God hates Cecil County? (and obviously gays and Obama...)
I know its been months since I blogged, but please indulge me while I rant a little. I learned from the Cecil Whig this morning that Cecil College is doing a 10th Anniversary performance of The Laramie Project tonight, and Westboro Baptist Church is sending protesters. Lucky us.
I won't waste much time trying to describe them, since you can look them up yourself on wikipedia, or their official church website (godhatesfags.com).*
Their mission is based on a message of God's hate. How is that the Gospel? Gospel means "Good News" and "God hates you" is not good news to anyone. I serve a God of love. Remember that guy who came to earth and invited in the people that the Pharisees were shunning as sinners? The one who said "let he who is without sin throw the first stone"? The one that shared meals with prostitutes? The one who was hard on the religious and compassionate toward those who the religious people were picking on.... what was that guy's name? Oh right..... JESUS. That guy, remember him?
This group makes me physically ill. I respect the opinion of people who believe that homosexuality is a sin, but I cannot respect people who distort God's message of love and forgiveness and use it to abuse, marginalize and terrorize people who are already marginalized and discriminated against in our culture. And having Will and Grace on TV does not make up for all the ways our culture makes it difficult for LGBT community. This group is picketing 14 different events today alone, in New York, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Maryland. This is how they are using their resources. This is how they are carrying God's message to the world.
The most frustrating thing is that they will keep doing this, and nothing can stop them. If I cancel my plans tonight and made a "God Loves Gays" sign and go up there with my Bible to explain to the WBC people that God is a God of Love and forgiveness, it would not make the slightest bit of difference. The freedoms of religion and speech that they would take away from people of other religions guarantee that they are allowed to keep on spouting their awful agenda of hate.
What I can do is try to live out God's love in ways that I think God is calling me to. And that means that I need to risk standing in support of the LGBT community more often. It feels risky to be too open about the fact that I believe God loves the gay community just as they are, no ifs ands or buts. That shouldn't be a risky sentence to write or say when serving a God of Love, but as someone who is ministry (and has not yet gone through the ordination process), that sentence could really bite me in the butt. Not to mention the inevitable arguments that people will try to start with me. It is a risk, but my love for the gay people in my life drives me to be more bold. I believe with ever fiber of my faith that God loves each person just as she or he is, and that the pain inflicted on the gay community by the church grieves God's heart. I just want people to know that. My voice can't drown out the hatred, but at least its one more voice trying to shout against it.
*I'm not kidding that's their actual website. It is as theologically rich and insightful as you would imagine. Much of their attention is fixed on the murder of Matthew Shepherd, the subject of The Laramie Project. The group lifts up this anti-gay hate crime and pickets performances of the play with signs declaring God's hatred for homosexuals. This was also the lovely group that picketed military funerals in Maryland a couple years ago, because they blame gays (especially those in the military) for terrorism. BTW they also have a documentary showing that Obama is the Anti-Christ. Yep.