A few years ago I was leaning on the fence at a high school football game. I told the then-investigator with the police department I could tell him out many people were in the stadium.
It was homecoming. The stands were packed.
"How many?" he said.
"500," I replied.
"You're wrong," he said. "There's way more people here than that."
The then-chief of police got an intense look on his face, eyed me sideways (it was not the first time) and said "You're right" meaning me.
Indeed, I was right and continue to be right. There were 500 people in the stands. The fact that the entire head count in the stadium was considerably more than 500, over 1,000, does not change the fact I was, and am, right.
There were 500 people in the stands.
I'll let you chew on that a while as I get to the point of this blog.
After I read the Westboro church would not show up to protest at the funeral of the little girl killed in the Arizona shooting, and sparked by some other readings, I moseyed over to the church website.
I warn you right now, you need to read ALL the way through this before you decide to tear into me and tar me with the same brush and paint you use on Fred Phelps et al.
I surfed around and found a FAQ section. Intrigued, I read through it and some of the church blogs.
The more I read the more I realized the invective and rhetoric the church spouts and spews is, indeed, correct. The Westboro church toes a tight Biblical line.
Not that everything they believe is Biblically correct. Probably 95 percent of if, from what I read, is correct. Maybe less, maybe more. Certainly a sizable majority is correct. Of the mistaken whatever percent, the significance of the statements vary. Like it or not, much of their hate-mongering, vitriol slinging and insults have a Biblical basis.
You and I don't have to like it, but they back much of their stuff up.
Does this make them right?
Yes. They are right, mostly.
They are looking at a stadium of people and saying "There are 500 people here" when there are more than 1,000 people in the stands. That's still a correct statement.
You are probably thinking, or at least thought for a moment, it's not correct.
In order to get to 1,000 people you must first have 500 people. Get it?
Try this. I never said how many TOTAL people are in the stadium. I only said there are SOME people in the stands.
Such nuances of language are the reasons lawyers make fortunes.
So back to Westboro.
The total number of people in the stadium is 1,212 and Westboro is saying there are 500 people. They are correct, but they are not giving you the grand total.
With their statements on the website, they are not telling the entire story. They are stopping short of the entire matter. What they say is correct as far as it goes. They don't bother to complete the story nor do they ever say they are telling you the complete and entire story, at least as far as I read. They merely present some of the facts, not all of them.
They make no apologies for this and offer no excuses. In a very roundabout fashion they invite people to read the Bible and get the whole story.
You are probably wanting to ask me "So if they are so right but left something out, what did they leave out?"
Pretty much the entire New Testament. The bits they correctly quote in their diatribes are rephrasings from the Old Testament.
Yes, the church includes the part about Jesus' sacrifice for our sins, but that too is an Old Testament idea (yes huh). It became the reality in the New Testament.
The part they leave out is doing what Jesus told us to do in the New Testament, and yes parts of the Old Testament.
Forgive. The Bible is very clear - to be forgiven we must forgive. A person with forgiveness in his heart cannot have hate there. Westboro Baptist Church doesn't want people to know that.
When the adulterous woman came to Jesus, He was kind to her. In the Old Testament, she would have been stoned. Westboro is busy throwing stones.
That's what they are leaving out.
Another part they leave out, which is OFTEN left out in pretty much every Christian denomination, is respect for and obeying those in authority over us, which means government officials. Uhn. That hurt. It's a problem I have as well, but I never claimed to be perfect.
Yassee, it's not just a case of Westboro and Phelps leaving stuff out, and not telling the whole story. They want it to be the whole story.
Going back to my stadium story, they are urgently wishing the sum total of people in the stadium is 500. But as long as they only say there are 500 people and do not say the total number is 500, they are correct. They can still wish for things to be different and may chose to ignore the 721 left. It won't make 'em go away.
They, and anyone else, can deny reality. It won't change reality, but it will tell others that they (and anyone else) are delusional to put it mildly.
None is so blind as he who will not see.