This past Friday on Channel 9's "A Current Affair" there was the most unbelievably awful interview with a pastor in the USA (Westboro, Kansas). It was distressing to hear him as he railed against Heath Ledger, his family, gays, the war in Iraq and Australia. The introductory hymn was "God hates the world" with a catchy tune but a horrible message.
This pastor, Fred Phelps, and his brand of "christianity" bear no resemblance to the Christianity I know. It bears no resemblance to my own experiences with God and Jesus Christ. When I read the Bible, I see God's love towards all and his desire that we all know and experience love and forgiveness. The only crushing condemnation that came from Jesus' lips was against the self-righteous religious leaders of the day who felt they were better than everyone else. Jesus said they were blind, and hypocrites... people who wouldn't lift a finger to help the poor and downtrodden. I do wonder at what Jesus's response would be to the vitriol of Mr Phelps.
What was even sadder to me was the way the young children in his congregation were spewing the same kinds of words... hatred.
When asked about Australia, he said that they pray for Australia... and they have a map of Australia with the word "sodom" written in large letters over the whole continent. He said we were "the land of the sodomite damned". Shudder! Has God (or god?) given him the mantle of a judge over us all? Absolutely not. Jesus Christ is the judge, he's the only one worthy enough to be the judge. And, he's already made clear through his death and resurrection that he's paid the penalty for all sins and wickedness. Our part is simply to accept that.
Anyway, if you would like to watch the video, follow the link below:
Heath Ledger: Minister speaks