Want to destroy your credibility? Equate Westboro Baptist with Christianity

Christianity wants nothing to do with Westboro
Christianity wants nothing to do with Westboro

Liberal, Secular Humanist and Pro-homosexual union commenters use a blatant and well-known lie to shore-up their complaints about Christianity. For this lie, they deserve to be dismissed out-of-hand. If you know you are repeating a lie, over and over, and keep doing it, you destroy your credibility. The lie they regularly use is to equate Westboro Baptist Church with Christianity. The truth is, Westboro Baptist is so antithetical to Christianity, so minuscule and so extreme, they are neither a church nor are they statistically representative of Christianity in any way.  They may have a 501C3, but they are no more of a church than comedian John Oliver’s

HBO's John Oliver lampoons televangelism
HBO’s John Oliver lampoons televangelism

Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption

Let’s take a simple look at Westboro Baptist Church, and get some facts into evidence. Though it’s not an academic source, a simple look at Wikipedia’s Westboro article gives us all the statistics we need.

Fred Phelps - Hate group founder
Fred Phelps – Hate group founder

1. Formed by Fred Phelps in Topeka KS in 1955, they began protesting homosexuality and everything else they didn’t like in 1991. They even hate almost all Christians:
a. “”Priests rape boys” is indeed an air-tight, three word case against all of the mainline “christian” churches – their preachers and members, without exception. They are all going to Hell!”

Son Nathan denounced his father and became an atheist
Son Nathan denounced his father and became an atheist

2. Nathan Phelps, estranged son of Fred Phelps, claims he never had a relationship with his abusive father when he was growing up and that the Westboro Baptist Church is an organization for his father to “vent his rage and anger”.
3. There are approximately 40-members, many of whom are relatives of Phelps, traveling throughout the nation, picketing about 5-times per day.

4. Westboro is affiliated with no Christian denomination.

40 Hate-Group members, not a church
40 Hate-Group members, not a church

In perspective, 70% of the U.S. identifies as Christian. That is 224,000,000 people, who are explicitly hated by the 40-members of Westboro Baptist. Their pastor’s own son says the group was founded by domestic abuser to vent his rage and anger. A quick look at http://www.godhatesfags.com, Westboro’s website advertises what they are all about – Hate. Compare their website with any legitimate church, and you will find their ideology is expressly opposed to Christianity.

Cite Westboro as Christianity, kiss credibility goodbye
Cite Westboro as Christianity, kiss credibility goodbye

No one who appreciates the truth could make a comparison of Westboro to Christianity. Just because they cite the Bible, does not make them Christian. Just because someone cites the Physician’s Desk Reference, does it make them a doctor? Of course not and only a fool would attempt to make the connection.

Anyone who cites Westboro as representative of Christianity does so at the peril of their credibility.

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117 comments

    • Excellent question. Under the New Covenent, the Bible doesn’t appear to micromanage what married couples do. Here are a few verses that answer a lot of what you’re asking:

      Hebrews 13:4 (ESV) 4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

      1 Corinthians 7:3 (ESV) 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.

      1 Corinthians 7:4 (ESV) 4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

      I read these passages that, as long as husband and wife don’t believe what the are doing is immoral the Bible doesn’t arbitrate it. It is abundantly clear that sex is be only between one wife and one husband married to each other.

      • Thanks for that David. I take from that, it’s up to the couple concerned and their individual consciences? My follow-up question, is that a lot of Christians place the emphasis on procreation rather than enjoyment when a couple has sex. So therefore, sex, other than PIV doesn’t fit too well. Because no one will get pregnant through masturbation, oral or anal sex. And it follows from that, if those activities are OK for a heterosexual couple, why should a homosexual couple not enjoy them too? I don’t need to get into graphic detail, but if the actual,activities are the same, what’s the problem?

      • If you reread the verses, you get the same answer. Biblically, God only sanctifies sexual relations between 1 man & 1 woman married to each other. Anything else is sin. No way to spin that. It always goes back to the same answer without negotiation.

        I imagine everyone wants to try to negotiate away the sinfulness of their sin. I certainly don’t like admitting to my fallen state. Thank God I have a Savior.

      • Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

        Well, one could consider that to be homosexual 🙂

        Biblically, the men who wrote the bible were homophobic and misogynist. No way to spin that either.

        Everyone doesn’t want to negotiate anything. Some of us actually do not believe in this. Very seriously. I am neither fallen nor a sinner. And the truth is, you are 25? Don’t preach to people more than twice your age.

