Christianity at War

By Galen Dalrymple

War has been declared on Christianity. While I am tempted to say that no one can say with precision when this war started, that would not be true. It started when the Founder of our faith was born. The ruler of the tiny country where Jesus was born, King Herod, tried to kill him then and individuals and governments have been trying ever since to kill Him and His church.  The war has waxed and waned throughout the ages but it has never gone away and it shall not disappear from the face of the earth as long as the present creation stands.

That being said, we are living in a time of perhaps unprecedented warfare against Christianity of all stripes and colors – at least against those who hold to an orthodox faith. There were more martyrs in the 20th century than in the 19 centuries prior and the rate is increasing. Martyrdom is just the tip of the sword – the deadliest part to be sure – but not the only evidence of this war in which we are engaged.

In the United States, religious liberties are being stripped away at a frightening pace, aided and abetted by the government, courts and specific laws such as the Affordable Care Act, wherein Christians are being told that they must do things which violate their religious beliefs, such as provide insurance that pays for abortifacients. It isn’t just Catholics who are taking a beating for their stand in this war, but non-Catholics as well: witness Hobby Lobby.  The media scream at the craziness of Christians, impugning rationality and ascribing motivations that are hateful and vicious.

Before I continue, let me be clear about something: I am a Protestant. I have never been Catholic nor do I ever expect to be Catholic. But in this war against Christianity, the Catholic Church is not the enemy. Satan is the enemy. Whether we are Catholic or Protestant, if we are believers in and followers of Jesus, we are Christians.  Enough with the names and branding – those things only divide us. It is time for all who bear the banner of Christ to rise together as simply “Christians” because the war is upon us.

There has been an explosion of comment in the blogosphere about a recent opinion piece article at US News and World Report written by one Jamie Steihm, titled “The Catholic Supreme Court’s War on Women” which was prompted by Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor’s stay order which allows an international religious order who serve the indigent; “The Little Sisters of the Poor”, to avoid paying fines (temporarily) for not acting in compliance with the HHS mandate requiring them to provide insurance for employees to have free contraception, abortifacients and sterilizations. The opinion piece is laced with vitriol and name-calling, aimed at the Catholic Supreme Court Justice and the Catholic Church. Numerous Catholic bloggers have written in response. What troubles me is that I see so few Protestant bloggers or leaders standing up vocally in defense of believers in the Catholic Church who have taken a brave and courageous stand and who have been treated so blatantly to anti-Catholic bigotry.

In one blog, Rebecca Hamilton, an 18-year member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, diagnosed the war succinctly when she wrote: “Despite the fact that the faith in this particular frying pan was Catholic, the same treatment extends to every traditional Christian. Make no mistake about it my brothers and sisters in Christ; it was about all of us.” – Rebecca Hamilton, Public Catholic blog, 1/8/14 (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/publiccatholic/2014/01/deacon-greg-is-beautiful-when-hes-angry/)

Where are the Protestant voices standing up in one accord with our Catholic brothers and sisters in crying out against the war against Christianity?  If Ms. Steihm had written with this amount of poison against Islam or Judaism, there would be a huge outcry.  Proverbs warned us: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest — 11 and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:10-11)  While we aren’t talking about poverty or scarcity, the same holds true of freedom and truth: if we sleep, we will lose any claim to it. While we have been sleeping in our own segregated, denominational strongholds, the enemy has been awake and sharpening his arrows and swords and uses people such as Jamie Steihm, unwittingly, to do his bidding.

I am also troubled by how we sometimes respond (when and if we do) to such instances. The enemy issues proclamations (including ones that would require Steihm to have read Ms. Sotomayor’s mind so she could expound on her motivations), resorts to name-calling and attacks our integrity. In her view, it couldn’t possibly be true that we really do hold our convictions based on a faith principle, not some repressed desire to “keep women down”, much less, as in Justice Sotomayor’s stay; constitutional principles. But far too often, because we feel attacked, we respond in like manner, even in some of the rebuttals decrying how the enemy has belittled us.  Again, Rebecca Hamilton shows us wisdom: “The bottom line for those of us out here in the audience is this: If you are a Christian, you need to stand up for Jesus. Don’t be a jerk about it. By that I mean keep your language clean, don’t name-call or attack any person. Do not try to use Satan’s weapons to fight Satan…Just stand up strong for Jesus Christ and the right of Christians to be Christian without being attacked, reviled, slandered or bullied in our society. Make your case as the son or daughter of the living God.” (op. cit.)

