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Westboro Baptist Church Needs Jesus

Updated on June 9, 2015
lambservant profile image

Lori Colbo is an online media writer who's passion is writing on her Christian faith. Her other passion is being Nana to 12 grandchildren.

"Thank God for 9/11" ~ Fred Phelps
"Thank God for 9/11" ~ Fred Phelps

Westboro Baptist Church is not Baptist

Usually, the term "Baptist Church" brings to mind a Christ-centered, Bible believing denomination. And so if you have never heard of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, you might assume that it is a Christ-centered, Bible believing church. Before I go any further, why don't you take a look at the Westboro Baptist Church website homepage.

It doesn't say "Welcome to Westboro Baptist Church," it says "God Hates Fags." Peruse the website some more and you will see they also hate Jews, America, the military (God kills those who died in battle), the Church, and just about anyone else who doesn't attend WBC. The Bible says "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16). It does not say God loves only the fine folks at WBC. WBC has one whole page of Scriptures from the Old Testament saying how much God hates people who sin. Nothing acknowledging the truth of John 3:16. WBC says "We adhere to the teachings of the Bible, preach against all form of sin (e.g. fornication, adultery [including divorce and remarriage], sodomy, and insist that the sovereignty of God and the doctrines of grace be taught and expounded publicly to all men. (Note the word "grace").

One page heading says, "God Loves Everyone: The Greatest Lie Ever Told"

So exactly how does the "grace" they claim God has on their website, and WBC's ideology of God not loving everyone, work?

And who started WBC, anyway? Mr. Fred Phelps.

Fred Phelps - Founder of WBC
Fred Phelps - Founder of WBC
WBC protester.
WBC protester.

Fred Phelps - WBC Leader

Fred Phelps was the founder and leader of WBC. He haled from Meridian, Mississippi. According to a 2014 article by CNN's Daniel Burke, Phelps went to a Methodist revival meeting as a young man and felt called to the ministry. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, at age seventeen he was ordained a Baptist minister. Fred enrolled in the ultra-conservative, Christian, Bob Jones University in 1947, but never graduated. Somewhere along the way his theology became mangled, distorted, and driven by evil hatred.

In the early 1960s, Phelps earned a law degree and started his own law firm, "Phelps Chartered Law Firm." Phelps and his firm mostly dealt with civil rights cases. In 1979, Fred Phelps was disbarred in the state of Kansas for committing perjury during a nasty trial in which he was accused of being "abusive, repetitive, irrelevant, and represented a classic case of "badgering" a witness." The disbarment documents say that the trial was a "personal vendetta" by Fred Phelps Sr. against Carolene Brady" (a woman court reporter that was late with some transcripts for one of Phelp's trials - that was her crime).

The perjury charge came about when he claimed he had 8 witnesses who could verify Ms. Brady's immorality. The so-called 8 witnesses testified that Phelps had never contacted them, thus he was disbarred for perjury.

In a 2011 CNN interview, Fred Phelps' son, Nate, alleged that his father was cruelly, violent and abusive to his mother and he and his siblings while he was growing up; sometimes using a mattock on the back of their legs. In comments from his upcoming documentary, "Not My Father's Son," Nate Phelps described the mattock as being, "...a large piece of wood about four-an-a-half feet long and it had about thirteen, fourteen-inch circumference. And he would swing that like a baseball bat when he was beating one of us kids." As they were being beaten with the mattock, Nate said "...he would work himself into this frenzy. And it would be bad enough that you literally couldn't sit down, or lie down on your backside for two or three days."

Fred Phelps ran for office several times under the Democratic Party but was never elected.

The so-called "Pastor" Phelps was also arrested and convicted of disorderly conduct and verbal harassment in 1994. Unfortunately, he received two suspended sentences. A year later, Phelps was convicted for assault and battery, but a judge determined that he had not received a "speedy trial," and ended up going free.

The UK refused Phelps and his wife's entry into the country because of his life of "fostering hatred."

Here are some comments Fred Phelps made after the Twin Towers disaster on 9/11.

