Christian Persecution: Saddle Up! This is War! (Of a Sort)

I mentioned in an earlier post, Christian Persecution: In the West, Where the War is Forced Upon Us, that violent persecution of a group of people doesn’t spring fully-formed from the head of some political Zeus. It evolves in an almost invisible progression from a series of smaller things.

It almost always begins with simple criticism, some of which may even be valid. In time, this moves to unjust badgering, slanders and verbal harassment, which is coupled with agitation for changes in the law that impinge on the rights and freedoms of the group under attack. The legal discriminations begin slowly, again at first in areas that may even seem reasonable. Over time, they cut more and more deeply into the basic rights and essential freedoms of the target group. At the same time, insults and verbal harassment move into hectoring, hate speech and outright attempts to silence people.

This is where Christians are now in the Western World. We are bombarded with verbal attacks on our faith in the media, in our conversations, at our schools and even in our friendships and families. We must make the decision over and over to either be quiet and let this bigotry stand or engage in unsettling and exhausting battles that always seem to involve personal insults. At the same time, law-makers, government agencies and courts create laws, mandates and rulings that attempt to compel us to violate our faith or face legal sanctions, or prohibit us from the outward practice of our faith.

The HHS Mandate is an example of the government intruding on the free exercise of religion. The lawsuit against the British government over a woman’s right to wear a cross on a necklace to work without being fired is an example of how Christians are being forced to resist laws limiting the outward practice of their faith. There are many other examples of both these things that I could add.

The next move after legal discrimination and social hazing is violent persecution. Many Christians around the world face violent persecution, up to and including mass murder, because of their faith. We are not at that level in the Western world, but we have moved quite a distance down the continuum that leads to it.

When I published the earlier post, I received a few angry denunciations and ad hominem jibes, both on this board and in other venues. These comments fell along the predictable lines that I have seen over and again from people who have decided that there is a group of people that they want to persecute and attack.

In my experience, nothing makes people so angry as telling them that they may not kill, discriminate against, exploit, or attack some group of people that they have decided is outside the pale of human consideration.

I’m not a psychologist. I’m also not a theologian. But I’ve always felt that these people were influenced by the devil. There have been times in my job as a legislator that I have encountered such rage and hatred from someone who wants me to give them the legal right to kill or exploit others that it almost singed my skin when they looked at me. It was as if the devil was walking on two human feet, talking with a human mouth, and looking at me through human eyes.

It makes no difference if the people they want to kill, hurt and destroy are the unborn, Christians, immigrants, women, children, prisoners or simply the poor, their attitude of total indifference to them as people and self-righteous assurance of their right to hurt them is stone cold. There is nothing I have ever found that anyone can say to people who are in the froth of this kind of rage that will penetrate to their hearts and move them.

That is what I felt I encountered in some of the communications I received because of the post I mention above. I expect that I may receive more such communications because of this one.

That does not change my mind. To the contrary. It confirms my belief that we are living in a society in which a militant and highly aggressive group of people intends to engage in Christian-baiting and to push for increasingly unjust legal discrimination against Christians and they become enraged and abusive with anyone who tells them that what they are doing is wrong. I believe that this is our present situation in the West.

The question that flows from this is a simple one: What can we do about it?

One of my goals with this blog is to use whatever little bit of knowledge and insight I have to educate and empower my brothers and sisters in Christ about what’s happening and what to do about it. I am not claiming that I know a lot or that I have some all-encompassing Ms Fix-it Solution.  All I’m saying is that I want to share what little I do know and what ideas I have.

Mother Theresa famously said that we are not called to be successful. We are called to be faithful. My version of that is that there is an ocean of needful things that need doing in this world and none of us can do them all. Also, none of us can control what other people will do or how they will react to our best efforts. We can become overwhelmed by this and let it defeat us before we start.

However no one of us has to do everything that needs doing. There are a lot of us, and if we all do our part, everything will get done. We also don’t have to change anyone’s mind with our faithful witness for Christ. That is the job of the Holy Spirit.

I touched on it in the last paragraph. There are a lot of things that need doing, far more than any one of us can do alone, but that is not a problem.  All any one of us has to do is his or her part. That’s it. Just do your part, say your prayers and trust God.

I think one simple thing that all of us can do is to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are being sanctioned and fired for wearing a cross. I would like to see every Christian in Britain and all the rest of Europe begin wearing a cross, outside their clothes, every day. I would like to see us doing it here in America, as well.

