I have found that Twitter is a pretty good filter for news that is interesting and exciting, so if someone tweets about a current event that is interesting to me, I dig further into the interwebs to find out more.
My current adventure is regarding the Westboro Baptist Church, and it was spawned by Matthew Paul Turner’s (@jesusneedsnewpr on Twitter) tweet that said, “Westboro Baptist Church is neither Baptist or a church. They’re nothing more than a hate group with tax-exempt status.”
That sounded exciting, so I decided to learn a little bit more. After a quick Google search, I realized who these Westboro people were – the angry Christians – and they’re up to no good again.
CBS News described Westboro Baptist as a “church with a history of holding controversial and politically inflammatory protests.” I don’t know about you, but church and inflammatory protests should not be linked together in a sentence. Not only have these people set themselves up as vocal opponents of homosexuality by picketing in front of high school graduations and theater productions, but now they are attacking a cancer victim, Elizabeth Edwards.
The church plans to protest Elizabeth Edwards’ funeral this weekend because she and her husband “coveted things that were not theirs.” The posthumous charges against Edwards also stem from her support of homosexual marriages.
My senior year of college, we read the book unChristian by David Kinnaman. The whole premise of the book is to discuss the weaknesses in Christianity, namely how Christians are viewed by outsiders as anti-homosexual, closed-minded, judgmental, and too involved in politics. Outsiders tend to avoid us.
Basically, this book describes these Westboro people.
When outsiders think of the Church, do they think of broken people coming together to worship God and praise Him for sending a Savior, or do they think of protesters and picketers? Do they see mission teams rebuilding neighborhoods destroyed by floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes; or do they think of pastors threatening to burn holy books of other religions?
It is almost like the Church is at odds with itself. This group represents a very small percentage of Christians, but their actions impact the rest of us. In the same way that I think that they’re silly for doing this, they probably think I’m silly for not flying out to Raleigh, NC, this weekend to join them in their protests.
It’s not easy being a Christian. We still have to love these people.
How do you think this influences how outsiders view Christians?