Fred Phelp’s Westboro Church Pickets Our Church
by Jack Wellman
On Sunday, December 19th, 2010, Fred Phelps Westboro Baptist Church picketed our Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane, Kansas. It was a cold, blustery morning and we offered the picketers some hot chocolate and cookies. They didn’t accept. They held up protest signs, which read, “Your Pastor is a Whore” (I am the pastor), and “You are Sending Your Children to Hell”, “God Killed Your Kids”, and “God is Your Enemy”. We didn’t engage in conversation, we didn’t respond in-kind to their insults and hate-speech. The local police came out in force to assure that nothing happened.
As I viewed the protesters, all I could feel was sorrow for them. I felt compassion for them standing out in the cold and wind holding up signs that were obviously wrong about us. Our message that morning was about how we are loved unconditionally by God and that God separates the sin from the sinner and that He hates sin, but He loves the sinner.
Of all the emotions I felt, it was not anger nor did I feel I wanted to argue against their signs that hurled insults at the congregation, but that they are deceived and obviously they don’t know us. None of the Westboro members had never met our members or had ever set foot in our church to hear any of the messages. The only reason they were there was because Mulvane, Kansas is the home of the Patriot Guard. The Patriot Guard consists of American veterans, men and women, who ride on their motorcycles and use American flags to block this church’s protesting of veteran funerals.
We returned our love to their hate. We offered them hot chocolate and cookies in response to their picketing. We prayed for them in exchange for their damning us to hell. How sad it was to me and brought tears to my heart that they seem to be so far away from God’s unconditional love as can be humanly possible…
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