Our Tragedy is Not a Forum

Recently, Washington state was in the news for a very bad reason. One mentally ill man went on a rampage, killing five people. Five people going about their normal lives, enjoying friends, coffee, or just driving to someplace on the list of errands for that day. I can’t understand why gunmen target coffee shops; this is the second one that has been targeted like this in our state. The last time was in Lakewood a couple of years ago, feels like last week. Now we have this tragedy.

Let us not forget the reason for our grief

If this tragedy wasn’t enough, now the Westboro Baptists think they can come up here and disrupt the funeral services that friends and families are holding to honor their dead  so randomly taken from them.

Westboro followers spewing hate

The Westboro ‘fake’ist claim to be Baptist trying to get “God’s” message out to the public. This organization “pickets celebrity funerals and public events that are likely to get it media attention.”

Real Baptists or Calvinists (supposedly they follow the Calvinist theology), do not do this. True Christian believers seek to be “Christ”-like. “Love one another as I have loved you.” John 13:33-35. Jesus also told his followers to “Love your neighbor as yourself” Luke 10:24-38. Never once did he yell at people making choices that were contrary to what they “should be doing.” Well, there was the time in the temple but that was more being angry at people who knew better and were robbing those coming to worship. (Even now, I struggle to model Christ’s love toward these people.)

Calvinists believe in “stressing the total contingency of man’s salvation upon the absolute sovereignty of God.” Basically, either you will be a Christian or you won’t be, all by God’s doing. Nothing I do will change that. If the Westboro Baptists believe in this manner, why are they out there making a scene? Let God bring the people in. Let God judge, not man.

I wonder if the best approach is for everyone, news media included, to totally ignore these ignoramuses. Without the audience or counter protesters Westboro would have not platform to stand on. No one would hear their hate or their lies. This is neigh impossible because of the Westboro followers. They make a practice of going to places of great tragedy where many people will be gathered. By going under the guise of protesters, they abuse the rights of every American to gather and stand up for what we believe in. I say HOW DARE YOU!

How dare these people use pain, tragedy, and horror to spew the horrendous hate that they are known for. Death is hard enough for people to deal with. No one needs someone disrupting their lives more.

In an amazing local response, several local area pastors have made a stand, for which I am very proud of them.

Beauty should not be disrupted by ugliness

Many people on Facebook are organizing an event to shield the families from these extremists. If you are in the area and want to help, go for it,

My fear is that these funerals will become about stopping the idiocy and not about celebrating, remembering, and grieving for those murdered. Let us not forget the true reason people in the Seattle area will be gathering this weekend. Let us remember the members of our community torn from their friends and family by horrendous violence.

Tell the Westboro Baptists to go home.

By Trulybst

Pursuing life to its fullest. A woman, a mom, wife, and struggling teacher who knows the importance of treating myself right.

8 replies on “Our Tragedy is Not a Forum”

I have nothing to say about the Westboro Baptists, other than the obvious and previously stated.  However, I am always lifted up when I see people rise above their crap. Opportunity in tragedy, as a form of hate mongering is low and my heart breaks for the children who hold signs that say “Burn in hell Fags”. However, seeing people move together to heal and grieve, rather than take out anger on an obvious attention getting group, is something which, while I don’t expect, I am always moved by.

god is not some crazy asshole in the sky telling you to harass the grieving to get back at the gays and the baby killers. god is the human ability to be there for one another in the worst of times.

I don’t understand Writeup Baptists, and I hope I never will, but why didn’t they come up here to protest all the gang-related shootings that happened in the weeks before this downtown incident? Alternately, why did people in Washington overlook all the shootings in south Seattle? Was it because of the tie to gang violence or because of the strong minority presence? It makes my heart hurt.

That said, thank you for posting on this topic and helping to point out ways we can help.

Nothing gets under my skin and pisses me off quite like the Westboro Baptists. But I do wish that people would quit feeding the troll, as it were. The only real counter protests that I feel I can get behind are the ones that have the specific aim of making the protesters hard to see or hear. Bring out the sheets to block them from view, and sing songs to drown out their voices, but do not engage them or give them a platform to talk about their stupid.

Nice article and it’s good to hear of a community coming together to help families after such a tragedy.

One comment, though, on your “no true Scotsman” argument.  I can understand why you wouldn’t want to claim anything in common with the Westboro family, but if they say they are Calvinists and are quoting from the same holy book as you, why aren’t they “true” Calvinists?  Who gets to decide that?

I think the difference here is that Religions, particularly when you start breaking down into the teachings of specific subgroups like Calvinists, call for certain codes of conduct, so it is legitimate argument to see if people match the codes they say they live by. Calvinism is pretty clear on the idea that salvation is the work of God and God alone. If they believe that, then what do they hope to accomplish by protesting? God saves people, not them. Maybe they have a counterargument that explains it, sure. Lord knows I don’t treat my religion’s codified rules as unchangeable. But I don’t want brave the crazy to find out. Still, “This doesn’t seem to match Calvinist teaching,” is a legit complaint against them.

That family is the one of the worst, low-to-the-ground scum that we’re supposed to be called humans alive right now. I watched two of Louis Theroux’ documentaries about them and they just flabbergast me in the nastiest way.

But I don’t want to make this comment about them. What happened was horrible and I hope enough people can come together to shelter the funeral from that ugliness.

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