Shortly after Sean started interviewing Shirley Phelps Roper…my blood pressure started to rise. There was only hatred, venom and ugliness that spewed forth from this woman who proclaimed herself to be a Christian. She and her family are very sick and distorted…they are the worse kind of evil. There is nothing worse than to hate and do evil in the name of God.
Upon hearing this distorted view of God and Christianity…I wanted to go toe to toe with this woman…and hit her upside the head with a spiritual two by four.
Now I don’t like to make fun of people’s looks. But this woman…looked down right evil. She had what can only be described as an evil grin on her face as she listened to Sean and Alan speak. If for no other reason than the subject matter was serious…her grin was inappropriate. What made her grin appear evil was that all the while she was she was smiling she proclaimed God’s hatred and judgment against our nation and its soldiers. She seemed to take delight in the pain she was inflicting…no in fact she rejoiced in it.
Didn’t we all see a picture of rejoicing in evil on September 11th? When pictures showed Palestinians dancing in the streets and firing guns at the news and pictures of jets that slammed into the Twin Towers? As 110 story buildings crumbled to the ground…leaving dust clouds with thousands of people incinerated…these people were celebrating.
Well now we have a picture that same kind of evil…of the home grown variety. Instead of dancing at news of our soldier’s deaths…Miss Phelps-Roper and her ilk choose to inflict pain upon the family and friends of these heroic men who sacrificed their lives at their funerals. Our soldiers made that sacrifice…so that Miss Phelps-Roper has the right and freedom to behave in such a shameful manner.
Miss Phelps-Roper and members of the Westborough Baptist Church attend funerals of our fallen soldiers. They are war protesters of a unique variety in that they claim the deaths of these brave men to be the wrath of God poured out upon our nation. These people are so far off from the word of God…that it is only the word of God that can be used to combat them.
Quite honestly…based on the fruit exhibited by Miss Phelps-Roper and Westborough Baptist Church members…I question their assertion they are Christians. God’s word tells us that we shall know them by their fruit. When comparing their fruit to God’s word…and their actions and words to that of Jesus Christ…I’m not seeing evidence of a humble spirit or a repentant heart. I’d like to compare Miss Phelps-Roper’s words and actions to God’s word.
Here’s my challenge and response to Miss Shirley Phelps-Roper and the congregation at the Westborough Baptist Church:
Jesus was the most critical of the religious Pharisees. We see the example of Jesus confronting the money changers in the temple. Or when he tells the hypocrite to take the log out of his own eye. Or what does Jesus say about the hypocrite that seeks praise when he gives a gift at the temple or wants to be noticed when he prays or fasts?
How did Jesus respond to sinners? What about the woman caught in adultery? Didn’t he have compassion on her, forgive her sins? “Neither do I convict thee, go and sin no more.”
God tells us that we are to weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn. When Jesus went to Bethany after Lazarus dies…what did he do? He wept. If Jesus set that example…ought we not go and do likewise? Do you really think that Jesus would be protesting at the funeral of our soldier?
My friend…if you had any real concern about people living in sin and their eternal consequences…the more effective approach is to show them that you love them and care about them. Be a reflection of God’s love to a lost and dying world. Right now you are very, very far from that.
If we hold up the pattern of 1 Corinthians 13…Miss Phelps-Roper…how would you compare? If I have not love…I am nothing.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Miss Phelps-Roper…are you but a clanging symbol? In what way are your actions kind? What is loving about your words?
What does God tell us he hates?
16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
Miss Phelps-Roper…when I compare your words and your actions to God’s word…they most closely resemble the Proverbs passage and not the 1 Corinthians passage. It’s much easier to look at and be condemning of another’s sins. It’s always easy to see their sin rather than your own. And then we get the added bonus of not having to confront our own sin.
What exactly is the good news here? The good news is revealed in God’s word…which tells us that he will not despise a broken and contrite heart.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.
Blessed is he
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Jesus paid the price for our forgiveness…we just need to receive it. And then what does he ask us to do? Forgive others…not just once, but over and over…seventy times seven.
Miss Phelps-Roper…I think that both you can I can be grateful when we look at the lineage of Jesus and see there were plenty of sinful, flawed men and women. God is able to take us and cleanse us, forgive us and make us his own. But only if we have a broken repentant contrite heart. I invite you to examine yourself and your actions in light of God’s word and run to Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins.
Below is my transcript of this very heated exchange. It was a challenge to transcribe because there were a number of times Sean, Alan and Miss Phelps-Roper were talking over one another. Below is the exchange that took place on Fox News last week. To view the video clip yourself…please click on the link to Fox News, go to the Video link and select the video entitled “Illegal in Iowa”.
SEAN HANNITY– Today more than 1,000 family and friends attended the funeral of Iowa National Army Guard Sergeant Daniel Sesker. He was killed in Iraq earlier this month. But as they filed into the funeral they were confronted with protesters carrying signs. Signs with anti-gay slogans and words like “thank God for dead soldiers”. Members of the Westborough Baptist Church have been protesting military funerals since last June but today’s display came one day after Iowa’s Governor Vilsack signed legislation that specifically bands disorderly conduct within 500 feet of a funeral or a memorial service.
Joining us now from Westborough Baptist Church Shirley Phelps Roper is with us.
Ah you feel good about this? Do you feel good about going to the funerals of men that put that put their lives on the line for their country to give you the right to do this and to put pain…
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Of course.
SEAN HANNITY- to inject pain into their families lives. This is something that you feel good about?
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – I feel good about warning this nation that the wrath of God is pouring out on their heads.
SEAN HANNITY– So you want to warn the nation?