  • "God hates America, and those calamities last Tuesday (Sept. 11, 2001) are none other than the wrath of God, smiting fag America."
  • "God hates America, and God demonstrated that hatred to some modest degree only last Tuesday - sent in those bombers, those hellacious 767 Boeing bombers, and it was a glorious sight."
  • "And Thank God for 9/11. Thank God that, five years ago, the wrath of God was poured out on this evil nation."

That alone is an abomination, but read the Wikiquote article on Phelps, and you will see how thankful he was for every horrible calamity known to man. The documentation is there.

Fred Phelps died on March 19, 2014 at the age of 84. A few days prior to his death, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that son Nate stated in a facebook post that his father had been excommunicated from WBC a year prior for asking for "kinder treatment of fellow church members." Huff Post Religion reported that grandson Zacharias Phelps-Roper sent a message to Planting Peace, an anti-bullying, equal rights group, stating, "Fred W. Phelps, my grandfather, came out in support of the Equality House before he was voted out of WBC." Equality House is a house directly across the street from WBC, painted with Pride colors, used as a resource center for Planting Peace. According to Zacharias, his grandfather was said to have stood outside WBC looking toward Equality House right after being excommunicated, and heard to say "You are good people." Zacharias Phelps-Roper left WBC in May 2014, no longer agreeing to the teachings of WBC. Four of Fred Phelps' children have left WBC over the years in addition to twenty grandchildren.

Whether or not Fred Phelps had a change of heart before he died, WBC continues full-steam-ahead with it's vitriolic protests.

I feel like he had a change of heart after my grandmother nearly passed away, and he felt the pangs of loss ..."

— Zacharias Phelps-Roper

Fred Phelps - Gospel Preacher and Good American?

Community action now thwarting WBC protests

Communities around the country have been peaceably thwarting WBC protests in a variety of ways. Here are just a few, as reported by various media outlets:

  • In July, 2012, students of Texas A & M formed a human wall to barricade WBC protesters from the military funeral of Lt. Col. Roy Tisdale, an alumni who was shot and killed by a fellow soldier during a safety briefing at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. 650 people showed up, linked arms to protect the funeral service from being interrupted by the planned WBC protest. Interestingly, the planned WBC protesters were a no show.
  • In December 2012, after the Newtown shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, WBC planned a protest at the funeral for shooting victim Dawn Hochsprung, Sandy Hook Elementary principal, in Woodbury, Connecticut. A group known as Anonymous set forth a plan to thwart the protest of Hochsprung's and other victims' funerals. The name of their plan was OccupyNewtown. The plan worked. A group of volunteers showed up on motorcycles to keep watch but ended up going home. WBC cancelled the protest and left town.
  • In April, 2013, WBC threatened to protest at the funeral of Krystle Campbell in Medford, Oregon after she was killed in the Boston Marathon bombing. Five hundred citizens, formed a human shield to keep the protesters out. Once again, WBC was a no show.
  • In October 2013, WBC planned yet another protest, this one for the funeral of Army Ranger Cody James Patterson, killed in action in Afghanistan, in Corvallis, Oregon. More than 2,000 people showed up to protect the funeral proceedings. Many were members of the Patriot Guard Riders WBC bailed on their protest plans.

The list goes on. Citizens have decided to peaceably protest WBC protests, thus WBC protests are becoming scarce. This is a wonderful display of non-violent action against hateful people set out to harm the innocent. The citizens realized that retaliation is not the way. Simply, calm, firm, citizen action has done the trick. Jesus commanded us not to retaliate. The citizens have done well to follow this command and found a peaceful way to thwart the plans of the enemy.

Biker Group vs. Westboro Baptist Church

Does God hate Fred Phelps and the WBC?

No! When we look at evil, and evil people, we grapple with the question "How could God love those who do such evil?" When we ask ourselves such questions, we need to remember that all have fallen short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23), "all" meaning nice people, mean people, and everyone in between. It doesn't make sense to those of us who are just average, garden variety, sinners. But God doesn't see it that way. Maybe our misdeeds aren't as horrendous as those of WBC, but the sin inside of us and that we commit is still a stain on our souls and keeps us separated from God until we ask for forgiveness and turn to Him.

