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I have mixed feelings about this: Driscoll, WBC


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religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/17/church-welcomes-westboro-protests-even-though-they-deeply-disagree/

Church welcomes Westboro protests, even though they deeply disagree

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)–When Westboro Baptist Church protesters roll into any given town, most places don't exactly put out the welcome mat, until this Sunday.

"This False Prophet and His Blind Lemmings Welcome You to Our Whore House for God's Grace and Free Donuts," Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle announced on his blog this week after learning that Westboro plans to picket one of his churches on Father's Day.

Driscoll is a popular pastor in the Pacific Northwest. He heads a group of multisite churches that regularly draw 10,000 parishioners a week across 10 locations. He preaches live at one location, and his sermons are sent out by video to the other locations the following week, when the services are held with live music and another onsite pastor.

Driscoll, a popular author and speaker, is "Christian-famous," which appears to have led to the protest.

Driscoll found out about it when someone posted a link on his Facebook wall.

"At first I thought maybe it was a joke," Driscoll said. "A church picketing a church seems peculiar."

In turns out it was not a joke, so Driscoll said his church plan to roll out the welcome mat.

"They need Jesus too, maybe as bad as anyone on the Earth. As a church, we're called to love people. They're people, so they make the list."

Some towns have gone so far as to create laws barring Westboro Baptist Church from protesting military funerals. Bikers have shown up with huge American flags and revved their engines to drown out their shouts, and counterprotesters have donned giant angel wings to block the protesters from the mourners' view.

"We need to be nice to these people, go out shake their hands, say hi, give them a bite to eat, cup of coffee and just try to be friendly and nice. The last thing I want is for our people to get into a shouting match with a bunch of crazies," Driscoll said.

Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro was started by Fred Phelps in 1955 and is best known for protesting soldiers' funerals carrying signs that say "God Hates Fags," and "Thank God for dead soldiers." It says on its website that it is an "Old School (or, Primitive) Baptist Church," though it has no known ties to any broader national Baptist denomination.

Phelps told CNN in 2006, "You can't preach the Bible without preaching the hatred of God."

The church's membership is small and mainly made of Phelps family members.

They are regularly sued for defamation but often win those cases. Last year, one such case went all the way to the Supreme Court, where the justices upheld their right to free speech. One of Phelps' daughters, a Harvard Law-trained attorney, represented the family before the court.

Its website, Godhatesfags.com, says the church will picket the Mars Hill Church site in Auburn, Washington. Mars Hill officials said that probably means their Federal Way campus, where about 600 people come to services each week.

Detective Jeff Kappel, a Seattle Police Department spokesman, said officers know the church is coming Sunday and said their city is more than familiar with protesters of all sorts.

"We're not going to infringe on anyone's First Amendment rights as long as no one is violating the law. If they're protesting peacefully within the bounds of the law, they're more than welcome to express their First Amendment rights."

Westboro Baptist said in the announcement about the protest that it is picketing Mars Hill Church because "they teach the lies that God love (sic) everyone and Jesus died for the sins of all of mankind. You have caused the people to trust in lies to their destruction, and to your damnation."

"For us, we do believe in judgment, but we believe God is the one who judges ultimately," Driscoll said. Some moral judgments along the way notwithstanding, he said, "whether or not people are going to go to heaven or hell, that's God's judgment, not our judgment. Ultimately, heaven is God's house. He gets to determine the guest list."

Driscoll said the sermon this week will be pre-taped, in part so he can attend a baseball tournament his son is playing in. The message, he said, comes from the Gospel of Luke and is about Zacchaeus, a crooked tax collector who found redemption.

"He was a total con man. Jesus became friends with him, and he became a Christian. Then his heart changed, and he paid everyone back he had ripped off and made a public apology," Driscoll explained. The religious leaders of the day weren't thrilled, he said.

"They were all basically protesting that Jesus loved this guy. He didn't deserve to be loved. The point is, no one is. Jesus loves just because he's loving, not because we're lovable."

Therein lies the difference between Mars Hill Church's theology and Westboro.

