Christian Persecution: In the West, Where the War Is Forced Upon Us

Hearings on a discrimination suit filed by four British Christians against their government began September 4 in the European Court of Human RightsThe Christians say that they have lost their jobs because they would not comply with demands that they violate their Christian faith.

Their complaints range from a woman who was fired because she wore a cross on a necklace to work, to a registrar who lost her job because she refused to conduct same-sex cvil partnerships. These people have been the object of ridicule for filing these claims. But they have persisted, even in the face of predictions that they will ultimately lose the case. This article from The Telegraph gives more details:

David Barrett

By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent

9:00PM GMT 10 Mar 2012

In a highly significant move, ministers will fight a case at the European Court of Human Rights in which two British women will seek to establish their right to display the cross.

It is the first time that the Government has been forced to state whether it backs the right of Christians to wear the symbol at work.

A document seen by The Sunday Telegraph discloses that ministers will argue that because it is not a “requirement” of the Christian faith, employers can ban the wearing of the cross and sack workers who insist on doing so.

The Government’s position received an angry response last night from prominent figures including Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.

He accused ministers and the courts of “dictating” to Christians and said it was another example of Christianity becoming sidelined in official life. (Read more here.)

It appears that Britain has crossed the line into active legal discrimination against people of faith. This lawsuit and the attitude of intolerance toward Christians that caused it should be harbingers for the rest of us.

Violent persecution of a group of people doesn’t spring fully grown from nowhere. It grows from smaller things and lays down roots of acceptance in our minds and hearts in an incremental, almost invisible fashion.

Christians in much of the world are subjected to the brutality of violent discrimination that often approaches genocide. We haven’t gotten to violent persecution here in the West. But I believe we are moving in that direction.

Much of Western society today hovers somewhere between openly accepted verbal harassment of their Christian majorities and active legal discrimination against them. Majority populations have been subjected to active discrimination and violent persecution by a minority which has control of the governing apparatus of the country before. South Africa is one recent example.

Here in America, people of faith in general and Christians in particular have been subjected to a barrage of lawsuits seeking to wipe all mention of faith out of our public life. These lawsuits force us to chisel God’s name off our monuments, take down religious symbols from our parks and public facilities and ban all mention of the Almighty at public events such as football games. Most recently, there has been a move to do away with the National Day of Prayer and to expunge “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.

The HHS Mandate and lawsuits trying to force religious ministries to refer women for abortions have broadened these attacks from a debate about monuments, public prayers and slogans. They are now attacking the Church itself.

Meanwhile, verbal agitation aimed at silencing individual citizens becomes more strident and widespread. Private conversations between two people in line at a grocery store can be hijacked by the Christian-basher standing behind them who rudely interjects his (it seems almost always to be a “him.”) version of the usual atheist canards attacking their faith. The sense of entitlement these people seem to feel to harass, insult and bully Christians is truly mind-boggling. Christians often find themselves falling silent about their faith simply because they get worn out by the constant hassle and circular arguments these people force on them.

This is harassment. The names that Christians are called and the way that Christianity is attacked in some of the media has become so extreme that it can fairly be called hate speech. This is not benign. It is Christian baiting and it’s time we called it that. 

We are in a plunge downward here in America. Yesterday’s outrageous insults against Christians become today’s accepted beliefs. The line between an aggressive secularism and active legal discrimination was crossed with the HHS Mandate.

In Britain, this has evidently reached the point that individual Christians face loss of their jobs for something so small as wearing a cross on a necklace. Other Christians lose their jobs if they refuse to participate in activities that violate their faith.

It isn’t such a big step in a violent world from social bullying and legal discrimination to violent persecution. In fact, the legal apparatus, if it becomes draconian enough, actually supports and protects the persecutors.

I hope that the European Court of Human Rights rules in favor of these four Christian petitioners. But even if it does, to paraphrase a line from an old Star Trek episode, the war is still forced upon us. A positive ruling in the four Christians’ favor would not turn back the tide of Christian-baiting and the constant push for more discriminatory laws against people of faith.

If the court rules against these Christians, the matter becomes even more urgent. A negative ruling will open the door for what almost certainly will be oppressive laws that force Christians to chose on a daily basis between Jesus and their jobs and eventually, their freedom.

I quoted Vijay Ooman, of Nigeria in an earlier post. What he said is worth a second read:

When we hear and read of how a Christian nation, founded by those who left Europe because of the persecution they faced, has today abandoned that call, its not only sad but pathetic.

Can any of the western countries ever be called as a Christian nation any more? It is no different than a child denying his own parents and telling the world ‘ I dont know who they are”…

It is time the Churches in the west turned back to profess and be the witnesses they once were..

