It is pretty hard now days to turn on the television or open a newspaper without hearing about "the war on Christianity" and see devout believers lamenting on how horribly they are "persecuted" in America today. With gay marriage, abortion and atheists removing God from every aspect of the government, it seems pretty obvious that we secular citizens are using separation of church and state as a new battlefield against religion. How horrible a life American Christians must be forced to live.
In Iran, Christians are being executed for their faith. In Myanmar, you can be thrown in prison just for owning a Bible. In North Korea, well, you face death just for believing any God exists. The 2015 report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) shows that 13 million people have fled seven countries (Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Central African Republic (CAR), Eritrea, Burma, and Afghanistan). Many of those displaced are Christians, and mostly due to fear of violence and/or death.
The Bible, and distributing it, is restricted in over 50 countries worldwide, and spreading the gospel will land you in jail or executed in many of those. But none of this compares to the wholly American horror of (possibly) being forced to bake a cake for a gay wedding! How could we compare the American "war on Christianity" to the Christians (and other religious beliefs) persecuted worldwide? I mean, our own little bubble, and our own discomforts in the first world are all that really matter. The rest of the world isn't us, so we shouldn't compare ourselves to them, right?
In America today, you can proudly say, "I'm a Christian" and carry a Bible with you everywhere you go. You can go to any church you want to without being arrested. You can say anything you want! You can even proclaim that you worship the Giant Spaghetti Monster, and all the persecution you will receive is strange looks from some people. Yet, in this, one of the most religiously tolerant nations, Christians are screaming persecution just because our laws are changing to embrace everyone's belief structure. By not allowing one faith to force their beliefs down our legal throats, the country has launched a "war" on (one specific) faith.
Let's say, for one minute, that this perceived war on Christianity is real, that American liberals and atheists want to persecute believers out of a shear sense on malevolence. What should the Christian believer do in face of such hideous mistreatment? Let's turn to our Bibles.
Persecution should come as no big surprise if you read your Bibles. In John 15:20b (NIV), Jesus states "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also." Well, what exactly happened to Jesus? I think being beaten and executed counts as persecution. So, since "the world" (Non-believers) persecuted Jesus, shouldn't Christians expect persecution? Even Paul warns Timothy, "All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution," (2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV).
So, Christians, at least those who read their Bibles, should not be surprised at persecution, weather real or perceived. They should, in fact, expect it. Jesus said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer..." (John 16:33 KJV), and the Apostle Peter said, "If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name," (1 Peter 4:16 NIV). So, not only should Christians expect persecution, but they should embrace it as a way to glorify God and be more Christ-like. The last thing they should ever do is complain. "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you," (1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV).
Now, American Christians don't face death or jail, like many believers in other nations do, so they are forced to find this persecution anywhere they can. They have to look hard to find it, not to whine and lament about the injustice of it all, but to grow and rejoice in their faith. It makes me wonder, if we are truly waging a war on Christianity, then aren't we really doing them a favor?
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