Recently, I have made a few posts here and on Twitter about the so-called Westboro Baptist Church. There is a lot to be said about the group, none of it good.
Yes, they should be stopped–or at least, Christians need to make to clear to the world that this group is not Christian, does not know God’s grace, is causing God to be blasphemed because of their actions, and is blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
However, in trying to stop them or bring to light their evil beliefs and actions, we should not engage in or tolerate actions which are just as bad or even worse. For example, this morning, when I looked at my Twitter stream two individuals had posted tweets calling the members of Westboro Baptist Church cunts, and saying that they should be killed. I reprimanded the people in question and immediately blocked them (and apparently the Tweet advocating murder has since been deleted). We cannot fight lunacy and hate with lunacy and hate.
Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5: 44-45), and James warns us, “The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1: 20).
This does not mean that we should let evil men have their day, or that we do not have a duty to protect others from harm. It does mean that we cannot fight evil with evil, and that we ourselves should not cause harm to others.
A model of how we might behave can be found in, of all people, a biker group which protected the funeral of Sandy Hook’s principal, Dawn Hochsprung:
Bikers seem to have thwarted attempts by the Westboro Baptist Church to protest the funeral of Newtown, Conn., shooting victim Principal Dawn Hochsprung.
right-wing Christiangroup, whose website is godhatesfags.com, produced a video called “God Sent the Shooter,” and has blamed the massacre on gay marriage. It put Hochsprung’s funeral on its online “picket schedule.”
But there was no sign of the church group, as local newspaper the Newtown Patch live-blogged throughout the day with updates, and reported that people had arrived from as far away as Massachusetts to protect the mourners — just in case.
Bikers from New York formed a formidable-looking wall of motorcyles.
Late in the day the Patch wrote: “Applause erupted in the crowd … as it was announced that members of the Westboro Baptist Church were not coming to protest at the wake.”
As Gateway Pundit notes, Westboro Baptist Church is by no means a right-wing or a Christian group. Indeed, the leader of the “church” has run for office as a Democrat numerous times. The true right wingers and Christians can be seen here:
Yes, these bikers are primarily Christians. The bikers came from several groups, including the Patriot Guard Riders, the American Legion Riders, and the Sons of Liberty Riders. The Patriot Guard Riders was formed directly to counteract Westboro Baptist Church.
According to reports, members of Westboro Baptist Church were in Newtown for the funeral, and had publicly said that they would attend and protest, but heard the bikers were in town and refused to leave their hotel rooms.
Loving our enemies does not require us to stand by and do nothing, or to be impotent and let them run all over innocent people. I for one do not wish death or God’s wrath on anyone–my wish is for them to repent and be saved. Until this happens however, we should be willing and prepared to stand between them and those people they intend to hurt.
A reader writes:
I just read your blog here http://treeofmamre.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/we-cannot-fight-lunacy-and-hate-with-lunacy-and-hate/ and I must correct you on a few things. The PGR did NOT attend the funerals in Sandy Hook as a group sorry. If some of the bikers were there and wearing PGR patches they were there on their own. The official stance among the PGR with funerals like this and the ones in Tucson a few years ago is that we STAND DOWN! Since these were not military funerals then they were not an official mission. Also the comment about the PGR being “mostly Christian” has to do with what exactly? We are NOT a Christian group, though I am sure that alot of the PGR are Christians that isn’t our main focus or purpose. When misinformation on who we are and what we do and why we do it gets out it’s just flat out wrong.
First of all, I never said it was a Christian group or even “mostly” a Christian group. Please reread the article. Those words are not present. Multiple reports, however, have stated that many of the bikers who were there guarding the funeral were in fact Christians. And from my personal experience with such groups, I have no doubt that this is true. However, you conceded this point in your comment, so I am unclear what the problem is.
Second, the article notes that members from this group and several others were present. All of the news reports that I have read mentioned members of the PGR quite prominently. The article above never claimed anything more than this.
If your primary goal was to add information that I did not have access to when I wrote the post, then consider it done. However, I see no “misinformation” in the post.