I’ve never felt like talking much about Fred Phelps’ organization.  The hate his group throws out seemed to speak for itself.  In their recent win at the United States Supreme Court, however, some statements made afterwards brought a new angle on what they are about.

I previously gave them the benefit of the doubt.  I believed them to be be mis-guided Christians who were, sadly, giving the rest of us Christians a bad reputation.  I thought they were merely trying to judge others, and point out what they perceived as sins, without love or tact.  Then I read this statement made by Shirley Phelps-Roper, the Westboro Baptist spokeswoman, and daughter of Fred Phelps:

We are supposed to blind their eyes, stop up their ears and harden their hearts so that they cannot see, hear or understand, and be converted and receive salvation.

So as I interpret that, they are not trying to lead anyone to repent of what they perceive to be sins.  I don’t think they are even trying to do what they believe is right in the eyes of God.  They are simply trying to harden people’s hearts against their Creator.  Their stated purpose is to lead people away from God, instead of toward God.

The phrase to “harden” someone’s heart against God is taken very seriously in the Bible.  Once a person’s heart is truly “hardened” against God, they can not be turned back to God.  Is anyone ever truly beyond salvation?  I confess, I’m not sure.  But, I can think of no greater sin, than to intentionally try to steal the God-given gift of salvation from someone else.

My first reaction to this most recent statement was anger.  The anger, however, gave way to pity.  Something must have hurt Mr. Phelps to his core to harden his own heart to this level.  I can not imagine what kinds of emotions it would take to stir up such long lasting hatred toward God and his fellow human beings, and pass this hurt on to the rest of his family, and so many innocent bystanders.

I pray for Mr. Phelps, his family, his followers, and those whom he has hurt through his actions.  I hope somewhere, somehow, they may all come to know the love of God, free from a judgment of hate.


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