ISIS represents the single most prominent national or pseudo national entity that makes the persecution of Christians a central part of its activity. The would-be Islamic Caliphate is widely understood to be on its last legs, having been destroyed or driven out of most of the Syrian territory and Iraq, which it had gained in surprisingly swift conquests during the administration of US President Barack Obama. However, ISIS is not the only persecutor of followers of Jesus Christ. In fact, Christianity is by far the most widely persecuted religion on earth, with the last 100 years seeing more martyrdoms than in the entire history of Christianity before.
In this video, released by Fox Entertainment, Dede Laugesen discusses the activity of Christians in the US moving to help those abroad. The video is well worth watching, but with additional considerations.
Persecution of Christians has many forces, and although this piece largely concerns itself with causing the physical death of Christian believers, it also makes a point of “exclusion from civil society, loss of property, and many other things.”
This may or may not be code for the other type of persecution that has taken place against Christians, that being in what we might call “First World” countries, like the United States itself, England and others in Europe.
During President Obama’s terms, for example, Christians were actively persecuted through the Affordable Care Act’s provisions of (at first) trying to get one dollar of everyone’s health insurance policy premiums to go towards providing abortifacients or contraceptives to anyone who needed them. This was a violation of American First Amendment rights (Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…) and the Roman Catholic Conference of Bishops in the US spoke out against it strongly. The answer from the Administration was basically a shell game – insurance companies were thus mandated to provide such services for no charge at all.
Of course, the insurance companies are not about to lose money, so the original idea of a dollar per premium payment essentially survived; it was just slightly more hidden.
In 2015 and 2016, American Christians began to notice in very widespread fashion that they and those believing in a traditional understanding of family life and marriage, were now considered “hateful, bigoted, homophobic” and other pejorative labels. Some were driven out of business, like the cake backers in Oregon and Colorado. Homosexuality, a lifestyle that has been condemned by all Abrahamic faith traditions since recorded history began, was made legal by Supreme Court fiat in the United States. Now parents have to deal with the reality of lesbian or gay hero characters being portrayed by the likes of Marvel and DC productions on TV at home, and some public schools are insistent upon teaching children about “my two dads” or “my two moms” and so forth.
As Tucker Carlson noted in his own video presentation about two weeks ago, the attack against traditional family values for the sake of economic gain has caused unbelievable destruction in American society. The legalization of cannabis has accelerated this.
With all this is probably the most powerful attack yet devised against Christian believers. That attack says something like this:
Christianity? Sure, it’s okay if you want to be Christian. We do not mind. But keep your faith in Church. Be nice to the rest of us who do not believe like you do. Your faith is yours to keep but it offends us. Jesus said to love everyone, but when you talk about your beliefs (that we disagree with) you are being a bad Christian because you are being hateful to people who are different than you.
Many Christians have silently buckled to this argument. And why?
It is in our nature as Christians to strive for compassion and kindness to others. In America, a large part of our church upbringing talked about being nice to others whether they deserved it or not.
But being “nice” is not the same as being honest. There are still a lot of great parents that know that being too nice to their children will kill them. Being honest, strong, disciplined… these are also measures of what Christian love is.
Christian love is rooted in reality. The reality of God, of who we are, our ability to do either good or evil to ourselves and those around us, and far more than being nice to others, facing the Lord at the last moment in life or at the Last Judgement. To survive and make it through that session means that we have to make decisions that may not look nice. They may look harsh, unkind, or hateful. But every sane adult probably remembers times his or her parents put their foot down and did not let them do something. At the time it seemed wrong. But later it proved lifesaving.
We are under an attack as severe as ISIS’ attacks on Christians in those other parts of the world. If the seculars of our culture can render our faith as irrelevant, then they have won, and we all suffer.