"It's kind of funny," Driscoll said. "They're showing up on the Sunday where the story is, Jesus loved a really bad guy, and the religious people stood around and protested."

*On one hand, I like that the pastor is kinda mocking WBC.

On the other hand, I wish the WBC would drop off the face of the earth and I think ignoring them would make them go away faster.

Your thoughts?

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The sad thing is that nobody will ignore them. They crave that attention because they know it's hit close to home for many when others hear them preach how we're all going to Hell.

One of my roommate's best friend was murdered back in 2008 (She was that Auburn student who was murdered by a highway and her car was found torched near the campus) and they picketed her funeral for being Jewish. I even saw a segment of it on 20/20 where one of the girl (Laura Drain) was shunned by her own family for questioning WBC. Her dad sounded like a complete jackass and had no heart for his daughter, saying things like how she'll burn in Hell for what's done. Psychos.

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Mark Driscoll is the biggest media whore in whoredom. He's completely spinning this BS. Westboro is forever picketing Seattle, etc, and we ignore them. But noooooooo - Driscoll must respond. And from where I sit, Driscoll is just another flavor of crazy.

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it is a good thing to do but a bit pointless. first I question that they are human part that part is hard to believe.

but you know they would never accept it would really go against their hate everyone theme.

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Mark Driscoll is the biggest media whore in whoredom. He's completely spinning this BS. Westboro is forever picketing Seattle, etc, and we ignore them. But noooooooo - Driscoll must respond. And from where I sit, Driscoll is just another flavor of crazy.

I had wondered about that. I am not familiar with Driscoll at all.

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Guest Anonymous

I am attending a counter protest in Seattle this Sunday against the WBC. But I agree Driscoll has some messed up theology it is so sad.

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As a Lutheran Christian, I disagree heartily with Fred Phelps' theology; I haven't read up on Driscoll's theology but I look askance at his style.

All that said, I rather admire Mars Hill's decision to greet the WBC with doughnuts, coffee and handshakes. If the media are lazy enough to put their on their story lists for the weekend (and sadly, I bet they are just that lazy), then the resulting images are likely to be remarkable.

Remarkable in that instead of the following, standard images:

1. poor Shirley Phelps making herself uglier than she is by bawling out vile parody lyrics to old hymn tunes

2. earnest-faced counterprotestors with their mouths similarly open, either shouting back at Shirley, or singing peace songs at her

3. stern-faced police standing by

The images will be:

1. As usual, Shirley doing her ugly things

2. Smiling or at worst, bemused Mars Hill members at tables full of coffee urns and

3. Other counterprotestors, may be

The point being, if the MH people are able to get to the media - and from what I've heard of Driscoll's savvy ways, they will - they may make the point about their religion being one of reconciliation and striving for peace.

It would be a way different slant from the usual script, which is,

"A 'church' rolled into town today to tell mourners/other Christians they are going to Hell. The controversial WBC was met with counter-protests of bikers/folksingers/angel-wingers/sheet-holders/police from a municipality that's banned protests within 1000 feet, etc.

"[soundbites from shirley, from counter protestors]

"[Visuals of WBC signs, counter signs]."

This time, the script would almost have to read,

"A 'church' some call a 'hate group' rolled into town to condemn another church and were met with ... doughnuts!"

etc. etc.

I really think it's worth a try, and will try to remember to look up the results online.

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Agree or disagree, what they are doing is the epitome of Biblical:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighborh and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?"
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Driscoll and the Mars Hill Church are their own form of fame whore, judgmental, patriarcal crazy. Jesus Fight Club anyone? I wish they would just go the fuck away. I have no regard for WBC at all. Actually I kind of hope the earth opens up and swallows them all.

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I don't know Driscoll at all, but I applaud him for this. If WBC picketed my church, this is how we would respond. If everyone responded this way, the news would stop covering it and they would lose all their steam anyway. (Of course, I don't expect that for funerals.)

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Guest Anonymous

"At first I thought maybe it was a joke," Driscoll said. "A church picketing a church seems peculiar."

