Well, it looks like not only does God hate fags, he’s pretty steamed at the Amish. Accordingly, Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church will be sending its picketers to the funerals of the Amish children killed in the recent Pennsylvania school shooting.
Although, reading the news release on Phelps’ website (and no, I will not be linking; even I have my standards), it may simply be a case of God having either (1) really lousy aim, (2) a complete disregard for the sanctity of human life, or (3) both. Turns out God’s real target was Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell. I guess he said some unflattering things about Phelps and his flock at some point. Well, you know how thin-skinned God can be sometimes.
It gets even more complicated, however, and more vile. According to the news release,
When God would punish Pennsylvania for Rendell’s sins in boorishly attacking Westboro Baptist Church on the Julie Banderas Show – “The Big Story,” -He kills the Amish girls: “And there was a great cry in Pennsylvania.” Meanwhile, WBC is continuing to pray for even worse punishment upon Pennsylvania…
Yep, that’s exactly what Jesus would do! If somebody is trying to silence your “gospel message,” pray for God to let the carnage begin. (Funny, in all the years I’ve heard of Phelps, I can’t say that I’ve one time heard him or any of his supporters actually explain how people can be made right with God through faith in Christ. What kind of “gospel message” leaves that part out?)
I guess it could be worse. Phelps could be calling for his followers to take up arms and mow down innocent Pennsylvanians themselves instead of waiting for God to use a deranged pedophile to do it. Mercifully, even the most loathsome of fundamentalist nutjobs aren’t into fatwas.
May I be personal for a moment? If anyone ever suggests that a madman harming one hair on my little girl’s head is somehow God’s righteous judgment on a completely different person, I hope for that person’s sake that somebody like Michael is between the two of us: he’s bigger than me and he believes in nonviolence?¢‚Ç¨‚Äùand that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Look, I understand that there are all kinds of verses in the Bible about God calling on his people to wage war against his enemies. I freely acknowledge that they pose a hermeneutical crisis for those who strive to read the Bible in a more or less straightforward way. But please, dear God, can’t we find some other parts of Scripture to accept with brutal, absolute rigidity and interpret the rest from that starting point? Like maybe “love your enemies” or “pray for those who persecute you”? Shoot, practically anything in the New Testament would be a step in the right direction. (And there are plenty of better starting points in the Old Testament if you give it half a thought!)
All this to say: I repudiate Fred Phelps’ interpretation of the Christian religion without reservation or qualification. His reading of Holy Scripture does not have a hermeneutical leg to stand on. The entire concept of his religion?¢‚Ç¨‚Äùwhich is something only tangentially related to Christianity?¢‚Ç¨‚Äùruns afoul of these inspired words:
Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. (1 Jn 4:20-21)
Phelps is a sick, sick man. Needless to say, he does not speak for me, and I pray he meets Jesus before it is eternally too late.
(H/T: BK at CADRE Comments)
Update: My wife is too shy to comment, but she suggests that before Mr. Phelps meets Jesus, he really ought to be introduced to some of the Amish who are living through this terrible tragedy.