Southern Baptist leader condemns anti-gay pastor's message

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A leader of the Southern Baptist Convention says it has no connection whatsoever to the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church founded by the Rev. Fred Phelps, who died late Wednesday at the age of 84.

The Rev. Russell Moore, president of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, calls Westboro's message that God hates gays an ugly "caricature of Christianity".

Phelps' tiny congregation is known for picketing the funerals of soldiers with signs claiming their deaths are God's punishment for American tolerance of homosexuality.

Moore says the Bible teaches that God does not take pleasure in anyone's death, but loves people and wants them to repent and be forgiven.

Moore says if he didn't know better, he'd think the Westboro Baptist Church was performance art staged by secularists to mock Christianity.

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263-a-10-(The Rev. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, in AP interview)-"scream performance art"-The Rev. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, says the Rev. Fred Phelps' church is not part of the Southern Baptist Convention. (20 Mar 2014)

<<CUT *263 (03/20/14)££ 00:10 "scream performance art"

265-a-13-(The Rev. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, in AP interview)-"in the gospel"-The Rev. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, says it's disgraceful of Phelps' followers to celebrate the deaths of soldiers. (20 Mar 2014)

<<CUT *265 (03/20/14)££ 00:13 "in the gospel"

264-a-11-(The Rev. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, in AP interview)-"fun of Christianity"-The Rev. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, says the Rev. Fred Phelps' church is an ugly caricature of the Christian faith. (20 Mar 2014)

<<CUT *264 (03/20/14)££ 00:11 "fun of Christianity"

266-a-10-(The Rev. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, in AP interview)-"simply to accuse"-The Rev. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, says Fred Phelps and his followers are not like the biblical prophets. (20 Mar 2014)

<<CUT *266 (03/20/14)££ 00:10 "simply to accuse"

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