His name is Fred Phelps and he is the leader -- we hesitate to call him a pastor -- of an outfit called the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. You've probably heard about the group's picketing of military funerals in recent months, including one in Broken Arrow.His message is that because of its tolerance for homosexuals and homosexuality, America is being targeted by God through natural disasters, terrorist attacks and seeing its soldiers die from suicide bombers.The message itself is controversial but not unique to Mr. Phelps. A great number of Christians believe that God's patience may well be at an end with a nation that accommodates what we see as sexual perversion, actions that are sinful.But that's where mainstream Christianity and Mr. Phelps diverge. Phelps pleasurably wallows in every report of a dead U.S. soldier. He gleefully points to the London subway and bus bombings as more examples of a Christian nation being brought up short by God. He and his followers heap scorn upon grieving relatives. Witness today's report from Britain's SKY News:
The Sky Report has secretly filmed one of America's most controversial Christian ministers praising the London bombings.
Fred Phelps says that terrorist outrages and natural disasters such as Hurricane Rita are examples of God's wrath against countries such as America and Britain for tolerating homosexuals and homosexuality.
Fred Phelps, who set up the controversial Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, told our undercover reporter about the attacks, which killed 52 people:
"Oh I am so thankful that happened. My only regret is that they didn't kill about million of them. England deserves that kind of punishment, as does this country (America)".
These are shocking words, and unlike any Baptist preacher we ever heard, thank God.
Phelps is not preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ when he calls for the deaths of innocents. Jesus commanded His followers to go into the world and preach the gospel, the good news, of salvation. He did not order them out into the world to preach the bad news of damnation.
A follower of Christ hears the words: "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust." (Mt 5:44-45) If you wish death and destruction on your fellow man, then you do not understand what Jesus is commanding. Hatred will not get you into the Kingdom of Heaven.
It's that simple.
It's that hard.
No Christian ever should pray for the death of another human being. When evil men die, they lose the opportunity to reject evil. As long as there is breath, there is hope of conversion. Further, God who is All Knowing has a much better idea of who deserves to be plucked out of this life than any of us do. He doesn't need any cheerleaders urging Him on when it comes to trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.
Please join us as we begin a daily prayer effort for the conversion of Mr. Fred Phelps and his congregation to true Christian discipleship. Every day find a quiet moment to ask God to forgive him for the harm that he is doing, and to heal the wounds that he is opening. Ask God to send His healing spirit upon Mr. Phelps and convert him from one who is misrepresenting the Message to one who will astound the world with a remarkable conversion. God willing, if enough of us pray for this conversion -- and seek it ourselves -- it can happen.