Thomas White on “The Group at Westboro”

Thomas White has written an excellent essay called “The Group at Westboro.” He has given me permission to copy it here.  His blog (Thomas White) is worth reading regularly.  He is a professor at Southwestern Seminary.

That group has never claimed to be Southern Baptist, but by having Baptist as a part of their designation, they paint all of us with their shame.  Dr. White has written powerfully to show that this group is neither Baptist nor a church.   Here is Dr. White’s article.

The Group at Westboro

If I told you that I was a bird, you might have your doubts. After all, I don’t look anything like a bird. I can’t fly. I don’t have wings. In fact, I have very little resemblance to a bird unless you want to count my bird legs as evidence.

Well, as a third generation Southern Baptist preacher and a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where I teach about the church, I think know what makes a Baptist church. According to the Bible, a church is a gathering, but a gathering with a purpose…an ecclesia. This Greek word is a compound word from ek and kaleo meaning the “called” “out” ones. The church is made up of those called out for God’s purposes. There are other assemblies in the New Testament. People called out and gathered for political reasons which may form assemblies but not churches. You see, a church has a special mission, which is the mission of Christ. Christ came to offer love and hope, and saving grace to those who were hopeless, unloved, and sinners.

So it really upsets me when a group calls themselves a Baptist church and then conducts themselves disgracefully. As a member of a Baptist church, I want to go on record as saying that the group calling themselves “Westboro” is neither Baptist nor a church. They do not follow the New Testament or the commands of Christ. They act nothing like a church should and do not demonstrate the characteristics of a true church. They should do everyone a favor and change their name to reflect reality. They appear to me as nothing more than a hate group with a extreme agenda. God will set things right on judgment day, and I would not want to be in their shoes.

So why do they call themselves a Baptist church? Well, of course I cannot know for sure, but I suspect that it is because the Devil would love for the public to think all Baptist churches act like Westboro. In reality, nothing could be farther from truth. So when you hear about the group at Westboro that spews hatred across the land, recognize them for what they are–not what they call themselves.  And please don’t mistake them for a Baptist church no matter what the sign may say.

Comments

    • Bess says

      Amen, amen and amen! I was on another site where people who have no understanding of Baptist were wondering why “the Baptist leaders” didn’t kick these people out of the denomination. You see that alot with people who know better but want to demonize the SBC by lumping anybody who commits a bad act with the name Baptist as being somehow under the authority of “SBC leaders” The SBC can cause enough trouble and scandels all on it’s own without having to answer for every church which calls itself Baptist.

    • says

      Phelps group is essentially a bunch of trial lawyers looking for lawsuits to file against people the purposely offend in the hope of legal action. This is not a Christian attitude by any stretch of the imagination.

    • says

      Here’s the thing I wonder. Have you ever heard ANYONE support them? Extremists on the left and right say outrageous things and have their supporters. But other than people who theoretically support their right to free speech, I’ve never heard anyone say, “You know, I think Fred Phelps and his bunch are doing good work.” No one!

      • says

        Shirley Roper-Phelps sounds like an irrational kook. But she’s clearly a very good lawyer. Few attorneys are capable of arguing a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. She did and from all accounts held her own. It’s no telling how much $$ the Westboro group has recovered in lawyers fees from all the lawsuits that they have won.

  1. Bill Mac says

    Not only is this group not a church and not Baptist, they are not Christians, period. Hitler could have taken their correspondence course.

  2. Christiane says

    I was watching CNN yesterday, concerning the plans for the funeral of the child, Christina-Taylor Green. The commentator (very wisely) spoke about a ‘certain church in Kansas’ that pickets funerals planning on picketing Christina’s funeral.

    I was impressed that the commentator refused to NAME the Westboro people, and give them any more publicity by name. Yesterday was a ‘first’ for me, as I had not seen a media person do that before.
    It made my day.

    Today I read that Westboro has decided not to picket Christina’s funeral. They are bullies, as are all who thrive on hatred. But this time, at that funeral, they would be up against the anger of our entire nation.

    • Dave Miller says

      You know, maybe if everyone ignored them…

      I hear that the most dangerous place in America is between Phelps and a camera.

  3. Chief Katie says

    Christiane,

    I live in AZ and our Governor, Jan Brewer had legislation written, voted on in both houses and she signed it into law within less than 24 hours yesterday. These vipers can show up, but they must stay 100 feet away. I LOVE my Governor.

    I just wanted to clear the record on their decision not to picket that little child’s funeral. Some radio station who has a listener base in the millions of people, offered to let the Vipers speak on the air for 30 minutes if they stayed away from the funeral. Now, the Vipers think they won the battle because they think more people will hear their corrupt interpretation of scripture by using the radio airwaves. No one is going to say anything nice about these people. I wouldn’t have lifted a finger to turn on the radio to hear these truly evil people. But… Tucsan is only about 90 miles from my home and I’d have driven there in a heart-beat just to tell these people exactly what I think of them. Then I’d challenge them about the scripture that tells us to always be ready to give an answer for our belief, but to do so with ‘love’. On the other hand I admit, I feel very little emotion at all about these people that isn’t hostile.

    To Christina, may God hold you in His loving arms, soothe the pain of your parents and set your feet upon the high places.

    God Bless…

    • Bess says

      Chief Katie, there are a lot of good people in Arizona. Know that hearts and prayers go out to you Arizonans.

      Buuuut Katie it’s 16 degrees and 8 inches of snow on the ground where I am so send a little warmth to the north and east of you, will ya :)

      • Chief Katie says

        Sister Bess,

        Tell you what, I’ll send you our 60-75 degree weather in the winter if you’ll be willing to also take our 112 degree summers that go on day, after day, after, day. It starts in late May and doesn’t stop until mid November. Sometimes I wonder about the wisdom of my having moved here. But God has created many beautiful eco-systems so I have to praise Him for his majesty. If you and your family want to come my way, I have a huge house and we’re less than a 4 hour drive from the Grand Canyon. We’ll treat you to a visit.

        Arizona is feeling the full force of all this illegal immigration mess, the drug cartels, etc. It’s a CCW state. I admit, that I don’t leave my house unless I’m armed. My neighborhood is very good, but there is no place these criminals will not go. It’s very sad.

        I remind myself every day to be encouraged because God IS faithful.

        None of us can really make sense of what happened here, but I think we do understand the pure hatred of the Westboro serpents. They are deplorable and I don’t see any sign of them changing their ways.

        Bless you Bess. You always brighten my day.

      • Chief Katie says

        That very kind Dave. Many years ago I read “Hinds feet on High Places” by Hannah Hurnard. The scripture has been in my heart since then. I still recommend it to any Christian who’s not read it. It’s an allegory, that shows our victory in Christ at the depths of our hearts when we feel alone, frightened and desperately in need of the loving touch of our gracious God.

  4. says

    The Westboro Wimps might tell you they have air time on some station in Canada, or that they have a championship marble game they don’t want to miss, but the real reason to me is they have excited a hidden spirit among people in our Country that have identified a Cause. Willie Nelson sang about “Angels Flying Too Close To The Ground”. Yep, They’re rumored to be coming as well . The Wimps last reception in Raleigh NC didn’t go very well for them either.

  5. John Fariss says

    They tried to picket the funeral of a marine from our community killed in Afghanistan recently. There were only a handful of them, and there were so many supporters from the community and area churches there, they could not get within megaphone range, so they left.

    John

    • says

      I think that is the answer. Don’t yell or scream – it gives them gratification. Don’t argue – its like trying to talk logic with King James ONlyists – they don’t use logic and don’t understand it.

      Just stand between them and their target – sing hymns or something.

  6. Chief Katie says

    John and all,

    My husband and I belong to an organization called the Patriot Guard. They are mostly people who ride Harleys and Jean fabric jackets. Yep, they have long hair, and bandanas and if you don’t know them, they can look quite menacing. But they aren’t. Kinder souls, I’ve rarely seen. They have banded together all over the country to shield mourning families from these despicable Westboro people who try to sully the memories of our heroes. They make me literally sick and every time I think of them, I want to cry. We don’t ride motorcycles, but we do drive with them and have our patriot banner on our car. If the Westboro cretins want to have free speech, then we’ll oblige them by using our own. Anyone ever heard about 50 Harleys riding in tandem. It’s quite loud. LOL. Decent Americans will not allow the lowest of the low to disrupt the dignity of our service members or anyone else for that matter.

    Take a look. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G10T_Ih222E&feature=related

    “He that troubles his own house shall inherit the wind, and a fool shall be a servant to the wise of heart.” Proverbs 11:29

  7. Debbie Kaufman says

    What I don’t understand is where they get the money to travel all over the country as they do.

    • says

      From what I have gathered, they have won numerous legal cases from past protests where they have sued when their “rights” to protest were impinged.

      • says

        Well Westboro has a new Law just signed that keeps them out of megaphone distance. Maybe they won’t get to open their trunks because someone sick is leaning on it. They left in Raleigh with almost no one of their group even showing up.

  8. says

    Not all of us are born with the smarts to be a judge or a congressperson or to be as outstanding as the 9 year old had already become. But the guy that did these killings received the benefits of society as best they could be bestowed on him with his mental and physical conditions and turned around and shot a judge whose legal system kept him free, and a jewish congresswoman who knows her own background and this Countrys Constitution well enough to rise up to protect them both not to mention her husband who rides the fastest rocket NASA can make with the smarts to keep it on course. Like the noise of a Harley I’m sure he would ride with his window open to hear the exhaust if he could. And then the 9 year old who didn’t hurt anybody gets gunned down by a nobody just like Martin Luther King Jr. did and whose memory we celebrate this month on the 17 th and to have the Westboro Wimps try to make political hay out of it is more than the common motorcycle rider, steel worker, teacher, electrician, policeman, iron worker, state trooper or military man was going to allow to happen. I guess I’m more than thrilled that Our black President took charge and had cause to allow a black volunteer to step up and be recognised who saved Mrs. Gifford’s life by sticking his hand on the hole. He didn’t train for that. I don’t guess – I am thrilled. Could something really good come of this, finally ?

  9. says

    I don’t approve of Westboro’s methods; they suck, to say the least. They lack real bear like qualities; they are timid, cowardly, and wimpy. Having said that I would mention that John Brown of the famous song and practice was along the same lines. Only he went even further and tried to get the Civil War going a few years early. But we sing a song to his honor. The whole deal reminds me of history and how the Quakers use to come naked into a church with which they disagreed and cry out fo repentance. Henry Ward Beecher sent people to Kansas to keep slavery from spreading, and he sent some Beecher’s Bibles along with them (read firearms). A friend of mine’s wife was adescendant of one of those families Beecher sent. Maybe Phelps and his crowd are descendants of that bunch, too.

    • says

      Having said that DR. JAMES WILLINGHAM, Is talking about John Brown, Civil War , the Quakers , Henry Ward Beecher and one of His Descendents, who was A FRIEND OF YOURS the long goofy way of saying you support in ANY way what the Westboro Wimps are doing. Somehow I think you do like them for something .

  10. Louis says

    Fred Phelps is an interesting guy. He is not only a preacher, but a lawyer, too.

