One would be hard-pressed to find in the rantings of Westboro Baptist Church picketers anything resembling the biblical gospel.
[As Ed Stetzer (@edstetzer) said, the only thing correct in the name is the congregation’s location.]
Even finding an example of biblical prophecy — the “forthtelling” which indicted God’s people for violations of the covenant relationship — in Westboro’s picketing seems an effort in futility.
Yet as much as biblical Christ-followers cringe at the apparent distortion of the biblical gospel, the abuse of the prophetic role in society, and the consequent maligning of the gospel and God,the Supreme Court is right.
Under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, the government has no right to decide what constitutes a true church, what constitutes a biblical — or even true — message, or what people claiming the name of Christ can shout from a street corner.
In short, the Supreme Court is not a “repugnance cop.”
If it were, we would look much more like the Middle East despots who are even now being toppled in part because of such behavior.
And, given the world-wide tenor of attitude toward Christian belief, American believers should be thankful that for now our government protects the right of believers not only to practice their faith free of public intrustion, but also to talk about it openly.
This is good news in light of the problems that open-air evangelism is experiencing in Michigan, outside an Islamic festival. Good news in light of the United Kingdom’s disqualification of foster parents because of their biblical belief against homosexuality. Good news in light of the killing of a Pakistani minority minister who refused to prosecute Christians. Good news, indeed.
So while Christ-followers pray for Westboro members to examine their hearts and words, we express our thanks to God that Westboro is still able, in this country, to reveal even uncharitable hearts and express even hurtful words without repercussion.