Christian Persecution: What Does the Election Mean to Christian Freedom?

Standing Against Christian Persecution

What does Tuesday’s election mean to Christians?

We have two polarized political parties who have demonstrated repeatedly that their only concern is battling one another. One of them is increasingly hostile to traditional Christians, the other patronizes us.

The question: What does this mean for Christians in the years ahead? Will we be able to continue with our many ministries which serve the poor, provide health care and education without bowing before the false idols of government demand? Will we be able to speak about our faith openly on college campuses, at work and in public discourse without being harassed and penalized?

How many Christians will side with those who seek to limit Christianity and push us from the public sphere? Who among us will chose political party affiliation over following Christ? Who will chose popularity and keeping their friends over following Christ?

We are harassed, hazed, verbally assaulted right now. We see our faith and our beliefs openly insulted everywhere from cable tv to our workplaces. Much of the things that are said about Christians and Christianity today is clearly hate-speech. That is now. It is happening today.

What will happen now? The HHS Mandate was a bold move into the territory of government control of religion. What will be next?

I’m going to leave this open and let you give me your ideas. Please avoid fear-mongering. Let’s just think about what we honestly believe might happen so that we can begin to develop our ideas for how we will take a stand against it. Those who come on here to try to use this conversation to insult and offend Christians and Christianity will be deleted. Play nice and talk it through. I want to hear what you think.

 

  • http://nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com neenergyobserver

    I think much the same as you do, which you already know, in the realm of religious freedom and in other areas as well. I’m still sorting through what I think our path forward is but, in the very rough form that is in my mind at the moment, it has little to do with the national parties, except perhaps as our opponents.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I think we’re all sorting through it. I wonder how far these attacks on religious freedom will go. The HHS Mandate is a precedent. Will all non-profits find themselves under attack if they have ideas that the administration disagrees with? If that prevails, then what will happen with the administration after this one? If the Supreme Court doesn’t snap this down hard, we may be at the end of what has been a vigorous form of voice for all Americans, not just Christians.

      • Ted Seeber

        Our Peaceful Place, because it was started by a nun and is listed as a religious organization, has already lost several grants and even private corporation match dollars because of the standing.

        The persecution has been well under way for several years, this is just the water getting hot enough for the frog to notice.

  • Laurel

    I think people don’t want any form of real authority over them, especially God; and they want to rid America of his influence. This election has taught me that most people REALLY want to have the freedom to do whatever they want to do and they want it state sanctioned and all voices against them silenced. They don’t want the truth. Do you think it’s because of the remnants of conscience?
    I’ve read that we need to change the culture, but because there are spiritual forces at work (and also because the culture doesn’t want or see the need to change) I don’t think that will happen. I’m afraid that we’re going to have to really stick to our “guns” and go through whatever happens with Christ in our heart, so that perhaps people will see that we have something they don’t – joy.
    We are also going to need to band together with others who believe the same way about these things as we do – including denominations and even other religions because they may understand the consequences of what is happening as well or better than we do.
    I’ve also come to believe that we will not be able to do anything through politics. God is our only hope and we can only pray for his grace and mercy and that his will be done.

  • Anna

    I think we’ll have to start working outside the system. Our pastor has mentioned that the school will close rather than knuckle under to the HHS mandate; I think for that to be effective, all Church institutions so affected would have to close all at once (not this diocese here, that one there, those a couple years later, others going along to get along) and with very little notice. That would make it very clear just how much society needs the work the Church does as the government wouldn’t have time to raise taxes and create more programs to deal with the influx of people needing services. But along with the closures would have to come all the faithful taking the place of some of those services. Helping feed, clothe, and pay bills for those whose jobs were lost due to closures. Volunteering for the charities to take the place of paid staff. Setting up free clinics, funded solely by donations. Reinvigorating some of the medical religious orders. That would, I think, get all of us united in being affected (rather than most of the burden falling on a vocal few), as well as united by having to put our time and money where our mouths are. And it would make it clear, to us (because we all need conversion) and the rest of society, that the corporal works of mercy aren’t just social work but are what we do because we are Christians. Currently, it’s very easy to hand off that work to some paid staff and write a check now and then to fulfill our obligation to charity. But if we couldn’t work through our usual channels, we’d have to actually get to know those who need our help (and be ready to accept help if we need it) and do it solely because our faith demands it.

