In a stunning display of grace, Westboro Baptist Church has stated that they will protest the memorial service of Heath Ledger. Westboro is the same Kansas church that pickets the funerals of American soldiers who are killed in Iraq. Now they have decided that Ledger’s performance in Brokeback Mountain is cause for them to unmercifully protest any type of memorial service for the man and his family.
Though it doesn’t suprise me, especially coming from Westboro, I am still stunned. This planned action is both gutless and heartless. Whether you agree with Ledger’s character or role in protraying homosexuality, protesting a man’s funeral might be the close second to cheering for the man’s death on the graceless scale. At the very least it is like rubbing salt in a wound. How would Jesus treat this family? What would he do in this situation? I can’t exactly answer that question. However, I have a strong hunch that picketing and protesting, and at a man’s funeral no less, would not be his course of action. We are called to speak the truth in love…in love. (Ephesians 4:15) What love can be seen in protesting a man’s memorial service? Can a person disagree with another’s stance and beliefs while showing grace and love toward that same person? Absolutely. Instead of rushing over to Hobby Lobby to gather up picketing gear, how about humbly and thoughtfully reaching out to the family and friends of this man and showing them gentle compassion as Jesus showed compassion. Wouldn’t that go a long way in protraying the truth of the gospel? Wouldn’t that be a better representation of Christ? My hope is that between now and the memorial service Westboro Baptist Church will seriously reconsider their course of action. My hope is that they will put on the character of Christ and discard the radical legalism of the Pharisees.
To the Ledger family…though I am not a person of any great significance and for what it is worth, I am sorry for your loss.