(Photo: Christian Post Contributer/Debbie Cohen)
Jeff Chu, the gay Christian author of Does Jesus Love Me? revealed in an interview that he visited Westboro Baptist Church while working on his book, and considered what the controversial group had to say.
"They see themselves as the most loving people in America, because they think we're all going to hell – and what kind of people would they be if they didn't tell us and didn't give us a chance to turn around and repent," Chu told The Huffington Post.
Chu's book explores his experiences as a gay Christian, as well as the "confusing intersection of faith, politics, and sexuality in Christian America," serving as part memoir and part investigative analysis. He admitted that many evangelical Christians are likely to challenge his views.
The author, who also works as an editor at media group Fast Company, told Huffington Post that faith and sexuality has never come easy to him. Chu admitted that he has been challenged by co-workers to abandon his faith. "Why don't you just ditch this stuff? Clearly you're not wanted, you'd be better off not believing in God," they have told him.
To that, Chu replied that for him, faith is not a switch that can be flipped on and off: "My faith is as much a part of my life as my sexuality is. It illuminates something in me; it is integral to who I am."
Many conservative Christians insist that homosexuality is a sin is not compatible with the Bible. Most agree, however, that groups like Westboro take it too far.
The Fred Phelps-headed church, which is not affiliated with any Baptist denomination, has been labeled a hate group both by liberals and conservatives. WBC has gained notoriety for picketing soldiers' funerals with banners and posters celebrating those killed as God's judgment..
"There were a couple of moments – because I am naturally skeptical and cynical, seeing how deeply felt their beliefs are, I did generally wonder 'What if I am wrong? What if I am going to hell? And what if this band of 40 believers, what if they really are the last people on Earth who know the truth?'" Chu said of his visit with members of the church.
"They said to me, 'What kind of people would we be if we knew you all were going to hell, but we didn't warn you of it? God hates you, but we love you because we're telling you.' If you accept that they have this framework, then you can understand how it's logical to them. It's just that it's so foreign to the rest of us and the language that they choose is so incendiary, and so intentionally incendiary, that it's just impossible to accept," he added in another interview with KPCC.
Does Jesus Love Me?, released last month, comes at a time when America faces deep questions over the future of marriage.
The Supreme Court is set to decide in June on two cases that can have widespread implications for gay marriage on both federal and state levels. While a host of liberal leaders, such as President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have all called for the legalization of gay marriage, many conservatives have insisted that the justices should not redefine marriage for Americans, and that children are best raised by parents of the opposite sex.