On Dec 10th, The Globe and Mail reported that the gay-bashing, hell-preaching Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas is protesting a Canadian high school drama in the small town of Uxbridge, northeast of Toronto. This 5-member church, which specializes in hate-mongering, is headed by “Pastor” Fred Phelps. They will raise placards that read “God Hates Canada”, “Fear God” and “Hell is real”. The protest is in response to a performance of The Laramie Project based on a story of the slaying of a gay Wyoming student Matthew Shepard in 1998. The Kansas group also picketed the Shepard funeral ten years ago. It seems this little group gets publicity all over the world. Recently I saw articles in Scandinavian newspapers where they had found an occasion to protest some event or another in those countries.
Why does the media report the activities of these extremists? Is it an effort to make born-again evangelicals look bad? I hope not. As the Topeka group operates under the guise of being born-again Christians, the public is maybe led to believe that this is a true representation of born-again Christianity. It’s time we get our message across to people. Jesus did not come to condemn but to save (John 3:17). We can’t let media get by with charactering what we are all about. So is it the media’s fault, or do we have ourselves to blame? The truth is probably somewhere in between. All too many born-again Christians equate the Phelps family’s activities with standing up for truth and righteousness. The only righteousness worth standing up for is Jesus’ righteousness, and He gives it freely to everyone who believes. Possibly there are journalists who like to portray evangelicals in a negative light. Uxbridge has a population of some 19,000 people. Hopefully there are Jesus followers who might reach out to the Phelps family, preach the Gospel to them and they, too, can receive the Good News that makes us love, not hate other people. Sadly I can visualize the news clips, showing Fred Phelps and his family up to their antics. It is sad that the media can’t get away with a negative characterization, because the real Gospel is the greatest message of hope and love the world has ever heard. If we were maybe a little bit more focused on the Good News of Jesus, we wouldn’t be such an inviting target for the media. Your thoughts? – Peter Youngren