    Earlier in his career he faught for Civil Rights in Kansas and was somewhat of leader in his area for that. I think that the ACLU or the NAACP gave him an award at one time.

    Also, Phelps has run for Governor of Kansas, as a Democrat.

    And he supported Al Gore for President when Gore first ran in 1988.

    Ignoring them is probably the best tack.

    • says

      I’m sorry LOUIS but none of those statistics you list about Fred Phelps is cause for me to like him or his group. ALL his people I understand are attorneys and there are laws governing how they can use those licenses even though there are possibly more attorneys out of work than preachers.

    • Debbie Kaufman says

      Louis: Do you know who Fred Phelps is…ignoring isn’t going to do anything but spur him on. Ignoring is how he got where he is today. Ignoring him is not the answer. He was in Enid last year protesting a soldiers funeral and the people of Enid held him back peacefully as other towns are doing. People are fighting back with peace and love(two things Fred and his group(family) cannot handle) in demonstrations. Like Satan, it drives them away.

      They are pure evil. I am from Kansas and have known of Westboro since I was a child.

  11. says

    The real subject here that everybody is dodging is homosexuality and Westboros’ handling of it. But, I’m not in Tucson so somebody else will handle it, albeit in an intelligent fashion.

    • Chief Katie says

      Jack,

      I doubt very seriously that anyone is “dodging” the homosexuality issue. We are talking about people who would resort to disrupting grieving people by using offensive language and screaming scripture completely out of context. Jerry Falwell didn’t approve of homosexuality and Phelps said that when Falwell died he was being welcomed into hell. I can’t even remember why. Phelps has sin sicknesses and homosexuality is just the convenient way of bringing attention onto himself and his entire demented and twisted family.

      I think they are slowly but surely figuring out, that decent people who really love God just aren’t going to allow them to behave like savages at the expense of innocent people. We have ways of drowning out their vile speech and it is being done in a lawful dignified way.

      When you can’t get liberals or conservatives to accept you, you have to keep ramping up the stakes. They will not listen to reason or even appropriate scripture, but they will understand that they are losing the battle. In fact, their shameful behavior is only making some people feel a little sorry for homosexuals. The law of unintended consequences is falling down on them. I’m delighted.

  12. says

    Chief Katie, Your correct in what you say. There are people with tons of money that contribute to trouble particularly when they can see their results on T.V. in marchs, demonstrations etc. When, as you say people are not as incensed about homosexuality and as a result Westboro looses its steam the money drys up; and not only for Westboro but for everyone that is beating that drum -including politicians and some religious groups and they don’t like it very much.

  13. Chief Katie says

    Jack,

    Perhaps I’m not understanding you. I think everyone recognizes that homosexuality is just an excuse the Westboro group uses to try to make people see things the way they do. I’ve no doubt they hate homosexuals, but I don’t think they can make a scriptural argument for it being any worse than adultery or fornication. People who clamor for attention by behaving in obscene ways aren’t in a position to be judging anyone. And… I do think in the beginning, they counted on conservative Christians to run to aid them. Thank God, literally, that real Christians know that this kind of outrageous and ugly behavior isn’t something they want to be associated with.

    In theory I’d be happy to stay with our Patriot Guard activities and ignore the rest of their behavior, but I think these people are dangerous. If they don’t get the attention they crave, they’ll just escalate the level of bad behavior to new lows (or high’s depending on how you see it). I’d not put anything past them.

    I will admit that the Episcopals and the so-called Metropolitan church only make things worse. As Christians we really have do have to draw lines that are clear. The Bible says that homosexuality is a sin. That’s the end of it in my mind. We are instructed to answer for the truth of scripture in love. That’s the difference between us and the Westboro bunch. They aren’t gaining anything other than some pathological need for negative attention. We should never cave into sin just so people will shut up. Sadly, Fred Phelps is not alone in his crazed behavior. Ever see a man who calls himself a Pastor on YouTube, whose name is Steven Anderson? Week after week he manages to get in some negative comment about homosexuals. I personally think he doth protest too much. In fact one of his video’s went viral because even the most generous and kind Pastors shook their heads in disbelief that anyone could turn a scripture that has nothing to do with homosexuality, into one. I can’t give you the name of it because it uses a word that is borderline cursing and it might not get past the filters. I’ll just put up the link.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNCoevpt5TE&feature=related

    You really cannot make this stuff up!

    • says

      You think the Westboro folks are dangerous? In what sense? The message they peddle? Or the group themselves?

      It’s worth noting that the Phelps family (which is basically a majority of the church) always follows the law unlike many protestors. They know the local laws and contact the appropriate city officials ahead of time, to announce their arrival.

      I think their message of hate is dangerous but I don’t think the group itself poses any danger. They just peddle the hate within the law but don’t go beyond what the law allows.

      • Debbie Kaufman says

        That’s not true BDW, they have been arrested several times, which you can check by doing a google for violance.

        • Debbie Kaufman says

          And I wonder BDW if you believe that using small children and teaching them racist slurs and yelling, protesting is within the letter of the law.

          • says

            Is it within the law or should it be?

            I’m sure most don’t want the government telling them how to parent their kids. After all, what’s the definition of a “slur”?

            It’s not like the Westboro folks are the only adults teaching kids how to hate. The kids I grew up with didn’t, for the most part, learn the n-word from their peers….

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            BDW:There is such a law as contributing to the delinquency of minors and what has been determined now days to be child abuse. Both above the letter of the law. By a long shot.

          • says

            But states have not used such statutes to go after all those who do indeed contribute to the delinquency of a minor. The parent who attempts to keep their racism (or whatever) somewhat private has no real reason to fear arrest.

        • says

          I stand corrected. It looks their methods may have changed somewhat since the 90s. The most recent arrest in 2007 was for instructing an 8-year old to stand on an American flag. Those charges were dropped. Perhaps Roper-Phelps is better behaved than the Phelps men who do seem inclined towards some violence.

          The group generally has been successful at coming in to a town, protesting within the law, which has often led to Westboro getting sued and Westboro recovering attorneys fees. It’s a money-making gimmick in my opinion. And the “church” gets to hide behind its non-profit status. I’d at least like to see them have to pay taxes! Certainly their activities don’t serve the public good in any form or fashion (which is supposed to be a purpose of tax-exempt status).

          • Dave Miller says

            I think you make a very good point, BDW. We need to remember that the principle of Freedom of Speech demands that we grant that freedom to speech that we hate.

            Too often, we want freedom of speech only for those we agree with.

            Westboro has the right in America to be as obnoxious as they desire – as long as they stay within the law.

            We must oppose them within the law and by using our freedoms (and the spiritual weapons given us by God).

          • Bess says

            We need to be careful too when we talk about how we raise our children – on the left teaching your children religion is thought to be harmful – teaching them that homosexuality is a sin is hate speech. Hang out in the comment section of Lefty blogs like Huffington Post and Think Progress and you’ll find that the extreme left makes no distinction between what Westboro does and an SBC preacher proclaiming that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin. We have to be very careful about giving up our rights – whether speech or parenting – because there are people who are abusing those rights. Doesn’t mean we don’t protect children from real child abusers, but understand that there are those in this country who truly believe that in the best interest of the state – parents should have very little rights in how their children are raised.

          • says

            Hang out in the comment section of Lefty blogs like Huffington Post and Think Progress and you’ll find that the extreme left makes no distinction between what Westboro does and an SBC preacher proclaiming that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin.

            Shoot, hang out just in this comment thread and although they may not say it there are at least two commenters here who most certainly think it.

            Without question what the kooks at Westboro do and say is morally offensive and cannot be supported by scripture in any way, shape, form, or fashion. But I don’t want the government regulating their ability to say what they say any more than I want them to prevent me from teaching, for example, “Wake Forrest Baptist Church just hired a lesbian pastor. That is immoral. Practicing homosexuals are not Christians.”

          • says

            Bess,

            Of course, you know the problem is not the left. I mean, we should expect that from them. The real problem is the people who claim to be Christians but claim to be able to see now that Paul was just prejudiced against gay people. And please, don’t get me started on the whole Jesus never said anything garbage.

          • Bess says

            Joe, I hear ya. The problem is also people who think the left is only about love, joy, peace and unicorns. There are incidents all over the country now where well-meaning people are being snookered into believing “hate” speech and “hate” crimes are what Westboro does when come to find out the left defines preaching the exclusivity of Jesus as “hateful” yada yada yada or homosexuality is a sin is being a bully. The left has very plainly and very vocally come out with the idea that some speech should be regulated and they also want to take over a parents rights to instill values into their children all under the guise of doing away with “hate” and “intolerance.”

          • says

            Bess,

            And then they find certain pretend Christians (like certain ones on this comment stream who rail againt everyone being hateful toward them but are so filled with hate they reek of it) who are MORE than willing to help them achieve their ends.

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            They were arrested locally for much more than that BDW. Do a search as I suggested. These are not necessarily harmless people. People are standing up to them finally. That is why they seem harmless. But I don’t believe they are. And they may seem harmless now, but as their family grows so does the church. One day they may not seem so harmless. Remember Madelaine Murray O’Hare? people said she was harmless too….at first.

  14. says

    Chief Katie, I think you & I are on the same page with Westboro and with homosexuality. All three of us agree that its practice is a sign. From here I take exception with how and where they deciminate that message . I believe that you & I might agree about homosexuals – the people classified as such. I don’t have at this moment any info about Westboro’s other ideas they may use to describe the people or the condition or their supporting evidence – but I have the words of other groups who are active and use similiar public displays as Westboro. No one should be interested in my personal views on the people but suffice it to say that they occupy every job description, don’t all hold their little finger out and don’t all walk with a “swish & sway” – others do. I have difficulty lumping them all together for the causes of the condition. I watched the video you posted long enough to see someone in a new suit putting on a show. A pastor Daly has taken over “Focus On The Family” formally run by James Dobson who retired and his rhetoric on homosexuality is reported as greatly moderated. There are truths to be known and agreed on but we are going to have to search on our own enorder to to descriminate between sugar and shinola. Westboro only interests me now in seeing that they don’t ruin an already damaged Baptist church. I’ll show up for that.

  15. says

    O.K. – so I’m thick but I haven’t studied this stuff. BUT, Instead of saying the ” Left said ” which is around the world one way, or the ” Right says ” which is completely around the other way, it would be helpful to conjure thoughts if we/ I knew in what sphere they were said. Rush Limbaugh is one thing & H.W. Bush is another.

  16. says

    I was referring to the well-known fact that religious people can be obnoxious at one time or another. I have been aware of Mr. Phelps for about 45 years. Standing up for unpopular and even stupid things is no easy matter. The Quakers were seeking to rebuke the church people of their day for their formalism, etc. The BAptists gave them their freedom in Rhode Island while the near by Congregationalists of Mass. put some of them to death. Also I referred to Brown to point out, that a lot of it depends on who wins in the battles that proceed. Having said that I do not approve of Westboro’s way of doing things. I don’t find examples of like conduct in the NT, so I don’t approve of what they do. They are right on some of the things they oppose, but wrong on their methods and that is deal breaker. Also they can hurt the Christian cause and give ammo to those who want to stamp it out altogether. One lady chaplain at the UN back in the first Bush days said she wanted to put all so-called Bible believing ministers in an insane asylum. Westboro gives aid to those who fall for that trap and so threaten the future for all believers.

