Thursday, March 3, 2011

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Despicable Protests

Yesterday, we learned that the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Westboro Baptist Church and their protests at the funerals of service men and women. Westboro Baptist Church, which is Baptist in name only, has been in the news often during the past few years for their protests and use of hate speech. At one of their protests, you are likely to see signs that read, “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” “God Hates Fags,” and “You’re Going to Hell.” These are not our kind of Baptists. These are the kind of people who give Baptists a bad name. These are the kind of people who are participating in things that do not show the love of God to a lost and dying world. I see no way to condone anything about the actions of these people. And yet, this ruling is good news.

As much as we would like to see the Westboro Baptist Church protests stop, this ruling is a victory for free speech. Let’s turn this around. Not that long ago, a street preacher in another country was out preaching the gospel. A gay police officer decided he didn’t like the guy, asked him what the Bible said about homosexuality and took the preacher to jail when the preacher gave an honest answer. The only justification for taking someone to jail for that is that it cause someone (the police officer) emotional distress. The good news for this country is that in an overwhelming decision of 8 to 1, the Supreme Court ruled that even something as emotionally distressing as telling grieving people that they are going to hell while they are attending the funeral of their child isn’t a valid reason to limit the freedom of speech.

Had this ruling gone the other way, it is conceivable that anyone who disagreed with something we had to say would claim emotional distress and take us to court. Christians would have lost the most because of this. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the Bible is emotionally distressing for the lost. Even the Bible itself tells us this. “For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Yes, I wish Westboro Baptist Church would let families grieve in peace, but this court case is a great victory for the First Amendment protections we enjoy. It is this freedom that protects us not only when we are preaching and teaching within the walls of our church buildings but when we are out on the streets of our community.

Could You Be Paying For This?

Steve Laube talked about this book trailer on his blog the other day. Okay, I’m impressed with the production quality, but it doesn’t really give me any reason to buy the book. It doesn’t really tell me anything about what I can expect to find in the book if I read it. What is the benefit to me?

At first, I thought it was a pro-life book, since it showed the image of a baby on the preview, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. The title of the book seems to imply that it is a list of prices. I can’t think of why I would want that, though I doubt that is what it is. My conclusion is that this trailer is a huge waste of money.

What do you think of trailers for books? Do you think they are beneficial or are they all a waste of money? What do you think of publishers requiring their authors to pay for trailers for their books?