  • Peg

    What if catholic hospitals, universities and charities pooled their insurance with local parishes or diocese? Would that then fit under houses of worship? While waiting for the Supreme court, I sure hope we have some sharp legal minds looking for loopholes. Legal folks I know were astounded by Roberts reach on the last one.

    I know it sounds cliche but were going to have to be very loving and calm while being firm in our resolve. I’m way behind most folks here but individually, I try to reach people where they are and ask questions and make suggestions like St. Paul. movement in our parishes.

    Collectively, it would help to build a strong community in our parishes tiedto a national movement through church and social media channels. Our parishes used to be the center and bedrocks of their communities. We would need a lot of help and organizing from the laity. Of course that would mean stepping out of our fiefdoms and truly welcome folks to join in and serve.

    This is a great conversation. Don’t know if make sense-been out late with teenagers.

  • http://loopyloo305.com Particia Pledger

    Eventually we will probably be like China and the old Soviet Union, forced to meet in houses with a watch out. It is still dangerous to meet in China, we had a pastor who organizes small blocks of Christians meet with us a few years ago, he told the story of the local communist leader of a small town whose child was healed by God at one of the churches, and he risked his own life and job to let the church meet even though it did not have permission of the communist party. It is not going to be easy, and probably we will face much persecution just as they do in countries like China, and in the Middle East. That is what prophecy tells us, we only have to look at these countries and Germany under Hitler to see where we are headed. The churches will be divided, they are even now. So many are false churches that just what to revenue and to make their people feel good. These will be the accepted ones, with the others who really preach and teach God, ostracized. God bless!

  • Faith

    I just can’t see how shutting down hospitals, schools, etc would do any good or if it is even possible. It would create complete chaos. Think of the millions who would not receive care, education, etc. Think of all those who would become unemployed. I just don’t think we should go to such drastic measures and create so much hurt. We would be abandoning our Church’s mission of love for the poor for a political game of brinkmanship. And we would only leave ourselves vulnerable to a hostile government. And I wonder at the lawsuits levied at the church because they have broken contracts, abandoned sick patients, etc. I think it would be too complicated to practically accomplish.

    And it isn’t like a lot of these catholic institutions are very obedient anyway. I think it would just further divide the Catholic world. Some places would stay open and some wouldn’t and the world would witness even uglier and divisive intercine fighting which they will exploit to their own advantage. I think the bishops chose the We Will Not Comply stance but by 2% of the majority vote, they lost. Now it is time to regroup. Can’t we comply but under very vocal protest? That is kicking and screaming and letting everyone know we are being forced against our will? The Republicans can rise again next time (and may very well because I think the economy is only going to worsen under Obama) and we’d have a chance to rescind the mandate with them in office. We can continue to work in the court system to try to nullify the mandate. We do more praying and teaching and trying to change the culture in an NON-ANGRY way. One thing that is completely disgusting me right now is finding out how many of the Catholics I know are just having temper tantrums and saying completely over the top, nasty, unChristian things. Good Catholics should listen more to Jesus, the saints, the Pope and Catholic teaching than Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and Donald Trump. Pardon this very crude allusion, but to me so much of the ranting and working oneself up into a froth is just a form of emotional masturbation. It does nothing but give one the rush of self righteous anger and it leads one down the path of selfish pride and sinfulness. It makes us see the other side as the enemy. Christians have no enemies! We love all, friend and foe alike. That love fortified the early martyrs. Both parties have reduced political discourse to hate filled name calling. It is disgraceful and makes us lose credibility. Catholics needs to be on the forefront of restoring civility to our political dialogue, as the Knights of Columbus have tried to begin. Also, I think it is clear you can not win the pro-life battle in the national political arena. It just ain’t gonna happen. Instead we should focus more at the state level and at the level of pouring ourselves into being publicly charitable. We need to devote ourselves to the poor (I am talking to myself here) and concentrate more on being living witnesses, than shouting and insulting each other in the political arena. I think too, prayerful, courageous and non-violent protests and arrests will make a mark, if only to give courage to those of us who are striving for change in this hopeless atmosphere, but we have to follow Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.’s example and not Operation Rescue, etc. Programs like 40 Days for life for ex. is changing hearts, a few at a time.

