Eugene Cho

i really dislike these people

westboro

I really dislike these folks from Westboro Baptist Church – the folks behind the hideous website GodHatesFags.Com (I don’t even want to link it).  Hate is way too strong of a word. And inappropriate in light of the sermon I preached this past Sunday about the sin of hatred. For the past two years, I’ve been teaching through the Book of Acts and while Paul had his issues and shortcomings, I spent some time talking about the “religious” folks that become the adversaries of Paul – that while they sought to defend their ideas of truth and proper doctrine, resorted to the ammunition of hate.  Hate that leads them to plot murder.

I don’t care who you are. No matter your religious affiliation or allegiance (or lack thereof) or if you are a self-professing Christian:

If hate is your motivation, you are far from God. And you need to repent.

And while it may be easy to dismiss “hatred” to others, I would contend that ‘hatred’ can seep into all of our lives and impact our relationships – those far and even those in our inner circle of relationships.

Why am I talking about WBC and giving them press on my blog?  

I really shouldn’t but they’re here in Seattle this weekend (for their annual visit) – visiting numerous churches, temples, and some graduation ceremonies including Seattle Pacific University and strangely, Garfied High School.  I don’t want to have others in the larger media do what Christians and Christians leaders ought to be doing.

I (again) denounce WBC, Fred Phelps, and their venom of hatred and anger. Their actions and words are disgusting.

Now, get out of my city.

This is what they had to say about SPU and why they were protesting at their graduation ceremony:

Seattle Pacific University – Commence Ur trip to hell! 4th Ave. S & S. Royal Brougham We will be on hand at your graduation to ask a few things and point out a few things. Why do you Methodists want to pretend you are going to heaven? You know you threw out the truth of God many years ago. Now you are all about works righteousness, good deeds and such. You have forgotten your first love and gone the way of all the idolatrous perverts around you. Get real, and at least just admit you are all about appearances and could not care less about what God requires of you. The rate of divorce, remarriage and fornication (fag and otherwise) is extremely high amongst your membership. You are in big trouble for this and because you refuse to obey God. This song is really most fitting for you all: (Sing it to 50 ways to leave your lover) The problem is easy if you want to obey God. Put away your filthy idols and hear ye the rod. But you love all your sins and follow lying frauds, there must be 50 ways to eat your baby. Just give ’em to the Pope, dope; pass ’em through the fire – liar. Fornicate and divorce of course, just listen to me. Put ’em on a bun, son. Don’t forget the onion. Make ’em take the mark, Clark – and eat your babies. Yes Obama will make official what you religious hypocrites have been doing for several decades now – so get that shocked look off your faces! Deuteronomy 28:53 And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee: all because you are rebels, and refuse to obey God! AMEN!

And here’s an article in the Seattle Post Intelligencer about WBC’s annual visit to Seattle.  Maybe next year, Quest will be special enough to warrant a protest from these folks:

A church group known for delivering messages of hate around the United States picketed places of worship around Seattle on Sunday.

But they were met by stiff resistance, in the form of hundreds of people shouting right back at them.

The noisy protest group is part of a radical congregation out of Kansas belonging to the Westboro Baptist Church, run by Fred Phelps.

They targeted several churches and synagogues Sunday and plan to target more in the coming days.

They openly admit preaching a gospel of hate – since they believe God and the Bible preaches the same. And they openly despise much of what the United States stands for, including hating America.

The protesters targeted Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle during the worship service, shouting and waving placards saying “You’re Going to Hell” and “God Hates Fags.”

Jonathan Phelps, one of the protest ringleaders, said Mount Zion and other churches are spreading lies.

“They’ve preached that lie from hell that God loves everybody – that you can live like the devil and have any hope of heaven at all,” Phelps said.

But Mount Zion church members said the hate – wrapped in God’s name – makes no sense.

“If they’re really concerned about God’s work, there are people who are dying, of AIDS, of violence, they’re starving,” said Archie Pinkaney of Mount Zion.

Hundreds of counter-demonstrators, many of them gay and lesbian, hit the front lines to battle the shouts of hate.

Later, at St. James Cathedral, church members celebrated the Corpus Christi procession outside the church in white robes. Across the street, Westboro protesters took advantage of the moment by shouting their message waving placards.

“You’re the ones responsible for priests raping children,” shouted one protester.

Jarring comments like that need to be challenged, said counter-demonstrators – even if it means giving the messages of hate even more attention.

“A lot of times now we feel like we need not react to this – ignore it and it will go away,” says Eduardo Brambila. “But it’s not happening. We’re here, we’re proud, and look, you can’t even hear them. … And we’re not going to let this in our community.”

The protests were peaceful – though heated at times. And it’s not over.

The group from Westboro Baptist Church plans to picket outside Garfield High School on Monday, then show up at several Jewish centers in the city.

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33 Responses

  1. Jeff says:

    What’s disturbing is how many people consider these folks Christians. They are NOT Christians.