Based on the letters I get, I think a lot of Christians around the world are watching us here in America as we fight for our basic freedom of religion. American Christians need to start standing up for Jesus in their daily lives. If this misuse of the law to force us to violate our faith continues, we need to be prepared to practice non-violent civil disobedience. After all, don’t we sing in our churches that we are “soldiers of the cross?”

  • http://gregoryccochran.com/ Greg

    Rebecca,

    Thank you so much for this post. You are exactly right on every point (well, except for blaming us guys for all the rude insults in the grocery lines ;-)

    Seriously, you are doing us all a great service, calling such things to our attention. Part of why I founded Project 13:3 was to make Christians in America aware of the fact that persecution is not a phenomenon that belongs “back there” in the past; or “over there” in the Middle East; it is an issue for all Christians, and it is becoming more and more prevalent each day in America and the West. Thank you so much for spelling that out so clearly.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thanks Greg. You have a great blog, doing an important service. I really like the way you have it all arranged. I’m a fan and a regular reader. (Thanks for the re-blog, btw.)

  • http://nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com neenergyobserver

    Well said, and as always, the world watches what we do here, not what we say-but we need to say it and do it as well.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      True.

  • Arkenaten

    Yes, it is disturbing that people are discriminated because of their Christian faith. Yet on the flip side, discrimination is taking place against Muslims for certain aspects of their dress codes. The recent debacle in France is a perfect case in point.
    So one is forced to ask, where does one draw the line?
    If Christians band together against global discrimination against their fellow Christians what is to stop Muslims doing the same thing? In fact, how will the Christian world react should there be massive demonstrations against Governments that wish to force Muslims (especially women) to comply to Western dress codes.
    Short term scenario? Where society has polarized religions – namely Christianity and Islam there is unlikely to be a harmonious solution. Islam is openly expansionist in its doctrine (according to the Qu’ran). It has been suggested that in years to come there will be enough Muslims in Canada to vote a Muslim president into power. Imagine Canada as a theocracy? Phew!
    Christianity is expansionist too, but less so. It also has the difficulty of having over 30,000 different sects.
    So what is the solution to religious discrimination? Ideally, an end to religion – all religion. It may have had its benefits during times when mankind was largely illiterate and ignorant, but now? Well, it is little more than an excuse to fight, argue and worse, go to war.
    We don’t need it for moral issues.
    It hasn’t helped to cure poverty, dis-ease, or social unrest, In fact, on the face of it, these problems have increased and religion is becoming more polarized than ever.
    Rather dismiss religion for what it is – hokum- and let us all get on with the caring for ourselves and more so ,each other; not because we are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or Buddhist but simply because we are human.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Douglas, this subject is too serious for this kind of repetitive polemic. This post tinges on hundreds of thousands of people who are being tortured, terrified and murdered in places all around the world. It directly addresses the growing practice of social baiting and legal discrimination against other millions of people in the Western world.

      It is flat-out arrogant and cruel to tell people who are the object of discrimination and persecution that they should just stop being who they are. That’s just another example of blaming the victim and by so doing excusing the perpetrator. When it comes from the people who are driving the growth of legal and social discrimination, it takes on a more pungent odor.

      Are you saying that the Jews in Nazi Germany should have just stopped being Jews? How about the millions who were killed in the Atheist regimes of Stalin and Pol Pot? In what way should they have altered themselves so that they would not be so worthless as to be rounded up, put in pogroms, starved, beaten and mass murdered?

      I don’t think you mean it the way it comes out, but your post verges on excusing discrimination and violent persecution of millions of people simply because they believe things that you don’t.

      • Arkenaten

        You misunderstand. I am not excusing discrimination or persecution AT ALL. I am an atheist, for heavens sake, and they are discriminated against by certain people in your country. No. What I am saying, if you read the comment again, is where does it stop? Where is the happy medium when both religions want to metaphorically ‘conquer the world’.
        Why do some defend the right of a Christian to wear a cross but object to Muslim women wearing the burka?
        Why should Muslim women be forced to remove the burka in certain public places because certain authorities claim it may constitute a security risk?
        Can you answer this, please?
        Is it any less ridiculous than banning someone from wearing a crucifix? If so, maybe we should rethink a nun’s dress code?
        How is this blaming the victim?
        See how quickly it becomes ridiculous?
        The millions that died under atheist regimes died because of political ideologies but primarily because the likes of Pol Pot and Stalin were simply monsters, NOT because they were atheists.
        If we go down this path then we’ll end up dragging up the Crusades etc. Which will become tedious.
        I feel your views are primarily from a Christian perspective – naturally- but tend to be a little myopic, hence the emotional reply.
        No doubt, a Muslim, Jew, Hindu Buddhist, would voice similar concerns. It is the nature of the beast.
        I reiterate: Where religious polarization exists especially between two die-hard adamant religions like Christianity and Islam tolerance is tenuous at best.
        So, what I am saying – and hoping for – is that religion will eventually become a thing of the past,where we can coexist as people without the burden of religious nonsense – for this is really what it is – irrespective of what religion one adheres to.

