Westboro Baptist Church Plans to Picket Sandy Hook Funerals

According to the New York Daily News , the Westboro Baptist Church has announced it will picket and protest at the funerals of slain children and adults from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people have signed a petition on the White House Website asking to consider WBC as a hate group. The hacktivist group Anonymous has also gotten involved, possibly causing the take-down of their website (according to Forbes), and posting personal information about the leaders of WBC.

Now I don’t blog very often, but as soon as I read this story, I knew that I could not stay quiet.

I consider myself a Christian, and I believe I speak for the vast majority of my brothers & sisters that the way Westboro Baptist Church acts is not how Christians behave. If you are not a Christian, then I beg of you, please don’t let a very small, very fundamentalist group such as this group skew your view of who Christians really are.

Now I will not go as far to boldly say the the members of Westboro Baptist Church are (or are not) true believers, but I will be so bold as to say their actions do not conform with the true Gospel. Paul writes in I Corinthians 13:1-7 (NIV):

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Again, we see this same idea played out in 1 John 4:4-12:

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Like so many other people, I hurt for the community of Newtown, CT and for the teachers, children, and parents of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. But I cannot even begin to fathom the pain they – and especially the parents of the slain children – are feeling.

May God grant them peace in this time of angst, and may He deal ever so swiftly with the ones who blaspheme his name.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)


Oppose Warrantless-searches of Electronic Communication: An Open Letter to Senator Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander

Dear Senators Corker & Alexander,
My name is David, and I am an IT and Security Professional working in Chattanooga, TN. As an Infrastructure Engineer and Tier 2 Technical Support Specialist, I cannot support the amendments proposed by Senator Patrick Leahy described by a CNET article to “Grant Warrantless access to Americans’ correspondence to over 22 federal agencies.” Correspondence includes email, Facebook posts, twitter posts, and more (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57552225-38/senate-bill-rewrite-lets-feds-read-your-e-mail-without-warrants/).

The Internet is a powerful means of communication, yet most Internet users do not understand the complex security issues surrounding account and password protection and privacy concerns.

While these amendments may sound good in theory, they would grant several government agencies the ability to read private communication between individuals without a search warrant. This is unacceptable.

Additionally, these measures would, in my professional opinion, open up additional security holes into an already insecure Internet.

Password and account protection is necessary in today’s Internet. News of another website hacked is almost a daily occurrence. It is incredibly easy to spoof emails, “sniff” electronic communication between networks and computers, and find users’ data on the Internet.

Used inappropriately or insecurely, these new powers by the over 22 agencies would almost certainly threaten the identity, privacy and security of millions of Americans.

Interestingly, as you may already know, Senator Leahy has already recanted his comments after CNET’s original article was published (c/f http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57552687-38/leahy-scuttles-his-warrantless-e-mail-surveillance-bill/).

However, the original amendments are still not to be taken lightly. This reminds me of the recent proposed SOPA legislation, which I also opposed.

Further attempts to grant warrantless seizure and control of American’s private data will only undermine the very values we hold dear in the 4th Amendment of our Constitution. They will also undermine the privacy, the identity, and the security of all Americans.

Please vote NO to these most recent amendments and to any future attempt to control & restrict the Internet.

A free and open world depends on a free and open web (https://www.google.com/intl/en/takeaction/).

David White