Who are you to judge?
I believe that there are certain things in this life that are untouchable. Furthermore, I believe that there are specific times when a little tact is called for. One such time is definitely when people gather to mourn and grieve the loss of a loved one. Simple logic should dictate to anyone with a heart, that these are moments when supreme respect and the utmost regard for our fellow man need to be observed. I believe that these are the moments in life when a lot of consideration is called for. No matter what your personal feelings may be. I also believe that those among us who do not feel this way are ignorant and incapable of having a soul or anything like it. I am referring to the members of the Westboro Baptist church from Topeka, Kansas. More specifically, the members who feel it necessary to stage pointless protests outside of funerals. For those who are not aware of these people’s actions, they have made quite a name for themselves by picketing military funerals for soldiers killed in Iraq. Their reasons for disrupting these sacred events are as simple-minded as they are moronic. They claim that these soldiers are dying because God is angry at a nation that doesn’t condemn homosexuality.
The most recent act of disrespect that grabbed my attention were their plans make a trip to the place where I grew up, Bardstown, Kentucky. Except this time, they weren’t coming to dishonor some twenty year old kid who died defending the very blanket of freedom and free speech that they cowardly hide behind. No, this time they were coming to disgrace the memory of six children and four adults that perished in a house fire. Their justification for doing so is the same judgmental reasoning they give for protesting military funerals. Now, lets pretend for just one moment that what these people do isn’t the most disrespectful thing you’ve ever heard of. I know it’s difficult but, pretend for just one moment that what these people do isn’t disrespectful at all and try to see where they’re coming from. Can’t do it can you? That’s because you have a heart, a soul, and a brain. While I promise you I do have the same, I will look at this outside the box for the rest of this essay.
These people are self proclaimed Christians, who say that the things they do are in the name of Christ. I am not a pastor, nor am I a priest or a preacher of any sort. I am however a former military, heterosexual man, who attended catholic school for many years and believe in the same Jesus Christ that the members of Westboro believe in. I know that I’m not mistaken when I say to you that Jesus taught us it is not our place to judge others. He said, “when men judge, they are judging from the flesh” and that he does not judge anyone. To the matter at hand, it is not our place as Christians to judge the sexual preference of our fellow man. I am of the opinion that if Jesus were here, neither would he. Jesus made quite a name for himself by hanging out with murderers, rapists, and prostitutes yet; he did not judge them, he only tried to save them and show them a better way to live through him. I don’t know if my God will condemn homosexuals to a life in hell on judgment day any more than I know who will win the Super bowl next year. But, I do know the words of my God are very clear on this subject; let those without sin cast the first stone. I know that I wouldn’t want to be throwing rocks in his name, especially when I don’t know what his feelings on the subject are.
To get down to the brass tacks of the situation, I’ll use a term that has become very popular over the last few years. What would Jesus do? Perhaps the members of Westboro would be served well to ask themselves this question. If Jesus were here on earth, in Bardstown, on the day of the funeral; does anyone who dares to call their-selves a Christian think that he wouldn’t come to honor these people? Does anyone who dare say they try and live the way that he would; truly believe that he would dishonor the memory of those innocent children? And in doing so, pass judgment on those who have nothing to do with them or their deaths? Is there one true Christian in this world who thinks that the twin babies Heaven and Earth Maddox, died in that terrible fire because they were part of some divine punishment for America? Sadly enough, those people are out there. But, the even sadder reality is this, they are doing what they believe is right. Therefore, they’ll not stop anytime soon. I as a Christian man cannot be mad or hate them, because then I would be judging, and that is not my place. I as a Christian feel sorry for them because in the end they are going to find that they missed the point. They are going to find that they lived here on earth full of hate and bitterness toward people, when they should have been living full of love instead.
Luckily the members of the Westboro Baptist church did not show their hate and ignorance at the funeral services over the weekend. A local radio station offered them airtime to spread their message if they agreed not to show their faces at the funeral. They accepted, and thankfully the families of those killed were spared the indignity of what might have occurred. I applaud those who stepped up to the plate and did what they could to ensure that this family would not have to go through any more than they already had. The out-pouring of support for the families affected by this tragedy has been truly moving and inspirational to all who have seen it with their own eyes. Terrible moments like these occur all to often in society today but, thank God that the best in most people still shines through when needed. I have a lot of faith in a society that for the most part, still recognizes those untouchable moments in life.
On a side note; in May of 2006 congress passed a law prohibiting protesters from disrupting military funerals. It would seem as if the group from Kansas, (that is in fact classified as a hate group by the southern poverty law center) is looking for new ways to spread their rhetoric of judgment and hate to the masses. Perhaps Congress should reconvene in order to protect those who will undoubtedly need it.
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