      • If you are saying that they conformed to societal norms of 2000-years ago, then yes, the overwhelming majority of earth was mysogyinstic. Homomphobia is a word invented in the latter part of the 20th century, and it is mildly humorous to hear. If anyone disagrees with liberal ideas, they are XYZ-phobic. Funny, the UCC shooter up in Oregon sorted out Christians for death, but the media doesn’t seem to call him Christophobic. Come to think of it, I’ve never called you Christophobic… ever wonder why?

        I’m 50, and I am a preacher. What did you expect when you engaged me in biblical dialogue? And I didn’t call you a sinner – I shared with you that certain behaviors you asked about were sinful according to the Bible. Big difference.

      • OK, firstly apols for giving you youthful years. Maybe I thought I’d read it, maybe it was just, well, the Internet! I think ‘liberal’ is very much much an Americanism. But yes, opposing homosexual relationships is pretty discriminatory, if you prefer that term.
        Christophobic would be soooo self-entered. Religiophobic would be more accurate.
        I ask you questions, as I ask others who are courteous to engage in civil discourse. We will never agree, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t speak.

      • One other issue that you brought up that I thought should be addressed.

        “My follow-up question, is that a lot of Christians place the emphasis on procreation rather than enjoyment when a couple has sex.”

        God created us with the pleasure centers of sexual relations, so He obviously intended us to have them, and it seems to have worked. It is natural for children to be the fruit of marital relations, and that is the natural, unquestionable design and function of the male and female complimentary reproductive roles. The Bible does not speak to specifics, but the intent is obvious.

        If someone persists in using their body for something other than God’s obvious design, there is usually an injunction forthcoming in a removal of his protection. The lack of PIV would mathematically relate to fewer progeny. Many older people regret not having, or not having more children. As for homosexuality, there are all sorts of infectious diseases, and physical maladies associated to it. The CDC reports HIV in people practicing homosexuality at 10-times the rate of those practicing heterosexuality. I would credit this to God honoring the wishes of those who reject Him. Notice how Paul precisely constructs the following verse:

        Romans 1:26
        That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other.

      • Not sure what you mean by that last verse. Anyway, what’s your evidence for older people wishing they had some or more children? Is that a selfish desire to be looked after? Not everyone wants to have children. Crap English there! But they don’t. There are too many people on this earth as it is. What’s wrong with having sex for enjoyment without procreating? Do you seriously think everyone should have sex without contraception, because that is where your point is leading. There arevplenty of diseases for heterosexuals too: AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, genital warts, want me to continue?

      • There are people, even the Apostle Paul, who are not led to be married. They have other measures for their life, and while I would judge neither person. I would have no right to judge either choice, married or not, but to my use of good judgement I can see benefits to both. The Bible describes each has an excellent calling.

        I think your information regarding birth control and Christians may not be complete. True, the Roman church has doctrine in their traditions that speaks to birth control. Protestants, in general, don’t honor the Romanist traditions. There is no biblical corroboration to their birth control injunction.

        Where things may get confused is on the issue of abortion used as a form of birth control. There is substantial biblical enjoinder on abortion, but I’m not aware of any on birth control.

      • David,
        I only wanted to “like” your brilliant, wisdom-inspired responses, but since I don’t know how to do that yet, I’ll just have to do it as a reply.

        My other observation – it’s quite interesting or is it ‘telling’ that one would seek to know the will of God while simultaneously declaring a disbelief in and a rejection of the One whose will is being sought.

        “A man rejects God neither because of intellectual demands nor because of the scarcity of evidence. A man rejects God because of a moral resistance that refuses to admit his need for God.”

        The truth given in love always wins.
        Stay Blessed.

      • Very well stated, TA. Before I was saved, I had the same gnawing emptiness and rebellion. I’m grateful to God gave me the freedom I have today. Thanks for your comment.

      • I totally agree. Bill Johnson puts it this way, without Christ at the center of our lives, we end up with something that is a good try, but it can never be what God intended for it to be.
        It sounds contrary to common sense, but it really is losing your life in order to find [His true] life.

        Now, whenever I think of the word “pleasure” – the first thing that comes to mind is this: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

        Pleasures for evermore can only be found in Him. It’s incredible! but more importantly, it’s true.

        Have a blessed day.

  1. I can appreciate what you are getting at here. Westboro Baptist Church are clearly the <em"low hanging fruit".

    In addition I don’t think any group in society wishes to be characterised by their most extreme members.

    I saw a documentary about the folk at Westboro and it showed all the hallmarks of a cult. But I suppose it does highlight an issue of who actually speaks for the Church.Many Christians are so skeptical of ecumenical movements and bodies seeing them as some sort of Antichrist. So it can be hard to determine what is the official Christian position.

