I’ve been waffling for months about writing this sort of post. Kristen Lamb once said that unless it’s their brand, authors shouldn’t blog about politics or religion. My brand is essentially “Be nice to people.” It’s what I write about. It’s what I hope encompasses all faiths and beliefs. But I feel strongly about this particular topic and I’m afraid I have to get Biblical. Please keep an open mind.
I’m a Christian. Not Catholic, not Baptist, not Methodist, etc. Just Christian. I attend a Church of Christ (a group that is autonomous from other groups), study the Bible, and try to live my life as best I can according to the teachings in the New Testament and learn from the examples in the Old Testament.
I’ll be honest. The actions of the Westboro Baptist Church over the last several years have really irritated me. It smears the name of Christian. They spread their message of hate in the name of God, and they have no Biblical authority for behaving in such a manner.
*Deep breath* Please don’t let the WBC influence how you perceive my following words. I believe the Bible teaches that engaging in homosexuality is a sin. But I will never tell someone that they will burn in hell for it. I’m not their judge. God alone is this kind of judge. The one Bible passage that I think the WBC really needs to consider (because their actions would suggest that they never have) is from 1 Corinthians chapter 5 (I’ve highlighted key phrases):
9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”
Sin is sin. Whether you engage in homosexuality, or are a drunkard, or even someone who simply forsakes the assembly, there is no sin that is “bigger” than any other. And if you make the choice to sin, that’s YOUR choice. Just as it’s my choice to stick to my faith. As long as there’s no oppression going on between people, I really don’t see why we can’t be friends.
Because you know what? I sin too!!! And so do the people of WBC. Everyone sins (1 John 1:8). So who are we to throw other’s sins into their faces? Jesus never cast a stone against the adultress though he was the only person there without sin. But you know what he DID tell her? “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:2-11)
Did she obey? Maybe. Maybe not. But he didn’t treat her as less than human because she had sinned. And I’d be inclined to think that she would be more likely to obey because Jesus didn’t lay into her for her behavior.
Do the WBC people really think they are changing lives by their message of hate? I’d like to ask them in the words of Dr. Phil, how’s that workin’ for ya? What it does instead, is give a black eye to the face of Christianity. But you know how the black eye can heal? By the actions of more people like the counter-protesters who offered condolences on the death of Fred Phelps Sr. THAT is an example of Biblical Christianity in action. (Colossians 3:12-15) In the face of hatred and malice, these people showed compassion.
What I want most is for people not to assume that I hate those who are openly homosexual just because I believe that the way they live their lives is sinful. Plenty of other people live sinful lives and I don’t hate them either. I’m not going to cram my faith down anyone’s throat because I wouldn’t want others to cram their beliefs down my throat if I didn’t agree with them. We can find other things in common. However, I’m also not going to be shamed into not sharing what I believe because others have misrepresented it. And seriously, if you don’t want to talk about religion, we don’t have to. But I’m here if you do.
Let’s focus on what unites us.
Please share what you think! Do you feel the counter-protesters have the right idea? Do you disagree? If so, why?