Sunday, July 30

Persecution

Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Persecution against Christianity is ongoing and growing in the United States. Secular culture has no problem with apathetic, nominal, or liberal Christianity. However, Christians that believe and practice Biblical teachings are a problem to them and have come under attack in the United States. Stereotypical labels and personal attacks have been used to demonize these Christians by political leaders and liberals in general for several years. The terms religious right, fundamentalist Christian, fanatical fringe, born again Christian, are some of the names given to such Christians. When a prominent senator said in July, 2004, “The religious right has never looked so ridiculous,” he was continuing the slander and manipulation that has been directed at a particular segment of Christianity for at least a decade. His slander was due to the fact that Evangelical Christians were supporting a constitutional amendment to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. Also, a current United States senator publicly stated that speaking in opposition to the homosexual agenda is hate speech and such speech could incite hate crimes against homosexuals and should also be a crime. Christians should be alarmed at the danger that religious liberty would be under if speech upholding Biblical principals becomes a crime. Speech in favor of Biblical cultural values is often labeled as ‘hate speech’ by the secular left, while crude slanderous personal attacks against political conservatives and Christian leaders are called ’free speech’ by these same people. One city recently brought legal action against a group of people who were having a Bible study in their home under the pretense that they were violating a zoning ordinance. People are being asked not to wear crosses or place Bibles on their desks and the list goes on as the political correct thing has become to view Christians as intolerant, hateful, and divisive. Nativity scenes are being banned and the term Christmas is being replaced with ‘winter holidays’ in many places. However, the vile and the pornographic is being zealously protected under the guise of free speech. It has been gradual, but the loss of Christian religious freedom in the last thirty years, has been dramatic. The Bible has much to say about the Christian response to worldly secular principles such as the verse above.

14 comments:

bluecollar said...

I was in Kindergarten in 1962 when O'Hare got prayer out of the schools. Here we are 44 years later and Christians are to blame for all that is wrong in the world.

Didn't Nero blame the Christians for the burning of Rome; and the populace believed him. Three hundred years of persecution followed.

jazzycat said...

Good points Bluecollar. Persecution is a very real possibility for Christians as we see the political left blame the 'Christian' influence for nearly everything they don't like about Pres. Bush. If they get power there is no telling.....

Jazzy

bluecollar said...

Christians around the world suffer persecution far beyond anything we in the west can imagine. How can anybody think it won't happen here?

Exist~Dissolve said...

jazzycat--

It seems to me that 95% of the examples that you provided are not actually persecution, but simply the effects of organized Christian religion losing influence in secular politics (which I don't think is necessarily a bad thing). Sure, we may be upset that Christain prayer is no longer said in public schools; that we can't put nativity scenes on the Courthouse lawn; etc. However, I am also positive that we would be greatly outraged if these same things were allowed to happen on the terms of other organized religions. Personally, I don't want my daughter to be forced to say Muslim prayers in public school when she is older, and I can only imagine that Muslim parents don't want their children to be forced to pray to Jesus.

So, the issue the is most prevalent in America is not of religious persecution (which is actually non-existent), but rather of the animosity of Christians as they lose political influence. Instead of wringing our hands about the loss of political power and exerting all of our energies futilely attempting to preserve it, we should rather give thanks that we're not being hunted down for violating a state-mandated set of beliefs.

Jim said...

There is a slippery slope here and it begins with removing rights, restricting freedoms etc.

While we may not be suffering persecution as ED suggest, the possibility is ever growing as society becomes more lawless and sin loving.

It is not an overnight happening, but rather a gradual decline from a society where God is feared to a culture of disrespect for one another and complete disregard for anything to do with God.

Let us pray...

jazzycat said...

Exist & Jim,
As Jim correctly pointed out, the possibility is growing as the trend is in the direction of silencing Christians and openly embracing more and more sin. Exist, you evidently admit 5% of my concerns are valid which is enough to establish the point.

Granted it is not a major problem, YET! However, as one old enough to remember from actual experience, I am amazed at how the hostility against Christians has grown in the last forty years or so. The earlier the church realizes the danger in the USA, the more effective it will be in retaining the freedom to practice openly and without government interference.

Jazzycat

Terry S said...

Jazzy,

I must admit that I just don't get it. There are a bazillion churches of all sizes and denominations peppered all across this land. The United States is the MOST religious country in the world. I know of no laws or other efforts which deny anyone access to whatever place of worship they might choose.

