For centuries, the early Christians endured far worse than we might face, dying in the Coliseum to the taunts of jeering crowds — whose grandchildren would flee the moral chaos of collapsing Rome and flock to the underground churches. All the persecution that a government like China can deal its native Christians has not stopped the church from exploding there, and striking fear at the highest levels of a totalitarian government. The battered church in Poland led the movement that brought down the Iron Curtain, through sober, persistent resistance.
The full force of the federal, state and local governments will soon be turned against defenders of biblical Christianity. Will we resist or collaborate?
If you have been following mass media over the past few days, you will have learned from an economist at the U.S. Department of Labor that defenders of religious freedom are “Nazis.” Take a moment to ponder that assertion. Roll it around in your head for a while. You’ll be hearing a lot more fighting words as we enter the next phase of Christian life in America.
Sample the hate that has been spewed at the state of Indiana in the past week, and faithful Christians in recent years, by gay activists and their allies. We are “bigots,” “Neanderthals” and “haters,” whose views must be ritually rejected by anyone hoping to keep a job in today’s America — even in a Catholic high school. Where will this end? Is there a logical stopping point for this aggression, where Christians are left in peace?
History teaches that mass vilification rarely stops short of spilling blood. The French Jacobins who spent the 1780s slandering the clergy in pornographic pamphlets went on in the 1790s to slaughter Christians by the hundreds of thousands. The Turks paved the way for killing a million Armenian Christians with a wave of propaganda. The Bolsheviks followed their “anti-God” crusade of the 1920s with starvation camps and firing squads. The Communist governments of Eastern Europe obeyed the same script, as scholar Anne Applebaum documents in her sobering study The Iron Curtain. The Hutu government of Rwanda prepared for its assault on the once-powerful Tutsis by incessantly describing them as “cockroaches” on radio broadcasts, which triggered a genocide.
If the media, the law and our elite institutions succeed in lumping Christian sexual morals in with white racism, how long will it be before believing Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox (and many religious minorities) find themselves labelled as members of “extremist sects,” no more to be trusted with the care of their own children than the Branch Davidians were?
Does that sound crazy to you? Then ask yourself why the German government, and the European Court of Human Rights, felt justified in seizing a Christian home-schooled student — with the apparent approval of the Obama administration. Think about the moral views you teach your own kids. Would your local education bureaucrats approve?
Perhaps Chicago’s cardinal, Francis George, wasn’t guilty of hyperbole when he said, “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”
Joining him would be many Christians who affirm the Gospel in its integrity — instead of the neutered version that’s now sweeping the denominations to swell the ranks of the persecutors. See the Episcopalians and Presbyterians who are now blessing same-sex marriages; see “Catholic” universities such as Marquette, which fired a professor for defending the Catholic Catechism on this subject, and bishops such as Paul Bootkowski of Metuchen, N.J., who backed up a Catholic school that suspended a Catholic teacher for her Facebook comments critical of gay activism. With shepherds like these, who really needs wolves?
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