  2. Rick in Texas says:

    Seems like a good time to tell my story Eugene. WBC decided to come to my little suburb (Kingwood TX) 6 years ago. They announced they would be picketting our church because of our denominational position on their issue. Problem is, they had us confused with another denomination. A phone call was made to explain to them that they were picketting the wrong people.

    It didn’t matter to them. One of their signs referenced the initials of the other body – but they were holding it up in front of a chruch unaffiliated with that body. (Idiocy and hate often go together, as a friend of mine said.)

    We prayed for them and offered them coffee and donuts.

  3. Beth says:

    that little tiny boy…holding that horrific sign…

    heartbreaking

  4. Daniel Azuma says:

    We saw them on Capitol Hill yesterday morning when our church was having its Bible study. What concerns me is how much attention and support these people seem to get from the man/woman on the street. People waving at them, cars honking at them. I don’t think the general public realizes who these people are and what they stand for.

  5. this is sickening.
    and I agree with @Beth – the little boy holding the sign is absolutely heartbreaking.

  6. Travis McKee says:

    1.) I loved it one day when they used the acronym “WTF?!?!” in one of those rants they call an explanation. umm, i would think that part of being pure, at least as pure as they are wanting us to be, would be not cussing. WTF?

    2.) This is the group (and the official street preachers that come to pittsburg) I think of when listening to Regina Spektor’s new song, “Laughing With” http://www.reginaspektor.com/ has the lyrics up right now. I think it is amazing to observe how God can be presented and trivialized by this kind of protest. I think that a God that loves sinners, and welcomes them, is sooooo much more powerful than one who continuously seeks people to turn away.

  7. Julie Glavic says:

    We Methodist-types at SPU “refuse to obey God” because we’re about “good deeds and such”? Seems like I missed the part of the Bible where God tells us to ignore the parts of the Bible encouraging good deeds. And I TOTALLY missed the part of the Bible that refutes all that “God is love” business.

    The picture with the little boy holding the horrible sign is indeed heart-wrenching. That little boy will grow up in this hateful culture, not really knowing that more beautiful things exist. How can we break the cycle of systemic brokenness and lies in odd “Christian” subcultures? (Reminds me of a photography exhibit I saw once of beautiful little children playing innocently while their parents donned KKK gear in the background…)

  8. Jayne says:

    This group came to Boise in 2007. I was a community organizer for the Interfaith Alliance at the time. We organized an Angel Action that was MOST incredible. Here’s a post on the story: http://tiny.cc/ZmhSG

  9. Stan says:

    I interviewed Fred Phelps years ago in Topeka and lived near the compound (they bought up homes on a city block and then connected all the homes with a large wooden fence.)

    Drove past them every Sunday and frequently during the week. They picket anybody, including the most conservative churches in Topeka – and that is mighty conservative. I’ve also had them follow me and yell at me.

    People have tried all kinds of legal maneuvers to stop them, but Fred is a disbarred lawyer and knows the system. His daughter is an attorney, and they will sue you to “protect their rights.”

    Further irony – Fred made his money as a civil rights attorney defending African Americans when hardly any other lawyers would work with them.

    It really is a difficult decision whether to give them publicity. We decided at the newspaper to not even cover them unless we absolutely had to.

  10. Amy says:

    This is really disheartening and upsetting. How do they hope to reach people for Christ when they are clearly sending a message of hate and judgment?

  11. mike says:

    “for with the measure you give so it will be given to you, pressed down, shaken together and running over will men give into your lap.” Self deluded religio-boobs should be pittied. What they are storing up for themselves is scary. So, sad that people can believe in pushing a gospel of hate.

  12. Jin says:

    They are probably most famous for protesting soldier’s funerals because of their view that God is cursing America for their unrighteousness. Because of this they were succesfully sued by a grieving soldier’s family and owe millions which will make a dent in their church. They even protested a local Texas appliance store that sold some Swedish products because Sweden arrested an anti-gay pastor. They could’ve just protested a Saab dealership or IKEA. Weird. And they are not affiliated in any way with the Baptist church, and are not considered a mainline Protestant church. Love that story, Rick, love the way your church dealt with them too.

  13. Brandon Roth says:

    I’m actually afraid of what is going to happen (or happening right now) at Garfield High School today. Really concerned for how those kids are going to react.

  14. Jayne says:

    Do you have a local organization of the Interfaith Alliance? If so, they may be able to help organize an effective action quickly (that was my job in Idaho). Read this about our action – it was VERY effective and had a unifying effect on the community. Instead of more hate being created, there was an immense outpouring of love! http://tiny.cc/ZmhSG

  15. Andy M says:

    @Amy,
    They believe that the Gospel IS hate and judgement, and they could not care less about reaching people. Craig Gross of X3church had an interview with a lady from WBC awhile back and he asked them about new converts and where their members come from, and it became obvious that their membership only grows when their current members have more children. The whole earth could go up in flames and they would celebrate. By what I have read and heard, they don’t even preach “Repent, for judgement is near”, they just preach, “Judgement is near”. Which makes me wonder why they even feel the need to preach it if they don’t believe people can or will be saved.