    Over on another blog, one Christian commentator lamented:

    “I can understand why U guys call Christianity a farce, with so many denominations out there calling themselves Christians, that haven’t a clue what receiving God’s grace through saving faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ is all about…

    But when I asked that commentator to clarify which denomination no reply was forthcoming. As siriusbizinus notes there are very many Christian denominations. This in itself is puzzling if their is one Spirit guiding Christians. Why are there so many splits? Why are there so many disputes over matters of faith and doctrine?

    On another Christian blog I looked at yesterday the post author said that Billy Graham, Mother Theresa, CS Lewis, John Calvin, Martin Luther and St Augustine would all end up in Hell as they were heretics who had preached the wrong Gospel. I found this an odd conclusion given this person subscribes to the teaching of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones who would not have shared this view in regard to the latter three from the above list.

    So who speaks for the Christian position? Citing the Bible does not answer the question as I expect that most of the 40,000 plus denominations cite the Bible as their authority. Which of these denominations has correctly interpreted the Bible? This is not a trivial issue when many Christian groups suggest those with differing interpretations are not true Christians.

    • Hi Peter,
      I really appreciate your comment. It is very thoughtful, and you ask some really good questions. I’ll give you the best answers I have.

      1) There is no biblical basis for denomination. These came from mankind, often with good intentions to eliminate heresy and abuses of government-sponsored churches. Nonetheless, for every good intention, there have serious human flaws and failures.

      2) Westboro is all alone, and not a member of any denomination. They use the name “baptist”, but there isn’t a baptist church I am aware of that would affiliate with them. They are not extreme “members”, but rather a cult that simply hijacked Christian nomenclature. It is like calling Mormons Christian, when their theology is a far-flung departure from Christianity. They carry around substantially edited King James bibles that no Christian church uses, but their theology comes from the Book of Mormon, the D & C & the Pearl.

      3) I can certainly understand how denominationalism is confusing. There is a substantial body of history that explains how we got the denominations we have today, but if you really want to understand it I would encourage you to start with Zondervan Handbook to the History of Christianity by Jonathan Hill. I can give you a quick thumbnail:

      4) Control of the church from 325 until an early 1500’s challenge (1517/18 Martin Luther – 95 Theses) by what became Lutheranism (1526). Luther complained of corrupt fundraising by the Catholic Church and extra-biblical practices and was eventually excommunicated. John Calvin was a theologian from Geneva, also influential in what came to be called The Reformation, breaking from Luther over the “real presence” of the Body of Christ in the Eucharist (communion wafer). Calvin spawned the Reformed tradition (Presbyterianism), and was opposed by his student Jacobus Arminius over election (who God picks to save). Arminius and his Remonstrants broke with Calvin, forming theology that became the Anglican position under Henry VIII, when he broke with the Catholics over permission to divorce. As an Anglican minister mingled with a small spiritualized church (Moravians), he became inspired to lead others in what eventually came to the US as Methodism. The hyper-spiritualized Methodists eventually spawned Pentacostalism (Church of God, Assemblies of God).

      The Anabaptists also started in Europe’s Reformation but were more closely aligned with a primitive church made up of Waldensians, Bretheren (pacifist), and others that remained out of the main-stream until they eventually jumped the pond and became a large sect of Baptists and others in the U.S.

      In the 1800’s, amidst a lot of spiritual seeking and revivals, Westward travel, etc., Christianity fragmented further in the U.S. The infamous Great Disappointment gave us the Millerites (Adventists). Others broke from OT teaching (Church of Christ), or broke because of race (AME, Southern Methodism), or broke because of church government preferences.

      5) Christianity is in its purest form between the born-again Christian and God, via the Bible. Personally, I’m non-denominational, and while I think the majority of Christians are in it for a relationship with Jesus, others have ulterior motives. People are people.

      6) Ecumenism is almost always a non-starter. Having to accept the other guy’s perceived heresy is unpalatable, so these organizations almost always fail.

      7) There is no requirement for anyone to speak for “All Christians”. It would be handy for some, but it is also contrary to God’s Word. Peter was expressly to lead & feed the church, but the Bible names no heir to Peter’s authority, other than all Christians. Perhaps we would all do better if everyone would just read the Bible and only give authority to Jesus… Actually, God did in Matthew 28

      8 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

      Thanks again for the great questions.

