Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Westboro Baptist Church: Bringing Us Together in Peace and Love

Dearest Friends of Westboro Baptist Church,

I am writing today with a soul at ease for the first time in several days. I learned of your plans to be present at the funerals in Newtown, and I want to share my appreciation of the work your traveling ministry is called to do.

I’m sure this is a surprise, since the reaction of most folks is one of keen, righteous anger. And I must admit that until today, this was my default. The scales have fallen from my eyes, and I have a new understanding of the profundity of your mission. I am heartened that your presence will again call those of diverse political and religious backgrounds to a place of unity and of love. They will be called to show and share the love of God and humanity to and with those who are most in need of that love. My heart sings when I remind myself of the creative ways folks have responded to your specific message.

I recall several years ago, in response to your presence in our community, a colleague of mine created a fundraising campaign called “God Really Likes You”. She asked our congregation to donate money based on the number of signs your group brought to the event. She was able to raise several hundred dollars to provide needed funds to a local group that advocates for gay, lesbian, transgender, and bi high school students. I know that she sent you a letter of thanks, and I would like to take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge the direct link between the Westboro Baptist Church and the moneys raised for this group. This group of children, so vital to the core of your ministry, were able to fund a number of advocacy projects. Surely the impact of your ministry is not lost on you.

I am also reminded of the groups that have formed, formally and spontaneously, in reaction to your presence. Groups of human beings forming shields to stand in solidarity with strangers. Groups motorcycle enthusiasts, calling themselves The Patriot Guard Riders, who travel with you to the funerals of fallen veterans. They also form chains and rev their engines so the ears of the grief stricken hear only the glorious cacophony of support. And one child who stood with a pencil drawn note to remind us “God hates no one”.

In this time when our nation grieves and tries to make sense of tragedy, it gives me great hope to know that your ministry will once again escort us boldly to a place of unity. A place of decency. A place of love.

Dearest Friends of Westboro Baptist Church, I wish you joy. I wish you peace. I wish you love. Most of all, I wish you continued success with the work that brings so many of us together.

Yours in deepest gratitude,
Christine McCann
Director of Religious Education
Bull Run Unitarian Universalists
Manassas, VA
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