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Picketing Heath Ledger’s funeral

From Foxnews.com on 1/23: A radical Baptist church in Kansas known for picketing the funerals of soldiers who perished in Iraq said it intends to protest Heath Ledger’s memorial service with signs claiming the actor died and is in Hell because he played a gay character in “Brokeback Mountai…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

From Foxnews.com on 1/23:

A radical Baptist church in Kansas known for picketing the funerals of
soldiers who perished in Iraq said it intends to protest Heath Ledger’s
memorial service with signs claiming the actor died and is in Hell because he
played a gay character in “Brokeback Mountain.”

“Heath Ledger is now in Hell, and has begun serving his
eternal sentence there,” the Westboro Baptist
announcement says.

* *
* *

I’m sorry folks, but this is just over-the-top wrong. It is
shameful and flat-out disgusting. The gospel is nothing if not good
of grace for sinners. This piece of garbage out of Topeka is so filled
what Phillip Yancey calls “un-grace” that it has nothing to do with the
Christian church, Baptist or otherwise.

Whatever happened to the first
sermon Jesus preached where he said, “Do not judge or you too will be
judged”? If nothing else, have a little
respect for the grieving parents, for heaven’s sake.

Nouwen said this about forgiveness: “It often appears that we are not able to offer
forgiveness to others because we have not been able fully to receive it. Only
as people who have accepted forgiveness can we find the inner freedom to give

Judgmental religious folks that condemned sinners needing grace
were the ones that Jesus held up for his most passionate rebuke. He
called them “snakes,” “a brood of vipers,” “blind guides,” “twice as much a son
of hell” and “white-washed tombs.” (see Matthew 23 for the list)

In our day, he might hold up the self-righteous folk at Westboro
Baptist for the same scathing treatment. Even supposing they get a few
doctrinal things about Jesus right, they get his heart spectacularly wrong.

*For more on this, here’s a good blog about it.

Comments (14)

  • This guys has got a real misunderstanding! Jesus preached grace to sinners and hell to the religious.
    I wonder who will picket his funeral?

  • This guy and his group have ticked me off for years, because he’s the first example that people use for why they don’t believe in Christianity.
    I’m just glad that the Patriot Guard Riders have taken such a great role in protecting the soldiers’ funerals. Check them out at http://www.patriotguard.org – the whole reason they started was to create a loud shield of motorcycles between Westboro Baptist and the funerals.

  • I met a self-righteous guy like this a week or two ago, and it caused me to do some soul-searching. How am I self-righteous, or just a downright jerk sometimes? Of course, I think these guys are a little more than self-righteous; apostate may be a better word. Nonetheless, why has the Lord allowed them to persist, and what can we learn from them? Tough questions to ask, but it seems like the gracious thing to do. You taught me this.

  • Amen and Amen Brother.
    I don’t understand the reasoning behind this kind of stuff. Are these people blind to the thruth of the good news? Have they forgotten where they were when Christ found them? Father help us not to forget. I like Jeff’s comments. Help us to see and destroy any religious self-righteousness that exist in out hearts.


  • All I can say is this, I’d hate to wear his shoes on judgement day. I have a hard time understanding this mentality and hate what it says publicaly about “CHRISTIANS”

    I pray that the pastor will turn from this and lead his flock toward Love and not Judgement.

  • Fred Phelps angers me…

    There was a kid this past summer who was on his way up to Topeka, KS to kill this guy and blow up his ‘compound’. The police stopped him.

    It’s very sad. My heart is heavy for him though full of anger at the same time. My prayer is that Ledger’s family is comforted by our God… not Phelps’ invention of Him.

  • Comments and reflections. Not necessarily a response to my friend Seth’s anguish.



    Is this actor in hell? Maybe. Some people go to hell.

    The guy in Kansas? A wacko with a heart for God.

    Bet you didn’t like that.

    I wonder how many crimes, wars and horrific actions were taken in the name of God.

    Lots of people who believe they’re doing God’s will could not be more wrong.

    The only bumper sticker I want to put on my car is the one that reads: “Lord, deliver me from your followers.”

    That said…

    In my opinion we are in an age where sin is not preached nearly enough. Isn’t that essential to the gospel? Why else would we need a savior?

    And to refine the gospel down to “inviting Jesus into your heart” is heresy, in my opinion. It’s not about welcoming Him into your life. It’s about dying to your life and being welcomed into the life God has for you. For better or worse. For richer or poorer. In sickness or health. For so long as you shall live.

    The pastor?

    Solomon put it best:

    “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. Answer a fool as his folly deserves, lest he be wise in his own eyes.”

    This man is simply deceived.

    But he is not the enemy. Remember? We struggle not against flesh and blood.

    Christians should be known by their (our) love, not whom we hate in spite of this generation’s shibboleth to the contrary.

    As we judge and condemn this pastor’s sin and I see no error in doing so, as we judge ourselves by the same measure we have an opportunity to express our love for him and God’s love for him.

    Especially because he does not deserve it.

    That’s the gospel.


    For those who do not deserve it.

    This man is a pawn of the devil, and he may sicken us. But this is the mission of Christians: to love our enemies and to bless those who abuse us and curse us.

    Isn’t it?

    We can use this man’s ungodly outbursts into an opportunity to express God’s love for all sinners and His merciful offer of the death and resurrection of Christ to pay the penalty for our sins, that we might be free from the penalty of death that we all must otherwise pay.


  • Yeah Robert… all of that sounds good and indeed is truth; however, this guy is not acting out of love. His actions are the very reason why people don’t want to come to Christianity.

    It makes me sick to see someone picket a funeral when one knows nothing about that person. Salvation is a heart thing, and only God can search the heart of man.

    Seth, thank you for posting this blog! It is definitely a reminder to pray for the Pharisees, who are shredding the true purpose of Christ, to love God and to love people!

  • I have actually spoken with these people when they picketed our church in Topeka. They were the most hateful, angry, foul-mouthed people. I have never experienced that kind of treatment from people that were supposed to be Christians. Their message is not about of the good news of Jesus Christ. Rather, it the message that the message that the Pharisees preached. They preach hatred not love and forgiveness. That is the message of Jesus Christ. These people just don’t get it! They should take heed that they don’t have the same fate that they think Heath Ledger has.

  • How dare this turd Fred Phelps judge God’s creation!!! Furthermore, how dare some second-rate author in the Bible like Paul judge God’s creation. Last I looked nobody wrote the Gospels of Paul? Sorry! I take my instructions from the Lord Jesus Christ, my personal savior, and not some Johnny-come-lately hate machine like St. Paul!

    Sorry if this rocks your boat, but it is the crystalline truth!

  • how dare u say he is in hell u do not kno, he could of gotton saved and repented, so if i were all of yall i would repent 4 judging some1 cause u didn’t kno his personal life..and remember u reap wut u sow

  • i loved heath he met his girlfriend in the movie brokeback mt.later had a child together;does that sound gay 2u/rot in hell pastor

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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