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Because they will not obey. And the Lord your God is punishing this nation and he’s doing it, one of his weapons of choice is sending your children home dead from the battle. So what were there to do is help you connect the dots and what I feel best about is that in spite of the fact that those legislative Taliban in Iowa passed an unconstitutional measure to try to stop us from putting the cup of furry and the wrath of God to your lips and making you drink it…
SEAN HANNITY– You’re obviously a nut.
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – We’re doing it anyway.
SEAN HANNITY– Okay, now look, you want to make your political and religious point and you want to do it…
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – It’s not political.
SEAN HANNITY– And you want to do it, you want to inject pain and heartache. I can’t think of, Madam, I’ve got to be honest with you. We’ve had a lot of nutty people on the show over the years. You are as mean and as sick and as cruel as anybody that I’ve ever had on this program. And the fact that you use religion to justify your hatred this way, it’s frankly, it’s mind numbing. Do you really believe that when you hold up your signs “thank God for IED’s that innocent people died”, “thank God for September 11th”, “thank God for AIDS”…
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – There are no innocent people. Thank God for 911. Thank God for dead soldiers. Thank God for IED’s. There are no innocent people.
SEAN HANNITY– And you believe all of that? You thank God for 911?
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – You think that all these mean things that you’re saying can bring back a single one of those soldier?
SEAN HANNITY– Hang on a second.
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Or bring back a single 911 victim?
SEAN HANNITY– I’ve got a question for you. You thank God for 911? You thank God for AIDS? You thank God for dead soldiers that give you the right to be a fool?
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – I thank God for every God for every one of his single righteous judgments that he executes upon a rebellious nation…
ALAN COLMES – Hey Shirley, its Alan Colmes.
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – And people who will not obey.
ALAN COLMES – What’s the matter with you?
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – (laughs) What’s the matter with me?
ALAN COLMES – What’s the matter with you?
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Why won’t you just obey? The scripture says if you obey…
ALAN COLMES – Who should I obey? Who would you like me to obey?
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – That the Lord your God will bless you, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God then he’ll curse you.
ALAN COLMES – Shirley, I want to be very clear here. Your church…
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – We’re talking here about the curses of God. It’s a curse.
ALAN COLMES – Hold on a second. Your church. Hold on a second.
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – It’s a curse when your child comes home dead from the battle.
ALAN COLMES – Shirley can you hear me okay?
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – I can hear you.
ALAN COLMES – Shirley your church is called the Westborough Baptist Church and is not associated with any mainstream Baptist organization. It’s mostly your own family members in this church. You and your father Fred Phelps hate not just gays, you hate Catholics, you hate Jews. Your father referred to the Holocaust as minuscule. Lead a protest at the Holocaust museum in D.C., said Jews are the real Nazi’s. You are an abomination and you ought to be ashamed of yourself. You are an embarrassment to this nation.
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Well I’m glad that you recognize that there is a concept as an abomination.
ALAN COLMES – The way you behave towards soldiers that risk their lives for this country, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – What you need to do is line your notions of what an abomination is up with what the notion that Lord your God has put into the standard of what he put on what an abomination is.
ALAN COLMES – You know, I’m glad to have you on television. Because as Louis Brandais said, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” And you need to be disinfected.
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Thou shall not lie … what mankind … is an abomination. (Shirley and Alan were talking over one another at this point…and it was difficult to hear Shirley’s exact words.)
ALAN COLMES – This is sick the things you are doing. How dare you this to the families of our soldiers and to other Americans? How dare you do this?
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – You can’t bring back anyone of those dead soldiers by throwing ____ at us. How dare you fail to obey the commandments of the Lord your God and bring his wrath down upon not just your own head, but the heads of these young men and women who have been cut off by a raging mad God, described in scriptures as being so angry as having smoke coming out of his nose and fire coming out of his mouth.
ALAN COLMES – (Both were talking over one another again.) Excuse me Miss Phelps. Yeah. I don’t respond to you. I don’t have to answer to you. I answer to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. You have said..
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – That’s your God. How dare you invoke the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and then flip him off refusing to obey and behave yourself.
ALAN COLMES – If you know…let me ask you a question.
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – You know that sodomy is an abomination and yet this nation rises up with one voice to say it’s okay to be gay. And you know that’s why the wrath of God us upon you.
ALAN COLMES – Okay if you can just stop your rant for one second, let me ask you a question. If you’re so popular and what you’re saying is truly the word of God, how is it that your church
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Popular?
ALAN COLMES – Let me get my question out. If you’re so popular, how is it that your church has 100 members?
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Well it’s really not quite a 100.
ALAN COLMES – And it’s your family.
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Well it’s not quite 100. And about 80% are our family. But nevertheless, that doesn’t change the word of God. And by the way, you say we are popular…no, no, no.
ALAN COLMES – You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – We are hated by this nation.
SEAN HANNITY– I’ve got a question. I’ve got one last question. Miss Phelps.
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – And that’s what the scriptures say will happen. You hate God, you hate his judgments and you hate us for telling about it.
SEAN HANNITY- I’m a Christian, I don’t hate God. Let me ask you a last question.
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – No you’re not a Christian. But go ahead.
SEAN HANNITY– What are your sins?
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Yeah, you tired this the other day. What don’t we talk about this issue at hand, Mr. Hannity.
SEAN HANNITY– What are your sins?
SHIRLEY PHELPS-ROPER – Why is it that you don’t warn your neighbor? Why is it that you don’t use that bully pulpit that you have to warn your neighbor that his sin is taking him to hell and to encourage your fellow man. Knowing the terror of the Lord, you should persuade men to obey and behave.
SEAN HANNITY– Alright…Halleluiah