    My question for them would be this: If God really just wants rid of all the ____(enter in all the things WBC protests about)____, then what is he waiting for? If God really just wants judgement and destruction on all but WBC, then why doesn’t he just wipe us all from the face of the earth right now, instead of letting things go on as they do? Logically, if you have a God of hate and judgement, minus any aspect of love and compassion, then it does not make any sense that the rest of us are still alive. That alone helps me to believe in a loving and compassionate God.

  16. blake pusztai says:

    really really wrenches my heart. how does filing one’s soul with this much hate make life better? how is it freeing? how is it at all “life more abundantly?” i couldn’t barely look at that picture of the poor little boy holding that sign; breaks my heart.

    honestly, it makes me want to go knock their heads together, though that won’t solve anything.

  17. gar says:

    The fact that they fly all the way from Kansas just to spit out the hatred they spit… it’s a sad commentary on the capacity of the viciousness of humanity. Even a little bit depressing, too.

    At least the counter-protest at Garfield was (mostly) peaceful:

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009339984_garfield16m.html

  18. Joonmo says:

    I remember you mentioned that this same group of people were holding signs of “God Hates Fags” and “Matthew is burning in hell” at the funeral of Matthew Shepard who was brutally tortured and murdered because he was gay. Not just that,(From Wikipedia) Phelps attempted and failed to gain city permits in Cheyenne and Casper to build a monument “of marble or granite 5 or 6 feet (1.8 m) in height on which will be a bronze plaque bearing Shepard’s picture and the words: “MATTHEW SHEPARD, Entered Hell October 12, 1998, in Defiance of God’s Warning: ‘Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is abomination.’ Leviticus 18:22.”

    This is just too painful and wrong…

  19. blake pusztai says:

    @gar: Thanks for posting that article. My favorite counter-protest sign: “God hates figs”🙂

  20. your friend says:

    Titus 3: 3 … DECEIVED by all kinds of passions… living in malice… hating…

    Hate is a passion that needs the kindness and LOVE of God our Savior!

    Deception needs the Truth (Jesus is the Truth)

  21. Matt K says:

    Its pretty disgusting hate-filled unChristian stuff. Yet I’m torn when it comes to even acknowledging them. The facts are that “Westboro Baptist Church” isn’t any real church. Its essentially Fred Phelps and his grandkids. Total membership is probably less than 20 people. There are millions and millions of Christians in the U.S.; yet these 2 dozen yahoos are able to get all kinds of media attention

  22. […] couldn’t agree more with Eugene Cho and his intense dislike for the folks at Westboro Baptist […]

  23. 3mily says:

    there is a documentary on these people on netflix (you can watch it instantly on your computer). it’s in the religion section.

  24. […] i really dislike these people « eugene cho […]

  25. Danny Bixby says:

    Probably the best response to WBC I’ve ever seen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7Of_2ykZpQ

    It’s only 2 minutes long, full of love instead of hatred, and definitely worth your time.

  26. Stan says:

    They did the same thing here in Long Beach, CA a few weeks ago, and the residents of the city showed up in droves to greet them with love. The best was when they protested across the street from Wilson HS and the HS students staged a counter-protest across the street that was ten times larger. It ended up being a huge love fest for the city, and the HS students were ecstatic.

    I suggest greeting them with open arms and thanking them for being such a visible representation of what God’s love doesn’t look like.

  27. Kimber says:

    It is at times like this that I wish I still believed in a literal hell… Cause I would believe that there was special area just for Fred and his followers.

  28. mike says:

    When I see people as dumb as those I sort of agree about America being doomed…

  29. […] Our friends at Westboro Baptist Church is in the news again. If you remember, I publicly (via my blog) asked them to leave Seattle and return to headquarters in […]

  30. Marlene says:

    Thank you Eugene I will share this post on FB so that my non-believing and/or anti-Christian friends can learn that there is a strong, true Christian faith community that opposes bigotry.

  31. […] It’s easy to point the fingers at these immature conspirators or at the obvious vitriolic antics from WBC… […]

  32. […] not timid in saying that I really dislike them people. […]

  33. […] Even in the name of free speech, some boundaries should never be crossed. Pastor Terry Jones crossed that line in burning the Koran and making a global media spectacle. Pastor Wiley Drake crossed that line in suggesting that he was praying for the death of President Obama. And then, of course, there are the folks of Westboro Baptist Church.  […]

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It appears I brought a little Seattle to the NYC. Drizzle fest. 24 hour gathering with a small group of leaders from around the country. Learning. Listening. Asking hard questions. Head exploding. Heart trying to have hope. As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
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Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it.

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