Modern day persecution in America
Persecution has been around for a long time. Historically, Cain was the first murderer, and Abel was the first martyr. Why did Cain persecute Abel? “Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.” (1 Jn. 3:12)
The Jews’ legacy is one of persecution. Some of them suffered it; some caused it. Jesus reprimanded the instigating kind when he charged, “Therefore, I send you prophets and wise men and scribes … some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah …” (Matt. 23:34-35)
A “Who’s Who” list of the persecuted reveals that many immanent Bible personalities suffered at the maliciousness of evil men. Abel, Joseph, David, Jeremiah, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Stephen, Paul, the other apostles, and most of all, Jesus Christ, were persecuted.
In more modern times, those who protested the corruption of Roman Catholicism bore the severest kind of affliction, for which John Paul II offered proxy apologies in recent years.
Persecution has been faced in different ways. Refusing to recant, the three Hebrew youths were resigned to accept their execution, affirming their convictions with boldness and clarity to the end.
The Lord sometimes dealt with the persecuting opposition of the Pharisees and Sadducees by exposing their religious hypocrisy. Uniquely, they did not have the power to take his life, but he laid it down of himself.
Paul’s life demonstrates how persecution was handled differently. He fled from Damascus, was run out of Iconium, and quickly left Thessalonica. But he went back to Lystra, shortly after being stoned there, and resolutely headed for Jerusalem, although he knew that “imprisonment and afflictions await me.” (Acts 20:23) Paul responded to each persecuting situation based upon what was best for the success of the gospel — not out of interest for his personal comfort or safety. (Acts 20:20, 24)
Twenty-first century persecution in the U.S. is multi-faceted and is largely ideological. Its manifestations are seen in the advancement of moral decay, the dissemination of secularism, the reconstruction of Christianity’s role in American history, and the demonizing of Christian values.
Consequently, if you morally object to homosexuality, society labels you as a “homophobe” and a bigot. If you advocate creationism, you are castigated as a back-woods, superstitious individual, who likely was abused at church camp. If you allude to the divine references in the Declaration of Independence, you are characterized as ignorant of the original intent. The abortion of unborn children is labeled choice not murder and those who are pro-life are called anti-abortion.
Just as Paul dealt with persecution in different ways, so the twenty-first century Christian needs to evaluate each situation and respond with wisdom and prayer.
First, we need to recognize the reality of it. We have not tried to prove that the public schools, media, government, etc., often behave with hostility towards Christianity. If one is not convinced of that fact, he is blatantly uninformed or extremely naive.
Second, we may “appeal to Caesar.” Like Paul, Christians may utilize the government for their own protection and spiritual interests when possible. We are not obligated to serve ourself up on the altar of persecution just because of a societal expectation.
Third, parents, teachers, administrators, and citizens need to let their voices be heard. Silencing Christians is one goal of persecution. Exercise your right of free speech, and speak the truth.
Fourth, Christians need to withhold support from institutions that are plainly anti-Christian: like the NEA, ACLU, Planned Parenthood and other organizations that support the moral decay of this nation, through advocating homosexuality, abortion and anti-Christian causes. Claiming to be champions of diversity, they oppress Christians, religiously honoring the so-called separation of church and state.
Fifth, Christians must still evangelize in a hostile world. They must recognize opposition, work through it, and fight it when they can. Ultimately, regardless of religious affliction, they must continue to live faithful lives, looking to evangelize the few in spite of the hatred from the many. And Jesus said, “I will be with you always.” (Matt. 28:20)
David Nowak, Weatherford
Potter gives thanks for honor
On behalf of myself, my beautiful and supportive wife, Beth, and my outstanding staff Myra, Susan and Sara, I would like to thank the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce and the citizens of Weatherford and Parker County for the honor they have bestowed upon us in selecting Bowie Drive Dental Care as the small business of the year for 2013.
The support and encouragement we have received over the years from our friends and neighbors here in Weatherford and Parker County have been overwhelming. This most recent honor was unexpected but wonderful.
It has been a pleasure improving smiles and serving the dental needs of the citizens of Weatherford and Parker County. We look forward to continuing to help, especially with the opening of our new Migraine Relief Center of Parker County. Thank you.
Fred H. Potter, DDS, Weatherford