Monday, May 21, 2012

Stop Dragging God Into Everything

Last week I ran across a story about nine-year-old Josef Miles of Topeka, Kansas who mounted a quiet, counter-protest against picketers from the Westboro Baptist Church. He and his mom had been walking around the Washburn University campus in Topeka when they saw a group of Westboro Baptist Church protesters armed with signs.

Apparently, this church is infamous for using pickets with phrases like "God hates fags" and "Thank God for dead soldiers." They regularly stage protests around the country, which includes the picketing of funerals for American servicemen, and going so far as desecrating the American flag.

Well.

After reading some of the signs, young Josef asked his mom if he could create one of his own. His mom said okay, so on a small sketch pad, he wrote out in pencil "GOD HATES NO ONE", and held it up while he stood across from the picket line. While describing the incident on her Facebook page, Josef’s mom said her son is a wonderful young person who she enjoys learning from every day.

“He’s growing up to be a fine young man," she wrote.

Indeed, he is.

There are a couple of things that struck me in this article:

1) That a young boy had more sense than a whole group of adults.

2) That a church that should be promoting love is, instead, fanning the flames of hatred.

There’s not much to add to the first point, aside from the fact that this child will grow up to be the type of adult that the world needs more of; the type that helps promote and advance love, tolerance, acceptance and peace.

The second point gets right under my skin because barely a day goes by that I don’t read or hear about some religious extremists misbehaving, encouraging hate and even killing in the name of God.

I am sick and tired of people dragging God into their hate-spewing, violent-laden actions, and using Him as an excuse for their bad behaviour, all the while believing (and trying to convince us of the same) that they have the right to speak on His behalf. To speak on His behalf! How did they come to the crazy conclusion that God made them His right hand men (or women)? That He’s perfectly okay with having His name dragged into some misfits’ hateful actions? When did these delusional people come to believe that God would be an accomplice to their horridness? Or that He’d give them a thumbs up for their actions? How arrogant can these people be?

And I’m sick and tired of hateful religious fanatics using their faith as a cloak to commit and promote evil, hateful acts, and by doing so, making the rest of the people who believe in God, and who are primarily peaceful, gentle, loving people look bad. Like myself. Or my husband. Mother. Brother. Neighbour. And so on. We all have faith. It gives us a sense of comfort. A sense of purpose. And a sense of peace. But we don’t take that faith and use it as a weapon of hatred. We don’t take that faith and use it as an excuse to behave badly. We live quiet, peaceful lives, and allow everyone around us to do the same.

If you are one of these religious extremists whose heart is filled with hatred and resentment and intolerance, don’t use God as an excuse. Stop pointing at Him, and start being accountable for what you say and how you act. Instead of saying “God hates...”, say “I hate...” God is not your ally in this, and it takes a heck of an ego to believe otherwise.

Learn to live and let live. Learn to respect diversity. Learn how to be tolerant, respectful, understanding and compassionate towards all fellow human beings. And learn something from Josef Miles, a nine-year-old child, who has more sense at such a young age than most people do in their entire lifetime. Because he is right: “God hates no one”. Only people do.

So young, but already so wise.

12 comments:

  1. What an amazing kid! I like the positioning of the photographs too. Great post, you really spoke from the heart!!

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    1. He is an amazing child. So young, and yet already growing up to be so kind and thoughtful. I can see why his mom is so proud of him.

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  2. O gosh. See -- this is just the sort of thing that made Anne Rice say, "Today I quit being a Christian". She also called Christians "quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious and deservedly infamous". What a wonderful little boy Josef is! As Anne Rice had further said, "Following Christ does not mean following his followers".

    "Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love" wrote the apostle John. Or better yet, as Jesus Himself said, "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another".

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    1. Yes, God is all about love. These people are all about hate. Why don't they hold up signs that say "I hate..." instead of hiding behind God. They're a bunch of cowards.

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  3. I so totally agree with you. These people are vile. Little Josef is far more spiritually evolved than these so-called 'Christians' - they're neanderthals!

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    1. People like this are what's wrong with this world. They use God as an excuse for their miserable, mean-spirited attitude. I dare them to walk around with signs that say 'I hate....this or that...' instead of the signs they hold up now. They're too cowardly to do that.

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  4. Thank goodness for people like Josef and his mother for standing up (peacefully) to this bunch of bullies! I agree with every word you typed Martha! Does the Baptist Church really condone this behavior?

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    1. Yes, thank goodness for decent people. As far as I know, the two largest Baptist denominations have denounced this group. I think they're their own little independent group of haters.

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  5. You know how much I admire the Patriot Guard for shielding families from the hatred of this supposedly Christian church. (I wrote about them in March.)
    Thank you for telling me about this young boy. You don't hear good news about kids, do you?

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    1. Sometimes we need to hear good news about kids, so we can know that there are children headed in the right direction. This is a great kid that will grow up to be a good man.

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  6. Standing ovation! right on… Martha and

    … yes… I did miss this post … what an amazing little guy … yes, I remember reading all about this … you did know that the scumbag head of Westboro died recently, right?

    As you know from reading m'blog … this is a huge huge HUGE problem in our country right now … the conservatives are running scared and are pulling out all the stops … to attract the religions nut jobs...

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    1. Yup, I know that the scumbag died. He's probably burning in hell...if there is such a thing. Either that, or he'll reincarnate and deal with Karma.

      There are definitely religious nut jobs out there. Not just in your country, but everywhere. They are a huge problem!

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