Again, as I have noted repeatedly, serious christians currently have the keys to the kingdom, do they not? Moderate, liberal and secular interests are very much in the minority at virtually all levels of government - now including many of the federal courts - and have had little in the way of real power for several years - at least dating back to the mid-term congressional elections during Clinton's first term. The right has had control of both houses of Congress since 1994. Republicans have held the White House for 33 of the last 58 years.

Well over 90% of Americans profess to be christians. Something like 45% claim to be "born again" and/or of a fundamentalist bent. The old line main stream church organizations in the US have lost membership every year since the mid-1960s, to more strident denominations such as the SBC,(Just a side note - both Clinton and Gore are officially members of the SBC.) Assemblies of God, Disciples of Christ, and dozens of others.

I don't know what it is that you perceive to be the problem. You and your brethren can pretty much rock the boat whenever and however you want. In contrast, as I have discussed ad nauseam, I am faced with the possibility of one day living in a christian theocracy which could, if given license, make life miserable, perhaps impossible, for anyone who does not conform to biblical law.

I don't believe that you face any particular danger of being denied your right to worship as you wish any time soon.

TLS

jazzycat said...

Terry,
Since the only true Christians are those that are born again (John 3:3), your own statistics show only 40.5% of Americans claim to be real Christians. That leaves a solid majority of 59.5% that either reject Christianity, are ignorant about Christianity, or are liberal social gospel pretend Christians. None of this 59.5% are any threat to the secular humanism that you seem to favor.

Now of those 40.5% 'true professing born again Christians' that are left, there is a sizeable number that do not want any part government involvement in religious matters. However, all citizens, including Christians, have a right to promote civil policy that they may derive from their religion such as thou shalt not steal, murder, etc. This includes moral laws and laws which are deemed good for society as a whole. But 40% simply does not trump 60% and the Republican party is not controlled by a 40% group even if the entire 40% were like Pat Robertson. You have quite simply drastically overstated the percentage of people that you seem to fear.

Persecution is not a problem right now, but the trend is headed in that direction with more and more openly hostile and anti-Christian behavior occurring in America. The first stages of persecution is the scorn, ridicule, and verbal abuse and satire that is being heaped on Christianity from the entertainment industry and secular news media. The PC movement routinely makes fun of 'fundlementalist' Christians.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope it has not been too hot up there in Indiana. Was only 88 in Mississippi around noon with partly cloudy skies. I think Al Gore going carbon neutral is really paying off.

Jazzycat

Terry S said...

Jazzy,

Your definition of a "true christian" is hauntingly similar to radical fundamentalist muslims in stating that the mass of supposed followers of islam are not "true" muslims, only pretenders.

What your "persecuters" respond to is, in part, the fundamentalist lack of tolerance toward others.

In my humble opinion part of the reason jews have suffered persecution for literally thousands of years has been and continues to be their intolerance of those outside their faith. They set themselves apart from society at large.

There is a small community in Iowa, the name of which escapes me (it might be Amana,) which has in the last several years had a great influx of jews moving into the community.
They run several successful businesses, and, early on, were welcomed as their business acumen revitalized the town.

However, when the locals attempted to mingle with the jews socially, they were rebuffed. The jews were more than willing to do business with the locals, but had no intention of melding into the social fabric of the community.
The last I heard of it, which was a couple of years ago, there had built up a great deal of tension and there had even been a few instances of violence between the jews and the locals. Under those circumstances, it is a natural progression when one group separates itself from others. It speaks of arrogance and condescension.

Unfortunately, I think I understand the root cause. It is the cleft between this earthly life and the sought after eternal life in heaven. That is what causes people to fight god's battles. To gain his grace.

On another note. It reached something like 95 here today. It is bloody hot. I understand Gore is approaching 100% carbon himself.

TLS

TLS

Terry S said...

Jazzy,

Oh, by the way, I like the new look of your site. I hadn't visited here for a while. Shame on me.

TLS

jazzycat said...

Terry,
You said.... Your definition of a "true christian" is hauntingly similar to radical fundamentalist muslims in stating that the mass of supposed followers of islam are not "true" muslims, only pretenders.

Terry, please be more careful with your data. This definition is not mine it comes from a very clear passage of Scripture (John 3:3). My point was to show that at best only a minority of approximately 40 per cent of people even claim to profess Biblical Christianity. This would leave them vulnerable to the growing trend of verbal persecution.

What your "persecuters" respond to is, in part, the fundamentalist lack of tolerance toward others.

