By Christy Barritt
250,000 Sign Petition to Label Westboro Baptist a “Hate Group”
More than 250,000 people signed a petition to label the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church a “Hate Group.”
After the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, members of Westboro Baptist planned to organize protests at the funerals of the children who died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. One member of the group said that God sent the shooter to the school because Connecticut had legalized gay marriage.
These planned demonstrations seemed to push the public to the limit with the group and, as a result, the petition was formed on the “We the People” website, sponsored by the White House. The quarter-million signatures made it the largest online White House petition in history.
In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled in Westboro’s favor and said the group was protected by the First Amendment and had a right to protest and picket soldiers’ funerals.
Militant Islam Greatest Threat to Christians in Middle East
The London-based think tank Civitas published a report in December claiming that militant Islam is bringing Christian communities in the Middle East “close to extinction.”
“Christianity is in serious danger of being wiped out in its biblical heartlands because of Islamic oppression,” a statement from Civitas read. “But Western politicians and media largely ignore the widespread persecution of Christians in the Middle East and the wider world because they are afraid they will be accused of racism.”
The report details the persecution of Christians in Burma, China, Egypt, India, Iraq, Nigeria, and Pakistan.
The writer of the report, Rupert Shortt, said, “It is generally accepted that many faith-based groups face discrimination or persecution to some degree. A far less widely grasped fact is that Christians are targeted more than any other body of believers.”
U.S. Still “Mostly” Christian
A new Gallup poll shows that the U.S. is still “a largely Christian nation.”
According to the results, 77 percent of America’s adult population identify with a Christian religion. Fifty-two percent said they were Protestant, and 23 percent said they were Catholic. The remaining 2 percent identified themselves as Mormon, which Gallup considered a Christian religion for the poll.
Of all of the sectors of Christianity addressed in the poll, Mormons were most likely to view their beliefs as an important part of their daily lives. They were considered the group “by far the most religious of any group in the analysis.” When asked if religion was important to their daily lives, 87 percent of Mormons said yes, while only 79 percent of Protestants responded in the same way.
The study consisted of more than 326,000 interviews and showed little change in the religious makeup of the United States since 2011.
Ministers’ Top Seven Regrets
Thom Rainer, the president and CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources, interviewed more than 20 ministers who had been in ministry for at least 25 years. He asked them the open-ended question, “What regrets do you have about the years you have served as minister?” and published his results in a column for The Christian Post.
The top and most frequently mentioned regret was “Lack of practical training for local church ministry.” Ministers noted that after graduating from seminary, they had little preparation for the practical aspects of day-to-day ministry.
The next top regret was being “Overly concerned about critics.” Ministers said they had spent too much time and emotional energy focusing on the faultfinders.
Other regrets included “Failure to exercise faith,” “Not enough time with family,” “Failure to understand basic business and finance issues,” “Failure to share ministry,” and “Failure to make friends.”
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.