I have a St Thomas More medal that I wear on a chain around my neck. I also have a Miraculous Medal ring that I wear on one of my fingers. When I add a crucifix to that, I’m going to be jingle, jangle, jingling with religious jewelry. But I’m going to do it, just the same. I plan to buy a cross pin to wear on my blazer, my blouse and when I’m just putzing around, my t-shirt.

Someone else might wear a cross on a necklace; another person a bracelet. Your cross might be a pin made of ribbons or even a paper cross colored by a child. It’s the statement of solidarity that counts; not the jewelry.

Will you join me? Add your thoughts and ideas about how we can do this better in the comments section. I think if we combine all our thoughts, we might come up with something really good.

  • http://www.keeplifelegal.com Rev. Katherine Marple

    Add to that the ‘Precious Feet’ pin and the ‘Choose Life’ plates on my car…absolutely I think we should wear our Faith outloud. Why should we be embarrassed by it like they want us to be? My favorite t-shirt says ‘Yo mama was prolife’. Try wearing that to Kroger…LOL :)

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I knew I could count on you!

  • http://reflectionsforthesoul.com Marcelle Bartolo-Abela

    “I would like to see every Christian in Britain and all the rest of Europe begin wearing a cross, outside their clothes, every day. I would like to see us doing it here in America, as well…Will you join me?”

    Actually, I started doing that a few months ago – wearing a small cross on a necklace – because I figured that the more people wanted to silence (us), the more I should ‘stand up.’ So far it’s gone fairly well, no one has said anything or told me to remove it, though some glances have not been very inviting.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Good for you! I know what you mean about glances not being inviting. My Miraculous Medal ring gets quite a bit of that. Of course, it also gets compliments from other Catholics.

    • Arkenaten

      Ah, yes. Nothing like a bit of In Your Face confrontation, right?
      And then all the Muslims will pitch up in Burkas and the slanging match can begin.
      “Ladies and Gentlemen, in the blue corner…for Jesus…and in the red…for Mohammed.
      Love thy neighbour? Right!

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        Douglas, if I can put up with you, I doubt if a burka-wearer is going to bother me. :-)

        • Arkenaten

          Many atheists are nice people. I wouldn’t have put your Jesus to death, you can bet your bottom dollar. I would have tied Mohammed to a camel,though. Slapped its backside and sent it for a long rise in the desert.

          • Arkenaten

            Er….ride , oops.

    • Ted Seeber

      I’m a bit more of a coward, but I am wearing my 2012-2013 Oregon State Knights of Columbus pin today……but few would see the cross in it (kind of hidden in the design).

      • http://facebook debbi ptak

        ted never be afraid,the God is with us.I have T shirts with religious sayings on them,and have gotten alot of comments on them,maybe you can get a cross lapel pin to wear the more we give in the more ground the enemy gains.God Bless You Debbie

        • http://facebook debbi ptak

          Meant to put God Is With Us .STAND UP FOR OUR CHRISTION RIGHTS BE NOT ASHAMED>

          • Rebecca Hamilton

            Absolutely right, Debbie

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Thank for this comment Debbi.

  • Dr. Resweber

    “Someone else might wear a cross on a necklace; another person a bracelet. Your cross might be a pin made of ribbons or even a paper cross colored by a child. It’s the statement of solidarity that counts; not the jewelry.”

    Hmmm, I like the idea; but, I’ll have to think about how to do it.

    Male fashion and/or business wear doesn’t make as much room for ornamentation.

    I actually do wear a scapular medal in the shape/form of a cross on a chain 24/7. But it’s worn under my clothes and simply would not work with a shirt and tie. However, I don’t normally wear a jacket so a lapel pin also doesn’t work.

    I do like the idea and I do agree – I just have to give some thought to how to integrate it into the wardrobe.

    In the meantime, you might like the thing I actually have done. In my current office and my last office, I have hung a nearly 10 inch wall cross near the door in my office. I think/hope that’s quite a statement in the context of being a contractor on a military facility who is doing “government” work.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      What about a lapel pin? Or maybe a ring with a cross on it?

      • Dr. Resweber

        No jacket means no lapels and I don’t normally wear rings.

        Not trying to be difficult (or make excuses) just thinking about what would work with daily button-down business wear.

        I might try to find a pin that I could wear on my collar or cuff instead…

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          That’s basically what I’m going to do.

          • Laura

            Can’t a lapel pin also work as a collar pin?

            • Rebecca Hamilton

              I think so, but I’m not much of an authority on these things. I defer to any smarter person who wants to chime in here.

    • Michelle

      Tie tack?

