When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:9-13)
Relate: About a year back while the international competition was in full swing, I was browsing through my internet newsfeed when I noticed an offhand comment in an article saying that Westboro Baptist was protesting the Olympics. Occasionally curious to see this trainwreck in action I tried briefly to do a little more research. In a brief look see I didn’t see much more about it but that doesn’t surprise me. Their shenanigans are mostly ignored by the rational world at this point. It also wouldn’t surprise me if they were actually protesting Rio. After all, the Olympics shifting stance about transgender athletes does seem to be right up WBC’s protest alley.
Not to be deterred, I did something I frequently do for theological or political research but have apparently never done for something as base as Westboro Baptist Church. I went to the source. At least, I tried to. Apparently their church domain is “www.godhatesfags.com”? Really? Somebody please tell me this is a parody site. Before digging into Rio I tried to figure out if this was their real page or not. As best as I can tell, it is and quite frankly, that sickens me. After a few minutes, I had to get out of there and go take a shower to wash that filth off before I could come back to the keyboard and start typing again.
React: In case you didn’t guess, I can’t stand Westboro Baptist Church. However, you might be a little bit surprised to know why. I mean, if they want to be all stupid and angry and protest everything from the Olympics to military funerals, to… frozen? (Seriously, just… let it go) that’s fine. They have the right to protest to their heart’s content. (I am probably being very generous in assuming they have hearts) America has a long standing tradition of protest and the frivolous are just as free to do so as the deadly serious, the not quite politically correct just as much as those on the cutting edge of social reform. What gets me is they call themselves a “church” and they blame God as a motivator for their evil. If they want to sin, go ahead and sin… just don’t call yourself a Christian as you revel in it.
The same thing is true for pretty much another issue. If someone wants to go out and get drunk every weekend, that’s their choice. While I won’t be going out with you, I have no problem sitting down for a cup of coffee (or çay here in Turkey) any time you want to chat. The same is true with the practicing homosexual, the white collar embezzler, the porn addict, the drug dealer, and the gossip. However some person chooses to live their life… its their life and I have no problem showing my love and friendship to them even if I might not participate in, or even endorse, their choices.
But if someone wants to get wasted every night and then call themselves a Christian… I want nothing to do with them. If they are Christian and rainbow proud. Go somewhere else. If you want to be verbally abusive, or openly cheating on your spouse, or spreading every rumor that finds its way to your ears while pretending to be a faithful follower of Christ… I want no part of it. Either turn your life around or shut up. Don’t call yourself a part of the spotless bride while gloriously wallowing in the mud. If you are fighting a sin, I will work with you and pray with you and storm heaven’s gates on your behalf. If you are engaging in sin while not claiming to be a Christian I will pray for you and meet with you and storm heaven’s gates on your behalf. But if you call yourself a Christian while proudly holding that God hate’s fags sign, or that rainbow flag… I might still storm heaven’s gates on your behalf but here on earth I will do everything I can to disassociate from you. Westboro Baptist protester, KKK marcher down in Charlottesville, you are not a Christian. Stop lying to yourself and the world. Actively openly proud gay church member, you are not a Christian. Stop lying to yourself and the world.
Many inside the church are very quick to judge society and culture and “the world”. Many in that world and even other Christians are quick to say, “Don’t judge.” We are called to judge, but we are called to judge only those who claim to be part of God’s family. So, judge for yourselves. Am I right on this or am I just a hate filled bigot?
Let me ever always be a positive representative of You. Help me to hate sin and fight it in all the insidious ways it might try to corrupt my life. Help me to be an intercessor for all those who have blinded by sin’s deceit whether inside the church or out. But help me also to make it clear that You hold those that claim to be Your kids to a higher standard. Though I might not often meet that standard help me to ever strive towards that goal while motivating others to do the same. Help us to never forget that that battle is proof of the bond. If we are not fighting it, we are not Your family.