Sunday, May 27, 2007

God Hates....?

Lately I've been obsessing over the Westboro Baptist Church, the virulently anti-homosexual religious fringe group that has gained notoriety in the last few years for picketing the funerals of soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their thesis follows:

1. God hates "fags."
2. America accepts homosexuality.
3. Therefore, God hates America.

So, discussions about God's intention or existence aside, this argument is flawed in its assumption that America somehow accepts homosexuality. We obviously don't, not really. In fact, according to the Wikipedia article about the church, Libertarian columnist Keith R. Wood suggested that the church members are engaged in a very dense and dedicated bit of performance art and are actually using their ministry to engender sympathy for gay activism. This seems unlikely.

But we already all know that the Westboro Baptist Church believes in stupid shit. What troubles me is that they are famous.

These people are the Paris Hilton of religious groups. They aren't relevant, they have only seventy or so members, and they live in Kansas. They are famous because they're on T.V., but they're only on television because they're vulgar and lurid. They are Paris Hilton.

In fact, while I've known about these people for some time, I began thinking hard about them when I started watching this documentary (it's six parts on YouTube) by Louis Theroux, a BBC television personality and general chronicler of the weird. It struck me: these people wouldn't even exist if we didn't give them a forum for their crazy ideas. If we turned off the cameras, they'd become just another disoriented group of inbred Kansans who die off because the third iteration of their hive is not allowed to breed. But because we film them every time they hold up their signs (warning: objectionable content), they permeate our (or at least my) consciousness.

This points to a greater problem in documentary film (for purposes of this discussion I'm going to include T.V. newsmagazines and the like under this designation). It tends towards luridness, towards spectacle. That's why we watch To Catch a Predator and whatever else is on Dateline, and it's why we watch whatever show is on the History Channel about how Hitler tried to win World War II.

Now would be a good time to reiterate that I've seen quite a few episodes of To Catch a Predator and that I just spent an hour or so of my life watching The Most Hated Family in America on YouTube. Have I been defeated by the Westboro Baptist Church? I'm certainly aware of them. I'm sure that they could find this post about them and be aware that I'm in some way disseminating their message. Their tactics work because I am indiscriminate in my consumption of information and I get off a little on seeing bizarre and shocking things.

I just finished watching a documentary about Bible thumpers in Dallas, and I am currently watching one about UFO nuts. Survivalists are next. I wish I could be filled with regret about this.


Marty said...


I read your blog about the WBC. Another thing worth note is that God doesn't hate "fags." Nowhere in the Bible is this said. The Bible does consider homosexuality unnatural and a sin (Romans 1:26-27, Leviticus 18:22) but the Bible also says that all sins are forgivable, save one, which is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:29) Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit involves saying that works of God/Jesus are Satanic or Demonic or that God/Jesus are really the Devil/Satan/Evil. Since homosexuality is obviously not blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, this is a forgivable sin (just as is lying, stealing, etc).

Moreover, the Bible constantly stresses God’s forgiveness and grace and that it is only by God’s grace that anyone can be saved by asking Jesus to come into his or her heart and to put them in right relationship with God. (I Corinthians 6:9-11; Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 10:10; I John 2:2; Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-9; John 3:16-18)

Finally, the Bible makes it undeniably clear that all people sin and we as humans are not to judge others, as there is only one Judge, that Judge being God. (Romans 3:21-26, I Kings 8:46, I John 1:8, James 4:12, Matthew 7:1-5, Leviticus 19:18)

Romans 1:26-27
(26)Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. (27)In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Leviticus 18:22
(22)Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

Mark 3:29
(29)But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.

I Corinthians 6:9-11
(9)Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders (10)nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (11)And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Romans 6:23
(23)For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Hebrews 9:15
(15)For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

Hebrews 10:10
(10)And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

I John 2:2
(2)He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-9
(4)But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

(8)For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— (9)not by works, so that no one can boast.

John 3:16-18
(16)For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (17)For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (18)Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

Romans 3:21-26
(21)But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. (22)This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, (23)for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (24)and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (25)God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— (26)he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

I Kings 8:46
(46)When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to his own land, far away or near;

I John 1:8
(8)If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

James 4:12
(12)There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

Matthew 7:1-5
(1)Do not judge, or you too will be judged. (2)For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (3)Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? (4)How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? (5)You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

Leviticus 19:18
(18)Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

Marty said...


Just wanted to clarify the part about blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. When I used "works" in "Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit involves saying that works of God/Jesus are Satanic or Demonic" I was using the word to mean miracles and other divine acts. Suffice it to say that saying "Morgan Freeman is the Devil" does not constitute blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. The passage where the verse is taken (Mark 3) offers some insight, particularly verses 20-30, where certain people were saying that Jesus was possessed by the devil and that by the "prince of demons" he is driving out demons. THAT is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.