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When religion gets sick

I’m sure they make God sick to His stomach.

Westboro Baptist Church.

Most likely, you’ve heard of this radical group from Topeka, Kan., that goes around picketing funerals of fallen military members. Organized in 1955, this church has conducted over 50,000 rallies in 900-plus cities since 1991 to protest America’s sins — particularly that of homosexuality — in an attempt to call our nation to repentance.

But, what they’ve done is create greater hatred for Christianity and all she stands for.

It’s one thing to advocate free speech and freedom of religion; it’s another thing to use that freedom to show disrespect for the dead and their families and to spew such venomous hatred under the guise of Christianity.

Yet, they continue on, convinced that they are called by God to do what they’re doing. But, oh how blinded they are by the very one they profess to war against (the devil).

You see, Jesus’ Mission on this earth was one of redemption, not retribution. His was a Message of God’s Love, not that of Westboro who delights in crying “God Hates F***!” Most assuredly, Jesus denounced sin and warned of God’s coming Judgment; yet, He also pointed his listeners (and us) to a Heavenly Father who longs to forgive, pardon and restore.

Thus, in reality, the 40-plus members of Westboro Baptist Church and their pastor, Fred Phelps, are a contradiction-in-terms of what it means to be Christian. They are more suited for membership in groups like Hitler’s Nazism, the KKK, Aryan nations, Jihadists, etc., than they are the Kingdom of God. Likewise, their group is better labeled a cult than they are a church.

The question is, “How should we respond to them and their uncivil and unchristian ways?”

Probably the same way the One they profess to believe in would: By praying for them.

And, I’m convinced we should also oppose them however we can so long as it’s in a legal, Biblically-sound way.

Some communities and states have passed legislation making it illegal to picket funerals. Others have established a required distance protesters must observe during a service. Then, some groups — like the Patriot Guard Riders, a group of men and women motorcyclists — have dedicated themselves to shielding the grieving families from Westboro’s hatred by forming a human barricade around the cemetery or church facilities. They also escort the hearse to the cemetery on their motorcycles.

Thank God for the Patriot Guard Riders!

Here’s praying Westboro will heed their own message and realize that God also hates “those whose feet are swift in running to mischief and sow discord among the brethren” (Proverbs 6:18-19). They ought to also ought to read that those who engage in “hatred, contention, strife, division, heresies, rioting, etc., will not enter into the Kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:20-21).

Oh, dear Reader, in these last days of ever-escalating evil there’ll continue to be a spirit of delusion and deceit, propagated by the “prince of darkness” (the devil). He will continue to “blind the minds of those who don’t believe the Truth” (II Corinthians 4:4), convincing themselves that they are right—when, in reality, they are in direct opposition to God Himself and under His wrath.

Such is the case with Westboro Baptist Church. Such was the case with many of the Christians in Germany when they embraced Hitler, exchanged their altar Bibles for copies of Mein Kampf and sewed swastikas in the center of the crosses on hanging tapestries.

May such not be said of us — for, as someone once said, “Eternity’s too long to be wrong.” Amen and amen.

To contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” write him at P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail him at pressingon@hotmail.com.

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