Jesus said, "Love your enemies, and to pray for those who persecute you" (Matt. 5:44). God doesn't ask us to do anything He didn't do already. I didn't have any warm fuzzy feelings for Mr. Phelps and don't for anyone from WBC, except maybe for the children who have been brainwashed. I deplore what they do. What they do makes me furious and sick at heart. But I also feel sorry for them. They are deceived and lost. But as an act of love, I will pray for them, as God has required me to do; however, I do not think that their actions should be tolerated, and if they do continue without repentance, I will support the authorities actions when they go to jail. I do not wish them to hell. I pray to God that they will turn away from their wicked ways and turn to Jesus. It's hard forgive them, but Jesus forgave those who nailed Him to the cross when He said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).

Pray that WBC will repent and turn to the real Jesus.
Pray that WBC will repent and turn to the real Jesus. | Source

God wants to save all people - even WBC

Say to them, 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! (Ez. 33:11).

Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? (Ez. 18:23).

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, b

© Lori Colbo 2012. Updated 2014. All rights reserved.

Could you find it in your heart to pray for Westboro Baptist Church?

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© 2012 Lori Colbo

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    • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori Colbo 

      3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Shirley, sad to say you are right. Thanks for stopping by.

    • ShirleyJCJohnson profile image

      Shirley Johnson 

      3 years ago from Sallisaw, OK

      The true tragedy here is not a lost church; but, the lost souls within this church.

    • BeverlyHicksBurch profile image

      Beverly Hicks Burch 

      4 years ago from Southeastern United States

      Lamb,

      Spot on...

    • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori Colbo 

      5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      I disagree JM but it's not a hill to die on. Thanks for writing.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Elizabeth 

      5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I understand that is the current apologist position, but it's rather recent. In the early days of the church up through the middle ages, they did not agree. That's what allowed the crusades, the inquisition and the witch hunts. If an ASL knowing god made up laws that he knew were impossible to keep, that is fundamentally immoral.

    • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori Colbo 

      5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Thank you for your comments JM. When Jesus talks about fulfilling the law he is talking about himself. We human beings cannot keep every commandment of God. Jesus came to fufill the law on our behalf as you said. In other words, as a sinless man He took the punishment for our sin, thus fulfilling the law of the commandments.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Elizabeth 

      5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      yes, but christ said that not a single stroke would be removed from the laws of the old testament and that he did not come to abolish it, but to fulfill it. He even called people out for not following the command to stone their children and not obeying the law. The westboro baptist church is biblically consistent with the old and new testaments. A lot more so than a lot of mainstream christians. I can't stand them, but they have consistency in their favor.

    • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori Colbo 

      5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      It isn't about what I want or don't want to hear. I am not worried as much about them making my faith look bad as I am about them not telling the truth. I read nowhere in the Bible that Jesus Christ tells us to kill people who are sinful, who have committed even the most horrendous sin. If that was true we'd all be dead, even WBC. There is something called the cross, where Jesus died in our place. He took the punishment that belonged to us. That includes all the people the WBC lists, and the OT. If we reject Him, and do not accept his free gift of forgiveness and grace, and live our lives in worship and devotion to Him, then it will be in His power alone to execute judgment. No one else.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Elizabeth 

      5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      you do realize, don't you, that the Westboro Baptist Church considers themselves to be very good christians. It amuses me to see other christians label them as a "cult". The Westboro congregation are biblically consistent. Their message isn't the type of bible interpretation you want to hear, and you feel that it makes your faith look bad - but everything that they say is biblically consistent.

      This is the very epitome of a "no true scotsman" fallacy in debate. I hear christians all the time say that Westboro followers aren't really christians - just like they say that people who do bad things aren't really christians. the crusades, led by the pope weren't really christians - or if they were, they weren't following gods word. The inquisition was not led by true christians, or else they wouldn't have killed millions of people.

      christianity's stance on killing those who disagree has changed dramatically in the last 2000 years, and it's not through changing yet. but for every christian who points to another christian and says "you're not really a christian" there are dozens of others who would say the same of the person who originally spoke. that's why there are well over a thousand denominations of christianity that can't seem to agree on even the basic fundamental principles of the christian faith.

    • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori Colbo 

      5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Helen, it is very shocking, scary, and quite heartbreaking. We are told to love our enemies and bless those who curse us. I must confess, that is difficult under these circumstances.