There it is beautifully illustrated in your own words. There is a growing disdain in this country for what is being framed as intolerance. Tolerance used to mean, “The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others.” In our PC world it has evolved to mean, “The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others and validating them to be equal to your practices.” Therefore, when I do not validate a non-born again Christian as being a Christian, you consider it intolerant. In our PC world today this form of intolerance is not tolerated. This of course could lead to persecution.

Your point about the Jews is interesting, but I hope this is not meant to be any kind of excuse or justification for the actions of a terrorist organization such as Hezbollah.

Thanks for the comment on my new format. I have just made the switch and am trying to learn a little more about the programming language. I have been able to change few colors and font sizes so far.

Jazzycat

Terry S said...

"And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."

You find that clear? From that you are able to define who is and who is not a true christian?

I never fail to be amazed at how much can be construed from one line of biblical text. I could have read that line a hundred times and never have figured that out.

You have written in this blog regarding your belief that ecumenical trends in christianity are wrong headed. That only those who profess the calvinist interpretation of the bible will find god's grace. That's pretty exclusionary, and, I think, presumptive.

As I have argued before, there hundreds of millions of people who believe differently than you. Many can site scripture (from the bible, koran, talmud, etc.) which they are just as confident supports the correctness of their belief.

I don't understand how you, or anyone for that matter can be so certain of something so ineffable as god.

Someone suggested to me that my lack of belief was, at best, unwise owing to the possibility of eternal damnation.

It seems to me that you are in no less a tenuous situation. You are putting all your marbles in one jar. What if you are wrong?

No, I am not siding with the likes of Hezbollah. But, frankly, I find it difficult to be supportive of Israel either. This eternal battle for the so called holy land is beyond tragic. You have the Palestinians and the Israelis claiming rights to the same ground. Each denies the legitimacy of the other's existence. No compromise is possible. Perhaps they should just declare all out, no holds barred war against each other. Whoever wins, must then kill all of the remaining losers so there is no opportunity for further conflict. I know this is over the top. But how else will this conflict ever end? Armagedden?

Just to back up a bit, you use "PC" quite often with apparent distaste. I know that it is a concept which has been taken to some extremes, but it's origin was simply an effort to be aware of how insulting and thoughtless certain attitudes and statements can be.

Now we seem to be in an age of "BC" - being concerned with what is biblically correct.

TLS

Terry S said...

Jazzy,

I thought I ought to take this opportunity to pre-emptively wipe some of this egg off of my face. I "Googled" John 3:3 and came up with the quote in my previous comment. A bit later, I pulled out my trusty King James Bible (which I received at my confirmation into the Presbyterian Church at about age 15) only to find that I got it very wrong. Sorry. I don't know where the quote I used is from.

Obviously, John 3:3 is a good deal more direct. However. Even with my mis-quote notwithstanding, it seems to me that what it means to be "born again" may also mean different things to different people. And, of course, it is relatively easy for anyone to make such a claim, either willfully or through mis-understanding.

As I am not a student of the bible, I come unequipped to argue its points directly, and should certainly be more careful when attempting to do so.

But, again, coming from my perspective, the bible is essentially irrelevant, as is any supposedly sacred text. I do not accept that any such work is, in fact, sacred or the embodiment of the word of any god. Nor do I accept that the ancients had a lock on knowledge or wisdom - temporal or spiritual. I am hard pressed to believe that people living thousands of years ago were any smarter or more perceptive than the brainiacs of today.

Many ancient texts, biblical and otherwise do illustrate that man had reached a level of understanding regarding human motives and behavior through observation and analysis, and were thoughtful and earnest enough to begin writing it down. But that is not to say that they got it all right. We have learned a good deal about ourselves and the universe we find ourselves in since the time of Jesus and Caesar. And, of course, in the overall expanse of time accepted by evolutionary scientists, two thousand years or so is nothing but a blip on the infinite radar screen.

But, again. My apologies.

TLS

jazzycat said...

Terry,
I was wondering why you pulled that first verse. No problem as my original point was to use your facts and whittle the group that you are concerned about and the group that I believe is beginning to see persecution down to the minority of 40% of the total population. I had no intention of debating truth claims in this thread. I am willing to do that, but there are other posts where this subject would fit better. My point was that anyone who claims to be a Christian and does not believe in the 'born again' doctrine is almost certainly coming from a liberal theological perspective and are probably more against 'born again' Christians than anyone. Hence, it is not a monolithic group espousing the things you don't like. Using your figures this group is in a minority and being verbally made fun of on a daily basis. That was the reasoning behind my PERSECUTION PHOTO MEDITATION.

I do appreciate your visit here and I have got to run now, but when I've read your last comments again, I may comment further.

Jazzycat