I’m about to get all religious up in here.
And cuss too.
I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. It’s fine if you think they are. I hereby withdraw my candidacy for sainthood.
I’ve been all over Facebook since the Orlando massacre. I know. But I can’t help myself. I’m addicted. And plus – my JOB.
I’ve read a bazillion articles about gun-control, semi-automatic vs. fully automatic weapons, the Second Amendment, radical Islam, peace-loving Islam, the plight of LGBT immigrants, the plight of LGBT people in general, the plight of the Evangelical community, the politicalization of private life, etc. etc. etc.
And most of the time, I gotta say, I can find something relatable in each position.
But then I found this:
A story about costume designers from the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre working overtime to create “angel wings” to block mourners of the Orlando tragedy from protestors from Westboro Baptist Church during upcoming funerals. The church has declared it’s intent to picket.
And something in me just snapped.
I’ve heard about Westboro before. Obviously. They are the ones with the “God Hates Fags” signs. The church that pickets military funerals. They get a lot of coverage. Unfortunately.
This time, I decided to give into click-bait and go to their website.
When you Google “Westboro Baptist Church” the site that appears is www.godhatesfags.com. I thought that was a joke.
It’s not a joke.
That is the church’s website address.
The rest of the website is just as bad. In all honesty, it’s a site that would make the most dyed-in-the-wool homophobe embarrassed. I mean, even neo-Natzis need a charismatic leader to stand behind. Let me assure you – Westboro Baptist Church does not have that leader.
My first thought, after reading that they had only forty members, was simple:
Bomb the joint.
Or easier even, get one of those AR -15s (MCXs -whatever) and just go on a little shooting spree. After all, I’ve got a clean record, a driver’s license, and a fair amount of target practice. I’m a shoo-in at a gun shop. And Lord knows, here in TN, there are ten just around the corner.
Of course, my second thought was “Choose kindness.”
I will admit that it took a solid thirty seconds to get to my second thought.
And then I was stuck with the existential crisis that I’m sure no one in Westboro Baptist Church has ever been struck with: What does it say about me, that my first response was hate and violence? How can I be filled with so much anger and still consider myself to be “Christian”?
But thank God, I’ve got Jesus in the temple to look to.
For all his talk about “Turn the other cheek,” doesn’t he look, well, PISSED OFF?
So even though I’m 99.99% sure Jesus wouldn’t approve of me taking out Westboro, I’m also 99.99% sure that he’d totally be on my side when it comes to wanting to. I’m willing to leave that .01% up for debate.
If Jesus got this riled up about people using his Father’s house as a market, how angry do you imagine he’d be to learn that people are using his name and his Father’s house to breed hate, fear, and injustice?
Just as radical Muslims, such as those in ISIS, contaminate the name of Islam, crazy fuckers like the Westboro bunch contaminate the name of Christianity. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, my Christian friends, but the Church is already full-up on bad PR.
Christianity has become a bad word. Not because, as some would like to believe, we live in a godless society that has turned it’s back on right teachings, but because some very loud Christians keep doing very bad things in the name of Jesus.
There was the Inquisition, the support of slavery, the Jim Crow Laws, the KKK, the ongoing subjugation of women. Today, the focus seems to be gay people and how they are “ruining” our families. This is an argument that has never made an iota of sense to me. What does a gay family have to do with your straight family? Unless of course, you suspect your spouse is gay, in which case, though withholding civil rights from homosexuals may prolong your marriage, it certainly won’t keep it from being a disaster.
Every single time someone uses Christianity as a platform to preach hate and disunity, it makes me hang my head in shame. Every single time it makes me reconsider this flag I’m flying under. Perhaps we’ve been hijacked. Secretly bought out by some evil conglomerate in some shady backroom deal. Maybe there’s nothing left worth fighting for. Could it be time to jump ship?
And then I remember Jesus. Not just lamb-hugging “Love your neighbor as yourself” Sunday School Jesus, but the Jesus who made a whip of cords and drove the money-changers from the temple. And I think, No. I will not abandon my post, pitiful and shaky though it may be. Love must win.
I guess bombs and guns are out of the question.
But I think I’m still permitted to flip some fucking tables.