The majority of Americans are Christians, but we’re not treated with respect by the culture, the schools, or by our politicians. “Vengeance” may be the Lord’s to dish out, but that doesn’t mean Christians have to support the people who are attacking us or meekly stand by when other followers of Christ are denigrated and oppressed for their faith. The habitual wimpiness of so many Christians is particularly grating because when Christians shine a spotlight on these attacks and say, “That’s enough,” more often than not we win.
So, if Christians across the country were consistently willing to speak out and take action, you’d be surprised at how quickly our culture would begin to change. If that happens, instead of seeing this many incidents every year (All of these happened in 2013), they’d be a once in a blue moon occurrence.
1) Florida Ministry Told To Choose Between Jesus And Helping The Poor:“For the past 31 years, the Christian ministry has been providing food to the hungry in Lake City, Fla. without any problems. But all that changed when they said a state government worker showed up to negotiate a new contract. …(A) state agriculture department official told them they would not be allowed to receive USDA food unless they removed portraits of Christ, the Ten Commandments, a banner that read ‘Jesus is Lord’ and stopping giving Bibles to the needy.” When the government tells the Christian Service Center it has to give up on Christ or quit using USDA food to help the poor, that’s religious discrimination.
2) Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: Obama’s IRS Was “Targeting and Attempting to Intimidate Us:”It’s well known that the IRS targeted Obama’s political enemies in the Tea Party, but the IRS also targeted his Christian enemies in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Franklin Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the family’s international humanitarian organization Samaritan’s Purse, said that the IRS notified the organizations in September that it was conducting a “review” of their activities for tax year 2010.
…“While these audits not only wasted taxpayer money, they wasted money contributed by donors for ministry purposes as we had to spend precious resources servicing the IRS agents in our offices,” Graham wrote in the letter, which was shared with POLITICO. “I believe that someone in the administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us. This is morally wrong and unethical – indeed some would call it ‘un-American.’”
Graham said that “in light” of the IRS admission that it targeted tea party groups for added scrutiny, “I do not believe that the IRS audit of our two organizations last year is a coincidence – or justifiable.”
The IRS would certainly deny targeting Graham’s group because it’s a Christian organization, but of course, the IRS would deny that it targeted the Tea Party groups for political reasons as well.
3) California Christians Found “Not Guilty” of Reading Bible Near Government Offices:“A court has said that a pair of Christians were ‘allowed’ to read the Bible aloud outside the Department of Motor Vehicles in Hemet, California. Wasn’t it kind of the government courts in California to say that these Christians were allowed to have their rights to free religious expression? …Back in 2011 Mark Mackey and Bret Coronado were arrested and charged with misdemeanor offenses for reading the Bible outside the DMV location. … But on August 13, Superior Court Judge Timothy Freer found the men ‘not guilty’ of any offenses. …Interestingly, the judge also pointed out that the law prosecutors tried to invoke was likely unconstitutional as it gave law enforcement overbroad powers to quash public gatherings in the first place. Sadly, this case did not go toward settling the constitutionality of the law, but it was a victory of sorts to have the judge even mention the fact.”
Yes, there were actually Americans arrested for reading the Bible on public property. What do you think the chances are that two Muslims reading the Quran would have been arrested under the same circumstances?
4) Colorado Baker Faces Year In Jail For Refusing To Make Cake For Gay Wedding: You can support gay marriage or you can be Christian, but you can’t do both. You can pretend to do both, but you’re giving up your Christian beliefs to be more palatable to people who are hostile to Christianity. The folks at Masterpiece Cakeshop simply declined to make a cake for a gay wedding because it conflicted with their Christian beliefs. They learned that’s now illegal.
According to attorney Nicolle Martin, the owners of a Colorado bakery could face a year in prison for refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding, Jim Hoft reported at the Gateway Pundit Monday.
“The complainants can sue him civilly in the regular courts system or he can potentially be prosecuted by the district attorney for up to twelve months in jail,” Martin told Hoft.
In June, the Advocate said the Colorado Attorney General’s office filed a discrimination complaint against the owners of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Denver after the bakers refused to bake a cake for Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig, a Denver area gay couple, last year.
But Jack Phillips, one of the owners, declined to make the cake citing his Christian beliefs.
“We would close down the bakery before we compromised our beliefs,” he told KCNC, adding that protests and petitions will not make him change his mind.
We have Americans being threatened with jail time for doing nothing more than refusing to affirmatively sanction an event that goes against Christianity. In other words, liberals aren’t just trying to make gay marriage legal; they’re trying to make opposition to gay marriage illegal.
