May 23, 2013

Westboro Baptist Church Links Oklahoma Tragedy to Openly Gay NBA Star, Jason Collins.

Oh, Westboro Baptist Church…again? Really?

On Tuesday, and in an effort to once again capitalize on a high visibility news story, Fred Phelps Jr., the son of Westboro Baptist Church minister Fred Phelps, linked the devastation from Oklahoma’s F-5 tornado to openly gay Oklahoma City Thunder basketball star, Jason Collins.

Because, you see…as Phelps so eloquently explained, “God Hates Fags.”

It makes me physically ill just to write those few short words. I have always believed that in order to help make this a more compassionate world, we must always do our best to listen and to understand.

But, this, I just don’t understand.

I can’t imagine how anyone of human heart viewing the many personal stories of tragedy can believe that these most beautiful people, have in some way caused their own destruction.

And, I can’t imagine how anyone looking at the photos of children being pulled from the rubble of a collapsed school building would not also feel an overwhelming sense of compassion.

And yet, still, I try very much to understand. Because, I believe that “only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.

In other words, this isn’t for him, it’s for me. Because, in doing so, I am breaking free of his most hate-filled envenomated reach. And, in doing so, I am once again reclaiming my inner peace.

This story pushed me to my very edge, offending all that I know and believe—as well as, everything that I most wish this world to be.

But, these stories are designed to make us angry. They are designed to pull us away from our mindfulness. This is the mechanism through which they spread their hate.

When we are angry our spiritual ‘aperture’ narrows—and, when that aperture narrows, there is no room left for kindness or compassion.

And though, I may have originally started this article with upset and angst—in writing this, I believe I have a renewed sense of peace.

For you see, Fred Phelps can say all that he wants and wishes—because, in the end, his words can’t possibly change my expression of  love for this world.

And that, my dears, is how compassion should respond to hate every time.

Though, I did find it just a bit funny (hey, I’m human, after all) that when the WBC tried to further their efforts by setting up the website GodHatesOklahoma.com—that it was immediately hacked, redirecting all traffic to the Red Cross donation’s page which was set up for the victims.

Hmmm, so…maybe God does have a sense of humor, after all?

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Ed: Kate Bartolotta


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