December 11, 2010

Persecution Question

Here is some interesting timing. I did my last article about the persecution of Christians in the US military, which was a sort of follow-up to this one. I received an interesting comment on that earlier post from Whateverman (hope you don't mind your name in lights, so to speak):

By all accounts, Christians outnumber other religious demographics in the US. If you're right, and anti-Christian discrimination gets less coverage than that of other groups, wouldn't you think this is at least part of the reason? It's difficult to cry "discrimination!" (and I'm not accusing you of doing so here) when the discriminated group is in the majority.

My response was to the effect that it's not just people who claim to be Christians that receive discrimination or forms of persecution, but those who actively live like followers of Jesus. An interesting coincidence, later today, Ray Comfort posted an article at Atheist Central that also addressed this topic; it could have been an answer instead of my own. Cool, huh? For that one, click here.

Persecution in the Military?

Yes, I am putting a question mark on the title of this one. I would like to hear from you about what I am about to relate. (If you are going to fire off anti-God or anti-Christian venom, you'll just be deleted.) I am especially interested in the opinions of military personnel, past and present.

There was a story I heard about how "the armed forces confiscated the Bibles of soldiers in Afghanistan and burned them". I hate sensationalism, so I had to check it. There is an element of truth to this, but...

In 2009, a soldier received Bibles that were printed in the two most common Afghan languages and, being evangelistically minded, was going to hand them out. Those are the Bibles that were confiscated and burned, even though the story I heard implied that the personal possessions of soldiers were taken away, and that is not the case. The reason these were taken away is that the US military did not want to give the impression that they were there to convert the Muslims. I can understand that, one soldier in an American uniform is essentially representing the military and, ultimately, the United States. 

This is a tough call for Christians. We are called to spread the Gospel (Matthew 28.18-20), but we also have to obey laws. If solders are issued a "gag order" and told that they can never speak of their faith to the Mulsims, then the verse about "obey God rather than man" could very well come into play.

But still...burning the Bibles is all right? That does add fuel to the fire (heh!) for claims of persecution. It seems rather heavy-handed as well.

Any thoughts from you in the military? Or others, of course.

December 9, 2010

Persecution Shuffle

 
Blessed are ye when men hate you, and thrust you out of their company, and rail on you, and abhor your name, as an evil thing, for the son of man's sake.
Rejoice ye then, and be glad: for behold, your reward is great in heaven.
After this manner their fathers entreated the prophets.
(Luke 6:22-23, Tyndale-Coverdale Bible, modern spelling)

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus,
must suffer persecutions.
(2 Timothy 3.12, Tyndale-Coverdale Bible, modern spelling)

Buon giorno. That's right, it's not easy to be a follower of Jesus. You want easy? Be a piece of deadwood and float with the current.

Still waiting for input on text size and colors, gang. Subscribers are stuck, they get what the service sends them. Sorry.

My subscribers, followers and regular readers know that I have been posting articles about the persecution of Christians. The instances to which I refer have been blatant "renounce Jesus" kinds of things, including torture, murder, imprisonment and other harassment. In most of the West, and here in the United States, "persecution" is relative. More often, the persecution is toned down to the level of discrimination.

Unlike what some God-haters may say, I am not one of those people that sees persecution lurking behind every tree or hiding around every corner. Unlike what some God-haters may say, the persecution of Christians does indeed exist. (Note: Other groups experience it as well, but I am doing one of the first rules of writing, and limiting my topic to the persecution of Christians.) In fact, I believe that I am going to give regular reports on this subject in the United States and the West. Just because some people do not like to admit it does not mean it does not exist, capice?

Just a moment.

Now I'm going to switch to a less emotionally-charged word and use "discrimination".

The new FCC Commissioner, Michael Copps, wants to have a test of sorts, or a kind of standard, for the "public value" of every broadcast station.

"Is that discrimination, Cowboy Bob?"

In and of itself, no. However, it is an item of concern because someone's arbitrary and subjective standards of "public value" can be used to heavily influence the airwaves. To me, it sounds like the Fairness Doctrine dug up from its grave, zombified and put into a new suit of clothes. The Fairness Doctrine was targeting Conservative radio, because it was successful and liberal radio was failing because nobody wanted to listen to it. After all, radio is a business and it is market driven.

I am concerned that if the FCC has that power, they can simply decide to shut down stations because they have no "public value", even if the public wants to hear those stations. It is one thing to have community standards (including decency), but it is quite another to have bureaucrats in charge.

Just something to think about.

Something else to think about: Just because I cite Christian sources or use Conservative news sources does not make something untrue. That kind of accusation is outrageously, deliberately stupid. It is also hateful to be slandering good people just because you don't like what is being said. I have come across people who think that if the source is Christian, it's automatically suspect. Do those people listen to themselves? We serve a holy and righteous God who does not tolerate that kind of thing, so it's ridiculous to label Christians as a whole to be habitual liars. (Imagine — we serve a holy and righteous God, so we'll be habitual liars as a group to get you to believe in a holy and righteous God. Like, duh!) If they made the same kind of remarks about an ethnic group, it would be racism. As you can see, that kind of nonsense really grinds my gears; it's an excuse to avoid facts.

Anyway. Here is another item that may or may not be outright discrimination: Touchdown! A high school football player, Ronnie Hastie, in Washington state briefly dropped to one knee and pointed skyward after making a touchdown. The referee gave a fifteen yard penalty. Now, I can understand a penalty for the showboating, gloating, "in your face", time wasting stuff that went on before. But this? Pretty heavy handed. (Want more sources for that one? OK. One, two, three, and this fourth one is from Britain. That outta hold you for a while, Gertrude.) But the player will change "for the team". Does he have the strength of his convictions? Tough call.

I picked two "iffy" examples. The first could easily be used to stifle free speech, affecting Christians and Conservatives most of all. It is not clear-cut discrimination. The second example seems more likely to be discrimination because the penalty call was absurd. Not definite, however.

At any rate, discrimination and persecution of Christians does indeed exist, whether you like it or not. Whether you believe it or not.

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