  17. says

    So, WHO has taken Westboro to WHAT COURT ? WHERE ? and was it a Win ? Lose ? or Draw ? if anybody knows. Did Westboro pay “clean-up fees” if they were required for a permit to do what ? Are we supposed to keep our mouths shut because their ” lawyers “.

    • Chief Katie says

      Jack,

      C’mon. It takes two second to do a wiki search. It up-to-date and highlights the groups legal issues.

      Here is a letter written by the estranged son of Fred Phelps. He concurs with me, his father is deranged and possibly dangerous.

      This is a letter Mark Phelps wrote last year to citizens of Topeka and northeast Kansas. It is printed at his request. It was received at The Capital-Journal on May 19, 1993. Contacted by telephone in California July 7, 1994, Mark Phelps said the letter still represents his feelings. He also cautioned people against taking the letter out of context, saying there is “gentleness” in the context of the letter and a hope that the community can better understand Fred Phelps based on what the letter contains.

      “Many people have been asking me, over the past several weeks, about my father. They want to know what I think about him and ‘What is he really like?’ People’s interest in what I think baffles me, but after careful consideration, I decided to respond.

      What is he like? Well, it’s been 19 years since I left home, but his behavior still appears to be the same. He considers his environment to be against him without admitting, acknowledging or taking responsibility for how he contributes to that. He likes to show himself as being moral, pro-family, pro-Bible, but his actions just don’t add up to that. I believe in God and the Bible, and my father’s behavior doesn’t fit the description of behavior that would show in the life of one who loves God; behavior characteristics such as Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control. Instead, my father’s behavior characterizes, I believe, Hate, Outbursts of Wrath, Contention, Jealousy, Vengefulness, Misery, Harshness, and Selfish ambition. He mis-states the truth about his own behavior, about others, about the Bible, with apparent ease and regularity. He behaves with a viciousness the likes of which I have never seen. He accepts no genuine accountability in his life and is subject to no one. His lifestyle betrays the sacred trust of what a pastor, husband, father and grandfather should be. I suppose if a comparison were made between the life of Jesus Christ and my father, there would not be much to compare.

      I also realize that my father is a very unstable person who is determined to hurt people. And because he is so bound to be hateful and hurtful, and because he’s so untrustworthy, I believe it’s a good idea to respond to him with caution much like the caution used when dealing with a rattlesnake or a mad dog. You see, the causes that he crusades for, including the Bible, are not the issue here. He simply wants to hate and to have a forum for his hate. If the causes he focuses on were the issue, that is, if they really meant something to him in his heart and he meant for the things he does to be for the good, his behavior would not be what it is. He would not betray his message with his behavior. But, when he needs to, to vent his hate, he readily goes outside the bounds of any previously stated ‘value’ or ’cause’ he may have supported. He experiences no moral dilemma when it comes to doing what he wants to do. If it weren’t the homosexuals, it would be something else.

      Yet checks and balances on his behavior are appropriate, on the part of the community, in order to at least confine his destructive behaviors and to limit his influence. I believe that Topekans are making a good effort to try and stop him and should continue to do so. He can seem very intimidating. He can use foul language and come across with a booming voice to the community, but the truth is, like the Wizard of Oz, when Toto pulls the curtain back, instead of this big powerful individual, it’s only a small, pathetic old man.

      I feel sorry for my father as I would for anyone who displays this kind of hate and evil viciousness. These can only be the manifestations of tortured, injured and agonizing souls.”

      — Mark W. Phelps

  18. says

    Dr. James Willingham – I agree with you 100% -EXCEPT – I haven’t heard ALL the positions of Westboro so I don’t know if there are areas we might yet disagree. I’m not normally this picky but they can ride a thin line.

  19. says

    It’s good to see Thomas White take these people to task and call a Spade a Spade and their church a club (my words ). What’s taken so long. Advertisements in papers etc would protect the Baptist denomination. Fact sheets going out to SBC churchs via email is a no brainer at almost no cost. C’mon.

  20. says

    Chief Katie I’ll get my son to show me the “wiki search” on this japanese rice burner I’ve got. Thanks . That puts a new light on him if he is the Leader. Wonder who’s jerking his chain ?

    • Chief Katie says

      Jack, he’s jerking his own chain. He loves the attention and gets some kind of sick satisfaction from being a full-blown apostate.

      Now be nice. I had to tell my husband 18 years ago, that my car was a Toyota, not a rice burner. I think he still says it under his breath or when I’m not listening. LOL. He doesn’t have a problem with Japanese people, he has a problem with people not buying American. But he has bought 3 Toyota vehicles since we’ve been married. I think it’s the principle with him, not the product.

      Not giving you a hard time. I don’t find Wickipedia to be the authority on facts, but at least they provide their references and have checked the public records.

      God Bless

      • says

        I heard “Red” House the elderly Harley-Davidson Dealer in D.C. say to Walter Davidson, ” Walter, these Japanese motorcycles are a threat and you better do something unless you think people will buy yours because your name is on the tank” Walter sold the Company to AMF and I cleaned this up a bit. That letter is dynamite. I see some of Phelps synptoms emerging in me. Maybe we should meet after a TSA scann.

        • Chief Katie says

          After a TSA scan? I’m a veteran of more than 20 years in the service. The Director of Homeland Security (my former governor), has decided that I’m a risk for being a terrorist, then add the fact that I’m a Christian, and you almost have the perfect TRIFECTA of a serious terrorist! Then I have a husband whose occupation in the Navy was to make things that cause mass destruction, so we are surely not a family to be trusted.

          Scary thing that people like us are considered to be likely terrorists because we serve our Risen Lord first, and our country second. My dad used to tell me about the bad people he fought in Korea, and I never heard anything about Christians.

          We just keep relying on Romans 8:28-39. I’m not at all certain that buying a Toyota, or having a ‘knock-off’ Harley are exceptions to the scripture.

          God Bless Jack.

  21. Christiane says

    I think that there are some clues in Mark Phelps’ insights into his father’s character. In Mark’s opinion:

    1. His father’s behavior doesn’t show the fruits of the spirit:
    “Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control”

    2. His father needs to ‘vent his hate’ and ‘can use foul language’.

    3. His father’s behavior is characterized by “Hate, Outbursts of Wrath, Contention, Jealousy, Vengefulness, Misery, Harshness” and
    a ‘viciousness the likes of which I have never seen.’

    I have to agree with Jack Wolford, that Mark’s letter is hard to read.
    I was impressed that Mark understood the importance of the lack of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in his father’s behavior, which, although none of us may judge his father’s salvation, indicates that something is not as it should be with his soul. I still saw, in that letter, some compassion that Mark still feels for his father, for the person who is his father;
    but not for the ‘publicity’ version we may think we know from his father’s presented persona.
    Have we contributed to this man’s situation, in giving him so much publicity? I don’t know that. But when DAVID said that Westboro seems energized by scorn, I have thought much about it.

  22. Bill Mac says

    The bottom line is that these people are evil. That they are raising their children in this evil makes them child abusers. They happen to have chosen a particular sin as the outlet for their evil, but it could have been anything. It would not surprise me to learn that they were possessed.

    • Dave Miller says

      See, here’s the problem that groups like Westboro present. I agree in principle with what you are saying.

      But you say, “raising their children in this evil makes them child abusers.”

      I have to disagree – at least in principle. If we start allowing the government to dictate the principles and beliefs that are “healthy” – that which is abusive and which is not, we are opening a huge can-o-worms.

      How long till the government says that people who raise their children to believe that there is only one way to God are evil? That those who say that homosexuality is wrong are evil?

      When we open the door to government-sanctioned oversight of ideas, we are in deep trouble.

      • Debbie Kaufman says

        Dave: And I have to disagree with you here. This has nothing to do with what will happen to us. And I’m not so sure we should be thinking about ourselves in a case like this. The family of the Westboro church is abusive to the children to raise them like this and if need be the government needs to intervene for the sake of these particular children. I’m having a hard time thinking you actually believe what you just wrote in your comment. The Government isn’t evil, but here for our protection. To think of them as all evil is ridiculous. I don’t like a lot of government interference, but in this case, it is what they are here for and they should intervene if they legally can.

        • Debbie Kaufman says

          When we open the door to government-sanctioned oversight of ideas, we are in deep trouble.

          This statement particularly bothers me. The Westboro gang has more than “ideas”, this is there way of life. This is how they live. They have taken to picketing funerals of soldiers, loved ones, Elizabeth Edwards for crying out loud? I’d say that is more than just a few ideas floating around.

        • Debbie Kaufman says

          If you do not want government interference then do not call a policeman if you are robbed or worse. Say something when a policeman pulls over a driver for speeding or shows up at a wreck. And fireman, well don’t call them because of the government interference. They are government too.

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            This interview given by Fred’s estranged son Ned shows what growing up in the Phelps family is like. Physical abuse occurred along with terrible verbal abuse. If one does not follow this evil ideology of the Phelps’ then you are disowned. Which is not a bad thing from our view, but is for the child being disowned.

            http://thetyee.ca/Life/2009/10/07/PreacherPhelps/

          • says

            That is the single stupidest thing you’ve ever typed which is saying a lot. So calling a policeman to enforce the laws is the equivilent of the government telling parents that they can’t teach their children homosexuality is a sin or that Jesus is the only way to heaven? You know, I’ve called you an airhead bimbo before–thanks for once again proving my point.

            Oh, and shave that mustache over your lip…it’s getting kinda thick.

        • Chief Katie says

          Debbie as a teacher with decades of experience, I have to say that you are wrong. I feel certain your heart is in the right place now, as it always is, but I have dealt with public schools for a very long time. A Christian teacher is a rarity in a public school. Most teachers are exceedingly liberal so I had to guard my words carefully.

          There was a time when I would have sworn that the reason our schools are in so much trouble was a direct reflection of the removal of prayer. I still think that it hasn’t done much good. But we are dealing with a new reality. Would you be okay with your children being forced to pray to Allah, the Hindu God, a Rastafarian, or how about an Episcopal who denies the Virgin birth, the resurrection, heaven or hell? How about the Mormon’s view of polytheism? I would not. I’d go to jail before I’d allow my child to pray to Allah.

          I didn’t allow my children to use racial slurs of any kind, but no matter how hard I try, I cannot shelter them from everything. Our culture is sick and getting sicker.

          Whenever government has tried to ‘stop’ so called racists or just people with different beliefs, we end up with Ruby Ridge, or Waco. So many children dead or left as orphans.

          Look up the school safety Czar. A man who did not report the homosexual abuse upon a minor because he thought it wouldn’t be productive. This man protects our children from harm? No way Debbie, he’s sick. You can’t possibly think that people in BHO’s administration are good Americans. We have identified ardent communists, people of terrorist ties, and then his supporters stop a voucher program that is working for children in one of the worst cities in our country. Washington D.C. Oddly enough, they pay more per pupil for education than any of the 50 states. Yet their achievement levels are some of the worst in the country. We see some progress with vouchers and BHO orders them stopped.

