For those of you who are not aware of this developing story, a national atheist organization, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, erected a contentious sign next to a nativity scene in the Olympia, Washington capitol building. The Seattle Times originally reported on the story. Now, the publicity seeking, money hounding, brow-beating, America-hating, self-righteous narcissists of the Westboro Baptist “Church” have requested to put up their own sign. Here’s what it would say:
“You’d better watch out, get ready to cry, You’d better go hide, I’m telling you why ‘cuz Santa Claus will take you to hell. He is your favorite idol, you worship at his feet, but when you stand before your God He won’t help you take the heat. So get this fact straight: you’re feeling God’s hate, Santa’s to blame for the economy’s fate, Santa Claus will take you to hell.”
A graphic a what the post would actually look like can be found here. Don’t let your kids see it; the imagery will probably scare them.
Keep in mind that this is the same famous, “God Hates Fags” cult that pickets our soldier’s funerals. These people are utterly despicable and believe in a radical, works-based righteousness type of salvation. I’ve taken this snippet from the Westboro Baptist FAQ that proves it:
The difference between me and a defiant, practicing homosexual, is grace. When the grace of God operates on the heart of a human, that human desires to obey God and live soberly and righteously. And when that happens, that person is profoundly impressed with his sinful nature, and falls on his knees begging God’s mercy. And God has mercy on that heart. Then, and only then, a true spirit of repentance exists, and forgiveness follows. (Emphasis mine)
The error is subtle, but where is the righteousness of Christ? Where is His atoning work? The author seems to believe in God’s grace, but only in that it allows him to repent and live righteously. That is what brings about salvation, not the blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Salvation of any kind apart from Jesus is no salvation at all. Anyway, I’m not going to address that here.
I wanted to take for a moment a little time to exam the theological claims of this poster. Notice first what is glaringly missing: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This poster, as disturbing and flawed as it is, would be an example of what is called Law. There is certainly a place for the Law, and it serves the purpose of leading the hearer to the Savior (Galatians 3:24). The poster does not do this however; no one is directed to Jesus. Instead, the message is one of spiritual bondage: “Stop idolizing Santa and God won’t hate you.” That is legalism through and through, folks. Worshipping Santa Claus as a god will certainly send you to Hell, but not as quickly as legalistic self-righteousness will. Those who think they are they are good enough to be first in line to Heaven are in reality bad enough to be first in line to Hell.
Let’s take a look at the first claim: believing in Santa Claus will take you to Hell. I mean, really? As a matter of personal conviction, I am not planning on teaching my children about Santa Claus. I want Christmas to be about Jesus, not the mythical, red-suited, jolly man bearing gifts. But to claim that people who either believe in him or teach the Christmas stories to their children are guilty of idolatry is a bit much. Can Santa Claus be a false idol to some? Perhaps, but so can Silly Putty. Where are the Westboro Baptist posters decrying the satanic evil of Silly Putty?
The sign is correct in one way. Santa Claus will not save you from God’s wrath on the Day of Judgment. Only Jesus Christ can do that. Unfortunately, as I’ve previously pointed out, this abominable sign doesn’t even mention His name.
If I could speak with those who made this poster, I would ask, What will save me from God’s wrath? If faith in Jesus Christ does not save me, what does? Keeping the requirements of the Law? Following the Ten Commandments? Not idolozing Santa Claus? Picketing military funerals?
The last section printed is the same theology that the Westboro Baptist Church embraces as gospel. Yes, I chose that word deliberately. The “good news” Westboro Baptist proclaims is that God hates everyone and is sending them to Hell. Cheery, don’t you think? How this news is good is beyond me. I know that my sins deserve eternal punishment from a Holy God, but messages like the one this group wants to put in the Washington State capitol offer no hope. I guess I’m not good enough to meet God’s standard like the folks in Westboro Baptist are.
Biblically, such an ideology is unsubstantiated. While God does reserve the right to hate individual or even groups of sinners (Psalm 5:5, Lev. 20:23, Hosea 9:15), He also harbors a general love for mankind and the world (John 3:16). As such, both His general grace and saving grace are available to all people. This sign fails to address God’s character correctly and portrays Him as a malevolent hate-monger.
This disgusting kind of poster is both abberant and heretical. The language it employes should be shunned by any Christian as hateful, arrogant, and mean-spirited. The disturbing thing is that it will probably be displayed anyway.