It is no secret that I have contempt for the people of Westboro Baptist Church. “How can you say that, Sue?” might be the question from those who don’t know me well. “They’re a CHURCH and you are a Christ Follower!”
Gah. See? That’s the problem. This group is the same group that pickets soldiers’ funerals with “God hates fags” signs and screams profanities at those who oppose them. How does putting “Baptist church” after their name justify that sort of behaviour? There is nothing that they do which represents the love and message of salvation that Jesus brought and died to give us. I do NOT want to be lumped in with these nutjobs. Ever.
But all of that aside, I was reading yesterday that WBC is planning on attending and picketing Steve Jobs’ funeral. It makes me sad that they would pick an event like this – but I suppose, since not even soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice are safe from this group, Jobs is no different.
As the story goes, the daughter of Fred Phelps (founder of WBC) tweeted (aside: who follows this group on Twitter? ick!) that WBC would picket the funeral with this quote: “He had a huge platform; gave God no glory & taught sin.” The irony? She tweeted it from her iPhone. If Jobs really DID “teach sin” (and I really want to see proof of that instead of taking this group’s word for it), then why would you use the tool that is so iconically Apple and represents sin? What a bunch of hypocrites.
The Daily Mail (UK) reports that the funeral will be private and purportedly, WBC won’t picket a private funeral. I don’t know that I believe that last part, but whatever.
This group wants a platform – and publicity is their end goal. If they don’t get publicity, they will die. Am I playing in to that right now with this post? Unfortunately, yes. But my suggestion for those who live in the Southern California area and will be available during the funeral is to use your body to create a wall of privacy & space around the Jobs’ family & friends who are mourning his loss. A group of pastors in the Phoenix area agreed to do this last year after the shooting rampage in Tucson – WBC threatened to picket the funerals going on there. The pastors agreed to go to Tucson and create a wall of silence a distance from the funerals, effectively blocking WBC and their noise & signs from the mourners. If I recall correctly, WBC then pulled out of the planned picketing because they wouldn’t have the publicity they wanted and be able to create the tense, hate-filled atmosphere they crave and thrive on.
I’m not in SoCal, so I don’t have the ability to organize such a thing for those who profess to be Christ Followers but also for those who would stand in solidarity against such hate. It’s a quiet thing I’m suggesting – not a loud, shouting match. It’s a peaceful event – to contrast the heated, hate-filled words and actions of WBC. If this appeals to you and you’re in the appropriate area at the appointed time, I encourage you – meet with others who believe likewise and create a counter-event. You’ll have the privilege of gathering with others who love God, oppose hatred, and will be able to show love in a tangible way to those who are mourning.