          Do you think we should send out the government to remove children from homes where Muslim parents teach the extremist views of Islam? What about the JW’s? Surely you don’t think a pro-government BHO administration would approve of removing Muslim children, but parents who teach other types of hate do get their kids removed. Where will we draw the line and who do you think should decide what a healthy home is? We live in a pluralistic society. Unfortunately our foundational beliefs are no so foundational to our country any longer. Remember Hitler tried to kill an entire culture of people just because he thought they were harmful. Today Muslims get more respect from government than Christians do. Those are the facts.

          If you doubt what I am saying… take a look across the pond. Socialism has turned our great faith into beautiful buildings that now have Curators and gift shop souvenirs because the faithful just don’t seem to be worshipping. In Germany, that country now has to approve of a church before it can function as a church. Lot’s of small home churches sprouting up. I understand it’s the same in France, and certainly the UK. We seem to be following Europe to our utter destruction. Sorry Debbie. I love my country, but I now fear my government.

          I understand your concern Debbie. But it’s not against the law to teach your child an ideology that others don’t agree with. Christians know this very well. Government should NEVER have the role of defining what a good and proper home is. You might not like it, and they’d likely not like you for teaching your children what the government thinks is nonsense. Do you want BHO to get his ideas about a proper home from the Reverend Jeremiah Wright?

          God will deal with Fred Phelps and his entire family of hate. We should do what we know in our hearts is correct. God will reach these children.

          • Bess says

            Katie, bless your heart, once the Debbster has made a declaration there is no dealing with her. Facts don’t matter in her world. At this point if you tell her the sky is blue she will pound the keyboard screaming that it is definately red with purple polka dots and what kind of Christian are you for disagreeing with her.

      • Bill Mac says

        Obviously the government does not regard them as child abusers. I do. If the only weapon we have against these monsters is words then words it will have to be. They aren’t prophets. They aren’t over-zealous or misguided. They are monsters. Inhuman. Christians should not be confused about these people just because they happen to appear to oppose homosexual behavior. We blame peaceful muslims because they don’t seem to be willing with one voice to denounce radical islamists. What do you think would happen if someone introduced a resolution at the next SBC for us to collectively denounce this group in the strongest possible language?

        • Christiane says

          It might be better for any resolution to specify exactly what it is about the Westboro folk that the SBC is denouncing.

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            Christiane: I will say without a doubt in my mind that the SBC denounces every single thing concerning the Westboro gang. I think Thomas White spelled it out clearly. All of the SBC would overwhelmingly agree with Thomas White’s post. And I don’t agree with Thomas White on much.

          • Christiane says

            Hi DEBBIE,

            I can understand the desire to condemn Westboro’s use of the name ‘Baptist’ and to warn the public that Westboro is not the same as the Southern Baptists.

            But I was thinking that, if the SBC denounced certain beliefs and practices of Westboro which the SBC clearly delineated, it might be more pro-active on the part of the SBC.
            If anyone in the public is confused (how could they be, but the truth is that many are);
            they can then examine the SBC’s position positively-stated in contrast to the horrific beliefs and ways of the Westboro group. That ‘contrast’ needs to be drawn clearly, Debbie, for the sake of those who don’t see it.

            And it wouldn’t hurt to publicize the fact that the SBC has also been picketed by Westboro.

        • says

          Bill Mac, You didn’t – Better you said, “the government does not regard them as child abusers” Do you mean the Courts or Legal systems which can issue opinions based onthe Law.

          • Bill Mac says

            Jack: I mean I assume that no government agency that has the authority to render judgment about child abuse believes the Westboro group is guilty of child abuse. However there will come a day when the Westboro folks will realize that it would have been better for them to jump off a bridge tied to a millstone than to teach their children what they are teaching them.

          • says

            Bill Mac, I really appreciate your explaining that “government” term to me because the “government”, ” our Government is composed of 15 Cabinet positions such as the Dept. of Defense, Agriculture, State, Treasury, Justice,Interior,Commerce, Labor, Human Services, Housing and Urban Developement, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affaires, Homeland Security, as well as Management and Budget, A U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador to The U.N., Council of Economic Advisors not to mention The President, The Vice-President, Chief of Staff and ALL, ALL of the Millions, and Millions, and Millions, and millions of Employees that are BOTH Democrat and Republican, and not MANY PERSONS ARE ALLOWED TO SPEAK FOR THEM. Not even 1 court or social services agency ETC. you know what I’m talking about. The vast majority disapprove of Westboro and I’m sorry to say I believe they associate those bums with our brand of Baptist Religion and we have enough real, tangeble, humongous problems by ourselves alone. Our Government does some good stuff on either side of the screw-ups but catering to Westboro isn’t in there. I love indiviguals having a solution to this problem of Westboro.

      • Chief Katie says

        Dave, You could not be more correct. I’m a home-school consultant and I also am the Director of new school at my church.

        There are forces out in the political world that will stop at nothing to remove a parent’s right to home-school their children and to teach their children the values we think are important. Anyone recognize a day every year where public schools almost shut down to show support for homosexuals. Yet if a Christian parents objects, they are intolerant and hateful.

        Same thing with private schools. There is not a scintilla of doubt that Private schools do a much better job at educating. We also know that vouchers work as was shown by the huge progress made in DC student achievement while vouchers were in place. So why did BHO’s minions cut funding for a program that actually works? The truthful answer is that they want to control what is taught in our schools. In fact, the NEA (an obscene organization) has an actual charter with congress. They love to spend union dues to invite barbaric late term abortionist to come and speak at their conventions. What that has to do with improving education is completely lost on me. If you check their website you will see that they do not believe that parents have the skills to educate their children, and that only they (the NEA) possess the proper credentials to teach children. That’s a lie. I don’t think these are the people who should be making decisions about what and how we teach our children.

        If we want to protect our rights to raise our children under the fear and admonition of the Lord, then we’ll have to show some fundamental fairness.

        The Framers knew that evil people would take advantage of our individual liberties, but they knew that not accepting a bit of the bad, with the overwhelming good, is nothing short of tyranny.

        If we start arresting the Westboro Baffoons for teaching some kind of delinquency, it will just be a matter of time, before they come knocking on our doors asking why we teach our kids about Jesus and the tooth fairy. Ever heard Dawkins or Hitchens speaking about the travesty all of us Christians are guilty of, by teaching our children about God? They call it indoctrination and call for government to put a stop to it.

        Bravo Zulu to you.

        • Bess says

          “”If we start arresting the Westboro Baffoons for teaching some kind of delinquency, it will just be a matter of time, before they come knocking on our doors asking why we teach our kids about Jesus and the tooth fairy. Ever heard Dawkins or Hitchens speaking about the travesty all of us Christians are guilty of, by teaching our children about God? They call it indoctrination and call for government to put a stop to it.””

          You are absolutely spot on here. And it’s happening all over the country today. People are absolutely stupid and/or just plain naive to think that we can set a legal precedent by saying “let’s take Westboro’s kids away from them because they don’t teach them the right ideas.” Chrisitianity is the wrong idea according to the world. Their are many people in the country today who want there to be only once choice in education and that’s the government choice where the government can indoctrinate the kids the way they want to make good little citizens of the state.

          My heart breaks for children in homes where Christ is not taught and the Bible not lived. Not just the Westboro homes, but the homes where lesian couples get a child and teach them that being gay is a choice that they can make, atheist homes where children are taught a hatred and disdain for God and Christianity. Do we get to take those kids out of those homes because of the values being taught? In all those homes the values taught have an eternal impact.

          Katie, know anything about the UN Charte re: children?

          • Chief Katie says

            Bess,

            Sadly I do. But of course, the UN has now let their usual bad sense turn into sick and pathetic sense, since places like Saudi Arabia are now on the comittee to work for women’s rights. This from a country where women can’t drive a car or even leave their homes without written permission from their husband, father or other male relative.

            It’s every bad as you have said, probably worse. I have some connections at the Home School Defense League, if you ever need anything let me know. If Dave will give you my private e-mail so we can correspond, that would be great with me.

            You are a blessing to me.

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            Well then I am stupid and ignorant because that is exactly what I am saying. I stand by the fact that I am saying it. At least I’m not paranoid or looking out for myself on things that may or may not(most likely will not) happen.

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            And people, this is why Christianity is circumspect to people as it should be. Christ is taken out and paranoia, looking out for ourselves is primary. Thankfully not all Christians are like this, but it’s hard to find the sanity in any of this talk.

          • Bess says

            Debbie, AGAIN you show yourself to be an idiot who has no clue what she’s talking about. Yes we know Debbie is the bestest, mostest, holiest, smartest, christian who has ever walked the face of the earth. Only Debbie knows anything about “real” Christianity. And everybody who disagrees with her are evil, bad, stupid people. Debbie is always the penultimate expert on all things because she knows everything about everything and her word is always final. Debbie, I hope your neck doesn’t hurt too much from carrying that gigantic head of yours.

          • Bess says

            Katie, it’s always a pleasure when you’re around. It’s a shame that others have to come in and tell us that we really don’t know what we really do know– as you know something called reality.

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            Bess: I am just realistic and refuse to be paranoid. It’s not how I want to live my life and think that it is ridiculous to live in such a way. We are Christians. I believe in God who is able to keep all.I do not believe in being silent on things such as this because of paranoia. You have turned this discussion into a home schooling issue instead of dealing with the article Thomas White wrote. And wrote well. This is why so many leave the church as well. Who wants to live life this way? Certainly not me. And for the record, Fundamentalists believe the world is something to fight against too. I just don’t buy it and never will. If in your eyes I am an idiot I must be doing the right thing. I can live with that quite well and stand before God boldly in doing it.

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            And in this case yes I do believe I am the smartest and the holiest.I know I am the most at peace. Just for the record.

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            For the record I also agree with Christiane that children should not have hell emphasized and for the reason she gave. They should not be given more than they can handle and believe me most children cannot handle the doctrine of hell as presented here. These are children who can’t process all that and it is a horror to them. The gospel can be shared with children and all of it be taught, but good grief, common sense should also be given consideration in this. Ten years old is too young for the reasons Christiane gave. Now that can be added to the heresy charges against me which I more than gladly bear. Again, it means I am doing something right.

          • Bess says

            Debbie, nobody who reads what you write here believes you have one scintella of peace. When all you ever do is attack, attack, attack those who ever dare pose an opinion you don’t like – that’s not a sign of a woman who has any peace. And you continue to show your absolute ignorance about what’s actually going on in the world.

          • Dave Miller says

            Why is it that every Sunday, when I am busy and spend little time on the blog, this kind of exchange occurs?

            Address issues and not each other, okay?

            Thanks.

          • Bess says

            Dave, some of us were addressing issues when Debbie comes in and decides we are all sick and twisted and she the most bestest and has the right tell us all how paranoid and delusional we are. Some posters are just extra special ain’t they?

          • Christiane says

            I accept responsibility for my part in the exchange, DAVID, and I am very sorry if it leads to you having a migraine.
            But I am right about this, and I wanted to say what I thought clearly. I did that. I’m glad I got the chance to do it.

            No migraine, I hope. Stay healthy.

          • Dave Miller says

            Look guys, argue all you want. Tell each other how wrong you are. Let’s just keep it on the issues more and less on the people involved.

