The tide of tolerance seems to be turning against some segments of American society. What would be considered abhorrent governmental discrimination against any other group is becoming more acceptable when applied to followers of Christ.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Fox News ran a story Aug. 24 titled: “Christians victims of rising ‘hostility’ from government and secular groups.”
Among the examples listed in the survey completed by the conservative Family Research Council:
• Matthew Reynolds, valedictorian for HLV Junior-Senior High School in Victor, Iowa, wanted to link his success to his faith in Jesus Christ during his graduation speech but was told his talk had to be secular.
• A cross was removed from a veterans memorial in San Diego, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit decided the memorial was unconstitutional.
• .Dr. Frank Turek, a Cisco employee, was fired for writing about his views on traditional marriage in his book.
• Samantha Schulz, 8, was barred from singing "Kum Ba Yah" at a Florida Boys and Girls Club because the song includes the words "Oh, Lord."
• Catherina Lorena Cenzon-DeCarlo, a nurse at Manhattan's Mount Sinai Hospital, was forced to participate in a late-term abortion against her religious convictions.
I can hear the refrains against Fox News already. The news agency is often discounted (at best) by other mainstream media outlets, which err on the side of liberalism unapologetically. To this I say: if you close your mind the second you hear the words "Fox News", perhaps you should consider that you may not be as open minded as you think.
If one news agency offends you, you might want to explore why.
If the very mention of God offends you, the question might be even more important.
Covered in mainstream media are stories about Westboro Baptist Church’s hatred of homosexuals, American soldiers and just about everyone else with a pulse. Covered are news stories reported in such a way that suggests having traditional values – especially if you are a business owner – is akin to hatred as well. Nevermind that the vast majority of Christians are all about unconditional love and boundless grace.
Like we couldn’t use more unconditional love and boundless grace in this country....like that would be such a bad thing.
Several years ago, nativity scenes in public places at Christmas became offensive to a small group of individuals (but that’s a blog post for another time). Before long, individual rights -such as Reynolds' desire to attribute academic success to Christ- are being denied in the name of “secularism." A cross at a veteran’s memorial in California is taken down after being deemed “unconstitutional”. Adherence to the constitution is being challenged every day, yet it is used it to decide a simple cross must come down in the name of that same document.
What would happen if Reynolds included giving God glory for his success, when he stood to make his speech at graduation? Would he be pulled off the stage, or have his diploma withheld as punishment? It was his own success that he was praising God for. Whom would the powers-that-be prefer that Reynolds give glory to? Or the powers-that-be?
The first amendment of the United States Constitution protects American’s right to free speech, yet a Cisco employee was fired for expressing his views in a book. Did holding traditional values make him a danger to the company, or just a danger to the state?
Most disturbing is the case of Catherina Cenzon-DeCarolo, who was forced to participate in a late-term abortion, even though to do so meant acting against her religious convictions. To her mind (as an individual, not as property of the state) taking part in this horrific procedure forced her to act against beliefs, under threat of job termination. If one person is being made to participate in acts reprehensible to her faith, where is the passionate American outcry? It should be illegal for anyone to be forced into the killing of a child. Period.
And Kum Ba Yah....really?
We followers of Christ have seen this anti-Christian climate coming for quite a while now. We notice it in the way we are unfairly portrayed in mainstream media, we feel the undercurrents of cultural disdain. We also knew that this special shunning for “those evangelicals” couldn’t be too far off, because we read our Bibles and the very goings-on right now are all in the Good Book. Yet as both Christians and as Americans we stand firm in our beliefs because we cannot and will not deny what we know to be true.
Not in order to placate anyone, government or otherwise. The message is too important – the end of the story too eternally pivotal.
If God offends you, explore why – and remember…God is not offended by you.
Do we really want a government that regulates our faith? It will fail immediately. Just as you cannot legislate morality, you cannot regulate a person’s faith, prayer life or belief system. Trying to do so is treading on dangerous ground.
At some point in the past decade, we have lost our respect for the beliefs of others in the name of tolerance; a terrible irony.