5) Airforce Veteran Faces A Court Martial For Opposing Gay Marriage: Under Barack Obama, the military has become aggressively anti-Christian and pro-gay to such an extent that the troops are no longer even allowed to privately oppose gay marriage.
Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk found himself at odds with his Lackland Air Force Base commander after he objected to her plans to severely punish an instructor who had expressed religious objections to homosexuality. During the conversation, his commander ordered him to share his personal views on homosexuality.
“I was relieved of my position because I don’t agree with my commander’s position on gay marriage,” he told me. “We’ve been told that if you publicly say that homosexuality is wrong, you are in violation of Air Force policy.”
…Last week, Monk was supposed to meet with an Air Force investigator tasked with gathering facts about the complaint. But when he arrived, Monk was immediately read his Miranda Rights and accused of providing false statements in a conversation Monk had with (Fox’s Todd Starnes).
After he was relieved of his duties, the Liberty Institute filed a religious discrimination complaint on his behalf.
…“I immediately got the sense that this was retaliation against me for coming forward with my religious discrimination complaint,” he said.
The accusations against Monk are a court-martial offense in the Air Force – and it’s quite possible that the 19-year veteran with a spotless record could be booted out of the military because of his Christian beliefs.
And he’s not the only Christian at Lackland Air Force Base facing persecution for opposing gay marriage, according to Monk’s pastor.
If you think the military has problems recruiting soldiers now, let the military keep persecuting Christians for their faith and see how well it does over the long haul. Of course, that wouldn’t upset the Left one bit, but the rest of us should be concerned.
6) Government Forces Churches To Get Permits For Baptisms:Nevertheless, the Park Service recently began a new policy requiring churches that wished to hold baptisms in public waters to apply for a special permit at least 48 hours in advance of the baptism. The Park Service justified this recent demand by saying that the permits were necessary to “maintain park natural/cultural resources and quality visitor experiences, specific terms and conditions have been established.”
…On August 21, Rep. Jason Smith (Missouri, R) heeded the complaints of his constituents and wrote a letter to the NPS asking what the heck was going on…
…Between citizen outrage and Rep. Smith’s threat to bring the matter before the full Congress, however, the Park Service quickly reversed its new policy, writing to the Congressman that, “As of today, the park’s policy has been clarified to state that no permit will be required for baptisms within the Riverways. I can assure you the National Park Service has no intention of limiting the number of baptisms performed within the park.”
When the government demands that a church get a permit to do baptisms, it’s also tacitly saying it has the right to deny that permit. That’s not acceptable.
7) Florida Professor Demands Student Stomp On Jesus:It all started with a conflict between an antagonistic professor and one brave student at Florida Atlantic University. Ryan Rotela was told by his professor to write Jesus Christ’s name on a piece of paper and stomp on it. Rotela defiantly refused and in retaliation, a formal disciplinary action was started against him.
But, before the system could roll over Rotela, a funny thing happened. The word about what was happening to him got out, Christians became outraged, and suddenly the university’s tune quickly changed. “FAU’s Senior Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Charles Brown, has since issued a groveling formal apology.” Next thing you know, the disciplinary action was waved off.
Now, comes word that the professor, Deandre Poole, has been put on administrative leave following a withering public response, that included complaints from the Governor of Florida, Rick Scott.
Unfortunately, that story didn’t have a happy ending. Even after the governor got involved, Deandre Poole still kept his job. However, had Christians not risen up, the student who refused to stomp on Jesus would have been the one punished while the professor would have paid no price at all. Moreover, you can be sure there won’t be any more Jesus stomping going on in the classrooms at Florida Atlantic University any time soon.
If there’s a lesson here, it’s that when Christians refuse to back down, we usually win. What that means is if enough Christians stand up for our faith, you’ll be surprised how fast the people in power lose their nerve about going after us.
Arab Discrimination against Christians Must Stop
Now is the winter of Christian discontent in Arab Middle Eastern countries. In all those countries, Christians have been suffering a sad fate: killings; torture; rape; abduction; forced conversion to Islam; seizure of homes and property; and bombings of churches, Christian institutions, and schools, and Christian businesses. All too many well-meaning individuals and group have swallowed the fallacious Palestinian Narrative of Victimhood in the contemporary Middle East and fail to recognize that the Christians living there are the real victims.
