I can't believe I've written this many blog posts without giving a shoutout to Fred Phelps. According to the Minnesota Monitor:
The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., plans to stage protests at funerals of victims of the 35W bridge collapse to state that God made the bridge fall because he hates America, and especially Minnesota, because of its tolerance of homosexuality.Here's the thing: Fred Phelps isn't completely useless as a human being. In fact, I believe he contributes to public discourse on religion in America by challenging the very notion of Christianity to its very core. Here is a man who goes after people in their most vulnerable, their most hurt, their most grief-stricken states and pickets them with grotesquely offensive signs and messages, accusing them of things that they're not even necessarily responsible for (i.e. tolerating homosexuality). It's absolutely disgusting. And he does it all in the name of God.
One is left with many, many questions. My own personal questions? How can someone take God's message so wrong. And if there is a God, why does He allow this to happen?
The thing that I'm left grasping for is...if there is a God, He doesn't hate homosexuals. I don't think so anyway. All I can think of is Psalm 119. Reflect on these words from the Bible that Phelps so hatefully misuses:
For you created my inmost being;The truth of the matter is, God made each and every one of us. And although there are so many flaws and so much evil that we're capable of, every one of us is still, in some deep, imperceptible, yet profound way, beautiful.
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.
If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.