I know this post won’t exactly be popular with people. I’m speaking on an emotional matter, one that’s ravaged people across our nation as a certain invader threatens their beliefs and peace. I don’t intend to offend with this post, though what I say may be found offensive. Before reading, I ask you to keep an open mind, and remember that, as a follower of Christ and a nonviolent activist, it is my intention to spread love and compassion with what I write while calling people to action at the same time. That being said, here’s what was laid upon my heart last evening.
Many people know about the Westboro Baptist Church, their viewpoints, and their tactless and evil protests aimed at homosexuals, soldiers’ funerals, and their new target, the funeral of seven children dead from a fire in their home in Perry county. They believe that these deaths are judgment from God upon the state of Pennsylvania for their attempted lawsuit against the group, and America at large, for allowing homosexuality to exist within its borders (I’d get actual statements from their websites, but some hacktivist groups took them offline a couple weeks ago). Their notoriety is rooted in their protests, and word spreads of this group through news coverage, counter-protest, and attention in the media. I’ve been invited to the counter-protest to take place at the Clouse family funeral to take place on Tuesday.
My purpose in posting comes in the numerous reactions I’ve seen on Facebook about the WBC, all of them angry, hateful, hostile, and even threatening in some nature, and many of them from Christians. I understand the emotions fueling these reactions, and I was pretty upset myself when I saw the news report regarding their intentions, but as members of the body of Christ, we have to stop and think for a minute before reacting like we do. In the understanding non-resisitance, Dietrich Bonhoeffer had this to say…
“The only way to overcome evil is to let it run itself to a stand-still because it does not find the resistance it is looking for. Resistance merely creates further evil and adds fuel to the flames. But when evil meets no opposition and encounters no obstacle but only patient endurance, its sting is drawn, and at last it meets an opponent which is more than its match. Of course this can only happen when the last ounce of resistance is abandoned, and the renunciation of revenge is complete. Then evil cannot find its mark, it can breed no further evil, and is left barren.” (Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, p. 141)
We’re prone to automatic reaction driven by emotion when evil meets us. When we do that, evil finds what its looking for: a reaction. It feeds on our anger, our hatred, our hostility. Christ knew repaying evil for evil would never win the fight, but not resisting would overcome. Paul echoes this in Romans 12:21; “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” We must stop lashing out, stop hating our enemies, and loving them as Christ does. Yes, you read that right. We must love the WBC as Christ does. Those people, lost as they are, are God’s children just as much as you are, and they need Jesus. Responding with hatred will not stop the WBC, but the love of God will. Christ is calling their names into hope, and we must do the same.
Regarding the counter-protest: I hope I will be able to attend. I want the Clouse family to be able to bury their own in peace, but I don’t want to see harm come to the WBC, either. If I can attend (depends on work), I’ll be there peacefully, and praying not only for the family, but also for the WBC, that God would reach them somehow through someone or something. I encourage my readers to pray for them as well, and to not hate the WBC, but to love them as Christ does.
Alright, the Solidarity series will continue hopefully tomorrow. See ya then.