This article covering our "Walk" team was published in the Summit Daily News as they passed through Summit County in Colorado.
Group walking, preaching path to God
FRISCO - Flip Benham is on a mission for God.
The North Carolina pastor and eight others are walking across America - from California to Washington, D.C. - to spread the word of God and speak out against abortion, homosexuality and Islam.
The group passed through Summit County on Wednesday.
Benham is the director of Operation Save America, which tries to inspire churches to become more vocal in leading Americans back to God.
"We are calling America back to Jesus," he said as he walked down the shoulder of Interstate 70. "We have found all the other behavior, no matter how perverse, is out of the closet, so Christians have come out of the closet."
The group includes Benham, his son Jonathan, Rusty Thomas and his daughter Shakinah of Waco, Texas, Curtis Fenisen, Gib Killion of Kearney, Neb.; Bill and Patsy Hewitt of Elmwood, Tenn.; and Jim Phillips of Burnett, Texas.
First in the procession of "living parables" was Jonathan, who carried two tablets representing the broken Ten Commandments, which Benham said represents a deteriorating society. Following him was Shakinah, who carried a small coffin, representing the lives of those killed by abortion.
Benham followed her, leading a horse named Judgment, with a blanket with the word draped over its back. It represents the judgment God will bring upon America if society continues down its immoral path, he said.
Judgment was followed by Thomas, leading a donkey called Mercy. Benham said any time a king rides into a town riding a donkey, he arrives in peace, as Jesus did when he came to Jerusalem .
"Christianity in America has become so feminized, so limp-wristed that these lies - abortion, homosexuality and Islam - have come to prevail in a nation established and made great on the manly bedrock of biblical Christianity," he said. "When you have bloodshed in the schools, in the workplaces and streets, you have to know this is part and parcel of the judgment of God."
He places the blame on American churches which he said have turned their backs on the Bible and God.
"Judgment begins in the house of God; the church is at biggest fault of all," he said. "America, you have broken the Commandments - they're in a closet in Birmingham, Ala. You've broken his babies. If we will turn to God and say, 'Forgive us for killing children, letting homosexuality run rampant, pornography, what we've done to marriage,' God will say, 'If my people are called and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and forgive their sins.' America, you've got to come back to Jesus."
America 's not unraveling just from the inside, either, he said.
"Who would imagine 19 guys with box cutters could bring this nation to its knees? - But it happened," he said. "God's protective shield and hand is being removed from our country because we have cast him behind our backs. We've hidden the Ten Commandments in a closet, expelled God from school and should not be surprised he's been replaced by metal detectors, condoms, drugs, police, violence of unprecedented order."
Not unexpectedly, many haven't met Benham's troupe with open arms since they left San Clemente, Calif., in March.
He said they learned that Palm Springs, Calif., is a "hotbed" of homosexuality. They preached to gamblers in Las Vegas. They were arrested in Mesquite, Nev., while protesting that city hall was built with money that should have gone to families, not slot machines. They lamented the "devil's churches" in Utah. They protested at an "abortion mill" in Vail - and were disappointed they didn't know about the Kobe Bryant proceedings going on in Eagle.
On the other hand, the group has led hundreds to Christ in their trek to the nation's capitol, Benham said. They hope to arrive in late August.
"Many are just looking for a reason to live," he said.
The group plans to arrive in Denver on Friday, then walk to Colorado Springs to visit Focus on the Family headquarters before heading east through Kansas.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.