Note: disturbing content ahead.
I stumbled across an article today entitled “Church under fire for video parody“. According to the article, Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church has been vigorously campaigning against homosexuality and that a recently released video, “God Hates the World“, which is a parody of the 80’s tune “We Are the World”, is the latest salvo in that ongoing campaign.
According to the article, “The church [Westboro Baptist Church] contends that soldiers’ deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are God’s punishment for a tolerance of homosexuality in the United States.”
The video shows what appears to be a group of church members singing the song “God Hates the World”, along with various video snippets taken from protests and other, assorted activities pertinent to the words of the song. The video furthers the church’s argument that God hates the world due to homosexual behaviour.
The church group is currently being accused by Warner/Chappel Music Inc. of Los Angeles, who feel that the video infringes on its copyright to “We Are the World.” In their defense, the church claims that the song and video are protected under their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and religious expression. I do believe that freedom of speech and religious expression are important and therefore, I can’t argue that these people be forcefully silenced. However, I am disappointed at the controversial and confrontational method that this church has taken. And, I am disappointed that this group is associated with me through the masthead of Christianity. But, we’re all together through the masthead of “humanity” so I guess we have to take the good with the bad.
The Bible does speak out against certain activities. The Old Testament is full of rules and guidelines that must be adhered to or else. I’m concerned that this church group has missed the message of Jesus though in their zeal to reform society into their ideal of cultural identity. Jesus brought a message of peace, love and non-judgment. To Christ, God loves everyone no matter what. And it was through Jesus’ atonement on the cross that we are allowed to walk in peace, knowing that our destiny is fulfilled. This message is quite different from the fire and brimstone message being presented by the folks in Topeka. I wonder if Westboro Baptist Church subscribes to the Old Testament law of stoning people for transgressions? That would make for an interesting Sunday morning service!
Fear-mongering is nothing new in religion. History is full of religious fundamentalists that attempted reform through fear. Unfortunately, fear only works for so long… reason must weigh in in order to protect the rights of everyone involved. Otherwise, we’d be left with a bunch of fundamentalist groups, all claiming righteous fury. Ultimately, we’d be left with one righteous fundamentalist group, the winner of one heck of a fundamentalist war. hmmm… sounds kinda like current global tensions, doesn’t it?
Who wins in a fundamentalist war game? Does might equal right? If so, why have an opinion at all? If truth is what we’re after, will war and intolerance solve anything? I think not.