Certainly we have stronger weapons at our disposal than those the enemy uses; demeaning words, name calling and bullying. We have truth, faith, prayer, justice, integrity…and if and when we use those weapons rightly, the enemy doesn’t stand a chance.

A long time ago Benjamin Franklin said that we must hang together or we will hang separately. That will happen in our country unless we, believers in Christ, begin to stand together. Let us stand together with grace that comes from knowing the Lord Jesus and His grace to us. Let us stand together with those who may disagree on some things regarding doctrine and polity, but who nonetheless stand with us on the Person of Christ. If we fail to do so, there will be many of us hanging alone.

Galen Dalrymple works for Medical Ambassadors International (medicalambassadors.org) as the Field Curriculum Coordinator and lives in Northern California with his wife, Laurel, and yellow lab, Lucy. His passions are his family, photography, travel, and doing what he can to alleviate suffering and injustice as a call from Jesus.


 

 

  • ortcutt

    Christians are so used to Christian Privilege that being treated just like every other group gets interpreted as “War on Christians”. I’m sure there were many people 30 years ago that believed there was a “War on White People” and that there are people today who think there is a “War on Men”. Baloney.

  • Alyxander M Folmer

    Being told that you can’t control the lives and rights of others is a “War of Christianity” ?

  • UWIR

    “Christians are being told that they must do things which violate their religious beliefs, such as provide insurance that pays for abortifacients.”

    No, they’re not.

    “The media scream at the craziness of Christians, impugning rationality and ascribing motivations that are hateful and vicious.”

    Yeah, I’m sure there were motives that were perfectly rational, and not the least bit hateful and vicious, for Christians sending Jessica Ahlquist death threats, refusing to deliver flowers to her, and calling her a “evil little thing”.

    “Enough with the names and branding – those things only divide us.”

    And “Christianity” isn’t a branding that divides people?

    “Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor’s stay order which allows an international religious order who serve the indigent; “The Little Sisters of the Poor”, to avoid paying fines (temporarily) for not acting in compliance with the HHS mandate requiring them to provide insurance for employees to have free contraception, abortifacients and sterilizations.”

    That is a false characterization.

    “The opinion piece is laced with vitriol and name-calling, aimed at the Catholic Supreme Court Justice and the Catholic Church.”

    Such as … ?

    “who have been treated so blatantly to anti-Catholic bigotry.”

    It’s not “bigotry” to oppose someone based on their political views.

    “Again, Rebecca Hamilton shows us wisdom: “The bottom line for those of us out here in the audience is this: If you are a Christian, you need to stand up for Jesus. Don’t be a jerk about it. By that I mean keep your language clean, don’t name-call or attack any person.”

    What hypocrisy. Hamilton’s posts drip with contempt for atheists, and she deletes any comment she doesn’t like.

    “Certainly we have stronger weapons at our disposal than those the enemy uses; demeaning words, name calling and bullying.”

    Nice how you think of anyone who doesn’t agree with you as “the enemy”. And how you accuse the oppressed of exactly what the oppressors are guilty of.

    • Laurel

      First response: Yes they are. To be forced to authorize someone else to provide the drugs to kill a human being is no better than having to do it yourself.
      Second response: Not all Christians are the same or act the same way. He’s talking about a specific, hate filled article by this Ms. Stiehm. It’s no defense to say that others do that too. Did you even read it?
      Third response: No. Don’t you realize he’s talking to other Christians – to not “brand” other believers?
      Fourth Response: No, it’s not. Refer to the answer to the first response.
      Fifth Response: Read Ms. Stiehm’s article. If it were aimed at Jews, Muslims or any certain race – you’d be screaming “hate speech” yourself. But because it’s aimed at Catholics; you say it’s okay.
      Sixth Response: Same as above.
      Seventh Response: You can have your opinion of Ms. Hamilton but what she says here is correct. And if you didn’t notice – she’s saying “not” to act like a jerk. Deleting comments is her right.
      Eighth Response: The author isn’t talking about people who don’t agree with him being the enemy – he’s talking about Satan – the devil.