            Know what I mean?

          • Bess says

            No L’s you are absolutely wrong. It is not spiritual abuse to teach children that Jesus is the only path to salvation and that there is a literal place called heaven and a literal place called hell. We are not teaching fire and brimstone to our preschoolers, but by the age of 10, children in an SBC church will know the TRUTHS of heaven and hell.

          • Christiane says

            BESS,
            I will go record as saying that I do not believe that any ordained Southern Baptist minister would approve of a child in his Church being taught that one of their beloved parents ‘is going to hell’.

            I could see the Westboro folk tormenting children in that way,
            but not the Southern Baptists.
            There IS a difference.

            So, we disagree.

          • Bess says

            L’s you have twisted facts all around to try to create demons here. As usual you are making crass insinuations that there is someone here advocating that we should scream at children “you’re parents are going to hell” No – no one is doing that. That’s not the facts of the case – A ten year old girl understands that her father is not saved and at ten she understands that her father is not going to be with her in eternity unless he has a heart change. We do not hide the TRUTH from our children. You honestly think an SBC minister would lie to a child about what the Bible says to spare the child’s feelings. “Oh little Johnny there is no such thing as hell” or “oh no little Johnny we’re like that sweet kind wolf on the internet who thinks everybody gets to go to heaven” No SBC worth his salt would think lying to a child and hiding TRUTH from a child is anything we should do. THERE IS NO ONE HERE ADVOCATING SCREAMING FIRE AND BRIMSTONE AT CHILDREN, but we will not hide the TRUTH from them either. Just because you refuse to except Biblical truth L’s doesn’t mean that we are spiritual abusing our children by teaching them the whole counsel of scripture.

          • Bess says

            Here you go L’s you wanna call Tony Kummer hateful and accuse him of spiritually abusing children for teaching them about hell? Or I know call him a Westboro fundy maybe?

            http://ministry-to-children.com/the-divided-kingdom-lesson/

            Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2, Ephesians 4:18). God sent His Son Jesus into the world. He died on the cross for our sins was buried and rose again. All who believe in Jesus as their Savior will not be separated from Him any longer. Those who choose not to believe will continue to be separated from God and will face the punishment for their sins by spending eternity away from God’s presence in hell.

            Sin has consequences but nothing can stop God’s eternal promises. God punished Solomon by taking away the kingdom and still kept His promise to David. Today in our lesson we are going to see how God did that.

          • Bess says

            I don’t this is letting me post a link, but this is from the Ministry to Children websit – it has search function -type in lessons about hell.

            Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2, Ephesians 4:18). God sent His Son Jesus into the world. He died on the cross for our sins was buried and rose again. All who believe in Jesus as their Savior will not be separated from Him any longer. Those who choose not to believe will continue to be separated from God and will face the punishment for their sins by spending eternity away from God’s presence in hell.

            Sin has consequences but nothing can stop God’s eternal promises. God punished Solomon by taking away the kingdom and still kept His promise to David. Today in our lesson we are going to see how God did that.

  23. says

    It is never easy to deal with differences, especially when they are put in a forceful and hateful way. The problem with the Westboro approach is that they are trying to imitate the conduct of some of the Prophets of the Old and New Testaments and some of the outstanding ministers in History. Undoubtedly, there is an ego pathology involved, for man is a fallen creature. There is a madness in him as Eccles.9:3 notes. Sadly, we are all subject to that evil influence. Even the Apostle Paul and Barnabas had a paroxysm; they were enraged with each other over Mark (Acts 15:39 the contention was so sharp between them…look up the greek on this and compare it with I Cors.13:5 is not easily provoked). That outburst of rage is somewhat like Peter’s cursing , when he denied the Lord. Let the Christians began to pray for a restraint from the Holy Spirit to be laid upon our hearts first and then upon those we particularly dislike for such practices. The Lord has a way of working with people on the issue of their depravity. Peter was made to weep bitterly. Others who violated the Lord’s ways were cut off. Humility is a much needed virtue and grace today. Arrogance often marks present day professors of the Christian Faith, but soon those who truly belong to Christ will find themselves being humbled. When you fall flat on your face, brethren, you will very likely arise a wiser more careful person. I speak as one who has fallen enough to know that it is a bitter and distasteful experience. Humble pie is beneficial, but it is never easy to consume.

    • says

      Falling flat on our faces is part of the growing process and the harder you hit the higher you bounce. Sunday and Monday is a chance for us all to make a Christian statement somewhere. Take the chance.

  24. says

    I hate to hurt anybody’s feelings but a Blog here and a Resolution there only reaches a limited few who already agree with us. An example of “communication” is the recent local Wake County School System problem in NC about which a full page add was taken out in the Washington Post. That’s read across the Country and it’s far cheaper than other methods with better results.

  25. says

    Most of the population doesn’t differentiate between Wake Forest Baptist Church and Westboro Baptist Church. They can see on T.V. News and newspapers that they are white. This is very damaging to SBC churchs who need new blood, families with children who don’t want to be part of this fuss or any other off the wall fuss about things which they’ve never heard anything about. That’s why Christmas & Easter are so popular with us as they KNOW what message their families will receive – in my humble opinion and I’m losing it more every day. Drawing people in or keeping them out is not rocket science.

  26. Louis says

    Jack and Debbie:

    Could not tell from your comments, but I do not like Phelps at all and don’t want others to like him.

    Dealing with him, however, is like mud wrestling with a pig…

      • Debbie Kaufman says

        Mine is “First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the communist and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionists. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.” -Pastor Niemoeler (victim of the Nazis)

      • Dave Miller says

        Debbie, you err when you act as if others do not want to deal with the Westboro group. The question is not whether they should be opposed, but what is the best way of doing it.

        It is a matter of method, not intent. All of us on this comment stream want the Westboro group to go away. If we disagree with your opinion on how to handle them, it does not mean either that we support the group, or that we support standing by and doing nothing about them.

        Methods, not motives!

  27. Bess says

    Ok this is a custody case but look at the language the court is using to force government schooling on a girl. The court admits the girl is socially fit, academacally at or superior grade level.

    “The court acknowledged that, while being home-schooled, the girl was “well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising, and intellectually at or superior to grade level,” but then it ordered her out of the home schooling she loved so that her religious views will be challenged at a government school. That’s where Simmons says the court went too far.

    In the original order issued in July 2009, the court reasoned that the girl’s “vigorous defense of her religious beliefs to [her] counselor suggests strongly that she has not had the opportunity to seriously consider any other point of view” and then ordered her to be enrolled in a government school instead of being home”

    A court is deciding that a child needs to be challenged in her Christian beliefs, that she needs to seriously consider “other points of view”. This is what happens when you start claiming that government can come in and decide whether anyone is teaching their child the “right” ideas. In the courts and increasingly in society, Christianity is not the right idea. The government is here to put together police forces and fire departments, the militray, to regulate commerce – it is not the government’s role to tell us how to raise our children. This is NOT an isolated incident – it’s happening all over the country. Parents are having to fight for the right to raise their children as Christians.

    • Chief Katie says

      Bess, you could not be more correct. People have actually fled Europe so they could choose to home-school their children. Each state has their own laws. I’m a home school consultant, so I have to keep up with them. Some states don’t require anything other than registering your child with the state superintendent of education. Other want to add some kind of annual or biannual stanardized testing. Some of the extremes are places like New Mexico. You can home-school your child there, but only if you are a state certified teacher, or hire one as a proxy. Some states have imprisoned parents, had social services remove children from their homes.

      Christians not only have a legal right to raise their children they way they see fit, but a scriptural one as well. As a teacher with a M.Ed. I can assure anyone who is interested, that parents who are sincerely interested in home-schooling, don’t need 4 years of undergraduate study, let alone two years of graduate work to teach. Teaching subject matter is not difficult. Managing behavioral issues is much more difficult and 1 or 2 classes in ed psych does not a professional make.

      Every Christian, whether they have children or not should be watching the trends on home-schooling. Six years ago, the DNC at their convention mocked Conservatives for wanting to home-school their children and vowed to put a stop to it.

      • Debbie Kaufman says

        This is all well and good information which I will check on the accuracy, but what does this have to do with the Westboro gang? Don’t rock the boat because the boat could be rocked on us? In other words stay silent, keep government out, so that they can do what they do to the detriment of the children so that our rights are not violated? I get no correlation here. I don’t think I like the conclusion if I am reading it right.

      • Bess says

        Every Christian, whether they have children or not should be watching the trends on home-schooling. Six years ago, the DNC at their convention mocked Conservatives for wanting to home-school their children and vowed to put a stop to it.

        As homeschool goes so will go any parents right to choose what values to teach their children. The plan is to knock out homeschool first, then private Christian education, then take over the government schools to “correct” any wrong thinking in the home – such as silly myths about a “sky fairy” or Jesus is the only path to salvation.

    • Christiane says

      Apparently, this case is a custody matter between a mother and a father.
      In bitter divorces, parents blindly use their children as cannon fodder, and both parents are usually involved in placing the child in the center, when things get that bitter.

      There are ways to avoid placing children in the middle. Our society, including the Church, must take a look at what is best for the children. Right now, children are also being used by those engaged in the culture wars and the immorality of it is seen in the damage done to the children being used.

      This poor child is a victim of a bitter divorce and of the culture wars.
      God have mercy on everyone involved, especially the child.

      • Christiane says

        “”Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”
        And today no one speaks up to stop it?
        Someone must speak who cares for the children.

        • Bess says

          When you read the Judges brief you find that the only thing “wrong” with this child is that she was a strong professing Christian. She was academically strong and socially accepted. The court just thought she needed exposed to and challenged on her Christian faith – a ten year old girl needs to be challenged and exposed to other religions. We have lawyers and a judge in our family who’ve read this and their legal understanding and belief is that if this is affirmed it will set the table for saying children in Christian homes HAVE to be exposed to other religions and in settings that will challenge their Christian faith. It is a dangerous legal precedent to set.

          • Christiane says

            Section 4 of the judge’s brief reaffirms that it is a custody case, with a child placed ‘in the middle’.

            Something disturbs:

            the child has been taught that her father ‘is not saved’, and this has upset the child badly.

            I understand that this kind of activity goes on among adults in fundamentalism, but involving children in this kind of activity (telling a child that a beloved parent is going to hell) is suspect and bordering on spiritual abuse. It is NOT biblical, as we are taught that only God may judge the heart of a person.

            I do not know all the particulars of this case, of course, but I do know that spiritually tormenting a child, and putting a child in the middle of a legal battle and the ‘culture wars’, is NOT a Christian work. Far from it.
            Imagine, the child was upset because she thought her father would not spend eternity with her. Any child would be.

            God have mercy.

          • Bess says

            Telling children that Jesus is the only way to heaven and that those who don’t profess faith in Christ are going to hell is now spiritual abuse? Oh this oughta be good. Let’s see if there’s a super Christian to come out and defend you for saying telling children that Jesus is the only way is spiritual abuse.

          • Bess says

            L’s if nothing else you have brilliantly just made the point as to why we cannot allow the state to decide what ideas and values we are allowed to teach our children. Not only do the folks at Westboro abuse their children, but ‘fundamentalist” who teach their children that Jesus is the only path to salvation are now abusing their children.