      • David, thanks for your considered response. I suppose the major point I am focusing on is that sincere folk claiming to be inspired by God can reach different interpretations of the Bible. Baptism is one example of this. Arminianism versus Calvinism another. Indeed the split between John Wesley and George Whitefield is one of the more notable examples of sincere folk who had been good friends eventually falling out of fellowship over different theological interpretations of the Bible.

        Even slavery can be seen as a similar example, George Whitefield campaigned to have slavery introduced into Georgia in the 18th century.

        Very early on in Christian history the church (read Catholic) recognised that it was not enough to say a position was derived from the Bible as well meaning folk could reach different interpretations. Thus they concluded that only the Church could properly interpret the Bible and started to develop tradition as a companion.

        The segmentation of the Church has meant that there will inevitably be fringe groups who can use the Bible to justify their views. The problem for the outsider is to know who are the “true Christians”. I can appreciate how sincere Christians are pained to see their religion hijacked by cults like Westboro, to the outsider they see people who purport to be Christians who use the Bible to support their arguments.

        So it keeps coming back to the issue, if not all groups who claim to be Christian are Christian, how is the outsider to know which group really is Christian?

      • Peter,
        Your position is thoughtful and you come at it in a disciplined way.

        I expect unlearned people may be defined by their inclusion of Westboro, but they really have no meaningful credibility. It is the learned person who depends on their credibility, that the article would be directed to. “God hates fags” does not square with “Love your enemies”, making obvious that whomever says the former could not represent the latter. If one does try to make the connection, it is obvious they aren’t credible or learned.

        If I call myself a mathmatician, but insist 2+2=5, no one could credibly assert that I’m a mathmatician.

        Thanks for your response.

      • David, Romans 1:18-31 has often been cited to justify anti-homosexual views. It can be a challenge to balance the tensions in the Christian canon.

      • Peter,
        God is clear on sin. If our actions are sinful, they show that we put our will above His. He still lives us, but we are doing wrong. It’s a relationship not unlike a parent and child. The parents make the rules, and if we flout their rules they still love us, but hate what we’ve done.

        Secular humanism has sold some societies that homosexuality is many things that it isn’t. It isn’t a personality or a people-group. People are not “homosexuals”, they are people. If I’ve lied, but then stop lying, I’m not a liar anymore. If someone engages in homosexual acts, then stops, they are no longer a homosexual. Homosexuality is just an act, and it is sinful. At no time does a sin become a person.

        I am glad you brought up Romans 1:18-31. Yes, the Bible affirms homosexual activity is sinful. Not Catholics, Baptists, or Pentacostals. God, through His Word is clear. The further any group of Christians get away from the Bible, the less Godly and more humanistic they become.

  2. david
    I think you’re wrong on WBC’s doctrine being aberrant. they seem to follow along fairly Reformed Baptist Confessions and Creeds. By Orthopraxy they are probably further to the extreme of what any American Christians today would consider Sane, but they seem to just be a bit more consistent with the… if I may be so bold as to draw a mini comparison… “Application of their Faith”. I think they would have gotten on with Luther and Calvin just fine back in the day. Didn’t you say at one time of another that you were of the Reformed persuasion?
    Unfortunately, along with the Swaggarts, Fallwells and Osteens of our Faith, we should at least try to be honest and take a little responsibility for the Phelps Family too.
    -mike

    • Mike, I wouldn’t concede an inch on this one. Yes, they have a statement of faith inclined toward Calvinism. What they do requires us to reject them. WB is about neither the Greatest Commandment or the Great Commission:

      2 Peter 2:1 (NLT)
      1 But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves.

  3. They might be ill-mannered, but WBC members follow a Calvinist theology. And Reformed Protestantism falls under the umbrella of Christianity—does it not?

    • Ron, denomination is man-made. It doesn’t matter what they claim.

      Jesus summarized what Christians are to do in the Two Greats – The Greatest Commandment and the Great Commission. “Godfatesfags.com” and 5 hateful protests a day rules out the Greatest Commandment, and makes impossible the Great Commission.

      Jesus came alongside sinners, broke bread, loved them, led them into a relationship, healed them, and then gave instruction on living without sin. In groups He instructed broadly withou singling people out fir ridicule. With the exception of so-called religious leaders whom He directly chastised, instruction about sin was done with thoughtful care and in love.

      “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James4.6 ESV

      • Thanks David. I’m afraid to say, only one of those articles (Debate.org) delves into the subject of WB being a mirror of most fundamentalist churches. The others are just factual reports. Now, granted, WB gets far too much coverage in the US press, but so does Sarah Palin. Unfortunately, sensationalism sells… Just look at Glenn Beck.

