Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Regarding Sodom: Who's Sane?

When I was broadcasting tournaments for The Golf Channel, we used to giggle at the prospect of Brian Gay, Dicky Pride, and Glen Day playing in the same group, thus giving us the Gay-Pride-Day threesome. Something tells me the gag would be lost on Fred Phelps.

He's the pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, and I use all of the aforementioned terms - he, pastor, and Westboro Baptist Church - loosely. That's the "church" which, under Phelps' direction, has understood the mission of Christ to mean picketing at the funerals of people like Matthew Shepard, the young man from Wyoming who was fatally beaten many years ago primarily because he was gay. Phelps and company used the funeral as an opportunity to inform grieving family members that Shepard was now in hell and that he had an eternity of suffering to look forward to. In fact, you can find a jaunty memorial to Shepard's entry into hell - complete with a running total of how many days he's been there and a sound file of someone pretending to be Shepard screaming in torment - on the church website, the address of which is

(Editor's Note: "Fag" is a favorite term of Phelps and his churchfolk, who are quick to note that these reprobates are not living a lifestyle that honors God, as laid forth in Scripture. What's interesting to me is that both "Matthew" and a variation of "Shepard" are found in my Bible. "Fag" is not.)

At that website, you'll also discover that Billy Graham is a modern-day Judas; find out that God is America's terrorist now, using natural disasters and other means to punish the U.S. for its collective sin; and learn of opportunities where you can join the church in picketing at the funerals of fallen U.S. soldiers to inform those families that their loved ones have also begun a slow burn. Mainly, though, the site and apparently Phelps, himself, are dedicated to the notion that homosexuality is the one sin that really gets God's dander up.

Phelps doesn't care what you or anyone else thinks about him. His mission is to "preach the gospel" at whatever cost.

Let me say this to those readers who already had a bad taste in their mouths about religion: please don't lump us in with people such as Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church who twist Scripture into whatever they want it to be and then use it as a weapon. We're not all like them. Some of us are worse.


Matt McBryde said...

Powerful blog. I lived in Lubbock for two years until this May when we moved here to Trophy Club and witnessed this "ministry" of the Westboro church. They picketed at Texas Tech University against the homosexually that is apparently running amuck there. I prayed for God to still the anger in my heart. It required MUCH prayer not to go and knock the teeth out of some of them. I hope we continue to preach the news of Christ's life and God's LOVE...keyword here LOVE. Thanks for the message. I love reading your blogs!
-Youth Minister, Lake Cities Church of Christ.

Anonymous said...

I have also run into a ministry like this in Newnan Ga. where a pastor and his church regularly stand on street corners and scream at the passers by with anti-homosexual, anti-catholic remarks. I was so angered that those people are misrepresenting the Christ that saved a wretched man like me and made something out of him. They also hold signs that say “Jesus Saves, not Mary." and "God is Love". I want to ask if GOD is Love and Jesus saves whose side are you on with your ministry of hate and condemnation. I thought ours was a ministry of reconciliation

judy thomas said...

They picketed a fallen soldier's funeral near Nashville recently--it is amazing to see the Devil at work.

Darren Duvall said...

Somehow, I don't see the friend of sinners and tax collectors, who in John 8 deftly spared the woman caught in adultery, picking up the first rock to stone a homosexual. I think homosexuality is on the spectrum of sin based on Romans 1, but it's in the same list as disobeying your parents. It's not set aside in the NT for extra punishment.

OTOH, the Pharisees' attitude, much like that of Fred Phelps, bought them millstone-level opprobrium. He's an oxygen thief, and I wouldn't mind issuing the honor guard at those military funerals some live ammo for the 21-gun salute, and suggesting a target.

Grant Boone said...


Why do I vividly remember you at Super Duper propagating the greatness of the Pop-Tart? Something like, "It's the perfect food for college students. 200 calories..."

Even more puzzling is that Christ died for Fred Phelps, too. I'd have made a lousy Messiah.

Kelly Vaughn said...

Jesus' ministry was an amazing display of compassionate love and uncompromising concern for honoring God being GOD. It seems to me that those who were farthest from the heart of God got the LOVE message while those "closest" got the stronger condemnation. We insult God when we assert ourselves as holy based on anything righteous we have done. We are all pitiful reflections of His glory when we walk in our flesh. When we walk by the power of His Spirit, our lives radiate the goodness of Christ and that Spirit rallies the unsaved and ungodly. We will all be judged according to our actions and efforts as His disciples. Praise God for His marvelous grace. I have shown "grace" to people deserving true righteous judgment (because I didn't want to offend them)...then I have "judged" others for whom I should have shown "grace." Like you, I would have made a distastrous Messiah. Enjoy catching up with your world.

Rob said...

Wow! That is sick. The "Godless" folks of a former Communist land I knew as home till last year would even be shocked at this. If example is the most powerful form of rhetoric, what in the world is the world hearing us say? Lord, forgive us (and deal with us!)

Darren Duvall said...

Fred Phelps' eternal fate is not up to me, nor do I speculate upon it. I don't think he's acting like Jesus, but then again, I don't act like Jesus all the time either, so there you are.

But besides being bad form, it's more than a little dangerous to show up at the funeral of someone who sacrfificed their life for their country and harass their emotionally-devastated relatives. Maybe he sees this as his version of handling snakes to show his faith that God will protect him from a vengeful father or brother, but sooner or later someone will take a swing at that guy.

Brandon Scott Thomas said...

Don't get me started on crap like that. I cannot even talk about without wanting to do something completely unlike Jesus. That guy and his "ministry" makes me wanna hurl.

On a different, yet similar note--it was great seeing you this weekend. HA! Dude-if we lived in the same city it would be trouble. Even though I only had an hour or so with you, it was a blast. Miss you guys! Come see us.