            Back to the old name calling Huh L’s?

          • Christiane says

            Telling a young daughter that her father is ‘going to hell’ is abusive. There is no getting around that fact.
            The emotional abuse of that act is sinful, not Christian.

            Fundamentalists? If people feel that it’s Christian to treat a child like that, what WOULD you call them?
            I wouldn’t call them ‘Christian’, would YOU?
            Do YOU, Bess, honestly think that a mother telling her daughter, who trusts her mom, that the child’s beloved father is ‘going to hell’, is ACCEPTABLE ????
            For goodness sake, think about it, and think about what it would do to that poor child. The consequences for the child’s emotional health are serious.

            Telling children that the people they love dearly are ‘going to hell’ is not ‘orthodox’ Christianity, or ‘mainstream’ Christianity. No!
            I can’t see any responsible, loving mom or dad, even in the midst of a divorce, ever saying anything to a child that would terrify them in the way that daughter was upset.
            It’s not Christian. And it’s not right.
            I would go so far to say that, if a child has been placed ‘in the middle’ in this way, it IS evil.

            So yes, may God have mercy.

          • Bess says

            L’s you have zero clue what Christianity is. ZERO! Jesus is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. No L’s teaching children that Jesus is the only path to Salvation is not abuse. It’s teaching them the only TRUTH that matters. It’s the most important thing any parent can ever teach a child. And again let me say that you demonastrate exactly why the state has no business deciding what values are to be taught our children.

        • Christiane says

          Having said that, I will add only one thing:

          hurting a child is wrong, anyway you do it.
          Christianity doesn’t advocate hurting children.

          • Bess says

            And may I once again reiterate that there is a wolf among the sheep here. Now we are all child abusers for teaching the exclusivity of Jesus to our children.

  28. Frank L. says

    Just thinking . . . is our witness in our communities so weak that people do not know the difference between us and them.

    If that is true it seems our reputation is the one we should concern ourselves with much more than theirs. Let’s not neglect to blow the Lord’s horn.

    Without the media’s help, my suspicion is that they would shrivel up and blow away. Just think if all the good that all the churches do got half the press that this nutcase group gets–they would rattle like a b-b in a barrel.

  29. Christiane says

    Teaching children about salvation is Christian.
    Hurting a little girl by telling her that her father is ‘going to hell’ is sick.
    It’s not appropriate to speak to a young child about a loved parent in that way.
    That distinction is important.

    • Bess says

      You really are clueless L’s. No we REAL Christians are not going to teach the water downed politically correct fake salvation that – all paths are valid and no one is going to hell. Again you show your true colors and demonstrate that you worship a fake god and are believing a false gospel leading straight to hell. Oh that’s spiritual abuse? Here’s a smiley to make it all better :)

    • Christiane says

      BESS, I say this in all honesty, if ‘being clued in’ means that you believe it’s okay to tell a young child that their mommy or daddy is ‘going to hell’,
      then I thank God I am ‘clueless’.

      I couldn’t live with myself, if I ever treated a child like that.

      • Bess says

        Not teaching are children about salvation is a sin. The Bible commands us to teach our children these spiritual truths. This case was a young ten year old girl who knows what it means to be a Christian. God is a loving merciful God, but He is also a God of judgement. This girl at ten years old understand that those who refuse to confess with their mouth and believe in their hearts the Lord Jesus will spend an eternity away from God in hell. It’s the BIBLE – not ‘fundamentalism’ but continue to insult us here who believe that Jesus is the only path to Salvation and those who believe we have a right and indeed our commanded by our GOD – the only ONE TRUE GOD – to teach Bibilical truths to our children.

        • Christiane says

          Bess, I don’t think Christ the Lord wants children to be traumatized by anyone telling them that their own beloved parent ‘is going to hell’. I don’t think that a Southern Baptist minister would recommend that kind of treatment of a young child, Bess.

          I could believe it of the Westboro folk,
          but not of Southern Baptists. No way.

          • Bess says

            L’s you really don’t get it – at all. No we don’t give our children nightmares by regaling them with stories of hell, but by 10 years old an SBC child will be able to understand that there is a heaven and there is a hell and those who reject the the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE are on their way to hell. We don’t hide the TRUTH from our children – and hell is a TRUTH. It is not spiritual abuse to teach a child the exclusivity of Salvation. I know you want to make it out that I’m a Westboro fundy, but you’ve proven yourself to have no clue what it means to be a Christian. It’s not all pretty colors and pretty verses and unicorns. HELL is a Biblical truth.

          • Christiane says

            I don’t believe Southern Baptist ministers would approve of anyone in charge of the young children of the Church telling any child that their own parent was going to hell.

            I don’t buy it. That’s the truth.

  30. Bess says

    I guess L’s you think we shouldn’t teach our kids to read their Bibles since Jesus spoke so much about hell. Or oh wait you think we should teach them to read the Bible the way you do – ignore all the stuff you don’t like and look for the pretty verses.

  31. Bess says

    L’s deal with the facts – this was a 10 year old girl who knew what she believed. Now you’re implying that the SBC is teaching fire and brimstone to children. We do not ignore Biblical truth and at some point in their Christian education children will learn that there is a heaven and there is a hell. We don’t hide parts of the Bible from our children. Unfortunately, some children have to deal with the anquish of an unsaved parent. We can’t lie to them. You deal with them as gently as you can. But we cannot make the TRUTH a lie. Salvation is only found in Christ and teaching this children is commanded by our LORD. They pretty much can figure out on their own when people deny Christ that those people are going to hell.

  32. Christiane says

    Stop with the ‘Now you’re implying’.
    And stop with the ‘I guess L’s you think . . . ‘.

    I am saying that I think Southern Baptist ministers are responsible in the way that they want the children of the Church treated.
    I don’t believe that they would advocate the spiritual or emotional abuse of any vulnerable child. I can’t see it happening.

    If I am wrong, I’m sure that there are plenty of ministers reading this that can set me right, Bess. But I’m not wrong about this.

    • Bess says

      It’s is not spiritual abuse to teach a child the exclusivity of CHRIST. And we don’t hide the TRUTH from our children. Anyone who claims to be a Christian and thinks we should lie to our children and tell them “no there’s no such place as hell” is not really a Christian. It’s not responsible to hide the TRUTH from children. We don’t teach fire and brimstone, but children will come to a place where they learn about heaven and hell. We don’t hide hell from our children.

      I understand those who want the all roads are valid heresy believe we should cut out all the verses regarding hell in the Bible cuz that’s so not nice, but Christians teach their children TRUTH – all of it.

      • Chief Katie says

        Agree Bess. We must teach sound doctine, and like it or not, hell is part of it.

        Like you, I don’t think we need to add any human embellishments especially to very young children. But the crucifixion alone was so barbaric as to give any child nightmares if introduced too soon. But we can’t remove the cross at any age. It is central to the faith. I wouldn’t allow my child to see the Passion until they are in their teens and already have a good foundation. Our kids need to know that man is depraved and the crucifixion is the ultimate expression of man’s depravity, and Christ’s love.

        Great post.

    • Bess says

      Sorry Dave, but I’m not about to stand by and be called a Westboro fundy because I think we should be allowed to teach the exclusivity of Christ to our children. It is not spiritual abuse to teach a child that Jesus is the only way to heaven.

      • Bess says

        Here you go L’s from Tony Kummer’s website:

        Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2, Ephesians 4:18). God sent His Son Jesus into the world. He died on the cross for our sins was buried and rose again. All who believe in Jesus as their Savior will not be separated from Him any longer. Those who choose not to believe will continue to be separated from God and will face the punishment for their sins by spending eternity away from God’s presence in hell.

        Sin has consequences but nothing can stop God’s eternal promises. God punished Solomon by taking away the kingdom and still kept His promise to David. Today in our lesson we are going to see how God did that

        .http://ministry-to-children.com/the-divided-kingdom-lesson/

    • Chief Katie says

      Dave,

      I’m sure we all want the same thing. I personally didn’t throw out any insults or ad hominem. I speak from years of educational experience and I have a long background with home-schooling. Year after year politicians try to subvert a parent’s right to raise their children as they see fit. As a teacher I was required by law to report any form of abuse, and I did so. Out of all the times, I reported, I only had Child Protective Services respond once, and even then, they didn’t do a thing about a very young child who had a huge, red, raised (swollen) handprint on his face. They just warned the mother. Stupid parents couldn’t figure out the difference in human anatomy and misidentified a child face for his backside.

      A good number of my students were Mormons. I think that teaching a child about polytheism, Jesus was Lucifer’s brother and going to live on the planet, Kolob, is pure nonsense and could well be harmful, but I didn’t report any of these families. I could make a pretty good case for it, but so could an atheist against not only Mormons, but any of us.

      It’s also not against the law in most states to use corporal punishment. Most Christian families I know apply the discipline to the seat of the problem, with restraint, as a last resort to defiant behavior, and don’t allow it to disintegrate into a beating. But year after year, we watch states try to outlaw spanking.

      It appears to me that Bess and I have actually watched the trends that will ultimately remove our parental authority and substitute it with what the government thinks is better. Did I mention that our ‘Safe School Czar’ didn’t even report a homosexual assault on a minor? No big deal right, a pedophile walks the halls of a school and the person in charge of having safe schools, can’t figure out that a crime has been comitted. But I feel quite sure he’d go after the Westboro family if he could get any evidence. Then he’d have to answer why he allowed a pedophile (far worse than a parent who spanks) run free to reoffend.

      My personal response to Debbie was civil and free from any personal attacks. But I must say, she did not respond in kind.

      I’ll continue to do the best thing as I see it. I don’t see anything to be gained from trying to belittle others. If she would do the same, you’d not have to remind people to behave as Christians.

      Thanks for all you do.

      Yes… if Bess asks for my e-mail, you may give it to her.

  33. Bess says

    DAVE MILLER, you may give my email to Chief Katie or pass her email to me :)

    “Did I mention that our ‘Safe School Czar’ didn’t even report a homosexual assault on a minor? No big deal right, a pedophile walks the halls of a school and the person in charge of having safe schools, can’t figure out that a crime has been comitted…”

    What’s really bad about this case is that if this had been an adult man/teenage girl or adult woman/teenage boy it probably would have been reported but because the young boy claimed to be gay the “Safe School Czar” didn’t report it – being gay himself he thought he was showing tolerance (this is why he told the story which under the law actually constitutes staturory rape )and helping a young gay boy feel good about himself while advising him to practice safe sex. What does the Bible say about calling evil good?

    The Bible also tells us that things are only going to get worse – so unless someone is a post-millennialist who thinks we’re able to usher in the kingdom while things get better and better I just don’t get this attitude of “oh it’s not possible that Christians are going to be persecuted.” Of course you could post a hundred links where people are right now currently trying to make it harder for Christians to practice freely and it still wouldn’t convince those who have a need to rebel against whatever it is they have to rebel against.

