I first saw a hint of what was coming down last night when Madison Anderson said the following on Facebook:  “Westboro church makes me sick..Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Betty Phelps, daughter of Westboro Baptist Church Pastor Fred Phelps (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/AFP/Getty Images)

And that was followed by a tweet by Madison’s father, Bernie Anderson, that made it to Facebook:  “These people are sick!! Anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church to protest at slain Powell boys’ funeral http://t.co/wGKDhsE8 via @msnbc_us”

I’m proud to say that Bernie is my pastor at the Wasatch Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church in Salt Lake City, and that he made such a bold statement against the Westboro Baptist Church from Topeka, Kansas.

It’s one of those things that you wish just wasn’t true, but there it was on msnbc.com and other sites.  And it was good to see at one of those sites that the Occupy Seattle movement is planning to protest Westboro’s protest.

How much more evil and insane can the Powell story become?  Westboro Baptist may think they’re making a Christian statement by protesting against gays and same-sex marriage, but WHAT IN THE WORLD DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH TWO INNOCENT YOUNG BOYS WHO WERE KILLED BY THEIR OWN FATHER? 

Pastor Fred Phelps
Image via Wikipedia

The biggest thing I can recall Jesus raising a stink about in the Bible had to do with people making a  bit of “coin” in a place of worship that didn’t involve money raised from a church bake sale.  I don’t recall Jesus protesting over gays and same-sex marriage the way Pastor Fred Phelps’ bunch does on an all-too-regular basis.

Here is the ONLY reason I can see for the Westboro church protesting at these boys’ funeral on Saturday, and it doesn’t have a thing to do with Christian doctrine:  ATTENTION!  The only thing Fred Phelps’ gang of Bible-thumpers want is attention, and they’re good at it.  They’ve got a good marketing strategy going — plan some outrageous protest at funerals that have not one thing to do with the things they say they’re protesting against, and just start spreading “the word.”

The biggest problem is that it’s really not what many Christians believe, and yet it’s churches like Westboro Baptist that give Christianity a bad reputation.

Westboro’s getting all the attention it’s seeking, and that’s the sad part.  They’re trolls, and the best way to handle trolls is to ignore them.  Unfortunately, I haven’t seen that happening.

There is evil within churches, no doubt about it.  And the troubling part is that no denomination — none — is immune from it.  Recognizing it when it’s staring you in the face is tricky, but it can be done.  If a church is true to its Christian beliefs and preaching, it doesn’t go around judging others in any way, shape, or form.  That non-judgmental attitude to me is what a true Christian church is all about, along with caring for others, helping others, reaching out to others, comforting others, witnessing in a unique and quiet way, etc.  It invites people in with a “come-as-you-are” attitude.

Westboro Baptist doesn’t even come close to that.  And that IS evil!

The Powell boys deserved so much better than this.  For God’s sake, can ANYONE let those Powell boys rest in peace?


2 thoughts on “Yet another face of evil in the Josh Powell story

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