I was extremely saddened when I read the posts on Dion Forster and Wessel Bentley's blogs about the intention of Westboro Baptist Church's intention to picket the funeral of Australian actor Heath Ledger, who died recently.
The focus of this group's wrath is Ledger's portrayal as a homosexual cowboy in the film Brokeback Mountain, for which he won the Oscar for Best Actor.
Now I'm not about to enter the fray concerning the whole debate around same-sex relationships (at least not in this post), but reading the press release as well as Dion's and Wessel's comments got me thinking about the strange ways in which we attempt to win the world for Jesus Christ.
Here is my "Top 10" list:
- Always point out people's sin - not only to them, but to the rest of the world. After all, if it wasn't for us, no-one would know. The person who has just downed about 14 beers would never know that they are drunk, nor would those around who are smelling that person's boozy breath. Never miss an opportunity to tell sinners that they are going to hell.
- When you are carrying out Task 1, make sure that you cause maximum embarrassment to the person concerned. After all, until they feel terrible about themselves, they'll never conform to a Godly way of life, will they?
- Use inflammatory language such as "God hates fags" to add maximum impact. While you're about it, why not make a comprehensive list of every sin you can think of, ranging from women who (gasp!) candidate for the ordained ministry to (shock, horror) people of different races who actually want to worship together. Add the words "God hates..." as a prefix to each one, and get your Sunday School to make posters for the righteous to brandish.
- When someone walks into the church wearing shorts, a T-shirt, and slops, point out that the only acceptable manner in which one should be dressed when appearing before God is a two-piece (preferably three-piece) suit, complete with tie (conservative - no Garfield or Looney Tunes allowed), WHITE shirt, and lace-up shoes shined to military standards.
- While on dress - let us not forget the appropriate attire for women - ankle-length dresses, no jewellery apart from a watch and wedding ring, and stockings. Hats are obligatory. After all, only whores would dare dress in anything else.
- Never, ever, ever greet any newcomers to the church. You took YEARS to get into the right clique - why should they have an easy passage?
- Ministers must be addressed as "Reverend" or "Pastor" at all times. If you have known them for at least 5 years, you may address them as "Reverend John". Anyone who addresses the Man of God as "John" should be admonished for their disrespect.
- After church is out, it's absolutely fine to go home and kick the dog, beat your wife, and cheat on your tax return, as long as you do this in the privacy of your own home. If you can get away with sleeping with the organist or embezzling church funds, all the better. You get bonus points if you are the minister who is doing these things - after all, everyone else gets away with it.
- Always give the "one-fingered salute" to the taxi driver who cuts you off in traffic. Bonus points if you can unleash a barrage of swear words to all the occupants in the taxi as well. If you happen to see one of them at the next Local Preachers' meeting, just ignore them - they probably won't recognise you anyway.
- Oh, and by the way, if you so happen to be at Heath Ledger's funeral, make sure you diss his parents and loved ones when you are there. After all, Ledger got the punishment from God that he deserved, and it's his parents' fault for bringing such a filthy scum into the world in the first place. His "loved ones" are probably all fags as well, so save a bit for them as well. Refer to points 1, 2 and 3 of you aren't quite sure what to do.
If you do all these things diligently and conscientiously, everyone you meet will surely repent of their wicked ways and rush into your church on Sunday. It might however be a bit lonely for the first five years, unless they manage to form a clique of their own with other newcomers whom you have managed to convert using these ten easy steps.