Speak Freely?

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Westboro Baptist Church. Talk about misnomers. The last Baptist church I was in the subject was about loving people that were difficult to be around. These people have some serious PR issues. Let’s look at some factors going for WBC here:

  • The First Amendment – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
  • The Romans 1 condemnation of homosexuality.  (Romans 1:24-32)
    The Levitical Law (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13)
    Matthew 19: 4-6

So, those are the main supporting arguments that WBC uses. They believe what they read in those Scripture passages, and then they quite vehemently voice their beliefs to those who do not share them. The government cannot stop them from doing this, because WBC is technically not breaking any laws. Let’s take the idea that they genuinely believe that what they’re doing is right. Is it right to deny them the right to voice their opinions? I mean, if WBC is using Scripture, and they’re not breaking any laws, then what are they doing wrong?

  • They’re ignoring the commandments to love – Mark 12:31; Luke 6:31; Luke 6:35-36; Romans 13:9-10; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
  • So, we’re to love our neighbors and enemies alike. Even though the Scriptures say to admonish one another (Luke 17:3-4) it doesn’t say that we are to hate them.
  • How are we then to admonish them? With love! We cannot reach someone who we don’t agree with if we are constantly shouting in their faces and telling them that God hates them. (Colossians 3:5-17)

So, the Westboro problem is not one of legality, but of morality. Ideally the government would recognize when a group was being immoral and punish it, however, we live in a non-Christian nation. To legislate that WBC was wrong in their actions would be to open up the door to close down abortion protests or other peaceful protests that could be considered ‘intolerant’ or ‘hateful.’

WBC needs to be dealt with through the private channels of the church,  individuals, or non-government organizations who are working within the law.

  • The first thing that would need to be realized is that to fight this with more loud protests would be counterintuitive. To use WBC’s methods against itself would just be an affirmation of the validity of their methods.
  • It is easy to hope that WBC slips up and falls out of the protection of the law, but that is a dangerous thing to wish for. What if to do so people are injured?
  • What would be the goal? – To convince WBC that they are wrong? That would be ideal, but highly unlikely. – To turn the public opinion against them and render them ineffective? That has already happened, hardly anybody likes WBC.
  • I think that the goal would be to convince the public that what WBC says does not matter.
  • Counter-protests in which bikers from the Patriot Guard Riders surround funerals are quite effective, but have the downside of drowning out the funeral processions along with the WBC.

In short, I’m not quite sure what should be done, but I’d like to hear what your ideas are. Post below!

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2 thoughts on “Speak Freely?

    Michaela said:
    4 March , 2011 at 02:13

    I haven’t come up with any ideas yet, but I just wanted to let you know that I believe you are right in the manner that will deal with this issue. You did great writing this up. Keep up the good work!

    Michelle said:
    4 March , 2011 at 13:36

    Well written! Our first course of action should always be to pray. To seek God’s wisdom and not rely on our own understanding in the midst of attack.(Proverbs 3:5-6)
    Perhaps we need to become more proactive, send condolences to families from our church bodies, send letters of appreciation and care packages to our service members. Intentionally live in such a way that others will see Christ through us, hopefully outshining the hate being projected here.

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