I found this excerpt from Jeff Chu’s book Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America on Salon today, and wanted to share it here. It’s a longish read but he’s a great writer with a kind and thoughtful tone, just perfect for an attentive read with a hot cuppa close at hand.
Yes, there are Westboro Baptist types in the world. But the fact that they make it into the news so often, along with all the rest of the bad news that makes headlines, should ultimately give us hope. Because we take for granted that most people are not so blatantly hateful. We take this for granted because it is true. (I’m paraphrasing something Thupten Jinpa said in this recent On Being podcast which I also recommend.)
I’m finally getting caught up with blogs and such things now that my life has settled down a little. Just wanted to thank you for bringing Jeff Chu’s article to my attention—it’s well worth the time I spent reading. A couple statements caught my attention, so I wanted to bring them up here:
“My heart and my head cannot accept a god so cruel as theirs, so cavalier that he would create people just to destroy them. And I cannot believe in a fear-based faith. I don’t want to be scared into belief. I don’t want to be frightened into submission.” —This succinctly describes why I rejected that kind of faith. I tried but just could not worship a god like that.
“When others try to reason with Westboro’s members, a common response is that God has not opened their eyes, so they just can’t accept the truth. ‘Sometimes you look at people going by, and you think, Why are we the only ones who see this?’ says Rebekah Phelps-Roper. ‘Well, who am I to question my Creator? This is the Lord’s will, and it is perfect.'” —While WBC certainly takes this idea to an extreme, I’ve observed it in fundamentalists of all kinds. In fact, I think it pretty much sums up my definition of fundamentalism.
Keep bringing up stuff like this.
Thanks for the comment – glad you appreciated this article! And thanks for the encouragement to keep passing these things on – I will!