    • Debbie Kaufman says

      I wondered if maybe you believed the world is going to get worse Bess. I could tell by your posts. I am in fact Partial Preterist in my view, just being honest here. :)

      • Bess says

        Debbie, you said that very nicely, thank you! Yes I am a Premil. And for the record just because I think we need to take a stand against government intrusions into our rights as parents does not = that I believe we are currently under “persecution” I believe God expects us to take a stand for what’s right – not just sit back and wait for things to get worse.

    • Chief Katie says

      Bess,

      Of course it’s going to get worse. It already is so much worse just since I graduated high school. I was very involved in the music program in high school. By my senior year, I’d completed almost every requirement so I was able to include 4-5 classes out of 7 in music. My school at the the time was one of the city’s most affluent. We did have a mix of middle class, but we had a good proportion of people who lived in the richest neighborhoods in the state. Very few kids lived in poverty and my familiy, while not at poverty level, just barely fell into the middle class. Yet in my music classes, class warfare (let alone religious warfare) wasn’t evident. We sang the great classics. ‘The Halleluia Choir’, ‘Oh Man, Thy sin and Grief Bemoan’, Sacred Christmas Music, Some Catholic offerings ‘Cantate Domino, Pueri Habraorem, etc. We had Jews in those classes and no parent came down to the school to raise a ruckus over the musical selections. Our concerts were well attended and we had a great Choir teacher who demanded excellence from us.

      Today, a school has to monitor every piece of music, lest anyone be offended. Forget that these are historical classic music written for orchestra and voice, culture doesn’t matter, only being PC matters.

      In the last year, two families have come very close to being told by cities (one in San Diego, and the other in Gilbert, AZ) that they couldn’t hold a Bible study in their homes. Yet if you are a Muslim in Dearborn, MI, you can change an entire school’s schedule so Muslims may observe Ramadan.

      Anyone who does not recognize these things are guilty of ‘head-in-sand syndrome. To sit back and say my government would never do any harm to our schools or the rights of parents, is simply foolish. How can a government criminalize thought? I dunno, but they’ve done it. But to think that government is always around to help, hasn’t read a word of history. Who would have ever thought one government could exterminate millions of people and call it the right thing to do.

      Scripture tells us to be watchful and I don’t think it was simply a suggestion.

      • Bess says

        I keep thinking of the quote “Government is the biggest threat to freedom.” Can’t think of who said it. I am a Christian first, but part of being a Christian is being a good citizen and that means we don’t just sit back and put our heads in the sand. Not everyone is called to get politically active – they have different gifts, but some of us I believe are called to be “light” where we can in the political areana.

      • Debbie Kaufman says

        And I see where the world has gotten better. Much better. Just look back in history. We today are celebrating one of the many things that have gotten better. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I’m 55 years old and many things have changed for the better. I believe the Bible says it will until Christ returns.

        • Bess says

          Well, I absolutely disagree, but I can respect that that’s your opinion based on what you believe the Bible teaches.

          • Chief Katie says

            Bess,

            I disagree as well. But it’s not based on any hyper-preterist, or a mainline preterest thought.

            We’ve lost serious ground when it comes to the slaughter of babies in the womb, laws that would allow homosexuals to adopt children, and yes, even in the area of racism. I hope everyone here realizes that for all MLK Jr.’s accomplishments, he denied the Deity of Christ. Still in the big picture, he did much good. Too bad some of the organizations he either founded or helped to exist, places like the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the NAACP have called Tea Party members a ‘hate group’ which simply isn’t true. Then add in Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton we see the things King accomplished being trashed by people who once helped him. The damage to innocent people Al Sharpton has done is deplorable. Yet you never see him even attempt to apologize for whipping up a frenzy of hate between the races. Shameful. So, civil rights have taken some steps forward, and almost as many steps backward. We know that black women have the majority of abortions because Planned Parenthood (a racist group by definition) targets them. Then there is the matter of the King children. Fighting and scraping with each other and even one being a part of Eddie Long’s church. I don’t call that progress. Surely God gives us some ability to discern a man of God, from a deceitful one.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HRhPBilLgw

            We have identified the enemy and it is us.

  34. says

    Thomas White said in his intro, ” Westboro is neither Baptist or a church “. I know what a good Baptist church is about as I have been a member of a few and attended others including Congregational churchs up north and Westbor”o” is less than a “o” zero and they damage religion in general. I , only in reading on this thread , ever considered child abuse and I do now not as an item to be presented in court but of its lasting effects on future members of Baptist churchs. I’ve only seen a video of a child dressed up in a white sheet and pointed hat with a burning cross in front of him holding a Bible. Is that abuse ? I have seen a young boy in a southern Baptist church stand up with his father and read a prepared document with language and sentence construction far beyond his age, reccommending a Pastor be fired. The by-laws allowed him and other children to vote on complex issues enorder that the same “club” atmosphere might prevail there as it does in Westboro. ( Incidentally, This vote was in the Pastors favor ) Westboro and this “church” have in common the Baptist name, being a dying group, absence of culture & ethnic groups and an agenda with which only they want to be associated. Not a formula for success. The general public is not supportive as witnessed by decreasing membership and shortage of revenue at most levels. Parents have “rights” and “abuse” far beyond my knowledge must take place before the courts or social services will get involved. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and the children sometimes share the thoughts, ideals and mental capacities of their parents. “Westboro” sells best and without opposition in towns or cities that revolve around hate, that don’t have even one synagogue, that have the neo-nazsis stuff mailboxes on the Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday and where their “lawyer licenses” like “law Badges” in days past are used to intimidate folks. But not that much anymore because people are not only speaking out but taking action and Westboro is cancelling their plans – until the next time. Bless those people that have been taking the fight back to them before this little girl was gunned down. When your sick the symptoms can be many. Westboro is a sympton. We Are Sick. The SBC is Sick. You already know what it will take. BUT WHEN ? Side note – My son was invited today to an invitation only breakfast at the Elizabeth City State University to honor MLK, Jr. with an unannounced speaker. I wished I could have gone with him and stood up to honor another Baptist Preacher – who could really preach and was gunned down by someone with a goofy look just like Tucson.

  35. says

    Chief Katie, Where did Dr. MLK Jr. deny the Deity of Christ. He did graduate from high school at 15 college at 19 and had his doctorate legitimately at 22. Not a dummy and not responsible for what others do. Please tell me where you come by the information that he didn’t believe Christ was the Son of God.

    • Chief Katie says

      Jack,

      From Wiki:

      Martin Luther King, Jr., was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, the middle child of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King.[5] King’s father was born “Michael King”, and Martin Luther King, Jr., was originally named “Michael King, Jr.,” until the family traveled to Europe in 1934 and visited Germany. His father soon changed both of their names to Martin Luther in honor of the German Protestant leader Martin Luther.[6] King, Jr. had an older sister, Willie Christine King, and a younger brother, Alfred Daniel Williams King.[7] King sang with his church choir at the 1939 Atlanta premiere of the movie Gone with the Wind.[8]
      King was originally skeptical of many of Christianity’s claims.[9] Most striking, perhaps, was his denial of the bodily resurrection of Jesus during Sunday school at the age of thirteen. From this point, he stated, “doubts began to spring forth unrelentingly.”[10]
      Growing up in Atlanta, King attended Booker T. Washington High School. A precocious student, he skipped both the ninth and the twelfth grade and entered Morehouse College at age fifteen without formally graduating from high school.[11] In 1948, he graduated from Morehouse with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology, and enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1951.[12][13] King married Coretta Scott, on June 18, 1953, on the lawn of her parents’ house in her hometown of Heiberger, Alabama.[14] They had four children; Yolanda King, Martin Luther King III, Dexter Scott King, and Bernice King.[15] King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama when he was twenty-five years old in 1954.[16] King then began doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University and received his Doctor of Philosophy on June 5, 1955, with a dissertation on “A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman.” A 1980s inquiry concluded portions of his dissertation had been plagiarized and he had acted improperly but that his dissertation still “makes an intelligent contribution to scholarship.”[17]

      Heaven help us all. He was thief as well.

      I do not deny that King did many things that have been invaluable to our needing to get past racism. I applaud his efforts and I don’t think the fact that he sinned makes him less than a Christian. We’ve all sinned. We teach the value of what King taught in the social realm. Went Yolanda King died, my students sent letters of condolence to the King family and received a lovely letter in return. My students were elated that they now had a personal link to American history. When Coretta died, we also wrote those letters and the card sent to us from the family. I personally hold that card as precious possession.

      I don’t think we have to throw out the good because like all of us, there was and is bad. I only think we should be objective about his life and not turn him into a hero. He wasn’t a hero. No, he may have called himself a Baptist, but I don’t know any Baptists who deny the virgin birth, the Deity of Christ, let alone the resurrection. I would classify thouse beliefs as distinctly Episcopal – See a YouTube video by the Bishop John Shelby Spong. King’s human weaknesses are not why I said he shouldn’t be called anything less than Christian, I said that because he couldn’t have truly been one with his heretical views.

  36. says

    Chief Katie, You have some of your facts screwed up. The hate groups were those that intermingled with the Tea Party on the steps of the Capitol and spit ond hollard “nigger” at U.S. Congressman that were giving a briefing on health care MLK Jr didn’t start SPLC any more than he started the civil rights movement. SPLC did add to their list of “hate groups” the Family Research Council and some others for well publicised reasons, available to all that you didn’t mention and with which you might agree . You can only get so far citing baloney.

  37. says

    Just to add:

    Southern Poverty Law Center was founded several years after Dr. King’s death.

    The NAACP was founded 20 year prior to Dr. King’s birth. Dr. King’s approach was very different from the NAACP’s during the 1950s. The NAACP fought for civil rights primarily through a strategy of litigation and legislation. Dr. King was part of a new generation that sought civil rights via nonviolent direct action. Consequently, King helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

    This fight within the African-American community during the 1950s is best seen in the National Baptist Convention’s presidential fight. Long-time president Joseph Jackson who supported a gradualist approach to civil rights (NAACP approach) was challenged by Gardner Taylor (who favored direct action). Ultimately, Taylor and King were run out of the Convention by Jackson and his allies and the Progressive National Baptist Convention was born.

  38. says

    Chief Katie, I don’t like picking item after item, but when abortions had to be done by a surgical tube and a coat hanger in cars, back alleys and the seedy side of town, who including congressional secretaries were the largest groups to avail themselves of the practice ? Blacks ? Remember , the more children you have the more child care, food stamps and other monies you can collect. Was that the blacks also ? You can’t have it both ways , or can you. But either way it’s wrong and we’d be surprised to find out whose fault it is and was. Westboro is a symptom of a sickness with which MLK had nothing with which to do.

    • Chief Katie says

      Jack,

      Surely you jest. I said nothing about who was getting abortions only that Planned Parenthood set up their buildings of death in black neighborhoods for strategic reasons. The reasoning here is not hard to see. They seem to be quite willing to worship Margaret Sanger who wanted to extinguish the entire black race.

      I don’t buy any excuse that says if we remove legal abortion then we’ll return to coat hangers. It might well be true, but to legalize wrong actions for other bad actions is thinking that skips over the fact that killing innocent life is a sin.

