The Westboro Baptist Church.

I bet some of you are angry already. Not only does this church preach hate in the name of our Lord against homosexuals, but they cause unnecessary pain in order to promote their hate-filled message. These are the guys, if you’re not familiar, that protest military funerals and threatened to protest at the funerals of the beautiful children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary school after the shootings in Newtown, CT.

Furthermore, the “church” claims that these bad things that are happening around the country, dead soldiers and little children, are a result of God’s wrath against America, and Connecticut in the case of Newtown, for being too gay. Gay marriage. Gay people on television. Gay bars. We’ve gotten so gay that God has lashed out at us, bringing things like the death of military men and women and elementary school children. Yes, because before Ellen became popular, back when they were cancelling her show for her admission that she was a lesbian, back when we weren’t so gay, our soldiers never died at war. Our elementary school children were invincible. But somehow, being so gay, flying all those rainbow flags and watching all that Anderson Cooper on CNN, has brought this on us.

We all know that’s bull. In response to this hatred and the pain their protests cause (even the threat of it in Newtown was unnecessary stress and hurt for those poor, grieving families), a group of people went to Whitehouse.gov and filled in one of those now-famous “We the People Petitions” to have the Westboro Baptist Church put on the federal “hate group” list. These are the same almost useless petitions that Texans used to try and secede from the union. So while they don’t really make policy, they are a way to get our voices heard, a way the Obama Administration tries to keep open lines of dialog with the White House. Well, enough people signed, no surprise, to get an official response from the White House–me included.

Some may be unsatisfied with the response, as it takes no real action, (turns out there isn’t even a federal hate group list) but I was impressed that it actually, publicly denounced the WBC and championed the cause. You can read the response here: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/response/heres-what-we-have-say-about-westboro-baptist-church?utm_source=wethepeople&utm_medium=email&utm_content=westboro-response.

What’s more is they actually went through the trouble of creating a map to show the locations that signed the petition the most by zip code. You can see it at that same link above. It shows you all you need to know. Yes, Connecticut was one of the strongest concentrations because of the reaction to their threats against Newtown funerals, but you might be surprised what state also shows up very dark blue on the map.

Kansas. That’s right, the home state of the Westboro Baptist Church itself showed very strong support for naming the church a hate group. Wow. Apparently its own state if fed up with yhe WBC and would like to see it gone. If the people most familiar with them, their neighbors from which they draw their members, don’t like them, what else do we have to know?

My take away?

Be careful of your rhetoric. I’ve heard so many people refer to the church as a bunch of backward southerners or say things like “What do you expect from a place like Kansas?” Well, those backward southerners from Kansas don’t much like the WBC either. Humans around the world are more the same than different. That’s the mistake the WBC makes. We are all made in God’s image, and we are all loved by Him and live in His grace. Let’s not make the same mistakes the WBC makes. No one prejudice is better than any other.

Just don’t hate. Plain and simple. Hate, in any form, is just a manifestation of ignorance. When you hate, you show you are simply talking about something you have no clue about. If you had done the research, gotten to know people, went out of your way to understand those you imagined were so different than you, you would have realized they weren’t so different after all. We’re all on the same journey, so appreciate the variety humanity provides for us instead.

 

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I moved. Bittersweet Trail is now on WordPress because, well, it’s easier to have all my crap in one place. And I’m not gonna lie, Blogger kind of blows. You can still read old posts by clicking  on the link to the right–see it? For some reason all this updating websites has given me immense pleasure. Or as my daughter Kira has become fond of saying, “I find it very satisfying.”

Sometimes change for change’s sake can be a bad idea. They say, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” But other times, when it’s something harmless like how your furniture in your classroom is set up or the look of your blog, it can be a beautiful thing. I’m not sure why. I think it’s that feeling that you’ve created something. Just like when you write a great story or even a great blog post. [Warning: This is not a great blog post.]

Sure, you didn’t really create something new, but it sure feels like it. In fact, in the past week I’ve redone my actual home page, created a new devotional blog (also linked to the right), refurbished and moved this blog, and recreated all of my high school class websites to be absolutely amazing. Sound conceited? Sorry. It’s kind of like a whole new rebirth.

As Nick Carraway narrates in The Great Gatsby, “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” I kind of feel that way every summer. Get to know the family again, refresh your websites, blog again, refresh your lessons for next year, and the list goes on. I feel like I’m getting to know my beautiful town again for the first time as well.

So, The Blog at Bittersweet Trail is back…with a change of scenery. I think it’s beautiful. Change can be a beautiful thing.

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