I have been embarrassed on a few separate occasions to be associated with Pepperdine University, where I received my Master of Divinity.
But I have never been as embarrassed, nay, as ashamed as I was when I learned that Westboro Baptist Church, the überfundamentalist, homophobic, inbred family hate group church in Topeka, Kansas, notorious for picketing the funerals of fallen US soldiers while carrying signs that read “God hates fags”, is picketing three, count them, THREE different churches in Malibu this weekend, but NOT Pepperdine University and NOT the University Church of Christ that meets on its campus!
How humiliating must it be for anyone associated with Pepperdine when Westboro Baptist comes to picket in Malibu, and neither Pepperdine, nor the Church of Christ on campus warrant picketing.
How socially irrelevant and theologically impotent must you be in a community when Westboro Baptist comes to town and chooses to picket 3 other churches.
Then again, this shouldn’t surprise us: A Pepperdine Law School faculty member, Richard Peterson, was the poster child for the “Yes on Prop 8” campaign, which sought to ban same-sex marriage in California. After an understandable public outcry against the school, Pepperdine’s President, Andy Benton, issued a number of press statements attempting to convince the public and the Pepperdine community that it was officially “neutral” on the issue of same-sex marriage. He stated:
“As a matter of established policy, the university does not take positions on partisan political issues, including ballot initiatives.”
But no sooner had he issued this statement, than Pepperdine’s Law School Dean, Ken Starr, agreed to argue on behalf of the Yes on 8 campaign to overturn and nullify those same-sex marriage that were performed legally between the time the court struck down Prop 8 and its announcement of a stay on same-sex marriages until the courts come to a conclusion on the matter.
Thus, it should be no surprise that Westboro Baptist isn’t going to picket Pepperdine or the University Church of Christ: they agree about same-sex marriage and gays!!
This isn’t difficult math: Pepperdine has become the banner institution in Los Angeles for the suppression of the rights of LGTBQ individuals, and this must please Westboro Baptist to no end!
“Pepperdine seeks to be faithful to this teaching because we believe it is God’s will…and therefore we cannot endorse another view or take a neutral position on sexual morality…we do not believe it is possible for a LGBT student organization to maintain a neutral position.”
What a tremendously sad commentary on Pepperdine and the Church of Christ in Malibu when Westboro Baptist comes to town and says, “Nah, they’re cool.”
A trusted mentor once told me, “You must live so that the right people praise you, and the right people curse you.” I put it this way:
“We should always seek to live our lives in such a manner that Westboro Baptist Church would rush to picket our funeral.”
And yet, Westboro Baptist Church is coming to the small, seaside town of Malibu, and according to it’s “picketing schedule“, will be picketing Malibu Presbyterian Church, Waveside Church, and Our Lady of Malibu Catholic Church, before heading to Santa Monica High School and the Academy Awards to picket the “Hollywood elite.”
But I’ll ask again: What does it say about the conservative Christian Pepperdine University that WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH looks at them and says, “Nah, they’re cool.”
How culturally inert does a university have to be to not get protested by Westboro Baptist?
So yes, I can understand why Westboro Baptist, while putting together a list of churches, schools, and organizations to protest, might look at Pepperdine University and the University Church of Christ that meets on its campus and say, “Nah, let’s not protest them. They’re with us on this issue.”
In the mean time, Pepperdine has invited Rick Warren, who recently announced that he regrets supporting the California ban on on same-sex marriage, to host a ministry pre-conference just prior to its annual Bible Lectures.
So for Pepperdine, Rick Warren is an invited guest, and Westboro Baptist doesn’t see any need to picket them.
I am equal parts saddened and appalled by this, but in the end, I am really just sad for my friends back at Pepperdine.
I would shake my head, but what good would it do? All I can do is shine a light on a place that not even Westboro Baptist Church finds worthy enough to picket.
Filed under: christianity, religion Tagged: | impotent, irrelevant, malibu, Malibu Presbyterian Church, Our Lady of Malibu Catholic Church, Pepperdine, picket, Rick Warren, University Church of Christ, Waveside Church, westboro baptist church