The Anti-Christianity of Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church
I am a Christian, an independent Baptist of the Bible believing kind. I haven’t always been a Christian though. I started out as a child raised in the Roman Catholic Church until I was ten. After “leaving” Catholicism I thought little of God until I became an adult. Still I wasn’t a Christian, though I always believed in God. I just had a lot of issues with the concepts of the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ. Looking back on those years now I fully believe that I was a Deist, much like some of the Founding Fathers. I had never really read the Bible. There was no need when the priests told us what it said right? Well, much of that has changed now. I HAVE read major portions of the Bible (KJV). While I still have more to go of the Old Testament, I have received and now understand the Good News. I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
I wish Fred Phelps and the family congregation of his Westboro Baptist Church would turn from the anti-Christianity (I originally used the term atheism, but I decided it was wrong to malign the world’s atheists by associating them in any way with Mr. Phelps and his hateful church) they follow now and accept the Lord Jesus Christ into their lives. How can I say such a thing about Mr. Phelps and his congregation? Well, lets just say I am applying the age-old test of if it walks like a duck, swims like duck, quacks like a duck……it must be a duck! I suppose I should show you the duck so you can make up your own mind. That would only be fair, right? Okay, then let’s get to doing just that.
To begin this with I want to make everyone aware that I will not refer to Mr. Phelps as any kind of pastor, preacher, reverend or minister. I don’t wish to malign the men who are by associating them – even indirectly – with a man like Fred Phelps. I also want to make clear that while Mr. Phelps and his church (small ‘c’ – just like the small ‘c’ in the word cult) have their 1st Amendment rights, as recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, I do not agree, condone, or support the hate they are spewing. They are sick, twisted minds in need of a huge helping of humanity and forgiveness from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ, ever notice how the Westboro Baptists or Fred Phelps never seem to speak of Him? They confine themselves to speaking of God only – as far as I can tell. I did a Google search on the church and look at the pages of images and not one reference to the Lord Jesus! It made me wonder why, and after a little thought it became pretty clear to me why they don’t – they’re anti-Christians who don’t believe in Jesus Christ. Let me explain.
By ignoring or denying Jesus and only talking of God, Mr. Phelps and his church can restrict themselves to using just the Old Testament. While they use even that wrongly, it frees them from the tenets of Christianity. Let me walk you through a couple of ideas. First we look at the claim by Mr. Phelps and his church members that God hates homosexuals. Really? How can that be? I won’t argue that God deplores the sin of homosexuality, but there is not hate in God for the individual who is involved in homosexuality – or any other sinful behavior. If Mr. Phelps wishes to rest his case against homosexuals on Genesis 18 and 19, then perhaps should also acknowledge that he is not a Christian, for as Christians know God does not directly intercede with humanity as He did in the Old Testament. Mr. Phelps is ignoring that while sin is within us all, God gave us His only Son, who in turn gave His life so that we – sinners all – may be granted salvation.
Mr. Phelps and his church regularly protest at the funerals of U.S. military personnel killed while serving our nation. Mr. Phelps pursues the line of – false – belief that the death of any service member is God’s punishment on the service person, their loved ones, and the United States for allowing homosexuality to exist in our nation. What a spittoon full of spit! Mr. Phelps fails to realize that U.S. military personnel have sworn an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and to follow all lawful orders of those in authority over them. The concept that God would hold them accountable for the sins of another is totally without foundation in Christianity. Their honorable sacrifice to the nation is being stained by the horrid behavior and lies being spewed by Mr. Phelps and his church. Were it not for their service to the nation men and women of the type in Mr. Phelps church would likely find themselves prohibited from being able to spread their hate through the harassment of their protests!
Mr. Phelps and his church decry that God hates homosexuals, yet since we know that to be not true it must be Mr. Phelps and his church who hate homosexuals. That being said I reflect on the Gospel of Matthew:
Mat 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
Mat 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Albert Barnes (1798-1870) wrote notes and commentaries on the New Testament, and I rely on these commentaries to aid me in my understanding of the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles. In writing on Matthew 6:14-15, Barnes relates:
For if ye forgive men their trespasses – If ye forgive others when they offend or injure you.
Your heavenly Father will also forgive you – This is constantly required in the Bible. See the notes at Mat_6:12. Our Saviour says we should forgive even if the offence be committed seventy times seven times, Mat_18:22. By this is meant, that when a man asks forgiveness, we are cordially and forever to pardon the offence; we are to declare our willingness to forgive him. If he does not ask forgiveness, yet we are still to treat him kindly; not to harbor malice, not to speak ill of him, to be ready to do him good, and be always prepared to declare him forgiven when he asks it, and if we are not ready and willing to forgive him; we are assured that God will not forgive us. (emphasis mine)
It seems relatively clear that were are being taught to forgive in order to receive our own forgiveness. Mr. Phelps and his family congregated church may do well to heed the words of our Lord Jesus Christ and discontinue their practice of hatred against homosexuals, as well as all those they implicate as suffering because of the homosexuality in America. They are defying the very God they proclaim to be serving. Yet, does one example prove the case that Mr. Phelps and company are anti-Christians? For many, since hatred towards homosexuals is the central tenet of the protests by his church, we could say it does. But it makes better sense to provide further evidence of the anti-Christain ways of Mr. Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church.
Mr. Phelps and his church regularly proclaim who will be going to hell. While I agree with the statement that has been made that we are all sinners and hell is the default consequence for sinning, it is not up to Mr. Phelps or his church to decide who will, or won’t, be going to hell. That is the province of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Mr. Phelps and his church dare to stand in God’s stead and condemn the souls of men over which he has no authority. Certainly God has not provided him this authority, power, or right. It belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ:
John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
I don’t need Albert Barnes to help clarify such a straight forward statement from the Lord Jesus Christ. In understanding that statement it shows further that Mr. Phelps and his church band of haters are standing in sin as they proclaim the judgments that will be handed out to the sinners or righteous of this world on Judgment Day.
But there is no reason to stop now. We might as well get a few more examples. In a recent FoxNews.com article on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of Mr. Phelps there were statements attributed to Mr. Phelps lawyer (and daughter) that I would like to submit for your consideration. Referring to Margie Phelps the article relates:
Phelps, who declared that “the default for mankind is hell,” stated that she had no “objective indicator” that will prevent the Supreme Court justices from going to hell, and declared the president’s fate without hesitation.
“Absolutely on the president. That’s a big 10-4,” Phelps said. “The president is going to be king of the world before this is all said and done, and he is most likely the beast spoken of in the revelation.”
The reference to the President of the United States being the beast (more commonly spoken of as the Anti-Christ) of the Book of Revelation is far-fetched and without foundation. Mr. Phelps and his congregants may have chosen to make President Obama the Anti-Christ, but that doesn’t hold any more water than their attempts to usurp the authority of our Lord and His Father. If necessary I can recommend some good books on the exegesis of the Book of Revelation to aid him in better interpretation of the end times?
Clearly Mr. Phelps and his church are not practicing any understood form of Christianity. The behaviors of Mr. Phelps and his church are contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ and therefore one can reasonably conclude that Mr. Phelps and his church are using religion to condone hateful and ungodly acts. It is that lack of Christianity that shows Mr. Phelps and his congregants to be anti-Christian wolves among Christian sheep.