      • I think both of us would note that WB is a one-off aberration. No legitimate church’s website would be “godharesfags.com”. Associating them with Christianity or “fundamentalist Christian” is an outrageous statement made only to insult.

        Thanks for reading!

      • Well, no one is associating them with all of Christianity, which i believe your claim was. Likening them to radical right-wing fundamentalist evangelical churches is, however, somewhat accurate regarding matters of gay hating. Yes, they are an extreme example, but the narrative of hatred and intolerance is repeated in many evangelical churches. That’s just a fact. You need not look further than Grace church in Seattle. Their blog is hosted by a woman who calls herself The Bigot.

      • I really must protest your associating them with right wing fundamentalist Christianity. That is not at all accurate, and a profoundly insulting slur. I’ve preached and attended over 100 of what you would call fundamentalist Christian churches and there wasn’t any evidence of Westboro-like attitude.

        Pro homosexual advocates conflate the behavior of homosexuality and the people who engage in it. Biblically, God loves us all without any qualifier as to the type of sin we engage in. God hates all sinful behavior equally. “Teaching the Bible” is not “hating gay people”.

        Including the thoughts I’ve coveted, I’ve probably broken every commandment. Still, I am loved by God and forgiven of all sins as I have confessed and repented… and I’ll need to do that a lot more as I go through life.

      • God hates all sinful behavior equally.

        And there it is. You have married yourself to WB thinking. Who says being gay is a sin? And I love this maneuver: so its not you hating gays, just your god hating gays. Isn’t that on one of the WB signs you posted? 😉

      • John, your perception is wrong. Homosexuality is a sin. Even today, the APA finds no causation. Having a same-sex proclivity is not a sin. Coveting and committing the acts is.

        You seem to be crossing a line from factual discussion to personal attack. Please take that in the spirit is intended, and let’s dial the comments back to civility.

      • Again, who says its a “sin”? Your particular flavour of Christianity? So?

        Homosexual behaviour has been observed in thousands of species.

        You want to know what is unnatural? Abstinence 🙂

        Apologies if you think I was getting personal. I certainly didn’t mean to, if that was the way it was interpreted. On the whole I actually agree with the theme of the post.

      • God says it is a sin. Just because someone likes doing something doesn’t mean they just get to “opt out” of God’s Word. And, no, it is not my flavor of Christianity. The Bible is unequivocal, and I will tag this response with one of the 6 places where the bible plainly calls homosexuality a sin.

        Abstinence is perfectly natural, so is sexual activity. Abusing sexual relations is unnatural, and there just is no way to find that homosexuality doesn’t physically abuse everything about sex.

        Lying is also a sin, and there is no way you can abuse the truth and make it right. You can equivocate, but it doesn’t every make it right. Stealing, coveting, murder, idol-worship… all sin, and no way it can be done right.

        Animals are not people. We have a much higher order of thought process, and our place in nature testifies to it, even if you don’t believe in God. Just because animals do something doesn’t mean people do it. How many animals eat their own feces?

        The bottom line is, regardless of which faith background you choose, the overwhelming majority of humanity agrees that homosexuality is wrong… Christian, Islam, Hindu… Billions of people agree that homosexuality is wrong. God wrote that into our consciences. (Romans 2:14)

        Here’s the passage I promised earlier:

        Romans 1:24-27 (NLT)
        24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies.
        25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.
        26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other.
        27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

      • Bogus number. i’m still counted as a Christian. There is no “de-enrollment” form. And you really think every Christian holds the same archaic beliefs as you? Please, let’s keep this in the realm of the believable, David.

      • 2.01 billion on a quick Google search. 2.47 billion according to the Perspectives missiology text. Either way, over 2 billion.

        Regardless of interpretation claims, you’ve actually seen the biblical text. Permissive attitudes toward sin doesn’t make it any less of a sin. The Bible is plain spoken on the matter.

      • Nah, its a false number. there are supposedly 2.2 billion Catholics. Let me just give you an example of my friends from our Catholic school. Out of my 20 closest friends all but 1 is now either atheist or simply doesn’t care. All 20, though, are still counted in that catholic number.

        Let’s see the actual church attendance records.

      • That’s an interesting anecdote, and good luck getting church attendance records… I’ve never been to a Sunday service that took attendance.

        Just because you are a backsliden Romanist doesn’t mean everyone is.

      • It might be interesting for some, but it is not germane to the point. We are talking about human beings with a sense of morality. The purpose… purpose, of sex is procreation. There are ancillary effects, but the purpose is procreation. The fact that some animals exhibit sexual behaviors other than procreation doesn’t translate at all to human beings.

