Timothy Phelps’ recent letter to the editor laments the unfair characterization of WBC’s words and deeds when they bring their picketing campaign to a community. His words reek of dishonesty.

First, speaking to their strategy, the apostle Paul spends a great deal of time outlining the process of bringing a sinner back to grace. At the core of his instructions is relationship. Send one to the sinner who has a relationship with him so the profound issue of mistrust doesn’t interfere with the message.

Second, it’s not just the signs with crude editorials of their interpretation of biblical passages that invite criticism. It’s the deliberate provocation of the trappings of their public trolling. Trappings such as bloody flags, tasteless, insulting song lyrics, and venues (too often funerals of soldiers) that puts the lie to his false portrayal of humble servants lovingly calling sinners to repentance.

Finally, and most importantly, I grew up in that environment. I understand the heart of that system and I know the last thing they care about is saving souls for Christ. At our father’s knee we learned to despise all outside our church. We were immersed in the cruelty of one of the most virulent forms of religious isolation and exclusion. Timothy is deceived or deceitful if he believes for a moment the nonsense he penned.

Tim, and all my family, would do well to take the words of British philosopher Bertrand Russell to heart ... “Love (genuine, active, relationship-based love) is wise, hate is foolish.” The WBC campaign is foolish.

Nathan Phelps, Cranbrook, British Columbia