Driscoll is no stranger to church pickets. The last picket at Mars Hill was the one shortly after Ted Haggard was outed for using male prostitutes and crystal meth. And Driscoll's response (which prompted the picket) had been that all too often Pastors fall into sin because their wives have let themselves go and stopped being sexually available to their husbands.

I don't think this is so much 'a church picketing a church', as it is one group of attention-whore-crazies picketing a different group of attention-whore-crazies.

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Mark Driscoll is the biggest media whore in whoredom. He's completely spinning this BS. Westboro is forever picketing Seattle, etc, and we ignore them. But noooooooo - Driscoll must respond. And from where I sit, Driscoll is just another flavor of crazy.

As far as I'm concerned, there's virtually no difference between Driscoll and WBC. In fact, I consider Driscoll to be far more dangerous, because he's got a large following and he really hates women.

Hell's obviously not hot enough yet--for either Mark Driscoll or the denizens of WBC...which is what I'd say if I believed in hell. And I don't (but I do like tweaking noses).

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"This False Prophet and His Blind Lemmings Welcome You to Our Whore House for God's Grace and Free Donuts," Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle announced on his blog this week after learning that Westboro plans to picket one of his churches on Father's Day.

That right there says it all. Mark Driscoll. We have Steven Anderson, the "pissing preacher," and Mark Driscoll is the "cussing preacher" whose hatred of women is exceeded only by his own love of listening to himself bloviate and his attention-whoring behavior. It's a publicity stunt. Pure and simple.

I agree with the OP that he's much more dangerous than the Westboro nuts. At least everybody knows they're nuts. Driscoll says just enough good that people miss all the bad stuff mixed in with it.

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Agree or disagree, what they are doing is the epitome of Biblical:

Agreed, BUT Jesus Christ did not say, call out the media so they can document this wonderful thing you are doing and show the wider world how remarkable you are. That is the problem I have. Not only is Driscoll keeping WBC in the forefront, he's interjecting himself into it in a way that I'm sure he is getting some very unBiblical satisfaction from. A pox on both their houses. :handgestures-thumbdown:

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As a church, we're called to love people. They're people, so they make the list.

I don't know anything about Driscoll but I liked what he said here. We need to send that to, well, everyone we have ever discussed here. Also, I am now going to steal this line.

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I had wondered about that. I am not familiar with Driscoll at all.

If you search him on YouTube, you can come up plenty of clips of him if you want to get a flavor of what he's like. Also, the ladies over at Wartburg Watch have a number of posts about him that are pretty informative.

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Here in Reno, we had a "We Love You WBC!" rally led by a GLBT centered UCC minister. Of course she didn't get national coverage.

Cant stand Mark Driscoll. He is riding on the backs of others with this, only publicising it. Jesus also says stuff about doing your good deeds privately.

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I have a friend who does a magic act. His show was picketed by Westboro once- he decided that meant he'd "made it" and got his friends to take pictures. :D

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I don't know why anyone would listen to this greasy manchild bloviate on a weekly basis. I have about as much respect for Phelps. SKUZZZZY to the max!

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I had wondered about that. I am not familiar with Driscoll at all.

Hmm. No, I think The Purpose Driven Rick Warren is actually a bigger whore. Also, I really hate him. And I don't say I hate people very often.

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Hmm. No, I think The Purpose Driven Rick Warren is actually a bigger whore. Also, I really hate him. And I don't say I hate people very often.

Why do you hate Rick Warren, Treemom? I'm not a fan of his. I'm just curious.

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My high school was picketed by WBC when I was a junior. A bunch of us students had a counterprotest planned, but when we showed up at school that day, it was like a cop convention. It seemed like every police officer in the metro area was hanging out on campus and directing traffic around. The WBC couldn't even get close enough to the campus to really upset anyone.

Maybe if the administration had offered them donuts they would have bogged off.

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Why do you hate Rick Warren, Treemom? I'm not a fan of his. I'm just curious.

I think he is a total fraud. Also, he allowed people to speak at his church who were involved in actively campaigning for the death penalty for gay people in Uganada.

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