        You can’t logically argue that we don’t have to have God to have morals, and then take your moral lead from penguins. Or, then again, that may make perfect sense. If you deny God, you might as well take your moral lead from penguins. Why not? They’re kinda cute.

      • Again, who is saying homosexual love is immoral? Your particular religion? Who cares! Seriously, who cares? Your particular religion says slavery is great. Does that make it moral?

        David, your particular religion has no influence on reality.

      • John, again, your interesting little world has is own unique standards, but they only apply to you.

        Homosexuality defies the natural purpose of sex

        It is 10-times more likely to spread HIV/AIDS than heterosexual contact according to the CDC

        NHIS estimates 1.6% self-identify as homosexual – Gallup is 3.8%, yet the U.S. Is oppressing the overwhelming majority of its citizens to accommodate it.

        It defies 2.47 billion Christian’s master text
        It defies 1.6 billion Muslim’s master text
        It defies 488 million Buddhist master texts
        It defies 27 million Sikh’s master text

        Christianity, the Bible, God’s word says it’s a sin. Sin is wrong. And my stats prove my assessment is right, not your personal assertion.

        By the way, thanks for challenging and interacting with me. You’ve helped me be more compelled to research my points more thoroughly. You’re a thoughtful opponent.

      • You’re welcome, but I’m not an opponent, just someone here to keep you honest. I don’t think you’re a bad person, although I’m sure you think I’m inspired by the Debil. Oh well.

        Yes, so many religions think homosexual love is bad. That doesn’t make it bad in reality. You don’t seem to be getting this point. 1,500 species have been observed performing homosexual behaviour, so it’s a good thing we don’t live in theocracies these days, or you guys would be up to your necks in holy blood, killing man, woman, and beast alike.

      • You do realize that Christianity doesn’t advocate killing anyone, don’t you? Jesus fulfilled the OT law, and Christians don’t have to be Jews (See Acts 10-15 and a bunch of Romans).

        Homosexual is sexual, not love. There is brotherly love, paternal love for a son, Agape which is the source of all of it. Homosexuality will never be right, correct, or useful. Again, you don’t get that we don’t take our moral cues from animals… then again, maybe you do. If that is the standard, thought, then you open up a whole can of worms. Say “I’m taking my moral cues from the animals” into a recording device, then play it back. It will sound very silly when you hear it.

      • You do realize that Christianity doesn’t advocate killing anyone, don’t you?

        Jesus certainly didn’t condone it, but Christians certainly do! With religious justification men excuse themselves from all matters of common decency, and with wild abandon they are empowered to rejoice in their own perverted inhumanity. Celebrating the aftermath of the storming of Jerusalem by the Crusaders in 1099, Cleric Raymond of Aguilers gleefully remarked:

        “In the temple of Solomon, one rode in blood up to the knees and even to the horses’ bridles, by the just and marvellous judgment of God.”

        Indeed, in Christian thought, as in many other religious expressions, two types of war have been seen as entirely permissible: the holy war, and the just war, with the latter drawing its authority from religious moral drivers. See Russell Frederick H., 1977, The Just War in the Middle Ages, Cambridge University Press, pp. 2.

        Now, out of interest, why are you obsessed with gay love, David? Seriously, why is it any of your business? Are you afraid of gays? Do you perhaps have gay thoughts? I’m straight, and I never, ever think about gay love.

      • I think of the Bible… hence, the whole minister/seminary thing. When someone is mistaken, I am compelled to correct in the most appropriate way I can manage.

        As for Christianity, there is no Biblical basis for a holy war, try as some may. Judaism, yes, but not Christianity. There really isn’t a New Testament basis for a just war, nor is there admonition against it in particular. It kind of flies in the face of the Love Your Enemies thing, but the apostles did a whole lot of being a martyr rather than killing.

        It is worth noting that the Crusades were a defensive war to thwart the Muslim invaders, but the left doesn’t seem to want to remember that part of history.

        If you look at the the article, you’ll find that homosexuality was only mentioned as one of three motivations to equate WB with Christianity. You’re the one that went off the rails on homosexuality. And, with a schoolyard taunt, you then turn it to “Why are you obsessed with gays, are you gay?”

        I’m a minister. I am about the Bible.

      • There really isn’t a New Testament basis for a just war, nor is there admonition against it in particular. It kind of flies in the face of the Love Your Enemies thing, but the apostles did a whole lot of being a martyr rather than killing.

        I agree with this.

        I’m a minister. I am about the Bible.

        That doesn’t stop many, many, many priests and pastors being gay.

