The fallout from NBA player Jason Collins announcing that he is gay has been, for the most part, positive. It has received a great deal of support and endorsement, and a small amount of expected backlash from some quarters expected and unexpected.
However, the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, is another matter entirely. It has announced that it will picket the Oklahoma City-Houston playoff game on May 1, 2013, in protest of the Jason Collins announcement. Obviously this makes no sense on its face (Collins does not play for either team) except in PR terms, since the Church presumably is trying to capitalize on its publicity.
That there are still people in the world who cannot tolerate gays is not surprising; unfortunately, nor is it surprising that their objections would be religious in tone. However, the Westboro Baptist Church takes its rhetoric to another level. On its website, God Hates Fags, in the press release section, it announces the following:
- “WBC to picket NBA Games to remind the world that God still h8s fags”
- “Thank God for the West Texas fertilizer explosion”
- “God hates America and is killing troops in his wrath”
- “Praise God for the Boston marathon bombs”
- “WBC to picket violinist Izthak Perlman”
I include the last one to confirm that yes, they are not very fond of Jewish people either. They include an “open letter to elect Jews,” and links to sites like God Hates Islam and Jews Killed Jesus.
And, to sum up their philosophy, in their preferred all caps:
- “GOD HATES DOOMED AMERICA, HER ANTICHRIST PRESIDENT, PERVERT-FILLED MILITARY & IDOLATROUS, LYING, COWARD VETERANS. “
Not believing the text, I went out and confirmed and reconfirmed that yes, this is really their site and not one put up by their worst enemies as a parody of their beliefs.
The Westboro Baptist Church is, in effect, conducting a perpetual internet Klan rally.
If you believe in the first amendment, then you have to support the right of these lost souls to promote their senseless hatred to the four corners of the Earth. I certainly don’t want to be in the position of curtailing free speech, although this is as close as I’ve come to thinking it warranted.
That’s the political decision. The moral decision is tougher.
How is it possible to be so empty of humanity as to train yourself to believe that your god hates his own creation or that joy should be taken in the pointless deaths of innocent human beings? Why would a loving god put “unnatural” desire in his creatures and then wish to destroy them for it?
To put it another way, who would Jesus terrorize?
If you are a member of this church, and you happen to come upon this article in your travels, try to stop and think for a moment. What is the point of your behavior? How does it help anyone? A god that hates isn’t god at all. It is, as the Gnostics once said, a demon. And if your god isn’t a loving one, why would you want to worship him?
If you want to actively do something to help people, put down the picket sign and join a soup line. Support a school. Do something nice for your neighbor. We get one life, and you are wasting it feeding an anger inside you that will never be helped by protesting people who mean you no harm and will not affect your life in any way.
Killing people isn’t the answer. Taking pleasure in the deaths of others is not joyful; it’s psychotic. Think. There is nothing in any afterlife that can justify being evil to your brothers and sisters on Earth.