposed to be working towards that ultimate goal, which we can only reach after death. Those people who say “perfection is boring” are forgetting that God himself is perfect. So no, I don’t agree that we can’t say some people are good and other people are bad. When you look at the fruit, you have to make a judgment.

  • NWBaritone

    Most of that stems from the book of Leviticus, which Westboro absolutely loves because it talks about hating gay people (Leviticus 20:13) and adultery. Far be it for me to question the theological study of inbred idiots but in that same book God also says not to shave or cut your hair on the sides (Leviticus 19:27) or wear fabrics like polyester (Leviticus 19:19) and Westboro does all that. Clearly “they are in league with the Devil” and we should stone them (Leviticus 20:27) until they’re new name is Westboro Baptist Church and Quarry.

  • I’m very wary of the “shellfish” argument (the OT also says not to eat shellfish, so you’re just picking and choosing, ZING) because it’s frequently to used to excuse the behavior itself. So I would advise we not go there as Christian conservatives.

  • JSR

    I think you can look to Jesus and learn everything you need to learn about being seperate from the ungodly culture around him, standing against sin and wrong, and being an example of Godliness to a lost world. WBC isn’t needed.
    The problem with WBC, and a lot of people I know who call themselves Christians, is that they have a tendency to focus on some area, make a really big deal out of it, and yet continue in sin in some other area. That is why we have to look to Jesus for our example.
    1Pe 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
    1Pe 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
    1Pe 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
    Most Christians do not even attempt to follow the example of Christ. Why? Because the “Christian Church” has brain washed people into believing it isn’t possible. Christ did no sin. The bible says HE is our example. Living a life like Christ, through the power of Christ, will have a much greater impact than anything else we can do.

  • It’s true that Jesus is the one we should be looking to as the author and finisher of our faith. I have a question though: If the culture around us is “making a really big deal” about a particular sin in the sense of forcing it down our throats and rail-roading/bullying those who won’t comply, shouldn’t we as Christians keep a special focus on it as well? Forget about WBC for the moment, I’m just talking about normal, sane Christians—there’s still a reason why we should be especially focused on sins like homosexuality, because nobody is out there having “gluttony pride parades” or “embezzling pride parades” or what have you. Sure, we should never lose sight of our own sinfulness. That doesn’t disqualify us from speaking against anyone else’s sin.

  • JSR

    I believe my point was missed. I wasn’t at all implying we shouldn’t lose sight of our sinfulness. I’m saying we should go to Christ, get a real relationship with him where we aren’t sinful anymore, and then and only then can we stand like Christ. Any stand taken against any sin is less than effective when the one taking the stand has sin in their own lives. After all, to God iniquity is iniquity is iniquity. The book of Revelation let’s us know liars will be lost just like homosexuals. Where is the outrage in the Church about people telling “little white lies?”
    But, I do appreciate anyone who takes a stand. I applaud Mr. Cathy from Chick-Fil
    -A and the public proclamation he made for biblical principles.

  • You ask “Where is the outrage in the Church about people telling ‘little white lies’?” Well, I believe telling little white lies is wrong, but in terms of its effects in our culture right now, it’s not resulting in little babies’ skulls split open, children raised in perverted homes, or honest businessmen losing their livelihood. I think it’s correct to prioritize our outrage and our actions.

  • John Situmbeko

    If the culture around us is making a really big deal about a particular sin, we as Christians must keep a special focus on it as well, but in a Christ-like manner, a manner which the Westboro folks have failed to understand. Jesus said to the angry mob,”He who hath no sin, let him cast the first stone.” If we are to go by their teachings, God hates prostitutes. When they come across that bible passage(if they ever read that part of the bible), do they marvel at how a God who hates almost everything on earth would let this opportunity to let out His wrath pass? I’m sure had he said that to an angry Westboro mob, the poor woman would have met her doom. Those folks are so self righteous that they make the pharisees who dared not cast stones on Mary appear righteous. The problem is, if one of them would confess of being sinful, such a one would be picketed and expelled from their group. Thats one reason why any one of them cannot be converted.
    Our part as is to preach the gospel and then leave the convicting, which we feeble and sinful humans cannot do, especially with signs depicting pornography, to the Holy Spirit.

  • JSR

    Depends on whether you’re trying to fix a culture or help people go to heaven. The bible teaches you can do lots of good but if iniquity is still present God will say “depart from me” at the day of judgement.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m as conservative as you will find on social issues. But, way too many social the conservatives scream at the world over big sins and happly join them in ignoring the rest of the teachings of Jesus.

  • Yeah, I think we can get used to a word like “hatefulness,” “judgmentalism” or “legalism” being misused so often that we forget there are truly hateful/judgmental people out there in the world. E.g., just because the idea of racism has been cheapened doesn’t mean there are no real racists out there, and the same goes for bigotry in general. WBC really does seem to have no room for mercy in their philosophy. But I do think the very worst things about them involve randomly targeting innocent people, like those soldiers’ families they were harassing. There we’re not even talking about sin, we’re just talking about random innocent people. That’s just so over the edge as to be unthinkable.

  • Well, I think shutting down abortion clinics or preventing gay couples from being able to adopt are part of the fight for souls—the souls of young pregnant women, the souls of children, and even the souls of the people who would harm them. Preventing anyone from committing evil will always be in their own souls’ best interests. Iniquity will continue to flourish until Jesus returns, but we can take steps to protect and preserve what Satan would take from us.

