Silence Beholden

 

One of the greatest misconceptions of Christianity, both within and without the faith, is that peace loving, God-fearing, and the true expression of God’s love is somehow equal to or synonymous with silence. The idea that in order to love one’s fellow man one must live beholden to silence in the face of persecution is simple not true. Christians of today are constantly reminded if they are not placid and pliable they will immediately be affixed with the moniker of hateful and unloving.

Christianity, from its inception during the Roman Empire, has been brutally persecuted down through the centuries and civilizations. It certainly hasn’t been because of their silence and muted beliefs. While scripture is saturated with teachings of love and peace, it also is equally laced with admonitions to maintain and preach a holy life. It is this preaching in the face of overwhelming opposition that cost many a Christian their life.

Once such Christian was Apostle Paul. A gifted teacher and prolific writer, the Apostle was once a zealous persecutor of Christians, most notably overseeing the execution of Stephen, a beloved deacon of the early church. After his conversion, Paul would exhort the Roman Church to “live at peace with all men” with this interesting caveat: “as much it lies within you”. The Apostle would later recount how he himself had been thrown to the lions yet had defeated the lions in the coliseum.

Perhaps Paul was concerned the Christians were meekly walking to the slaughter abdicating their rights as Roman citizens. It should be noted that Paul when imprisoned in Corinth demanded to know why he, a Roman citizen, should be beaten and jailed with out a proper trial. Paul, on several occasions, eloquently and effectively defended his faith in the high courts of the Roman Empire until his strong views on homosexuality proved too much for the government and he was beheaded.

Still, Christianity has also been guilty of persecutions as many of its detractors are quick to point out. While many will use this truth as reason for retaliation against any Christian form of faith, this natural desire for a comeuppance is really the catalyst for the Freedoms we once enjoyed in this Country. The Founders wanted to maintain expression without repression.

Christians began fleeing to the “New World” to escape persecution, ironically, from the Christian church. These believed that a salvation experience was a personal one that did not need to come from the church. The church, now infused with the power of government, dealt harshly with these miscreants with inquisitions and excommunications. Sadly, humanity has the propensity to, once free from persecution, repeat the very same atrocities it most recently was freed from.

Our Founding Fathers were well aware of this tendency in the frailty of human behavior. They crafted a Republic that would break the old world cycle of religious persecutions and strong man politics by protecting the right to express one’s faith or lack thereof and prohibiting the repression of such. While many of the “enlightened” move to disparage the wisdom of our founders, time has only proven them all the wiser.

The idea that the framers of our great Republic never envisioned the madness in which we are embroiled in today is one more fallacy. The liberties we enjoy in principle, though debatable in practicum, serve notice that they were established for such a time as this. They foresaw that should a time come that a corrupt, weak, and feckless government and minority of people emboldened by that government’s cowardice and complicity would work, through repression, to eliminate the citizen’s Freedom to express their faith, the people would have the power to stand and fight for their freedom. Yet in this time of unparalleled freedom in world history, Christians seem strangely quiet to do so.

Never in the history of mankind has a civilization offered to its people such freedom. The blood of the millions of Christians who have given their all under the oppression of regimes cry out in astonishment as Christians in the United States silently abdicate their Freedom spurning the sacrifice not only of the great patriots of this Nation but the souls of so many whose unjust deaths were the impetus for the Freedoms of this great Republic. Are Christians beholden to cower in silence or are they accountable to their God to preserve and protect these great liberties, not just for Christians, but so that all peoples of faith may freely express their faith without fear of reprisal? What do Christians believe?

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The Anti-Celebration: It’s All Inclusive

 

I recently read a post by another activist here in Maine that brought out a point to this anti-Christian gay-rights fervor that is sweeping our nation, which was something I had never really given much thought to. Genie Jennings asked, “Why would anyone want to force anyone else to attend or approve of their day of celebration if they don’t approve or want to attend?” The quotation marks are there to provide some sense of syntax but those words are more of a paraphrase then a direct quote. I was surprised, first, because this is an issue she doesn’t generally get involved with or speak about, and secondly, the direct simple question provided one of those “stop and think about that” moments.

I have worked with Genie on several different issues and she is always very thoughtful. She consistently provides unique perspective, so the insight was not the surprise. I just had one of those very selfish “whydidn’tIthinkofthat” intraflections…I think I made that word up.

When I was in college, there were certain events that required all students and staff from the school to be in attendance. All of us knew this. This was a very strict school and we had signed an advisement when we enrolled that clearly stated that there would be required attendance at certain events. Still, it didn’t prevent many of us from making wry and cynical remarks about having to engage in “mandatory fun”.

The reason for this rule, as it was explained to me, was to promote a feeling of unity and togetherness within the campus community. What it really did, in my observations, was create two groups of people at the “mandatory fun” banquet: those who wanted to be there and those who couldn’t wait to get out of there. Quite frankly, it was a relief to those who were enjoying the banquet when the others had fulfilled their “mandatory fun” quotas and bailed out of there, taking their killjoy attitudes with them.

So, again, why would you want anyone associated with your party, your celebration, your wedding that doesn’t want to be there? Why would you want flowers or a cake provided or delivered by a business under duress, with an “I don’t believe in what your doing, it violates my faith, but if I don’t do this the government is going to take away my business, take all my life savings, destroy everything I have, and force me to take reeducation classes” look on their face with the fury of the persecuted and aggrieved simmering just below the surface. Is this truly a moment of celebration or a moment to inflict punishment on those who will not willingly affirm your expression, so then they must be forced?

The “new freedom” is beginning its conquest of the American tradition and it’s starting with the basic foundation of that tradition: marriage. The “new freedom”, the freedom to sex, demands that all other freedoms affirm its sovereignty with their allegiance. If the Freedom of Speech speaks against it: Speech is silenced. If the Freedom of Religion preaches against it: Faith is punished. If the Freedom of the Press reports against it: Reports are crushed. If Commerce disagrees with it: Commerce is blocked.

Once again I ask do we value sex above all other freedoms? Is it more important to affirm lifestyle choices than maintain our personal freedoms? And how did we get here?

A Willfully Wacky World

Its just astounding to watch the willful wacky contortions liberals will put themselves through just to attack Christians. CEO’s who berate  Christians for adhering to their personals beliefs about not promoting or sanctioning gay marriage and yet will spend millions in Countries that execute individuals who are gay.  Still others, such as Wal-Mart, decry the Christian faith and announce their support for Sharia Law and also do business with those that execute gays.  Now we have Universities that are banning Easter Services.  The persecution has just ramped up.  History is repeating itself because we willfully refused to learn from it.

Republicans Show What They Are Made Of….Again

The Republicans are showing once again that in the face of adversity they cannot pass up an opportunity to cower and concede.  The Republican Party of Indiana has given the rest of the Nation a flaming example of what feckless leadership looks like.  After passing a bill to protect people of faith from being targeted and persecuted for their faith, the Republicans, in the face of protest from such upstanding citizens as Miley Cyrus, have amended the law to say that people of faith are protected from targeting and persecution until they are targeted and persecuted for their faith.  Then all bets are off.  In other words, we are back to where we were. You are allowed Freedom of Religion as long as you shut-up about it and don’t act like you believe anything. The “new freedom” trumps all other Freedoms.

Of course there will be protests.  Whenever you make a stand there is bound to be opposition.  There Republicans never cease to amaze as they climb to new heights of cowardice. This is why the Nation is steadily losing faith in the Republican Party. They cannot be trusted in the heat of battle.