Wednesday, February 22

The Patriot Riders: A Sane Response to Crazy Religion

Just when I think we've seen the last of religious nutcases making a mockery of Christ's teachings, up pops yet another legalistic, preacher perverting the lessons of the bible to suit his own agenda. The Rev. Fred Phelps appears to believes American deaths in Iraq are divine punishment for a country that harbors homosexuals. My, my, isn't that special. I wonder what Jesus would have to say about what he's doing, but this nut job isn't the real story here, it is Don Woodrick and his response to yet another crazy preacher's misguided or diliberate efforts to advance his own agenda at the expense of others pain.

Don Woodrick has started a counter-protest response to the rantings of the Fred Phelps of the world.

Calling themselves the Patriot Guard Riders, they are made up of motorcycle club members who could no longer tolerate a Kansas-based fundamentalist church picketing military funerals with signs that read, "Thank God for IEDs." The bikers shield the families from the protesters, and over-shadow the jeers with their own patriotic chants and a sea of red, white and blue flags.

"The most important thing we can do is let families know that the nation cares," said Don Woodrick, the group's Kentucky captain. "When a total stranger gets on a motorcycle in the middle of winter and drives 300 miles to hold a flag, that makes a powerful statement."

Don's impact is being felt nationwide:

Across the nation, Patriot Guard riders number more than 5,000 and at least 14 states are considering laws aimed specifically at the funeral protest group led by the Rev. Fred Phelps, who believes American deaths in Iraq are divine punishment for a country that harbors homosexuals.

Ride on brother! Speak for those whose voices are muffled in their grief, or who cannot ride.

And what does the Rev. Phelp's group think of all this?

Shirley Phelps-Roper, a daughter of Fred Phelps and an attorney for the Topeka, Kan.-based church, said neither state laws nor the Patriot Guard can silence their message that God killed the soldiers because they fought for a country that embraces homosexuals.

"The Scriptures are crystal clear that when God sets out to punish a nation, it is with the sword. An IED is just a broken-up sword," Phelps-Roper said. "Since that is his weapon of choice, our forum of choice has got to be a dead soldier's funeral."

Yes folks, people like this really do exist, and they give Christians a blackeye because the uninformed and anti-God crowd think this is representative of how we are to emulate Christ's teachings.

It is not for me to mete out to Phelps the same measure he metes to others, besides, the LORD of all is the only one worthy to judge and sentence us. We are commanded to LOVE our neighbors and enemies, but the actions of this group cannot by any stretch of the imagination be considered loving or Christlike.

On the other hand, Don Woodrick and the others that ride with him are standing for those who cannot stand for themselves. They are biker angels watching over the families of soldiers lost while defending our freedoms and protecting us from an enemy unlike any we've ever known before. And that includes the freedom Phelps uses to spread his hatred.

Phelps is a traitor.
Woodrick is a hero.
And that's the plain truth of it.

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