Calling Basingstoke Christians…

There are a lot of school students in Basingstoke who will be needing to see/experience the love of Christ for all people on (and after) Friday of this week, to counteract the monstrous perversion of the Christian faith being promulgated by Westboro Baptist Church’s “God Hates Fags” crowd.

I don’t know whether any Christians based in or near Basingstoke read this blog, and if they do then I’m sure this is already on their radar maps anyway. Nor do I know exactly how Christians should be responding – though a counter-protest would probably be counter-productive; something qualitatively different is needed, something that shows that the hope and faith that are in Christ are not just another voice shouting outside the school gates.

All I know is this: Westboro’s message is evil and anti-Christian; a lot of students are going to be hurt, frightened and upset by Westboro’s “protest”; and many others may be embittered against the Christian faith, and alienated from Christ himself, by seeing people who claim to be Christians acting with such hatred and viciousness. But this is also an opportunity for God’s people to show the love of Christ in a way that astonishes onlookers and comforts those who are on the receiving end of this hateful attack.

For the rest of us: let’s pray for the people of Basingstoke, and particularly for those school students (not least those who are Christians themselves) and for the churches and Christians in that town. And let’s also pray that God would bring the Westboro mob to repentance.

Edit (19 Feb): the UK government has banned Fred Phelps and his daughter from entering Britain. It remains to be seen whether that will prevent any protest from occurring: the report linked above mentioned claims by Westboro that some of its members had already entered Britain secretly. But that could simply be bluff and bravado, given that Westboro Baptist Church seems to consist almost entirely of members of Phelps’s extended family.

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9 Responses to Calling Basingstoke Christians…

  1. Tim Wilson says:

    Not in basingstoke, but man this is not what the UK need…

  2. Chris Williams says:

    Now living in Bracknell, I’m a short trip on the M3 away from Basingstoke. I’m working on Friday but if anyone hears of any Christians doing a counter-protest or something similar of the short please drop me an email.

  3. Scott L says:

    I live in the same city where Rev. Phelps’ “church” is located. Our congregation is on their regular protest rounds because, even though we are opposed to homosexuality as a church body (LC-MS), we won’t join them.

    Unfortunately, they live for publicity, so anything you do in terms of “counter protest” will just egg them on. Don’t confront them, don’t argue with them. I hope and pray if you do something, you are able to make an effective witness of the love of God for homosexuals, and all sinners, while not condoning the sin. Their entire theology is based on the Law; they have no place in their worldview for the Gospel, since, according to them, we are all predestined to end up wherever we are going. About the only thing that works is to ignore them. However, if you want to keep them, you’re welcome to! ;-{)}

  4. Pingback: Necessary Roughness » Blog Archive » Westboro’s European Vacation

  5. Rick Ritchie says:

    The degree of evil in the Phelps family is unfathomable. I have read an account written by one of the older sons in the family of what it was like growing up in that house. Scary. I don’t think this can be accounted for by the usual theories. Apparently, Fred’s father was a kind man who went home crying when his son rejected him in order to continue down his road of hatred. Fred’s children were victims of physical and emotional abuse, according to this account. What we see in their protests is just the tip of the iceberg. When evil gets this pronounced, it’s almost as if space and time get bent around it. I’d stay away and NOT respond directly. Just do what you can in the aftermath. And pray.

  6. John H says:

    Rick: you may be right about the church’s public response having to come before and after, rather than during, Friday’s events. That’s what I was groping towards with my “qualitatively different”.

    Though thinking further, I do think some public witness is needed, even if it’s just the local vicar and/or diocesan bishop linking arms with students as they walk silently past the jeers and hate. Not a confrontation or challenge as such; more a making visible of Christ’s presence among those on the receiving end of such hatred.

  7. Pingback: A Call to Christians in the Basingstoke to stand against hatred « Ramblings from Red Rose

  8. The Scylding says:

    I see they have been banned from entering the UK, as per the Times – http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article5767077.ece

  9. wayno says:

    I have wondered about this mob at Westboro Baptist Church and it seems funny that nearly all the members have the surname of Phelps. I wonder if the sin of Lot would be found amongst them

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