In the small town of Winfield, Alabama, there are two churches (and I use that term very loosely) called “Christian Identity Ministries” and the “Church of God’s Chosen.” Their pastors (again – loose terminology), William C. Collier and Mel Lewis, only open their doors to white people. Now they say that this doesn’t make them racist. Collier goes so far as to say, “It has nothing whatsoever to do with any kind of racism or hate or anything like that. And anybody who would brand it as that would be a racist and a hater themselves, you know.”
An annual 3-day conference that they hold ends every year with a “Sacred Christian Cross Lighting Ceremony.” Of course, those of us who equate cross burning with the racist actions of the KKK are wrong. According to Lewis, they’re not “burning” a cross – they’re “lighting” one and it’s an element of “cleansing worship.” Funny, but I have always found that if you light something on fire, it burns, making “burning” the second step to “lighting” (works like that every winter when we start fires in our fireplace).
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, isn’t it a duck?
When people like Christian Identity Ministries, Church of Jesus Christ – Christian (Wesley A. Swift) or Westboro Baptist Church claw their way to the front page with their lunacy, I go through a myriad of emotions. I find myself being appalled, horrified, saddened, disgusted, horrified and above all – angry. Hatred is not the face of my faith!
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
It DOES NOT read “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that the white people who believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If I were a better person, a better pastor, a better Christian, I would say that my biggest heartbreak here is that these people (the leaders and their followers – but especially the leaders) will have to face God one day and they will have to pay a high price for misleading God’s people (Jeremiah 14:14-16). While I do think about that and feel bad for them for what their choices are going to reap, my biggest heartbreak is for the people that don’t know Jesus, see the picture of hatred that these “leaders” paint and run the other way. Those people who are led to believe that ALL of us Christians are like that make the most important choice in their lives on a lie!
If you don’t know Jesus, then let me share the TRUTHS that I have bet my eternity on …
- We’re ALL sinners, the white, the black, the brown, the tan … If you’ve got blood running through your veins, you’re one of us too.
- God loves us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross as the blood price for our sins.
- Jesus loves us so much that He knew what He faced on the cross – and He went anyway!
- Love beat death on that cross and gave us the gift of eternal life.
The William Collier, Mel Lewis, Wesley Swift and Fred Phelps types of people will tell you that God is all about hate, not love. (Phelps and Swift more openly than Collier and Lewis, who cloak their hatred in generic terms, unexplained “proof” and denial.) They are WRONG!
Matthew 7:15-20 tells us that we can recognize a tree by its fruit. Hatred and racism are the fruit of bad trees. Bad trees that bear bad fruit are cut down and thrown into the fire.
Please – don’t ever see a picture of a bad tree and think that it represents all of us. Just like you wouldn’t get a single apple (or even a bushel of them) that had worms or rot and decide that ALL apples were bad, don’t let the actions of people like Collier, Lewis and Phelps make you believe that ALL Christians are bad.