It was fitting that Pope Francis on December 26, 2013 urged people to speak out about the discrimination and violence that Christians were suffering; “injustice must be denounced and eliminated.” For some time the puzzling question has been why human rights groups, non-governmental organizations, and mainstream Western churches have been so completely or relatively silent on the issue of the persecution of Christians, individuals, and groups rooted in their societies and loyal to them.
On December 10, 1948 the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 18 states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.” In the Arab countries today, this worthy principle does not apply to Christians or to Jews. The world is aware that since 1948 Jews have almost completely departed from those countries and only a small number remain. It is less aware that Christian communities, many living in fear, have also been leaving or fleeing or forced to leave their countries. With 12.8 million (3.8% of the total population) estimated in the whole Middle East region, those communities now constitute less than 1% of the world’s Christian population.
Even the figures reported in the mainstream Western media of Christians in Arab countries are wildly overstated. The Pew Research Center report of December 2011, corrected February 2013, on Global Christianity provides what appears to be an objective statistical summary of present reality. Taking just three of the countries in the report, the estimates are as follows. Egypt has a Christian population of 4.2 million (5.3% of the population) ; Syria has 1.0 million (5.2%); and Iraq 270,000 (0.9%). Of these 43.5% are Catholics, 43% are Orthodox, and 13.5% are Protestant.
These figures have to be put into the context of the history of the Middle East. The Christians suffering today are the descendants of the oldest Christian communities in the world. In the early years of Islamic rule, Christian scholars and doctors played a considerable role in the life of Middle East countries. Monks translated medical, scientific, and philosophical texts into Arabic. But for four centuries, until the early 16th century, Christians were persecuted and massacred. Under the Ottoman Empire from that point on Christians, as well as Jews, were treated as second-class citizens.
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Persecution of Christians in the Islamic Middle East has intensified in recent years, and the fear now is that Christianity may be becoming extinct in the area where it has existed for two millennia. They are criticized, absurdly, as Crusaders, or as colonialists associated with the West, or as infidels. The exception, and the only country in the area where Christians possess full religious rights and can exercise them, and have increased both in absolute number and proportion of the population, is Israel. There they have grown from 34,000 to 158,000. In contrast, the number of church buildings in Iraq, once 300, is now 57. The 1987 census in Iraq, the last one taken officially, counted 1.4 million Christians; it is now about one-fifth that number.
It is a poignant commentary that this Christmas period should have witnessed attacks and outbreaks of hostility against Christians. These were particularly violent in Iraq where the Assyrians, whose descendants are now part of the Assyrian Church of the East, are said to have adopted Christianity in the first century, and where the Chaldean Catholic Church dates back to the 16th century. Most of the Christians today are Chaldeans, some of whom still speak the old language of Aramaic; they are Eastern rite Catholics who recognize the Pope’s authority but remain autonomous from Rome.
Iraq already has been the scene of killing of the Archbishop of Mosul in 2008, the kidnappings of clerics in 2005 and 2006, and attack on a Catholic Church in Baghdad in 2010 and an outdoor market that killed 58 people. An Islamist group affiliated with al-Qaeda termed the 2010 attack as involving a “legitimate target.” In Christmas 2013 there were further senseless terrorists actions, especially against Christians. These included three bombings in Christian areas, including a car bombing in the Dora section of Baghdad as worshippers were leaving the Christian service; 38 were reported killed.
Egypt is embroiled in its internal hostilities between the military group now in control and the forces of the Muslim Brotherhood and armed jihadists and supporters of the deposed President Mohamed Morsi, that have killed hundreds of people and led to the imprisonment of thousands. Though Egyptian Coptic Christians are not central to this conflict, they have been persecuted. It is true that Copts were largely sympathetic to the overthrow of Morsi. It was perhaps also impolitic for the Coptic Pope Tawadros II to appear on television with General Abdel Sisi, who removed Morsi from office. Yet these did not justify the savage attacks by Islamists against the Orthodox Christian Copts.
Since the 2011 ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, more than a hundred Christians have been kidnapped. So far in 2013, the Islamist violence in Egypt resulted in more than 200 churches attacked and 43 totally destroyed. In addition, discrimination and violence has been frequently exercised against homes and businesses of Christians who feel imperiled. One Coptic Church in Minya province that had stood for a hundred years was burned. The Church of the Archangel Michael, outside of Cairo, was burned in August 2013.
Resolutions and calls for action in Middle East affairs are now frequent. Perhaps the call that is most urgent today is for the protection of Christians who should be accorded equality in law and culture in Arab and Muslim countries in the Middle East. The mainstream churches and the groups purportedly interested in human rights ought to heed the plea of Pope Francis.