I am going to print this article and I will intersperse my comments in between. I just feel like doing it this way. Here goes…ready? Good, now read on for some simple solutions to stop discrimination against Christians.
by John S. Dickerson
I have friends who laugh when I mention discrimination against Christians in the United States. You evangelicals have such a persecution complex, they tell me.
As an evangelical leader and observer, I do believe discrimination against my people is being allowed and even applauded in pockets of America — just as discrimination against homosexuals and others is being allowed in other pockets of the nation.
This time last year Chic-fil-A protests were erupting across the country. The telling moment was not the creative protests, but the public officials who declared the restaurant chain a hate group. Mayors in cities like Chicago and Boston said the private business was no longer welcome in their cities — because of the owner’s personal religious beliefs.
(This situation has a simple solution. Christians should be allowed to hold their beliefs just like Muslims are. Like Muslims, Christians have hardcore beliefs, difference being that Christians on a whole do not carry out jihads and bombing of airports and building et cetra. When we as a people do not like something that a business does we simply have to remember to comment and tell others to simply boycott their business. We have free speech and as such they should be allowed their freedom to say or believe as they wish but like the rest of us they have to live with the ramifications of those beliefs. Simply put, they can say what they want and we as consumers have our say by not visiting their establishments. Then they have to decide if their opinions are worth their livelihoods. Simple as that.)
Then, at the presidential Inauguration, Reverend Louie Giglio was forced out of participating — because he holds a view on homosexuality that dozens of other inaugural reverends have held for generations.
(Simple, if it was important enough to you to go to these things then keep to yourself…that is why the other guys got to go and he didn’t.)
More recently, three-time Grammy winner Donny McClurklin was first hired and then barred from performing at the anniversary of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech. What did McClurkin (himself an African American reverend) do to be banned? It seems McClurklin has a life story of once being gay and now being a Christian who is not gay. Since his life does not fit the spirit of the age, he is no longer welcome in the public square.
(Again, if these are your opinions, then fine, but expect to be left out of some things. Besides why would you want to be around a situation where it goes against what you believe? Don’t discriminate against a person for his beliefs or ideas, just leave them out of your circle but don’t hate them for their beliefs. In this case it should be understood that there is nothing worse than a convert, as they are the most bigoted against others they believe are wrong.)
The same culture clash is playing out in quieter towns and lives. Jack Phillips is presently being prosecuted by the Colorado Attorney General for violating human rights – -because as a Christian, he would not bake a cake for a same-sex wedding celebration. After the Colorado Civil Rights Commission decides his case, a local prosecutor could take him to criminal court where he could face a year in jail.
(If a lesbian tee-shirt shop owner refused to print anti-gay-marriage tee-shirts, would the same happen? I sure hope not.)
(Look, really, if a person doesn’t want your business for whatever reason, what the hell is the problem. Go somewhere else and let your friends and others know of the situation. It is that businesses lose. Don’t go on about it and try to force them to go your way because then you are helping them by applying them. Why waste your time and effort just give your money to a worthy business. This business will eventually go under as more people will decline to go there…see simple.)
Baker Melissa Klein is facing similar charges from the Oregon State Bureau of Labor and Industries, which could fine her $100,000 in emotional damages for every same-sex wedding she declined to cater.
(This is pure bullshit and the state should stay out of it. Why should anyone pressure her to cater a wedding? Government should stay out of it. Consumers will take care of the situation. Emotional damage…that is bull…what didn’t you try someone else. If one business doesn’t want your business go to someone who does want it. These guys are just trying to get something, because they feel hurt. Really why would you want someone forced into doing you wedding. You can’t see the down side. Cripes I wouldn’t want anyone like that being anywhere near my wedding. Is the fine going to help the couple or other couples in anyway? If you don’t want to do something, the job done is going to suck…keep far from them, otherwise you are the idiots. )
In New Mexico, the state has already decided against religious liberty. In a unanimous ruling from the state supreme court, Justice Richard Bosson wrote that Christian wedding photographers “now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives…the rule of law requires it.”
Similar stories are unfolding in schools, cities and universities across the country. Call it a “persecution complex” if you want. The fact is some American Christians are today facing fines, bankruptcy and jail time for their religious beliefs.
Some celebrate this as due revenge against the bigoted Christians. Others of us see it as hostile. For those of us who see it as hostile, what does the Bible say to Christians living in a hostile society? It tells us to show extravagant love to the very people who oppose us.
The Apostle Peter writes “Live such good lives among the pagans, that though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God” (1 Peter 2:12).
(As I have always said we Christians are just ripe to be picked on because we do not stand up for ourselves. We do not threaten others with dire life threatening threats. We do not fight for our “Saviour” like Muslims fight for their Mohammad. We are wooses but that is what made Christianity, what it is. The sad truth is that we live in a society now, that seems to respect strength and violence again and Christianity’s beliefs are no longer as in vogue as they once were. The young have created different mores. This is why the Islamist movement is becoming stronger and Christians must decide… do we fight for our religion as we once did or do we let ourselves become that other religion, you the one sitting in the fringes as others take chunks out of it because we turn the other cheek.)
That’s not a natural response to injustice. But it was Christ’s response. Those of us who believe in Christ must strive toward this —showing radical love to the people who most misunderstand us, who take us to court and run us out of business.
Scripture does show Christians standing up for their legal rights. When arrested, the Apostle Paul stood on his rights as a Roman citizen. American Christians have rights to stand on. But the emphasis in scripture is not Christians defending themselves. It is Christians loving the individuals who misunderstand and accuse us.
As a nation, we have fallen into a simplified TV explanation of our society — the assumption that the Christian and LGBT communities must be enemies. I know many in the LGBT community are as bothered by this combative narrative as I am. For my side I can say that scripture does not stereotype people into combative roles. It encourages us, instead, to see all persons as individual souls who are loved by Christ.
Christians in America can begin choosing to see the homosexual people in our social circles as individual souls — and never as enemies. All of us can intentionally show love through actions to the relatives, co-workers and neighbors who culture say we should treat as enemies.
(This couldn’t be said any better. We have to change our beliefs about God’s children but it is now more important than ever that we win the heart and souls of the young and those who hold Christianity in disdain. We have to show them we will stand up for ourselves, while still giving those others respect. Sometimes it is necessary to fight fire with fire.)
Are there people in your life who the culture says are your enemies? Are there people who expect you to be against them? Then those are the very ones to reach out to with generous love.
How? According to Saint Peter, with actions. I guess you could start by baking them a cake. Better yet, call them by name, have them over for dinner, and take the time to learn their story. That’s what Jesus did.
(As Christians it is important to do as Jesus did but then if Christianity isn’t around will we have failed Christ. We will not fail him if we respect others while showing strength of character that lets others know that we will stand by our beliefs but we will not be trampled over. Like Islamists who feel they are honour bound to fight for their prophet then why shouldn’t we fight for our Saviour. We have to stop treating our fellow Christians and gays with disrespect. They are God’s children and our citizens. As Christians we can’t disregard the feelings of others and we should not try to hurt those not the same as us. The gay issue is important to us and all Christians have to now accept them and stop this foolishness, otherwise if Christ did exist he may just punish us for our disrespect for his children. Think on it.)
John S. Dickerson, an Arizona pastor and journalist, is author of The Great Evangelical Recession: 6 Factors that will Crash the American Church…and How to Prepare