There are times that, as a Christian, I feel the need to apologize.
Not for being a Christian. I’m not sorry at all about that. But there are times when I really regret being associated in name with the way other Christians behave.
When they lash out at the very people they should be bending over backward to reach. When they use a tragedy to market their religion rather than showing support and sympathy. And when they seem to be able to only show hate when the first thing we are called to show by Jesus Christ Himself is love.
The most egregious example is a usual suspect. But they’re certainly not the only one.
Westboro Baptist Church — yes, them again — announced their intention to protest at the funeral of Apple founder Steve Jobs, who died Wednesday from complications of pancreatic cancer at age 56. This church ranks right up there with PeTA in terms of doing outrageous things just to get attention.
The daughter of the church’s founder announced the protest via her iPhone, claiming that Jobs “had a huge platform, gave God no glory and taught sin.” Other family members also used Apple products to tweet about the death of the corporate icon.
All of which begs a question: if they feel so strongly that he was, essentially, an “anti-Christ,” what are they doing walking around with his products in their pockets? Every product they purchased added to the size of the platform with which they have such a problem.
So they’re actually worse than they claim Jobs was: they helped empower him. No one forced them — or anyone else — to buy his products in such volume. Surely God didn’t tell them to go buy an iPhone. Or an iPad.
But there’s an even bigger point here.
How do they know that Jobs gave God no glory? Maybe he did. Maybe he was a Christian who spent time daily in God’s word. Maybe he out-prayed half of the population. In solitude, one-on-one with God, rather than making a dramatic, public show of it.
By all accounts, Jobs was a very private man. We know that he visited a well-known ashram in India once, and returned to the US as a Zen Buddhist. But he didn’t talk much, apparently, even about that. At the very least, he clearly had a spiritual side. But we don’t know for sure what he believed or came to believe as he realized he was running out of time.
We don’t know what decision he might have made on his deathbed.
That’s between him and God.
No one else.
It’s just not necessary to wait for a person who is well-liked, admired or respected to die, and immediately start looking for ways to diminish that person, or cut him down based on what he might not have been.
Of all people, we’re the ones who are supposed to know better than that. I’d wager that the Christians trying to make those kinds of points are hoping God doesn’t define them on what they might not be.