When I was a boy, I used to wake up on Sunday mornings and go to church.
The time I woke up and went all depended on what my shift was.
You see, I was an altar boy (And, No, I was never molested)
I’d sit there and take in every word.
I’d study every person there.
I absorbed quite a lot of Christian knowledge, I already had the values.
Between school, my parents, and Church my values had been pretty well defined.
Now the Catholic church has received a lot of guff for things they’ve done wrong.
The list is pretty extensive and dates back to 300 AD.
However, I’d like to think they’ve done more good than harm.
And that is all anyone can honestly ask of any of us.
The point I’m steering at is that Churches are entities that influence their members.
They shape lives.
They act as role models and hopefully give their members, and the communities they reside in, something to aspire to.
However, for all of their good intentions (I know, good intentions, road to hell, blah, blah, blah) Churches are still made up of, and run by, people.
This means that they can have all of the same faults as people as well.
Just like there are some good people, there are also some bad people.
As long as there are more good than bad we have a chance of things being okay.
Just like there are some good churches, there are some bad churches.
We really don’t need any bad churches, not even to rally us together as one in a common cause against them.
Bad churches are far more dangerous than bad people.
Churches have more reach and influence.
Churches also, by association, speak on behalf of their god (regardless of denomination or deity worshipped…not all churches are Judeo-Christian).
If you’re a believer and a church that speaks with the authority of the god you worship condemns you, that can be a pretty devastating thing.
Churches have power.
Too much power to play with lightly.
I’m not a hateful man.
My family, school, and church raised me so that I give everyone a chance.
Now, I do have a quick temper at times, that’s the Irish in me.
It’s taken a bit of work, but I have learned how to hold my anger in check the vast majority of the time.
I wasn’t that successful this morning.
My blood pressure skyrocketed and I got my Irish up when I read a specific news article.
Before I came to the news article I was scrolling through my timeline on Facebook and was chuckling at a bunch of posts from the You Sick Bastards page (http://www.facebook.com/YouSickBastards) and noticed a theme.
I didn’t think anything of this theme at first.
The group targeted in the posts were a group that Walt, one of the page owners, is known to dislike greatly.
Then I came upon the article that made me hot under the collar.
It was from MSN, which, in my experience, has been a reliable source.
Apparently the Westboro Baptist Church has announced that they will be protesting at the funerals of the people killed at the shootings in Aurora, Co on Friday, claiming that god sent the shooter
If you’re unfamiliar with the Westboro Baptists, they are a closed secular community that breed hate for anyone that does not fit into their extremely narrow version of Christianity.
They protest the funerals of fallen soldiers with signs asking parents if they are glad that their children are now burning in hell.
They protest against the gay community constantly.
They’ve even protested the San Diego Comic Con in 2010.
Luckily, people do stand up to them.
(yes, the ComicCon people Rick Rolled the Westboro Baptists)
Unfortunately, the anger they inspire more often than not leads to more hatred.
This group is poison.
And they are a ticking bomb just waiting to explode.
They’re scavengers that tend not to attack until their prey is fallen, when emotions are at the highest.
One of these times violence will erupt.
Personally, I believe that is exactly what the Westboro Baptists want.
Violence will only prove them right, and may even make Martyrs of them.
We can’t give in to that.
It would be detrimental to make even one of these zealots into a superstar within their own community.
And none of us really wants to prove them right, do we?
That would only encourage them to recruit more people, spread their influence, and dole out more hatred across our great nation.
The ComicCon protest is a great example of how to handle these pests.
The opposing protest fom the Comic Community made the Westboro Baptists look silly and robbed them of credibility.
All counter protests can’t be like that, of course.
Anyone encountering them has to find their own way to stand up to these hatemongers without giving into the hatred and the anger.
Anger and violence aren’t the answer to a problem like this.
Anger and violence only make situations like this worse.
We either need to discredit them, or ignore them, at every single event they show up at.
That is how we rob them of their power and maintain our dignity.
Please also read my article about the Connecticut shootings: