My Oklahoma State Response to Westboro Baptist Church


On Oct 24 a terrible tragedy happened to my "extended" family at Oklahoma State University. Everyone knows the story by now. Many have mourned. Many are still mourning. My very own best friend escaped the crash by the grace of God and is still wrestling with emotions and thoughts she can't explain. Sometimes it's hard to keep the faith. Where was God in all this? What was His purpose? Or how do accidents and tragedies fit in His purpose? Some of those questions are hard to answer, because it's part of a bigger picture we can't comprehend. We don't have the knowledge or perspective in order to understand. In the meantime, that's what community is for: to support, to speak truth when nothing makes sense, to love. That's what Oklahoma State has done so far, among many others, including our in-state "rivalry" Oklahoma University. (Way to go guys!) We thank everyone for the prayers and support.

I don't have all the answers, but I'd like to continue the overwhelming support for my OSU family by completely slaying the misguided theology and tactics of Westboro Baptist Church. Their insensitive tweets on Saturday were enough to make me want to write this, but then I heard they were going to picket the victims. They have the freedom to do what they will, but I think today it's time for a bible lesson straight from an OSU alum. Ready to study-up, Westboro? Here are the verses you SHOULD be referencing... 

  1. Romans 12:15 "Rejoice with those who rejoice. Mourn with those who mourn." (The entirety of Romans 12 is applicable actually.)
  2. Ephesians 4:31 "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with malice."
  3. Ephesians 4:29 "Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."
  4. James 4:11-12 "Do not speak evil against one another....But who are you to judge your neighbor?"
  5. James 1:26 "If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless."
  6. Colossians 3:8 "But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth."
  7. Luke 6:31 "Treat others the same way you want them to treat you."
  8. Luke 23:34 "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they do." 
    • *I forgive you, Westboro*

Not that we need any more evidence, but one of my favorite things about Jesus is He often got most passionate when confronting religious leaders about their hypocrisy. He wasn't passionately confronting men or women about their sexual orientation or experiences. He wasn't passionately confronting addicts or thieves. But He did passionately confront those who did not practice what they made a living of preaching. So because you consider yourself religious leaders, being a "church," you may also want to reference Matthew 23 *Jesus gets passionate about hypocrites*, and John 8 *Jesus shows religious leaders they should not condemn others, no matter their circumstances*. 

At all times we should strive to exhibit Faith Hope and Love, and "the greatest of these is love." That's what the Oklahoma State family does. That's what true Christian family does. (1 Cor. 13) 

Because your church is so keen on being "honest" I'm here to tell you, with love and truth, that you have a very warped view of Christianity.

You will never, ever, change someone's heart by telling them they are hated. You will never, ever, show them who the real Jesus is by calling them derogatory names. You will never, ever, be effective in your communication if you harass others, especially when they are in mourning.


There are so many more verses and so many good people that are the example of what you should be spending your time on instead of picketing or using social media to hate others. But I can promise you one thing, if you choose to picket any victims of the Oklahoma State incident including the students themselves, my families will be there. We will gladly show you what true love looks like. That's Oklahoma State. That's real Christianity.

 - J Fleming

Founder Three to Abandon, Christ lover, Christ Follower, Proud and Thankful Oklahoma State Alumna