Feeble Knees

Monday, June 06, 2005

Now That's Showing Them the Love of God

Greetings from the "epicenter of filth" otherwise known as Massachusetts.

The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka Kansas is in town to protest at several Massachusetts schools. So far they have protested in Brookline, in Lowell (at the commencement ceremony of Lexington High School) and this morning they are in nearby Dracut. If you need to, you can read more about their reasons for coming here in this Lowell Sun article.

They're even taking over the airwaves at our local sport talk radio station, WEEI, where the morning show hosts decided it would be fun to get their spokeswoman, Shirley Phelps Roper, on the air for a bit of verbal repartee. It was sickening. 9/11 was God's judgment for homosexuality, she said, and all the people who died that day went directly to hell. She was speaking to an audience of people who are the widows, widowers, aunts, uncles, sons, daughters, friends and co-workers of people who were on Flights 11 and 93 out of Logan airport in Boston. But I bet she doesn't care too much about that.

She said the Asian tsunami was likewise the judgment of God, and that all those thousands of children were better off for having been killed, but they too are also in hell. (Come to think of it, she sounded a lot like a person I banned from commenting on this blog after the Asian tsunami. She was spewing a lot of the same filth.) Someone explain that logic to me. No, on second thought, don't. I don't want to hear such evil and perverted thinking detailed.

If there was any doubt at all in my mind (and there wasn't) that these people are evil, perverting the gospel of grace into hatred, it was when the talk radio host asked Mrs. Phelps Roper, "what should I do to be saved?"

With an audience of untold thousands of New England residents listening, this woman condemned the talk show host for asking a "mocking" question and refused to answer him. She COULD NOT and WOULD NOT answer his question: "what should I do to be saved?"

What she didn't know was that this particular radio station employs a devout Christian, Larry Johnson, who has his own sports talk show on Saturdays. (I was praying they'd get in touch with "LJ" and put him on the air to rebut her.) They did indeed put him on the air to speak with good old Shirl. He asked her earnestly: "Shirley, are you a sinner?" to which she had to admit that she had sinned before. He then went on to say that she had just flunked the real test of any Christian.

"Every Christian out there would salivate to be asked the question that [talk show host] Jerry Callahan just asked you - 'what must I do to be saved'?" Mr. Johnson pointed out that she would not share the good news of God's grace and mercy with someone who was asking a sincere question of her.

To me, that is the ultimate litmus test of every self-proclaimed Christian: when asked what is the reason for the hope within you, what do you say? When someone, anyone I don't care how skeptical or sincere they may be, asks us about salvation, our answer speaks volumes about what we really believe and whom it is we serve.

She wasn't interested in promoting the gospel of grace, just spewing hatred and condemnation. She did not want to tell anyone how to avoid the wrath that she says is imminent. Though she believes we are a God-forsaken state under judgment, she cared little whether any of us would escape fire and damnation. That, my dear friends, is the complete antithesis of the spirit of Christ. In fact, it is undeniably anti-Christian.

There, I said it.

God can turn that which was intended for evil to good. The switchboard at WEEI lit up and the email servers were loaded with responses from Christians determined to refute what Shirley had to say. Mr. Johnson got to have some say, regrettably not enough. Other Christians called to say they were sickened by her diatribes, and that she was perverting the scriptures. Emails from others glorifying the grace and mercy of God were read on the air - of a sports talk radio station, in Boston, Massachusetts. Talk about God working in mysterious ways.

When they first put that woman on the air this morning, I cringed. "Oh Lord, we don't need this - it's bad enough now, people around here are resistant enough as it is to the gospel!!" But after listening to Mr. Johnson and others respond, I'm trying to take the long view. The name of Christ has been dragged through the mud before. In the name of Christ all sorts of atrocities have been committed. He has been misrepresented and misunderstood countless times since the day Pilate handed Him over to be crucified.

If it takes a wingnut to come here and stir up the real followers of Christ to speak up and spread the true gospel of the Lord, well then, so be it, and let God be the judge of us all.

The truth will prevail, else it is not the truth. I have no doubt that Shirl and her buddies will realize their terrible, damnable error eventually; for their sake I pray it's on this side of eternity.

UPDATE: Since first posting this yesterday it's come to my attention that Larry Johnson is not actually a reverend, but a regular layperson. I've edited the above post accordingly, sorry for any confusion!
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