      • UWIR

        1. No one is being “forced to authorize someone else to provide the drugs to kill a human being”, and that wasn’t the claim, anyway. The claim was that “Christians are being told that they must … provide insurance that pays for abortifacients”, which was false.

        2. Galen Dalrymple spoke of “the media”. Was that a general statement? Then it is perfectly legitimate for me to point to hateful, vicious Christians. And if he was speaking of “the media” based merely on the actions of a single columnist, it’s rather hypocritical for you to say that “Not all Christians are the same or act the same way”. Furthermore, if Christians are vicious and hateful in one situation, that undercuts the assertion that accusing them of being hateful and vicious in another case is baseless. And you have yet to identify what you consider “hate filled” about the article. And yes, I did read it.

        3. He could have written an article aimed at everyone, saying “people shouldn’t engage in divisive conduct”. Instead, he writes an “us versus them” article, and limited his plea for unity to Christians, thus engaging divisive conduct himself.

        4. Can you go through the elements of the claim, and provide citations for them?

        5. What, exactly, are you talking about? Your accusation of bias is quite inappropriate and very presumptuous. Also, Catholics and Muslims aren’t races.

        6. Look, if you think that there’s something in the article that was inappropriately hostile, you have to actually say what it is. If you’re just going to say “Read the article”, that’s not an argument.

        7. What she says is hypocritical. And yes, she in some sense has the right to delete comments, but deleting comments simply because you don’t like them is being a jerk, as is much of her other behavior. It’s rather odd that Mr. Dalrymple is complaining about alleged bigotry towards Christians … and then speaks favorably of an anti-atheist bigot.

        8. Satan calls people names? Seriously? Is Dalrymp accusing his opponents of being Satanic?

        • Laurel

          1. Okay, Christian business (and hospitals, groups such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, etc) which have the requisite number of employees etc. but which are not specifically churches, etc etc.) – The Christians who run these; are required to provide insurance which covers free contraception, abortifacients (such as the morning after pill) and sterilizations to their employees. If they fit the government’s criteria, they may not have to directly cover those with their own insurance, but they have to sign an authorization for their employees to have access through another specific insurance. Surely you know this and I didn’t really need to go through it step by step. The problem is this, from another article from US News, quoting Sister Mary Ann Walsh,

          “But if this self-certification form is so meaningless, why is the government fighting so hard to get the Sisters to sign it? That’s because it has plenty of meaning, as Houston-based Judge Lee Rosenthal pointed out in a case to block the mandate brought by East Texas Baptist
          University and Houston Baptist University.

          ‘The act of self-certification does more than simply state the organization’s religious objection,” the judge said. The form also tells a third party that “it must provide the organization’s employees coverage that gives those employees free access” to the problematic devices and products, and that “it must notify the employees of that
          benefit.” He concluded that “the purpose and effect of the form is to accomplish what the organization finds religiously forbidden and protests.’

          That’s the gist of the nuns’ argument, and if they were picketers (which they are not), their mantra would be ‘Lord Divine, we can’t sign.’ The Little Sisters are letting conscience be their guide.”

          Look, if you don’t agree, fine. But Christians are having the freedom to “practice their religion” from the First Amendment taken away from them, and the point of the article above is to stick together and fight it together.

          Again, if you don’t agree, fine, it’s your right. I’m not going to argue anymore. If you don’t see that the article by Ms. Stiehm was anti-Catholic bigotry, by putting the words “Jew”, “Muslim”, OR any certain race” in the place of “Catholic” in the article, there’s nothing left to say.

          • ahermit

            If they fit the government’s criteria, they may not have to directly
            cover those with their own insurance, but they have to sign an
            authorization for their employees to have access through another
            specific insurance.

            And a refusal to sign that declaration is in effect an exercise of control over the employee’s options, without regard to that employee’s personal religious beliefs. This isn’t a case of the government imposing anything on the employer; it’s a case of the employer imposing their beliefs on their employees.

            In a context between the rights of an institution and the rights of the individual I prefer to side with the individual.

          • UWIR

            “abortifacients (such as the morning after pill)”

            The morning after pill is not an abortificient. I don’t understand what’s so hard about that to get.

            “If they fit the government’s criteria, they may not have to directly cover those with their own insurance, but they have to sign an authorization for their employees to have access through another specific insurance.”

