I’ve mentioned the Westboro group in previous posts. As many know, this is the group that somehow feels called of God to protest at funerals of military soldiers. Not to protest a war but to protest homosexuality and in some cases abortion. However, homosexuality or abortion had nothing to do with why the soldier died at all so their desire to protest at these funerals has always been an extreme mystery to me.
I found out that this group was coming to Sioux Falls this weekend. Is there a funeral happening? Nope. Instead they wanted to protest at other churches and on Monday they’ll be protesting at a school. You know – a school where children go, because this group has no courage to actually make a stand for their beliefs unless it is against defenseless individuals. Called of God indeed…
Because of this, I felt that I needed to do something to show my disgust at this group and so I went along with a group of people in the city and took part in a counter-protest called, “Love not Hate”. We created our own signs and stood across the street from this Westboro group at each of the three churches. We made our signs funny. For example, mine was “God loves Star Trek, but He’s confused by LOST”. A friend of mine had, “God Hates Leftovers” and “Will Tweet for Food”. Just silly signs to add a little levity to a sad situation.
Did we stop this group or even get them to change their mind? No, and we never expected to. But what we did do was take a small amount of hate and turn it into a positive filled with love. This was the first time I had every participated in something like this and it really affected me. I saw so much positivity by our group of people – which at one point seemed like it was 300 strong – to counter the hate that their group brought to our city. I am extremely proud of this city I live in and their response today.
I am a Baptist and have been most of my adult life. The Westboro group calls themselves Baptist and that disturbs me greatly, because they represent nothing about the Baptist faith that I find worthwhile. Does the Baptist faith teach that homosexuality is a sin? Absolutely. Does the Baptist faith teach that abortion is a sin? Again, yes it does. Do I feel that both are sinful? Yes, and in regards to abortion I am unmovable on how much I am against it.
But here’s where I would draw the line – never would I consider standing at a funeral or a church where people are trying to peacefully assemble or mourn a loved one and spew such hateful things to those people. Never. It goes against everything I have ever learned about what Christ represents.
I am sure there were people in that group that have lifestyles I do not approve of. And to some degree I really couldn’t care less. I would much rather be there than with a group that hates everyone and shows such evil contempt for people.
What amazes me about this group is that they somehow feel excluded from the very idea that we ALL are sinners. There is not one sin that is more heinous in God’s eyes than any other. If you lie, or cheat or steal than in God’s eyes – that holds the same weight as committing murder or some other supposedly bigger sin. Because every sin is a black mark and therefore all sin merits the same response from God.
God’s response was to send His Son down for us and to take all that sin and wash it clean away with the sacrifice of His Son’s life. Not just the sin that happened at that moment either. All sin of every believer is washed away for good. Since all of my sins were committed in the future from when Christ died, He not only sacrificed Himself for my sins in MY past, but all the sins in MY future. That’s overwhelming when you think about it. It doesn’t make me think I now have a ‘free ride’ and can do as I please; it makes me wish and pray that I can be a better individual and servant of Him.
I was reminded several times today of the story in the Bible about the prostitute who a group of people wanted to stone for her actions. Christ came up to her and started writing something in the dirt. He didn’t tell them to go ahead and kill this woman; instead He said that those who haven’t sinned should throw the stones at her. There are some that speculate that the things He was writing in the dirt were the names of those in this group that had actually participated in the very sin they were getting ready to kill this woman for! If true, that is very interesting to me and noteworthy. Afterwards when the people who wanted to kill this woman had left, did He start chastising the prostitute for her life? No, instead He just told her to go and “sin no more”.
That speaks volumes to me. It isn’t up to me to change anyone. It’s up to me to be the best I can be and do what I believe God commands of me. And by doing so, it will hopefully make others want to do the same. And all of that is done not by anything I do, but completely through God.
There’s no changing the Westboro group either. But I hope and pray that by taking the small stand I did today that I can show others that not all people of faith are the same and that some of us truly wish to be the best Christians we can and to help others know more about the true Jesus Christ.