Westboro Baptist Church doesn't represent evangelical Christians

  • A Pennsylvania judge says that the Supreme Court's ruling in the Westboro Baptist funeral protest case out of Carroll County wrongly limited the power of juries to render judgments.
A Pennsylvania judge says that the Supreme Court's ruling…
March 15, 2012

As the senior pastor of the church in closest proximity to Glen Burnie High School and the March 13 protest by the Westboro Baptist Church, I would like the public to be aware of our position.

While recognizing the constitutional right of every American to express themselves, I do not agree with nor appreciate the abuse of that right by the Westboro group. They are not a church by any biblical definition, nor do they reflect the spirit and message of Jesus.

Theirs appears to be a self-aggrandizing movement whose purpose is achieved through media attention. There is nothing redeeming in their message, medium or motives.

In addition to the North Arundel Church, millions of New Testament Christians are offended and insulted by their vitriolic voices and their confusing message about God's love and Jesus, who hung out with the very kinds of sinners they say they hate.

I think Jesus would be sitting across a cafeteria table listening to the those who most struggle with life issues — eating with them, drinking with them and praying with them. His harshest words were always reserved for the self-appointed, obnoxious, glory-seeking pseudo-saints, of whom He said, "it will be more tolerable in the day of judgment for Sodom and Gomorrah than for them."

While we too "hate the sin," we nonetheless "love the sinner" while offering our "cup of cold water" in Jesus' name. On behalf of all evangelicals, I apologize to the world for such gross misrepresentation of the gospel, and our church welcomed the anti-Westboro protesters to use our parking lot for their staging area.

James D. Pope

The writer is senior pastor of North Arundel Church in Glen Burnie.

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