      God didn’t encourage bad behavior and neither should we. I don’t believe that we should continue to punish someone for past actions. especially those who had legal abortions. I’ve seen so many women come to the conclusion that their past abortions were wicked, and they beat themselves up over it for decades over it. My church has a ministry to help these women accept that Jesus died for that sin as well.

      • Bess says

        Hello Katie! Have you seen that horrible story about the PA abortion doctor? Oh my – when people say the times are getting better and then you read about the horrors that are going on, well I just shake my head.

        On the PA abortion doctor, I was reading one of the liberal blogs and they were claiming that if abortion became illegel than we go back to the days of the hangers. A few brave posters pointed out that abortion is legal and this man was still butchering woman and babies. I think the story shows what happens when you have no regard for human life at any point. It’s just like some people are like animals. Just horrible and the hypocrisy is astounding – people who think abortion is acceptable at any time in pregnancy are acting appalled because the doctor killed the baby on delivery as if killing the baby inside the birth canal were somehow different.

        • Chief Katie says

          Dear Sister Bess,

          Yes, I read it and I almost threw up. It was human slaughterhouse.

          A woman who is so vile as to run to a coat hanger isn’t going to get my sympathy. Let her deal with her own problem in a decent way. Adoption works quite well. If more of these women would give up their child for adoption, there would be a stampede to adoption agencies. Most people who want to adopt end up having to spend nearly 90,000 to buy a baby from China or South America. If we had enough babies here, no one would resort to this.

          I was shocked at the brutality of this particular method of late term abortion. It’s appalling.

          I think these women should be charged as well because they are complicit with the doctor in killing a human life. It’s hard to believe that a civilized society would allow this to happen.

          My church as a program to help young mothers and we also do grief counseling. So many women carrying that sin around with them is very sad. We try to help them see it as a sin that God will forgive, but we don’t have a good outcome on many of them. They are filled with self hatred.

          The whole thing is just so desperately unthinkable.

          God Bless Sister

          • Bess says

            Katie, it always kills me when I read the words of pro-abortion folk. It’s as if pregnancy is some kind of “bug” that you just catch and there’s no way to “avoid” getting pregnant. We were blessed to have two “suprises” but I know I didn’t just catch some bug while walking through the mall. LOL! One of my “suprises” is celebrating is 14th birthday tomorrow – I can’t imagine how anyone could think of destroying such a gift.

  39. says

    BDW – I feel that our Country is waiting to jump in our ( Christian ) lap. Usually when I make mistakes I make big ones but it seems to me that the numbers of people that want to do the right thing, say the right thing and are willing to extend the hand of friendship far, far exceeds those that would rather have a pissing contest. I’m willing to show anybody around where i go in the course of a day and for some they are unusual places and see the smiles and belly laughs that are had even at our own expense. Debate even argueing is necessary but the truth will help bring us God’s attention. I appreciate your facts but I know I don’t stand by myself by a long shot. I just don’t know of a really good Baptist Baptist church to tell someone to visit for fear of embarrassing them and myself.

  40. Chief Katie says

    Bess, you are a true blessing to me.

    I’m ancient so my kids are grown and out of the nest. I can’t even imagine not having them in my life… truly precious gifts. I’m not in the dark (sorry for the metaphor) about how these gifts were bestowed upon me. I understand that people are sinful and make sinful choices, but to murder that ‘choice’ only compounds the sin. The sin that so easily entangles as the scripture says. No one has to let 1 sinful choice become 2. We both know there are good options.

    I understand also that there is some shame involved with people making this desperate choice. But allowing schools to refer kids to family planning clinics without parental notification is despicable. I’ve worked in school for decades and I can tell you, that the school nurse has to get parental permission to pass out an aspirin to a sick child. Yet an abortion could kill two people and it seems that parents don’t have any right to have input into that. It doesn’t get any crazier or more schizophrenic than that. If we want to keep parents uninformed about the pregnancy of their daughter at least they should start with giving the child some other alternative counseling so that these young women can see that there is a reason not to kill their baby. We should do that first, before sending these children to the butchers.

    “Oh, you wicked generation”

    Blessings Bess………..

    • Bess says

      Katie, it is always a blessing to encounter like minded people.

      Now I don’t buy for a second that you are ancient and I am not exactly considered a “spring chicken” Our family started late and I ended late. This conversation reminds me of a conversation I had with the nurse during one of my pregnancies. She was conseling me that “at my age” there might be complications and I would need to consider all my “options” I informed her that unless God chose to take this child from me to go to Him in heaven the only “option” I had was having whatever child God chose to bless with. Through the years when siblings have had fights and tussles my husband and I have always reminded them that God Himself put this family together. He never puts a family together or gives a parent a child without also giving them the ability to love and cherish and be exactly the parent or sibling He intends for them/us to be.

      Abortion is pure evil. This doctor in PA has to be pure evil to have done the things to women and children that he’s done. May GOD have mercy on him and those who think children are something we can “choose” to eliminate.

      Bless you and yours Katie :)

  41. says

    To try to argue what MLK Jr thought when he was twelve and if he did indeed doubt some of the Bible, he was precocious enough to not only doubt but to voice his thinking to somebody. He wouldn’t have ever been the first to wonder and it’s obvious he worked it out for the positions he gained and what he himself said. I won’t attempt to try and convince anybody that asserts that he “started the SPLC”, “Started the Civil Rights Movement” as those charges are so ludicrous as to attract only the racially mental ill who helped create the sub-culture that not only killed him but almost destroyed Congressman Gifford. Beating the drum for “Obamacare” has whipped up enough votes for the Republicans to gain a majority in the House. Now they have taken a vote as the New Speaker has said, ” because we got elected on it so we have to do it”. So they did but a few BIG problems . Now the Physicians are FOR it ( American Medical Assoc – Union in Chicago of doctors) ; FOR it are the Pharmaceutical Companies who now see they will sell more medicines ; FOR it are the Insurance Companies who will have more members with coverage that the Doctors are happy to see. I bring this up as it fits with what “is happening now” and what real part we hope to have indivigually or as a group of “whoevers” . Health care and particularly Mental Health comes in many different varieties . Mental health is what Westboro wants to be about in the form of homosexuality. No connection? Read reports from responsible health professionals who voice the conclusions of their major group – not some splinter group often quoted by hateful , hurtful, anti homosexuals that won’t and didn’t support Federal Hate Crime Legislation that is now law and has been used to prevent the beating and killing of gays. Truthfully answer yourself if you could support that. The happening in Arizona was going to end up being a mental health issue (HEALTH) as well as the overcrowding of Emergency Rooms in North Carolina with mental health patients as the clinics where they got treatment and meds have closed for lak of money and they have nowhere else to go except to church – and they do including the homosexuals who can’t cope and drink, do drugs, get pregnant etc. It’s more than possible that some of those at Wesicko Church have some form of mental illness -yes, even tho they are lawyers. Every group of people from judges to policeman to Congressman to NFL & major League Ball players to the winos in the gutter have the problem. Yes even air line pilots can now be treated for certain ailments with monitoring by qualified FAA doctors. So you should decide where you belong in this fight about Homosexuality. Get the facts. There are extremists on both sides. At the moment I’ve decided that some gays can change their ways while others can only refrain from the practice and pray for strength. In case you might wonder I have never been ( not even at twelve years old ) or ever considered being a homosexual. Have I associated with some gays- yes with some but so have you even if you don’t know it. I refuse to banter about conditions that murder or bully people into committing suicide without an earnest attempt to solve the situation. In April at Liberty University a group of Republicans chaired by a dean of the law school ( a former heavyweight boxer of undetermined fame) will host Newt Gingrich, the baptist Preacher who might run for President ( name I can’t remember), the Attorney General of VA McDonnel to discuss the Law as it concerns homosexuality. Perhaps this will remove some heat from Westboro – but as far as I know they have not been invited. I don’t think DR. Glenn Beck is there either.

    • Chief Katie says

      Jack,

      I’m amazed at your ability to run right past the facts, listen to the evidence for yourself and then make a conclusion. Why not just be gracious and say “I didn’t know that”. That’s how I learned about it from another person and at that time, no one could have convinced me that MLK Jr. didn’t believe in the Deity of Christ. But there is no doubt that my friend was exactly right and I had to say to her that I didn’t know that and thank you for the information.

      What the healthcare debate has to do with AZ isn’t about health care at all. It’s about politics. Try a little reading about John F. Kennedy and you’ll find your information there. He thought mental hospitals were an abomination and that people shouldn’t be forced to live in those conditions. He was right partly, but the impact of his decision, we are still living with. You really should read more.

      You can be pretty sure that if I say something as if I believe it to be fact, that I have done the research before I post anything about it. I may miss something now and then, but it’s not my usual pattern.

      I don’t care what your politics are. It’s of no consequence to me. I have my own views and you can bet I’ve done my homework. I suggest you do the same.

      As to Liberty U, I have given up on them. I did feel that Jerry Falwell was a bit too far to the right and was prone to saying stupid things from time to time, but I’ve no doubt he loved the Lord and we all say stupid things from time to time. I read yesterday that Ergun Caner will be teaching 4 classes on campus for the upcoming semester, and that he is going to Mac Brunson’s conference. These are poor decisions and yet reaffirms why I no longer attend a SBC church. I don’t know if those 4 classes are a fact. I don’t have access to Liberty’s Class Schedule. I also thought inviting Glenn Beck was a very bad choice and I voiced that to the university. They tried to JUSTIFY it by saying Ted Kennedy had been there before. Was I supposed to think that justified bringing a Mormon onto the campus was a good move? Politics should never be ahead of faith.

      • Dave Miller says

        I don’t always agree with everything Liberty does, but I think it would be unfair to “give up” on them. Its a pretty good school that has a positive impact on the lives of a lot of Christian young people.

        We have more options than being 100% supportive of all that Liberty does or rejecting them 100%. There is middle ground.

  42. says

    President Kennedy I believe had a sister who lived in an institution. History as regards to how mental health was practiced particularly in the State of Virginia where I have seen the buildings might astound you. Forced operations the whole nine yards. That Discipline has come a long way but is far short when knowing how many people that need it , don’t get any Health Care. So – Tucson

  43. says

    The meeting at Liberty will be productive regardless; but more so if they consider the facts that have been accumulated by reputable sources. Regarding MLK Jr’s doubting the physical Resurrection of Christ when he was young and investigating, that doesn’t bother me at all. Many that are critical thinkers have found the answers they need by doubting and are able to pass the info to others. What physical proof have you ever heard of concerning his Resurrection. Consider the book ” The Case For Christ” written by a Jewish newspaper crime reporter who answered his own questions enough to become a Christian. To believe that King held those beliefs as an educated adult Baptist preacher is about the same as those that run off at the mouth about President Obama not being a citizen of the USA. I read everything you wrote and see nothing earth shaking. We , Christians, need a Leader that can take the place of Billy Graham, MLK Jr, Fulton Sheen and even the pope that just died , who can whip the people with positive thoughts and energise the populace to have positive thoughts about making a positive difference. Tearing people up, arguing points to the point a hatred is produced in the shortest order possible is not productive to any one, or any church, or any Government local or Federal and we’re figuring it out. Where’s a LEADER with as many smarts as loud vocal chords. My politics ? I’m flexible enough to go with the best choice and then make the most of it.