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        Sounds good to me. I wish I knew how to do a thumbs up on this thing … That’s what I think of your idea. Thumbs up!

    • Arkenaten

      Dr. You could try cuff links? Or maybe little crosses as aiglets (the bit on the end of the shoelace).
      Or perhaps on the end of a fob chain?
      Paint tiny little crosses on the buttons of your shirt?
      The possibilities to annoy people are endless if you get creative.

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        Douglas, why does the sight of a cross “annoy people?” I mean, why should it matter to you one way or another what I chose to wear around my own neck or pin to my own lapel? No one is asking anyone to do anything that is involuntary here.

        • Arkenaten

          I don’t give a monkey’s uncle, believe me. You could all drag a life-size cross around with you if you felt like it. Bit difficult hailing a cab on Main Street though.
          But it’s just a thing, Rebecca – a symbol. And a pretty gruesome one at that.
          What if Jesus had been hanged would you all wear a bit of rope around your neck?
          Or if he’d been thrown to the lions? Every Christian to have a Lion hearthrug?
          You don’t need THINGS to have faith. Or to prove your faith. Christianity is something within you, not without.
          A thing is merely a reason to say, Look At Me,(like my earring) or If I wear This I Feel Better About Myself.
          I don’t honestly believe Jesus would care less, to tell the truth.
          All the Churches might, but Jesus? No, not really. He’d be happier if people were just nicer to each other.
          But hey, it’s your religion so what do I know right? I’m an atheist.
          Peace

          • Peter

            Re: “Christianity is something within you, not without.”

            Uhm, no…and the whole point of Rebecca’s movement/idea seems to be to push back against the intellectually vacant and/or purposefully oppressive idea that “It’s okay to be Christian as long as you keep it to yourself”.

          • DOTTIE ROBERTS

            WITH 60 MILLION INNOCENT BABIES BRUTALLY MURDERED MY PRAYER IS THE GHASTLY FACTS OF PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION AND THE FACT THAT ANOTHER WOMAN DIED YESTERDAY AT PLANNED PARENTHOOD’S BUTCHER SHOP GETS REPORTED! 3.6% OF THE POPULATION (PERVERTS) HAVE DRIVEN ME OUT OF THE CLOSET WITH THEIR TYRANNY AND THUGGERY SO BEWARE OF RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION. PLEASE UNDERSTAND I LOVE THE SINNER BUT HATE THE SIN AND MY WHIP IS THE BALLOT BOX. MY BUMPERSTICKER SAYS ‘GOD IS PRO-LIFE’.

      • Peter

        Re: “The possibilities to annoy people are endless if you get creative.”

        I guess I’d have to defer to the expert on that point.

        ;-)

        • Arkenaten

          @ Peter.
          Re: “Christianity is something within you, not without.”
          I still maintain that is so, Christians talk about a relationship with Jesus. They don’t HAVE to try convert the world; this just gets up people’s noses.
          Besides, when the Parousia comes it wont make a blind bit of difference how much noise Christians have made in defence of their faith, Jesus will winkle out the naughty ones and …whoosh, down the shute you go!

          It is like an embarrassing complaint. Christians should rather keep quiet, and keep it to themselves and try to seek a cure.

          • Peter Resweber

            Three quotes:

            “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” ― Matthew 28:19 (NAB)

            “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” ― Mark 16:15 (NAB)

            “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.” ― Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

          • Peter Resweber

            As a general rule of thumb, Arkenaten, it is very easy to knock down straw man characterizations of your own devising.

            If you want to be convincing, however, it is helpful to know enough to be able to debate other people’s actual ideas (not the ideas you wish they had).

        • Arkenaten

          @Peter.
          Ah…well then, I will have to bow to Scripture I suppose, wouldn’t want to argue against a ‘factual’ set of documents, now would I?

          Unfortunate then, that Christianity has yet to agree what it is to be a true Christian even with the Nicene Creed, The Apostles Creed, the Reformation, several notable Schisms (including one where two Popes excommunicated each other. I still laugh at this example:) ) and over 20,000 different Christian cults/sects to date.

          Looks like all bases are covered. ;) Hallelujah
          Oh, and wasn’t the character of Jesus addressing only the disciples?
          BTW. I do not hate the Catholic Church. I do not hate full stop and I wouldn’t trust a supposed man of the cloth who makes such a claim.

          • Dr. Peter Resweber

            Are you committing a category error?

            You facetiously tout your superiority when suggesting that you don’t want to “bow to” the authority of scripture.

