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The Odious Stench of Religion, Part 2
3 March 2015
SPECIAL NOTE: On January 28, 2014 I posted my 500th article — the total count from my three main Web sites: Brian’s Bits, Your Islamic Future, and Brian Byrd’s Photo Blog. Today’s article, written about thirteen months later, is my 700th!Last September I wrote an article about some Orthodox Jews who would not sit next to women on an airplane as a perfect example of the odious stench of religion. In that article I wrote:
Before those of you who consider yourselves Christians get too smug, I shouldn’t have to remind you that Christianity can give off just as odious a stench as Judaism, or any other religion. There are many, many examples of this, including Christians promoting violence, as well as some stinky Christian junk mail I have been getting recently.Recently I came across another excellent example of the odious stench of religion on the FoxNews Web site — Prayer pays: City fines pastor’s wife $150 for loud devotions.
Following in the footsteps of the Old Testament prophets, Yeshua (Jesus) had a lot to say against the stench of religion. For the full dose of Yeshua’s condemnation of reeking religion, see Luke 11:37-54 and Matthew 23:13-36.
After reading this story it is very clear to me that this woman is not being persecuted for her faith, as she and her pastor husband claim. Instead, she is suffering the consequences of her own religious foolishness. There is a huge, night and day difference between the two.
A North Dakota woman has been fined for loudly praying in her neighborhood, forced to pay $150 for “unnecessary noise.”
Martha Nagbe is a Liberian-born pastor’s wife who says she has an inalienable right to pray, even in a voice so loud police say it is infringing on neighbors’ sleep.
“In the United States, it’s one nation under God,” she told Valley News Live the other day.
Police in Lisbon have ticketed Nagbe for disturbing the peace, after spotting her on city sidewalks toting a Bible and singing verses of praise.
“I mean, we all need prayers and, great, she’s out there praying for all of us — but it’s just the volume of her voice,” Police Chief Jeanette Parsons told the station.
She said officers have had to respond to complaints from people who say they were awakened by Nagbe, who allegedly was standing outside their homes shouting.
“It’s not that she just walks by, but she will stand out there for a lengthy period of time,” the police chief said.
Nagbe’s husband, pastor of a United Methodist Church in Lisbon, says his wife is the one being harassed.
“For them to antagonize her, to make her look like a bad person, sometimes makes me angry,” Pastor Juwle Nagbe said. “Somebody should give her the respect that she deserves.”
Chief Parsons said Nagbe risks more fines if she doesn’t lower the volume on her public praying.
There is also a huge, night and day difference between being spiritual and being religious. Yeshua was spiritual, but not religious. In complete contrast, the Pharisees were very religious, but missed true spirituality by a mile. That is what Yeshua was exposing in the two passages from the New Testament which I referenced above.
Furthermore, Yeshua had this to say regarding prayer and the Pharisees, which clearly delineates the difference between spiritual and religious prayer:
“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing ... on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:5‑8)God is not deaf, as the pagans often thought their gods were. He knows our innermost thoughts and He knows what we are going to say even before we say it (Psalm 139:1‑4). In light of this reality, there is absolutely NO reasons why this woman has to pray in public so loudly — or even out loud at all, for that matter. Her actions are simply pure stinking religion.
And then, when her fellow town citizens don’t want to smell that stink, she claims that they are persecuting her! Sheesh! The apostle Peter had something to say about this:
It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king. (1 Peter 2:15‑17)If Mrs. Nagbe were only following the instructions God gave His people through His servant Peter, she would not be bringing disgrace to the name of Yeshua, she would not be out $150, and this story would not have been in the national news! God through Peter is very clear about this:
Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. (1 Peter 2:20)
Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Messiah as Master of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Messiah. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! (1 Peter 3:13‑17)
If you are insulted because you bear the name of Messiah, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. (1 Peter 4:14‑15)
Don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil ... respect everyone ... you get no credit for suffering for doing wrong ... speak in a gentle and respectful way ... better to suffer for doing good than for doing wrong ... if you suffer, it must not be for making trouble ...The officials in Lisbon, North Dakota are NOT forbidding Mrs. Nagbe to pray in public. Rather, they are asking her to “respect everyone” and not “make trouble” by keeping her voice down when she prays in front of other people’s houses. This is a VERY reasonable request, and Mrs. Nagbe and her husband are being VERY unreasonable by rebelling against it and claiming persecution.
The city officials’ wisdom is not anything new. That famously wise king, Solomon, once wrote: “If anyone loudly blesses their neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse” (Proverbs 27:14). In the case of Mrs. Nagbe, we can clearly see how very true this is! The odious stench of religion is ALWAYS a curse!
This article is 68th a series of articles on this Web site related to Modern Christianity and the Church which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
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