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The Table Video

Richard Mouw

God Hates [Fill in the Blank] - Rich Mouw on Westboro Baptist Church

President Emeritus and Professor of Christian Philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary
June 9, 2017

The provocative, hateful public picketing of the Westboro Baptist Church regularly makes national news. Richard Mouw comments with a beautiful story of two young women, both students from Fuller Seminary, who went to live with the Westboro community to understand them better.


So, let’s talk about the Westboro Church, which many of us are deeply grieved by their tactics, showing up at military funerals, and praising God that, because the military has allowed gay soldiers to exist, that now God is judging these soldiers and using terrorist bombs to do so. Which we just find deplorable.

So what I hear you saying is, how we would deal with a Westboro Church might be radically different than we deal with other people. It might be a time for anger, even, towards the Westboro church.

Yeah. Although, it’s very interesting that you mention that, because two of our students at Fuller Seminary actually went and lived among the Westboro Church.


Two women students, who went and said, “Look, we disagree with you, but we’d like to understand you better.” And they actually formed friendships with the women in their community, and found that some of those women were deeply hurting and were even experiencing abuse. And they stayed there for, I think, 6 or 7 weeks.

And they found a couple of the male leaders hopeless, in terms of trying to dialogue, but they found that some of the others were deeply wounded and deeply concerned about what was going on. Did not have a voice to speak out. So, to me, I’m glad that, and I think it took some women who were committed to this project of convicted civility and who really had an empathic approach to that community. “Can we just, we want to know more about you.” And they actually had some good results from it. Some people actually left, stayed in touch with them.

That’s amazing.

It was a really bad family system that was going on there.