  • John Situmbeko

    Yes, its crazy. Do they allow strangers to congregate with them? I sure wish I could attend one of their church services just to listen in on their preaching.
    In all this, I think there is after all something we Christian Conservatives can learn from WBC. They are incredibly zealous and dedicated to what they do. They spend huge sums of money and plenty of time on what is clearly not a hobby for them but God’s work. If we as Christian conservatives would, as them, be zealous, dedicated to what we understand as what God would have us do, if we would spend huge sums of money and much time doing God’s work, I’m sure we would counteract the counterfeit, we would achieve much for God’s kingdom. WBC are up to date with the latest funerals for military men, they dont complain about the many miles they have to travel just to go and picket. They dont give up inspite of persecution that their ‘enemies’ deploy. Oh how I wish we had that same determination, resilience, steadfastness, courage and dedication in our work for God, for our loving God!

  • Thank you John—that’s really what I’ve been trying to say all along. There’s a saying which says “The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” WBC is turning their passionate intensity to harass, hurt and damage. We need that same passionate intensity for good.

  • “God doesn’t see the filthy, faithless whore anymore when he looks at one of His children, even though we all need His grace and still slip into sin.” Your point is well taken. I agree completely. my point, however, is that the Westboro Baptists, you, and I all deserve Hell. Yes, I agree that there can be degrees of sin and I believe that there will be degrees of punishment in Hell. Yet, we ALL deserve to be there. It is only by God’s grace that we can be forgiven and made righteous in God’s sight. Calvinist or Arminian, every Christian should be able to agree with that. I realize that you don’t want to fall into the ditch of saying that every sin is equal, but be careful not to swing to far the other way. Every sin, no matter how tiny, is an offense against the holy God.
    Swinging it back to the WBC, they have no right to wish people to Hell. We cannot think that we are actually better than other people, simply because we’re “good Christian kids.” That’s the point. That being said, that doesn’t mean that we can’t call out sin. We should be more bold and more willing to do so, but we must remember that that is only the first half of the message. A half gospel is no gospel at all.
    In summary, I don’t think that you and I are really disagreeing that much. I am taking on the WBC theology more than I am your point. Oh and by the way, I bet there are some people who enjoy Lady Gaga’s music (cough) even though they obviously recognize that it is rooted in a false theology. 😉 And no, I don’t doubt your salvation. I do think you are wrong… in Christian love of course. 🙂 Amber

  • Well, I’m not sure you quite realize just how filthy lady Gaga’s music is—we’re talking borderline pornographic here. And her costumes and promo photography are totally vile and stomach-turning. So I really don’t think it’s fair to compare that to the Star Wars movies, which are actually quite innocent and fun. You’re not shoveling harmful filth into your mind by watching them the way you would be watching Lady Gaga. My .02. 🙂

  • On a side note, the Westboro clan has announced plans to picket the funerals of those killed in the Colorado movie shooting. I’m curious as to their reasoning for this….”They chose to see an ‘evil’ movie….or they chose to see a movie made by ‘evil’ Hollywood, so they got what they deserved”???

  • See, that’s just weird. I’m happy to talk about violence in film and its connections with violence in culture, and I’m happy to talk about Hollywood’s bad influence in general, but all that won’t change the fact that these people hadn’t committed a crime worthy of death. You can be mistaken about something, or have unfortunate views, and still be a completely innocent victim. Why WBC can’t seem to get this I have no idea. I’m just glad there aren’t that many churches like them out there.

  • Lydia

    I truly don’t believe they have any reasoning. It’s just, “Oh, something horrible happened in America. We’ll say it’s God’s judgement and use it as an opportunity to piggy-back on the publicity for the horrible event.” I seem to recall their having shown up at some other mass murder funeral as well, though I cd. be mistaken about that. They just want to capitalize in some bizarre way on the distress people feel at famous funerals or military funerals or funerals for mass murder. There’s no more reasoning to it than that. *Everything* is “God’s judgement on this wicked nation.”

  • quartet-man

    I already found out today that someone at mom’s church (during Sunday School) was bad-mouthing the Dark Knight movie as not one being fit to watch. Come on. People have shot others in church, are you going to say that people shouldn’t go to church? Until the lady saw the movie, she shouldn’t be talking about it. At the very least she needs to have read accurate reviews as to what is in it. Nonetheless, there is evil in this world and there are wackos in the world, Just because some nut job was POSSIBLY (not proven yet) inspired by the movies to do such a heinous act and just because the same nut job used guns and weapons to do so doesn’t take the blame off of said nut job in being the blame for having done it.

  • I did see the previous Dark Knight movie, and I don’t recommend it. PG-13 rating aside, the Joker is possibly the most sadistic screen villain this side of Hannibal Lector. Not a kids’ movie, not even really a comic book movie, and not something Christians should be going out of their way to experience. My guess is the lady had read reviews of the film that conveyed this, and if she had then I don’t think it’s unreasonable of her to have formed an opinion. Granted, I have seen reviews that make it unclear what is actually seen on screen (in fact, we don’t see much), but it’s clear that the overall atmosphere is nihilistic and nightmarish.
    As for the nut job in this case, he was obviously psychotic and deserves to be fitly punished for his actions. Whatever influenced him, you are correct that it doesn’t excuse him for what he did, and it’s fairly likely that he would have gone ballistic at some point regardless. However, he definitely did identify himself as the Joker, so there’s no question he was inspired by that movie.

  • As for the current installment, the new villain is quite brutal but doesn’t have the same “squirm factor” as the Joker. But there is still a good amount of violence, and combined with the bloated running time, the numbingly overwrought Zimmer score, and the relentlessly bleak atmosphere, people have described the experience as like “getting beat up” in the theater. Fortunately it’s more redemptive than the previous installment and isn’t as fascinated with trying to blur the lines between good and evil, so from a purely idealistic perspective, one could say it’s an improvement.