I have never been a card-carrying member of Russell Brand's fan club. But on a recent episode of his his FX show, his guests — Westboro Baptist Church members Steve and Timothy — come out on stage looking like they were ready for a smack down at a Hells Angels meet and greet. Anger, they were already seething with it, righteous anger. I don't know why they feel they should be the ones to administer it. As a Christian, these guys make me want to throw a baseball at the television. They keep missing the point.
A Christian acknowledges sin in the world. But a Christian first must look at himself or herself and not turn that gaze onto another person. For it is not up to me or any other Christian to point out someone else's fatal flaws; I have enough of my own to worry about. I have a plank in my eye. I must look at that first. Westboro is making the body of Christ look vengeful and violent.
Brand is not the greatest interviewer. He looks like he needs a proper scrubbing or at least a good hair washing. But when he asks Steve and Tim about specific people and they immediately say that this or that person is going to hell, they make a critical error. Why are they answering these questions? Brand is trying to trap them, and rightfully so. It's too easy. But these leather-clad gentlemen can't see into another man's soul, so they should decline to answer.
To picket a funeral of brave men and women who have died in the military, fighting for our freedom, is to dishonor our country and all of mankind. And the very idea of picketing a funeral for children and teachers who died tragically in the Sandy Hook mass shooting is disgraceful and shameful. A loving Christian would never do this. What did these people ever do to deserve their fate? Nothing, they simply went to work and to school. They were children, teachers, mothers, and parents. Or they were in combat, doing their duty, so that we can be free. They were loved.
1 Corinthians 13:1, "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." Westboro is a giant conga drum. I would take a noisy gong any day over this.
Love is something we all struggle with when we disagree with others on certain points. But when Jesus was hanging on the cross, the thief next to him said he believed in him, and Jesus said, "Today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43). Not tomorrow, today. This is love.
Westboro Baptist Church should take heed. Jesus died for the sins of mankind and he does not need them to spew hatred at people who did nothing to deserve their indignation. He is the only one worthy of righteous indignation. Brand merely pointed out the obvious.