    • profile image

      oceansider 

      5 years ago

      Hi lambservant,

      I am shocked after reading this article....it makes no sense that they call themselves Christians when they are preaching hatred.

      Jesus said we must love our enemies.....we hate the sin, but continue to love the person, and not judge what they are doing......God is our Judge!

      This was totally way out there......I've never heard of a so-called Christian church that did not proclaim what Jesus commands.....Jesus said that if we love Him we will keep His commandments.

      Thanks for sharing with us,

      & God bless you, Helen

    • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori Colbo 

      6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Garnetbird, you need to contact the authorities if you feel they are a threat. My prayers are with you.

    • MrMaranatha profile image

      MrMaranatha 

      6 years ago from Somewhere in the third world.

      Some so called preachers preach the hardest when they are preaching to themselves... I've seen it in the past and it would not surprise me to see it come out in the long run on this dude either.

    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 

      6 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Phelps is possibly a latent homosexual. Hitler felt he had some Jewish ancestry and projected his hatred of himself and his roots onto the Jews. This is a horrid way for anyone to behave and makes the "lost" seem mild and loving by comparison. Good Hub and your perspective is right on. I recently received "hate mail" and threats from a religious group in the south that accused me of being a phony and money grubber for writing about Incest and sexual abuse. I literally felt like they wanted to hire a hit man and rub me out, their emails were so gruesome and heated.

    • QuirkyMooki profile image

      QuirkyMooki 

      6 years ago from United states

      This sounds more like they are affiliated with the KKK or Natzis. I am not sure why they would claim to be Babtists. Just weird and it is offensive to people who actually grew up in a real Babtist church.

    • profile image

      goatmama 

      6 years ago

      Well stated. I think the most important point you make is that we who are Christians, are required to pray for them. That is following the example of Christ, and as much as most of us find these people detestable, we need to be obedient. So, thanks for reminding me that I need to pray for them, and for setting the example.

    • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori Colbo 

      6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Also, when I quote Jesus saying "for they know not what they do," I don't mean that they are not deliberate in their actions, I think, though, that they do not realize what an abomination their actions are to God. Unless they repent, they will one day find out, but it will be too late.

    • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori Colbo 

      6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Well, this is strange. I wasn't done writing this hub by a long shot but accidentally published it. I guess that's okay. It was such a sickening story to write I had trouble sleeping last night. They came to a military funeral nearby here yesterday to protest. Haven't seen what happened yet. Thank you all for writing and as much as we hate what they are doing, we need to pray for them.

    • tonja niemi profile image

      Tonja Niemi 

      6 years ago from Eagan, MN USA

      Hate is our enemy. These children are victims of abuse. Although people have the right to free speech, it is disgusting how they go about it. The WBC clearly has a distorted vision of morality.

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 

      6 years ago from Central Texas

      Such a sad, sad situation that anyone, including Christians, have to be exposed to such open hate. I agree, prayer for them is their only hope as in my mind they are not only misguided they are misguided, easily led sheep. Excellent Hub. Best/Sis

    • teacherjoe52 profile image

      teacherjoe52 

      6 years ago

      Hi lambservant

      Yes a feeling of anger, sadness and repultion is felt towards these hate filled people.

      They are the ones giving the athiests ammuntion.

      God bless you.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      I do believe these people (not the children) know exactly what they are doing and deliberately decide to pervert God's message. They are dangerous and evil. I also am saddened they go by the mane of Christian and bring dishonor to it. Perhaps exposes like this one you wrote will help disband these awful people. I also pray for them in hopes of seeing them in the kingdom of Christ one day.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      6 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      LS,

      Sorry, I didn't read this hub. It would only anger me more. I think MrMaranatha said it well. But thanks for exposing this group for the phoneys they are.

    • MrMaranatha profile image

      MrMaranatha 

      6 years ago from Somewhere in the third world.

      It Sickens me that they are calling themselves by the same name as so many good Christians... They are literally Purloining the name "Baptist" and dragging it through the mud... taking us all for a ride with them. "Not Cool". Funny thing is that I know a bunch of Real Radical Fundamental Baptists... and to the last one they abhor what Westboro is doing... Right down to the last Fundamental Baptist Pastor... they all Condemn Phelps as a Heretic.

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