A Call to Christians in the Basingstoke to stand against hatred

Confessing Evangelical has posted this call to Christians in the Basingstoke area. He links to an article (‘Coming to Britain, church with a mission to demonise homosexuals‘) which says that some members of the Westboro Baptist Church are coming to a 6th form college in Baskingstoke to protest a play. (Westboro BC has the ‘god hates fags’ website, and picket the funerals of AIDS victims, homosexuals, and soldiers, carrying signs reading that they will burn in hell – I refuse to link to their website, so if you want it Google it).

The Confessing Evangelical calls Christians to stand up against the hatred sponsored by the ‘church’ and show people the love of Christ. No matter what your views of homosexuality, this group is NOT an expression of the Christian faith or the God of love Christians believe in.  From the Confessing Evangelical website:

There are a lot of school students in Basingstoke who will be needing to see/experience the love of Christ for all people on (and after) Friday of this week, to counteract the monstrous perversion of the Christian faith being promulgated by Westboro Baptist Church’s “God Hates Fags” crowd.

I don’t know whether any Christians based in or near Basingstoke read this blog, and if they do then I’m sure this is already on their radar maps anyway. Nor do I know exactly how Christians should be responding – though a counter-protest would probably be counter-productive; something qualitatively different is needed, something that shows that the hope and faith that are in Christ are not just another voice shouting outside the school gates.

All I know is this: Westboro’s message is evil and anti-Christian; a lot of students are going to be hurt, frightened and upset by Westboro’s “protest”; and many others may be embittered against the Christian faith, and alienated from Christ himself, by seeing people who claim to be Christians acting with such hatred and viciousness. But this is also an opportunity for God’s people to show the love of Christ in a way that astonishes onlookers and comforts those who are on the receiving end of this hateful attack.

For the rest of us: let’s pray for the people of Basingstoke, and particularly for those school students (not least those who are Christians themselves) and for the churches and Christians in that town. And let’s also pray that God would bring the Westboro mob to repentance.

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8 thoughts on “A Call to Christians in the Basingstoke to stand against hatred

  1. Do you know, this made my stomach turn and I don’t just think it’s my lurgey. The Matthew Shepherd incident still makes me shudder at the evil of humanity.

    OK, I’m being female here (ref recent conversations in blogdom), but this makes me beyond angry to the point where I just want to cry. The loud lamenting wails of the Middle East.

    Lord, have mercy upon the human race.

  2. Hi Will,

    I have family a few miles from there. I’ll probably forward this to my sister. I take the point that the standard counter-protest would give them reprehensible publicity, but at very least prayer can be involved, whatever else might constitute an appropriate grace-filled reaction.

    Dave

  3. I struggle with entry bans but I find Westboro Baptist Church a throughly horrible movement. They dirty the name of Christianity.

    So not sharing the air with them is no loss to the people of Basingstoke.

  4. Further update. This went out late yesterday.

    STATEMENT
    19 February 2009
    CHRISTIANS SPEAK OUT AGAINST
    WESTBORO BAPTIST’S HATRED
    Joint statement from Christian organisations and denominations

    Six Christian organisations and denominations have produced a joint statement in response to the proposed visit of Westboro Baptist Church to picket in the UK.

    “We are dismayed that members of Westboro Baptist Church (based in Kansas, USA and not associated with the Baptist Union of Great Britain) might picket the performance of The Laramie Project in Basingstoke on Friday.

    “We do not share their hatred of lesbian and gay people. We believe that God loves all, irrespective of sexual orientation, and we unreservedly stand against their message of hate toward those communities.

    “Neither the style nor substance of their preaching expresses the historic, orthodox Christian faith. And we ask that the members of Westboro Baptist Church refrain from stirring up any more homophobic hatred in the UK or elsewhere.”

    Signed:
    Baptist Union of Great Britain
    Evangelical Alliance UK
    Faithworks
    The Methodist Church of Great Britain
    Theos: the public theology think tank
    United Reformed Church

    Ends
    Media enquiries: Lucy Cooper
    Evangelical Alliance
    020 7207 2107 / 07810183635
    l.cooper@eauk.org

  5. Thanks for your comments, everyone. It’s great to see that many here in Britain are ready to stand up to this view of religion (can it be called Christian?). Thanks also, Tony, for alerting to the statement made.

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