        But it was a serious question. Why are you even concerned with gay sex? How does it affect your life?

      • Oh, and have ever heard of Gary North? He’s the so-named “Tea Party Economist” and he wants to stone children to death in American public squares. And, he’s a leading Christian in the Dominionist.

        So yes, many Christians even today do, indeed, call for killing.

      • Never heard of Gary North. Certainly not a mainstream Christian leader of any kind. There are crackpots in all walks of humanity.

        Wikipedia has a little about that shard of thought… suffice to say, it bounced around for about 20-years in the late 20th century and then died… And that’s your thesis?

        Wiki:
        Reconstructionists advocate theocracy and the restoration of Mosaic law, such as the Biblical admonition to stone homosexuals to death; thus, Reconstructionists are generally characterized as political radicals. The movement declined in the 1990s and was declared dead in a 2008 Church History journal article

      • I would certainly agree that its against Jesus’ message, but two of your presidential hopefuls align themselves with dominionism: Perry and Santorum. The crazy is alive and flourishing… and they’re Christian.

      • And between the both, you can account for less than 3% of the electorate. Not exactly a wave of support… and their “dominionism” has to be fairly unknown. It has never surfaced in any speach or news report from either of them.

      • 1% of Republicans care about Rick Santorum. His positions are unknown ’cause no one cares to read about him. Tie your dead sliver religion to someone who matters and we can revisit it.

      • You are wrong. Just Wikipedia it John. You’re wasting time. This standard liberal spin-doctoring really is below you. I thought you were a facts guy? Find a tiny nano-sliver of some obscure people’s theory and try to paint all opposing positions with your non-fact.

      • FYI, all four of your links are extremist-left blogs. The technical term for what they are doing is “echo chambering”, similar to AstroTurfing. Spin-doctoring 101. I’m an ex PR guy. I can smell it a mile away.

      • I just read that 10% of rams are pure homosexual, for life. That’s interesting. (Animal Homosexuality: A Biosocial Perspective By Aldo Poiani, A. F. Dixson, Aldo Poiani, A. F. Dixson, p. 179, 2010, Cambridge University Press)

        Are they sinning?

      • I have yet to read the ram Bible. And again, there is quite a wide variety of animal behavior out there. Praying mantises females eat the male after they breed… so I guess we take our cue from them, too?

      • Who’s taking their cue? Merely demonstrating that animals are gay. Albatrosses, I read, also have life-long gay relationships.

        So, you didn’t answer my question: are rams sinning?

      • Erm, no, you’re conceding it’s a behaviour that’s observed in nature, across many species, and therefore “natural.”

        That is, of course, unless you think rams and albatrosses (fro example) are sinning against your particular god.

      • I said, So you’re agreeing then that homosexual behaviour is natural. Not common, granted, but natural. That is a true statement. Not common, but natural.

        So, are rams “sinning” in the eyes of your god?

      • Let me cap off with what the overwhelming majority of Christians believe. Until you mentioned it today I had never heard of it. I’m a 25-year Christian, licensed by the Southern Baptists, and earning 3 degrees from a conservative Christian university… It is, indeed, obscure

        From Wiki:

        Full adherents to Reconstructionism are few and marginalized among most Christians.[2][3][4] Dave Hunt,[5] Hal Lindsey,[6] and Thomas Ice[7] specifically criticize Christian Reconstructionism from a Christian viewpoint, disagreeing on theological grounds with its theocratic elements as well as its Calvinism and postmillennialism. J. Ligon Duncan,[8] Sherman Isbell,[9] Vern Poythress,[10] Robert Godfrey,[11] and Sinclair Ferguson[12] analyze Reconstructionism as conservative Calvinists, primarily giving a theological critique of its theocratic elements.

        From journalist Stanley Kurtz

        The notion that conservative Christians want to reinstitute slavery and rule by genocide is not just crazy, it’s downright dangerous. The most disturbing part of the Harper’s cover story (the one by Chris Hedges) was the attempt to link Christian conservatives with Hitler and fascism. Once we acknowledge the similarity between conservative Christians and fascists, Hedges appears to suggest, we can confront Christian evil by setting aside ‘the old polite rules of democracy’. So wild conspiracy theories and visions of genocide are really excuses for the Left to disregard the rules of democracy and defeat conservative Christians — by any means necessary.[60]

        Joe Carter of First Things writes:

        [T]here is no “school of thought” known as “dominionism”. The term was coined in the 1980s by Diamond and is never used outside liberal blogs and websites. No reputable scholars use the term for it is a meaningless neologism that Diamond concocted for her dissertation.[62]

      • David, I agree. I’m not, and never said, Dominionism was a huge movement, just that it IS a movement: alive, active, promoting itself, and having strong influence on at least two of your current presidential hopefuls, as well a strong influence in the Tea Party movement. Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin are Dominionists, as well.

