Apparently, they believe that the students at East Lansing High School are horrible people because a large number of the students e-mailed WBC and told them of their disapproval of their methods, actions, and statements, especially the protesting of military funerals. Instead of taking these e-mails as constructive criticism and positive outreach (or as a wake-up call!), the WBC has decided that East Lansing High School students are, as one person apparently said, "sinners and brats." What?
Here's a article from the State News that will give you a little more information on this event:
Westboro Baptist Church to Picket East Lansing High School
So what am I going to do? Well, first of all, to all the people at WBC, I hope you know that I still love you, even if you think I'm a sinner and you don't love me. I believe that you have a right to your beliefs, even if I disagree, and I believe that you have every right to express your beliefs... but I too question your methods, actions, and statements. There is a better way to bring people to God for sure!
I am reminded Rev. Rick Boyd at First Christian Church here in Lansing. One of the times that I attended services there, he told the story of Jesus and his meeting with a woman at a well. It goes a little something like this: there's this well. A woman is there, all alone, getting water and Jesus offers her life water (not like the brand... but like, eternal life water. God stuff.) He doesn't ask her to change, he doesn't ask her to be something she is not, he simply offers her all the goodness and greatness of God with no judgement, no conditions, and no hesitation. WBC, if you are as close to God as you seem to think, you should know that the way to move people, to inspire people, and to save people is to love them as they are, without judgement and without hate. You may offer to tell them about your points of view, but you have no right to ask them to change... or to hate them if they don't.
Now I am not really a Christian, and even I am appalled by some of the things that the WBC has said and done. I can only imagine what it must feel like for someone who is a good, upstanding Christian to see this group go against the teachings of Jesus Christ so often and so aggressively. To those people, I say stand strong. Don't let this group bring down an entire culture of people who are good and true and strong in their beliefs. Love them, learn from them, and just continue to be good Christians.
As for me... I am contemplating attending as a "counter-protestor," but only if it will all be peaceful. As of right now, it seems like it might be, so maybe I'll be there. If I am, I'll be covered in peace buttons and spreading love. Maybe I'll have a sign or maybe I'll bring my ukulele and sing or something.
If you want to protest this awful behavior as much as we Lansing/East Lansing residents do but you live far away, you can still do your own protesting AND have a positive impact on society. Donate to some great causes that the WBC would probably say were... not so great. Some suggestions:
Donate to the Human Rights Campaign
Working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equal Rights
Donate to Organizing for America
Developed by the Democrats to help with campaign costs. Basically... if you like Obama, and you want to show WBC what's up (since they think that he is the Anti-Christ), donate to something that could maybe put him in office for a second term. That'll show 'em!
Donate to one of the amazing charitable organizations on this list: Support Our Troops
From giving financial aid to families of service members who have been killed in action to showing your support with a yellow ribbon to learning how to send care packages and donations to both wounded soldiers and those still in action, everyone can find a way to help out here.
Check out the Three Faiths Exhibition at the New York Public Library, now until February 28, 2011.
Co-sponsored by the Coexist Foundation, "Three Faiths" will set, side by side for the first time, the New York Public Library's collection of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim manuscripts. Awesome!
While you're at it, buy the Coexist Bumper Sticker. Put it on your car or on your fridge or on your guitar case or wherever!
And I'll let you know how it all turns out.
Peace and Love,