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Westboro Baptist Church Needs Jesus
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 - 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).
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?
© 2012 Lori Colbo