The New Persecution
I blogged last week about the firing of Gerald Marszalek, a Christian wrestling coach in Michigan, by a Muslim principal. As I was thinking about this travesty of a story happening right here in our own country, it began to occur to me that we have seen a radical shift in our culture in recent months. I don’t mean years, I mean months.
It seems as if overnight, that normal, average Americans are being targeted and attacked for doing nothing more than living their lives and speaking out about what they believe. I am thinking of Joe the Plumber and the way his life was given a rectal exam by the media (that included looking at his tax records!) after he showed up at an Obama campaign stop and asked a very simple question of the man who would soon be his president. I am thinking about Carrie Prejean, who was asked a question about her opinion on gay marriage. After explaining that her personal beliefs affirm that marriage is between one man and one woman, the media set out to destroy her and she eventually lost her crown as Miss California. I am thinking of Katy Abram, a stay at home mom, who showed up at one of those “town hall” meetings last week and was caught on tape expressing her views. Once again the smear machine went into overdrive to marginalize and ruin this young woman in the eyes of the public. I guess this kind of thing has always gone on among people who have chosen the public spotlight as a career – I am thinking of people like Bill Clinton during his presidency and more recently Sarah Palin. But what is striking me now is the attack on the average American citizen who is just going along, living their life, and all of a sudden they are the topic of late night talk shows, 24 hour news channels, and countless Op-Ed pieces. And it seems that it has become particularly hazardous to be a Christian expressing any kind of Christian views anywhere outside the walls of a church building.
Our country has definitely changed. It is not the America that I grew up in and in some ways is doesn’t even feel like the America I was living in just a few years ago.
So as Christians we have a choice to make. We can cower in silence and play it safe. We can hope that if we go “underground”, we will be ignored and we can just keep doing life and going to work and school and church as normal, and maybe we will be left alone. As long as we keep our mouths closed and our Bibles and opinions to ourselves, we can hope that everything will be okay.
We can live Christian lives the way Christ called us to. We can make it known we are Christians, tell others that Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven, and actively work to grow the Kingdom of God. And we can take our lumps.
Listen, persecution has, more than not, been the norm for Christianity. We have been blessed to live in a nation that for over 200 years was sympathetic to Christianity. But those days may be over.
Now, more than ever, Christians must lead.
Passage for Reflection:
“Lord, give me the strength to live and lead for Jesus in such a time as this. Amen.”