            But I ask you, on the issue of Christian belief and doctrine, which SHOULD be more trusted:
            a) Arkenaten stating that “I still maintain that is so”, or
            b) Source documents?

            By way of comparison, I am not Mormon; but, if I am debating what THEY believe then I give more credence to the Book of Mormon.
            I am not Muslim; but, if I am debating what THEY believe then I give more credence to the Quoran.

            However, it seems Arkenaten gives more credence to his assumptions/assertions than to the Bible when debating what Christians believe. Who cares if scripture repeatedly references the need to preach the gospel to everyone? Arkenaten is certain that “They don’t HAVE to try convert the world” due to…well, apparently due only to his self-referencing fiat.

        • Arkenaten

          The two references you offer, Mark and Matthew, are quite specific on who must go out and preach to the world. These are the source documents you refer to, yes?
          For the record, with the plethora of Christian cults/sects, the wide variety of doctrinal literature, (past and present) there is unfortunately, little consensus in Christianity.

          • Dr. Peter John Resweber

            Re: “The two references you offer, Mark and Matthew, are quite specific on who must go out and preach to the world.”

            Your ridiculous (mis)interpretation doesn’t even pass the chuckle test.

            We are supposed to believe that Jesus meant for a few disciples (and those few disciples only) to spread the faith to all nations (without teaching others to do likewise)? Riiiiiiight.

            Buddy, I get that you don’t respect scripture and don’t feel you must take it seriously. But, could you at least take your own integrity seriously? How is anyone supposed to think you are an honest debater when you misinterpret scripture to fit your ends (while disregarding all history of how it has been understood by those who actually live by it)?

            Re: “These are the source documents you refer to, yes?”

            Yes.

            They are also backed up by the testimony of other works including the early testimonies of the church fathers and/or later compilations such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

            Re: “For the record, with the plethora of Christian cults/sects, the wide variety of doctrinal literature, (past and present) there is unfortunately, little consensus in Christianity.”

            Sadly, I must grant that you have somewhat of a point there. The various schisms that have occurred wound the unity of faith for which Christ prayed. Still, there is more agreement on basic principles than you seem willing to acknowledge.

    • Ted Seeber

      I wear suspenders. My KofC lapel pins are on the right front of them.

  • Mary

    I love this idea! And its something that I, a stay-at-home mom with severely limited financial resources, can easily do! I already wear a Miraculous Medal and I enjoy explaining it to curious strangers who regularly inquire about it. I cannot wait to add my cross to it. Thank you for this marvelous idea and inspiring post!

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank YOU Mary! Pass this along. I hope a LOT of people do this.

  • Arkenaten

    I tell you what! Why don’t you all get white T/shirts and Blouses and paint a big Red Cross like the Crusaders did in days of Yore? Now THAT will make a statement.
    Your just bound to win a few friends, don;t you think?

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Too ugly. Remember, I’m a girl.

      • Arkenaten

        Red not your colour? :)

  • http://www.veritatisthecartoon.blogspot.com John Francis Borra

    Go to my blog, ARS GRATIA VERITATIS (veritatisthecartoon.blogspot.com) and read my August 5, 2012 post.
    Semper Veritas!
    JFB

  • Dr. Peter John Resweber

    Re: “And now we have a middle name.”

    I’ll repost this from the other thread on which we seem to be dancing (in case you missed it there):

    “First a quick aside on the shifting “names”.
    For some reason, Patheos does not seem to “remember” my name each time I comment.
    (Perhaps this is due to accessing this website from various portals?)
    In any case, this may have lead to some confusion for which I apologize.
    My very first comments were in one place as “Dr. Resweber”.
    Later I commented on a different blog post simply as “Peter”.
    As there was no apparent overlap between the first two, I have since been trying to tie them together.
    My full name is Dr. Peter John Resweber. There was no attempt to mislead.
    Perhaps, if I establish an actual Patheos account it will keep a singular “screen name” in memory.
    So far, however, that has not seemed sufficient reason to do so (if it would even work).”

    Re: “As you haven’t offered to tell me what you are a Doctor of, am I supposed to rush off and Google in case you are important? Maybe a Doctor of Theology, perhaps?”

    No and No.
    I am “important” (but not in the way you mean) and I am not a professional theologian.
    It’s simply my name.

    Re: “Oh, I am willing to acknowledge there are quite a few basic principles, yet obviously not enough to have a cohesive global faith.” [and the rest]

    If I still thought you were interested in a serious conversation, I might be tempted to ask you to define “cohesive”; but, it seems I’d do better to just take out my troll spray.

    Toodles.

    :)


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