            Galen Dalrymple wrote:

            for not acting in compliance with the HHS mandate requiring them to provide insurance for employees to have free contraception, abortifacients and sterilizations.

            If what you say is true, Dalrymple is outright lying. They aren’t refusing to give their employees contraception, they are refusing to allow their employees to get contraception. As ahermit said below, this means that Catholics aren’t fighting for their “right” to impose their religious views on others. The arrogance is astounding.

            “Surely you know this and I didn’t really need to go through it step by step.”

            No, I don’t know what the situation, and the constant dissembling by people like Dalrymple really doesn’t help.

            “The form also tells a third party that “it must provide the organization’s employees coverage that gives those employees free access””

            It’s the government telling the third party this, not the nuns.

            “Look, if you don’t agree, fine. But Christians are having the freedom to “practice their religion” from the First Amendment taken away from them,”

            That is utter BS. The First Amendment does not grant one the right to simply ignore any law one does not like, and the Catholics’ arrogance in pretending that it does shows what self-centered jerks they are. If Catholics don’t like people saying mean things about them, they should stop acting like they’re above the law.

            “I’m not going to argue anymore. If you don’t see that the article by Ms. Stiehm was anti-Catholic bigotry, by putting the words “Jew”, “Muslim”, OR any certain race” in the place of “Catholic” in the article, there’s nothing left to say.”

            You’re not going to argue “anymore”? You haven’t argued at all you’ve just declared that the article is bigoted, refused to explain how you believe it is bigoted, and then declared that you’re leaving the discussion when I kept asking you for that explanation.

            Your suggestion of substituting “Muslim” for “Catholic” makes no sense, because as far as I know, Muslims aren’t refusing to fill out ACA forms and then declaring that they are exercising their right to religious freedom in doing so. And as I said, “Catholic” is not a race. It’s a centralized institution that can be held to be responsible for its actions.

  • Daniel Webb

    The book of Job makes it quite clear that a “war” on Christianity could not occur by the bidding of Satan alone. The source of satan’s power and ability to do anything on earth is purely through the allowance of god. The buck stops with god and you have no one else to resent for persecution except for him…if you’re a believer.

  • bignick
  • kemalettin

    Is Khidr alive? If he is alive, why do some leading religious scholars not accept it?

    Th e A n s w e r : He is alive, but there are five levels of life. He is at the second. It is because of this that some religious scholars have been doubtful about it.

    The First Level of Life is that of our life, which is very restricted.

    The Second Level of Life is that of Khidr and Ilyas (May God grant them peace), which is free to an extent. That is to say, they can be present in numerous places at the same time. They are not permanently restricted by the requirements of humanity like we are. They can eat and drink like us when they want to, but are not compelled to like we are. Saints who attain to direct vision and knowledge of reality have reported virtually unanimously their adventures with Khidr and these elucidate and prove this level of life. One of the degrees of sainthood, even, is called the degree of Khidr. A saint who reaches it receives instruction from Khidr and meets with him. But it sometimes happens that such a person is mistakenly thought to be Khidr himself.

    http://www.nur.gen.tr/en.html#maincontent=Risale&islem=read&BolumId=8760&KitapId=499&KitapAd=Letters+(+revised+)

  • JT Rager

    I think it’s funny when Christians quote Jefferson or Franklin, if a little ironic.

    It’s not bigotry to call out and criticize policies and beliefs that hurt others. We don’t oppose things like Hobby Lobby’s stance because it’s a Christian-based one, we oppose it because it harms people. I don’t care what religion is behind it, I find it bad.

    I doubt there’s much of a war either. If you’ll look in the news, Atheists are happy to work in soup kitchens and other service areas along with Christians. That’s a value a lot of us can agree on. It shows that what we are attacking are specific beliefs, policies, and dogma that are harmful, not the people. The belief is silly too, I might add, but if the belief didn’t lead to actions that hurt people I wouldn’t care nearly as much.

  • Al Cruise

    Corporate institutionalized Christianity is being rejected, not the love of Jesus Christ, and that is a good thing. This author cannot see that this is God at work. Interestingly he mentions Herod’s actions against Jesus but says nothing about Jesus’s war on the Pharisees and Sadducees.


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