Baptists condemn Westboro Baptist

The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Evangelical Alliance and a host of other UK evangelical groups have issued a joint statement denouncing the homophobic theology and actions of Westboro Baptist Church and its infamous pastor, Fred Phelps.

Westboro Baptist Church, notorious for its “God Hates Fags” signs, is planning to picket a performance of The Laramie Project in the UK on Friday. Evangelicals respond:

“We do not share their hatred of lesbian and gay people. We believe that God loves all, irrespective of sexual orientation, and we unreservedly stand against their message of hate toward those communities.”

Good to see. The Baptist Union of Australia has previously issued statements along the same lines, and, yesterday had this to say about Westboro Baptist Church and its rogue pastor after it claimed the Australian bushfires were God’s judgement:

“Mr. Phelps has a sad history of making bizarre and extreme statements that do not reflect a Christian position. His comments on the Victorian bushfires are biblically and theologically invalid, scandalous, and most regrettable.”

For more read:

Christians condemns Westboro Hatred

Westboro Baptist: Fires Prove God Hates Australians

Over the years I have heard many Pagans and Atheists ask, why don’t Christians speak out about this sort of stuff. Well, my answer is, they do and they have and will continue to do so.

No one is beyond God’s love.

But, regrettably, not everyone can accept God’s love.

5 thoughts on “Baptists condemn Westboro Baptist

  1. As a postscript, I just came across these comments about a fellow Christian from one Atheist at Friendly Atheist blog,
    “Mike is the worst kind of Christian. Because he can convince us all that he’s reasonable, he thinks we should forgive him for the sins of his brothers. I far prefer the Fred Phelps of the world. At least Fred isn’t fooling himself about what he believes.”
    See for the full thread.
    There, in a nutshell, is why lunatic fringe extremists like Phelps are heard and why hoards of moderates are not.


  2. Atheism and Fundamentalism form a strange symbiosis, each showing the other how vital and important their mission in the world is, and how shrilly and stridently they must pursue it.
    Hysteria (n): A fate worse than depth.
    Without this dynamic, Fundamentalism would revert to an insular sectarianism, and Atheism to a more hopefully Humanist rationalism. Either would result in an agreeable improvement in the level of thought required to participate, and a consequent decline in media appeal.


  3. I have come to the conclusion that many New Atheists have no appreciation for the value of emotions, nor much awareness of their own emotions, nor how much emotions effect human decision making.
    Furthermore, I think it is fair to say that (whether New Atheists realise it or nor) the emotional appeal of Atheism comes, not from Atheism itself, but from religions behaving badly. Its hard to get excited about the message that your life is a cosmic accidient unless you’ve got a bunch of terrorists saying mass death is “the will” of God.
    This is why relgious folk behaving “reasonably” is such a threat to folk like the one I encountered at Friendly Atheist. It undermines their negative apologetic. It deflates their emotional appeal, which is far more important than their logic when the New Atheist movement is examined more closely.
    However, this very fact unmasks a certain hypocracy amongst the new Atheists. They cite intollerance as what is wrong with religions but neither act tollerant towards other religions nor celebrate them becoming more tollerant. It reveils this call for tollerance is little more than rhetorical strategy. That their goal is not interreligious harmony but elimination of religion, a position grounded in extreme intollerance.
    I agree there is a strange symbiosis. They need extremists to press their own extremist case.


  4. I have mixed feelings about this one, personally. I agree that many Christians do speak out against the WBC. But to be honest, I don’t hear nearly as many denunciations of the WBC as I hear the latest screed against the “gay agenda,” the “feminist agenda,” the “dangers of the occult,” or the “liberal menace.” Sometimes, it feels like the greater CHristian community’s decision to speak out against the WBC is almost an afterthought.
    I doubt that’s an entirely fair assessment, and I’m not sure how reasonable it is to really expect most Christians to spend a great deal of time speaking out against the WBC or any other extremist group, anyway. But all the same, I just felt like being honest.


  5. I understand how the perception can arise but in my experience there is a significant gap between what I find in the media (including the www) and what I find in an average church (in fact, the gap seems not so different from the one I observe between popular perceptions of Pagans and the grass roots reality).
    Here’s my experience. I have visited many churches over the years and I have found that even the ones firmly committed to a complementarian agenda spend little time actually talking about homosexuality or feminism. In fact I have not yet come across a church which spoke of the “feminist agenda” or the “liberal menace” in those terms, at least while I was there. And of course, there are many churches that don’t share their view on those issues.
    As for the occult, well, I have been trying to generate discussion about that for years and find its a hard slog generating any interest, good or bad. Most of the Christians I come across are too bogged down in child rearing and church matters to care that much for the outside world. That’s the real scandal.
    And as for Westboro Baptist Church, if I took a survey of my church I would not be surprised if half of them had even heard of them. It tends to be only the more media savvy types who’re aware of what they’re up to.
    In fact Westboro Baptist Church are a perfect example of what I am suggesting, that the airtime some issues and some churches get is disproportionate to their size of their real world influence. They’re famous precisely because they stand out from the crowd. The implication is, some (not all) of the loudest Christian voices in this media saturated world of ours are amongst the least representative.
    Now, I understand that Americans tend to breed extremists better than we do, so I should be cautious of universalizing my experience. But Americans should be cautious of universalizing their experience too.
    So I have to ask myself, when people speak of “Christians” what are they actually speaking of? My experience is that it is normally its out of a less than universal field of experience. That creates an environment ripe for stereotyping. That’s why at the end of the day, when it comes to interfaith discussions, I prefer one-to-one conversations. Then its not about generic “Christians” and “Pagans”. Its about this Christian and this Pagan.


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