Wow. The people from the Westboro Baptist Church showed up in Louisville today. If you don't know anything about the Westboro Baptist Church than you have missed one of the true low points of Christianity in America. Westboro Baptist Church is in Topeka, Kansas and their pastor is Fred Phelps and they spread a message of hate. Real hate.
They operate a couple of websites. www.godhatesfags.com. Another one is www.godhatesamerica.com. These are the people who have been picketing military funerals across the nation.
They believe that the world is filled with sin and is pretty much beyond redemption. They see the war in Iraq and the casualties there, as the wrath of God on his. They celebrate such events as 9/11, Katrina, and Virginia Tech as, ahem, proof that they are correct. They came to Louisville, Kentucky to picket outside some churches.
Now this is where it gets interesting. Their choices of churches is somewhat remarkable. One would think that they would have been picketing some of the more liberal churches, some of the most controversial churches with their social stands. Here is where they chose to protest:
The Cathedral of the Assumption. Actually, the Cathedral of the Assumption, for a Roman Catholic Church is progressive. They are very upfront that they welcome everyone who walks through their doors----and they do. They must abide by Roman Catholic rules which aren't always welcoming, but Assumption is a bit more progressive than the average Roman Catholic Church. But they are a Cathedral in a denomination that is pro-life. The Roman Catholic Church condemns homosexual behavior as sinful. They are anti-capital punishment and pro advocacy for the poor. The RC church doesn't fit all the liberal/conservative rankings, but as a church the Cathedral of the Assumption was an interesting choice.
But the other church they claimed to have gone to was Southeast Christian Church. Southeast is very representative of conservative, evangelical Christianity and is not a hotbed for liberalism. Whether one agrees with Southeast Christian Church or not is not relevent. It seems to be a bizarre church for these people to picket at. Oh, and they they picket they shout at people.
In looking at their website they have some other places they are planning to attend.
They were heading to Lexington today to picket at the University of Kentucky for whatever ills UK is perpetuating on society. (I doubt it's the football team!)
Then they are going to Witchita, Kansas for the funeral of Army Sgt. Alexander J. Funcheon. That same day they plan to picket at Fort Bragg for the memorial service for the 37 Ft. Bragg troops killed since last August.
I heard that the pastor of the Cathedral of the Assumption changed his sermon today to directly address what they people were picketing about----and he received a standing ovation from his congregation. I don't know what took place at Southeast Christian Church, but I suspect that they addressed this also in a way that comforted those hurt and affirmed their ministry.
My great hope and prayer is that more and more people are exposed to the people of Westboro Baptist Church, more and more people will see the devastation of hatred, and learn to embrace the wonderful gift of love.