Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Misguided Church

A court case has been brought against members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas that has a policy of staging demonstrations at the funerals of servicemen and women killed in combat. I can’t believe a church does such things to grieving families. Obviously this kind of behavior is extreme and is terribly misguided.

For one thing, they’re demonstrating at the wrong place. If they don’t like government policies, then demonstrate where the politicians and judges are, not at a soldier’s funeral. Don’t pick on innocent families who have lost loved ones. I remember how poorly our returning troops from Vietnam were treated, and I hope we’ve learned our lesson: don’t blame our troops for government policies we don’t like – blame the politicians.

Second, this “church” (I put it in quotes because it certainly isn’t acting like a church of Jesus Christ) isn’t following the commands of Jesus to love one another, love your enemies, and do unto others. Such behavior in the name of Christ brings shame to that name when our behavior should bring glory to him.

This court case is being brought by the family of the Marine killed in action whose funeral these “church” members demonstrated at in 2006, displaying hateful signs against the military and homosexuals. These “church” members believe the wars we were fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are God’s punishment for our society’s tolerance of homosexuality. So these nitwits have taken upon themselves the task of “cleaning up” the United States. In doing so, they are doing everything contrary to the teaching of Jesus, whom they claim to represent.

At issue in the court case will be the right of free speech. No constitutional right is absolute. Even certain kinds of speech are prohibited. While what they are doing is a protest, which is protected by the Constitution, the way they are protesting shouldn’t be protected speech. For example, you can’t legally “protest” by setting a building on fire, interfering with traffic, or constantly interrupting a candidate’s speech (you’ll be escorted out of the building). While I don’t want to see free speech abridged, this “church’s” free speech is hateful, disruptive, and serves no legitimate purpose. This group should find a more legitimate and less hateful way to protest if they feel they must protest at all.

Let’s pray that the court will have wisdom in this case, and also that the members of the Westboro Baptist Church will see the error of their ways.

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