    Neither party represents Catholic teaching but we have sullied ourselves and created great resentment in society because of the scandals and because the pro-life movement has aligned itself so closely to the Republican party, a party which can not deliver at the national level for us. A party that also makes us align ourselves with people who truly don’t seem to care for the poor, or who promote torture or unjust wars. We look so hypocritical because if we are so all out gung ho to align ourselves with those sorts of policies why the heck do we suddenly draw the line at providing insurance which an employee may use for birth control? It looks incredibly hypocritical.

    I do believe the HHS Mandate is violating our Constitutional First Amendment right to the free exercise of our religion. I voted Republican this time because I do think the Dems represent a growing aggressive secularism. I do think we are living in a post Judeo-Christian world. I have been very sad, but I think we needed this stripping away, this humiliating and sacrificial blow, it can be our wake up call. The prolife movement should be a cultural movement, a grace-roots movement and not play into or rely so much on presidential politics. That cultural/grass roots aspect of the pro life movement has seen the most success. Let’s go with what wins and unites and not with what enrages and divides.

    • rachel

      Faith, well said!! I think the pro-life movement needs a more comprehensive approach and that it should be completely a cultural movement, divorced from politics. We need to start small, local and divorce ourselves from the Republican party. What the party does, I don’t care. I didn’t vote for Romney. I didn’t vote for Obama. Both parties don’t represent Catholic teaching. I also agree that shutting down hospitals, schools, etc would probably backfire and be an even worse idea. I think that what you propose is probably the best.

      • Anna

        Well, that’s why I didn’t say “close everything and forget about those who need us,” but “close everything and take care of people ourselves as Christians should.” I suppose we could try keeping things open and both refusing to pay for morally objectionable things and refusing to pay the crippling fines – but that’s a very direct path to jail for tax evasion. But compliance isn’t an option; it’s not as if the requirement to worship Baal will stop there (and even if it did, evil is evil and can’t be supported).
        Closures would give the lie to the current canard that the Church just makes rules and doesn’t really help anyone. But, done rather gradually and with government replacement (at least to some extent) of the Church’s service, closure is exactly the end point of all this: to push the Church out of the public square entirely. But we have to beat them at their own game and close on our terms and in a way that calls attention to the problems with the government pushing religious people aside.

  • http://greenlightlady.wordpress.com Wendy

    As always, Rebecca, I love your sensible and respectful manner in which you approach all topics. (You would be an awesome president!)

    There is a good side to religious persecution. It tends to strengthen the bonds between believers and even between churches. At its extreme, it weeds out the fake followers, as they will have no inner strength ( Holy Spirit) to comfort them in the trials. I say this, not because I want persecution, but because this has proven to be true in other parts of the world. As believers we really need to focus on our own individual walk and talk. We need to study God’s word and be ready to share what we believe in a gentle and wise manner. God is in control regardless of who leads a country. Let’s also focus on helping the defenseless and let God defend us when needed.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Extraordinary comment Wendy, so wise. Thank you.

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  • Bill S

    “The HHS Mandate was a bold move into the territory of government control of religion.”

    I would say that the authors of the HHS Mandate never anticipated a conflict with the Catholic Church. It wasn’t issued with the intent of controlling religion. It was written to provide a more comprehensive health care coverage for all employees. Stepping on the Church’s toes was an unanticipated side effect not the main intent.

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