I grow weary of editorials and commentators who make facile comparisons between orthodox Christianity and the fringe group known as “Westboro Baptist Church.” Just this week, The Baltimore Sun published an editorial comparing Chick-fil-a president Dan Cathy to the Westboro extremists. I know not everyone can be a religion reporter, but this kind of ignorance of the basic differences between mainstream evangelicals and Westboro hatred is inexcusable.
That is why I’m throwing in my lot with Marty Duren, who urges media-types to change the way they refer to Fred Phelps’ infamous church. Duren writes:
To All Media Outlets, Reporters, Writers and Editors:
It is abundantly clear to most Americans that the “Westboro Baptist Church” is neither “Baptist” nor a “church” according to any commonly accepted meaning of either word. As a Christ follower, and a long time church attender, I enter this plea to stop using the phrase “Westboro Baptist Church” in favor of the more accurate “the Westboro cult.”
Whether or not folks will heed Duren’s advice remains to be seen. In any case, cult probably would be a better description of what Westboro Baptist Church really is. Maybe a new designation would help reporters not to make spurious comparisons like the one made in The Baltimore Sun. Read the rest of Duren’s argument here.