        That should frighten the hell out of you, and all other Christians.

  4. Hello David,

    I will have to say that I do occasionally refer to WBC in matters of gay marriage because I don’t think there’s enough distancing between how they oppose marriage equality and how some other Christians oppose it.

    There is, though, a bigger question that you raise in your post: what makes a Christian a Christian? I know there are verses which say that you’ll know them by their fruits and all that, but there are also less stringent requirements by more mainline churches (as in, a Christian is a follower of Christ, and it’s left vague). Don’t feel bad if you can’t tackle it all at once; 40,000 denominations exist for a reason. That’s at least 40,000 times people couldn’t agree on what makes a Christian a Christian.

    Main point is that calling the members of the WBC Christians isn’t necessarily a swipe at Christians; they are an icon for a group of people that at least claim they mean well but do the exact opposite. Admittedly, that’s just as broad, but I hope you can see the utility there. Even other Christians can use it.

    • I think your question can be answered fairly simply. Romans 10:9-10 states what it takes to be a Christian, which is belief on Jesus Christ. All of the rest is moving furniture around the room. What is your church about, is a different question. If your “church” is expressly antithetical to the Bible and its teachings, then you do not have a church, nor do you represent a Christianity.

      • So by that metric, then, if you ask a member of the Westboro Baptist Church if he or she has that belief mentioned in Romans 10:9-10, wouldn’t that mean that they are, in fact, Christians, by your metric?

      • Being a Christian, and being Christianity are two very different things. Being a church in the Body of Jesus Christ and being an avowed hate-group are two very different things.

        A heinous serial killer can accept Christ and be saved, but that certainly doesn’t make Christianity the religion of serial killers, does it?

        If I were to say that the liberal half of Americans are eco-terrorists, just because eco-terrorists who are overwhelmingly liberal, would that be a credible use of language? Absolutely not. In 19 years, there have been about 1800 incidents of eco-terrorism. Dilute that among the 76-million self-identified liberals, and you have a highly-impeachable statement.

        Now math out the 40 Westboro people and 224-million Christians in the USA. Highly-impeachable doesn’t even come close to that comparison.

        Hopefully, colored by the stats, you understand my point.

      • I get your point, David.

        What I’m driving at here is this sense that the lines can be blurred. For example, if one tones down the message of the WBC, it could fit into a larger subset of churches.

        Even on the other end of the spectrum, there are churches which claim they represent Christendom and advocate embracing homosexual congregants, even to the point of performing marriage ceremonies and having homosexual clergy.

        I did a post that grappled with this question a long time ago, that is, the question of is Christianity a monolith, is there a true doctrine, who decides what, and are all Christians responsible for it. Admittedly, it’s incredibly complex, and it’s quite easy to chase down side discussions at will.

        I’m just throwing this out there as something you might want to ponder. But to your point that the WBC doesn’t represent all of Christianity, it’s well-taken. Unfortunately, they might represent some Christians.

        And that, to me at least, seems like a shame from both a secular and a religious perspective.

      • I appreciate the time and thoughtfulness you’ve invested in your answer. Still, Westboro’s teachings are so far from Jesus, Islam might be a better family of religions to put them in.

        God doesn’t hate any of His image-bearers. He hates their sinful behavior. Regardless what denomination, it’s what’s in the Bible that matters. There are well-settled norms of biblical interpretation that affirm widely-accepted general concepts of the Christian faith. The differences are relatively small. No legitimate Christian church preaches that God hates His image-bearers.

        I’d like to read your piece on Christian denominations. Would you mind dropping a link here?
        Thanks!

  5. I agree with you that Westboro Baptist Church is hardly a Church. However they are opposed to homosexuality and same sex marriage. Aren’t most Christian Churches apposed to this too and don’t all of them use Scripture from the Bible to support their opposition ?

  6. I tend to agree with you with one exception . Westboro Baptist Church is apposed to homosexuality and same sex marriages. Aren’t the majority of Christian Churches in agreement with this stance and don’t they all use the Bible as their reference for this opposition ?

    • You’ve just fallen into the trap I noted at the end of the article. Just because someone quotes the Bible does not make them a Christian any more than citing the PDR makes you a doctor. Homosexuality is a sin, as are many things. We all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to address this. I appreciate your comment.

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