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.