        As for the rather uncalled for suggestion concerning Jewish folk in Nazi Germany; or course I didn’t expect them to suddenly stop being Jews. However, if religion was not a component of life then it would be one less thing to kill each other over, would it not?
        That would be a blessing, surely? If religion were not a part of life maybe the Twin Towers would still be standing?

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Your basic premise is flawed. You seem to assume that there is something in human beliefs that makes them prone to evil. In truth, it is a flaw in our souls that does this. We are all afflicted with original sin. I know you don’t believe this, but that is the truth.
          As for the assumption that you seem to be making that if we were all atheists we would stop murdering one another, this is not only untrue, it is demonstrably untrue.
          Your assertions seem to be based on the idea that if people would just start thinking the way you do things would be oh, so much better. This is something I see over and again in atheist commentary. The odd utopian idea that they have identified a singular evil in religious belief that, if it was removed, there would be no more (or at least much less) violence comes up a lot in their discussions. They then line up historical straw men and knock them over, all the while ignoring everything we know about human beings and the way they behave.
          As for the Twin Towers comment; be more original Douglas. That’s been done to death.
          I am going to ask you to not carry on this discussion on this particular post. This subject is too serious for parlor games. Feel free to go at it elsewhere.

        • Ted Seeber

          And atheism does not want to conquor the world?

          • Phil

            Who would they put in charge?

  • http://chrisbrann.wordpress.com/ Chris Brann

    Hi, Its nice to see that even in the USA the troubles of some Christians here is important. You are right in that this is the thin edge of the wedge, I think that allowing Gay marriage will be the next big chunk. As although the Gov says it will not force it on churches, the minority will want to do so, just to break us.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      This is similar to what has happened in Britain. One of the people who have filed the court case I reference in this post was fired because she wouldn’t perform a same-sex civil partnership. I don’t think she was cleric in a church, but the path they are taking toward forcing people to participate is clear.

      • Phil

        No, the person who wouldn’t perform the same sex civil partnership was a Registrar, not a cleric of any sort. Since part of the job description and duties required that they perform civil partnerships, and she refused, that was a simple breach of her job description.

        Unfortunately for her, but fortunately for those who us who oppose such discrimination, the courts have pretty much decided that someone’s right to not be discriminated against because of their sexuality is more important than someone’s right to discriminate against people because of their sexuality (whatever the basis for that discrimination is)

        All of these cases except the cross wearing ones are based in the same fundamental decision and all the complaining in the world isn’t going to change that.

        As for the cross wearing cases, they are largely about whether an employer has the right to impose a dress code on their staff. BA says that they do, but that they make an exception for clothing which is a religious requirement. Since wearing a cross is not a religious requirement for Christians it did not fall into this category and so the dress code had to be followed.

        To suggest, as the initial poster does, that this is a slippery slope on the way to violent repression of Christians is absurd. These cases are being raised and funded specifically by activists in order to encourage you and people like you to panic about the impending persecution of Christians for their own ends. If I find groups using manipulative practices like these, I question their motives. What you do about it is up to you.

  • http://www.johnnymobasher.com Johnnh Mobasher

    England & USA are not Iran, Pakistan or culturally alike.
    Why discrimination against Christians happens in fundamentally Christian countries? Why do governments allow or support it?

    Something is seriously going wrong here!!

    I could not buy a Christian condolences card on the biggest chain of supermarket in England!! A card with a Cross on it!! The manager to whom I complained said: oh I don’t know why! You probably have to go to a Church to buy one of those!!!

    It comes , as most things do, straight from the Top? And Fear based.

  • http://www.johnnymobasher.com Johnnh Mobasher

    England & USA are not Iran, Pakistan or culturally alike.Why discrimination against Christians happens in fundamentally Christian countries? Why do governments allow or support it?Something is seriously going wrong here!!
    I could not buy a Christian condolences card on the biggest chain of supermarket in England!! A card with a Cross on it!! The manager to whom I complained said: oh I don’t know why! You probably have to go to a Church to buy one of those!!! It comes , as most things do, straight from the Top? And Fear based.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      “Why discrimination against Christians happens in fundamentally Christian countries? Why do governments allow or support it?”
      Because small groups with an agenda push it in loud and ugly ways, and because Christians themselves are so abashed by the verbal harassment, name-calling, bizarre accusations these people throw off without pausing to breath that they back off and let it happen.
      Thank you Johnnh for this great comment!

  • http://myyearlongjourney.com Marisa

    Thank-you Rebecca! Your posts are so informative and for an average lay person like me it’s refreshing to read what’s going on in the world not only from a Christian vantage point and a woman’s perspective, but in a way that REALLY grips my heart strings!

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Marisa.


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