Christians must stay strong

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It is now estimated that more Christians were killed for their faith in the 20th century than in the first 19 centuries combined. The killing continues at a rate of more than 100,000 Christian martyrs every year in the 21st century. Thankfully, in the United States and most Western countries, religious freedom is not a matter of life and death. However, the challenges we face today in the West are extremely serious.

Discrimination in the United States and other Western countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia is no longer unusual. Frequently people are being penalized; weeded out; dismissed from their jobs or higher education programs; excluded from providing services to children and counseling; and dragged through employment tribunals and civil lawsuits – simply for holding to, or merely expressing, their religious and conscientious convictions about issues such as abortion, marriage and sexuality.

Courts, government entities and now some employers are trying to enforce a particular world-view under the banner of diversity, tolerance and human rights. The diversity that is acceptable seems to be limited to allowing Christians to think differently if they really must – as long as they keep these thoughts to themselves, and under no circumstances seek to act upon them.

President Obama has notably shifted from using the constitutional phrase “freedom of religion” to “freedom of worship.” Freedom of religion is not just freedom to worship at your church on Sundays. It is both our God-given and constitutional guarantee to be free to act on our beliefs in the public square, to speak about them and to seek to persuade others. It means not being coerced or bullied into silence by speech control and accusations of “homophobe,” “intolerant bigot,” “anti-choice,” etc.

In the United States, there is still time to turn this trend around. To borrow a phrase from Pope Francis, it’s time to “make a mess.” It is absolutely critical that Christians of all stripes get out of their silos and work together before all our religious freedoms are stripped away. Baptist and Catholic opposition to the U.S. contraception and sterilization mandate is just one example of “getting it right.” We need to fight to keep a tolerant pluralism, not an intolerant secularism, while there is still time.

Dan Almeter

Augusta

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soldout
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soldout 09/01/13 - 11:42 pm
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good letter

The reason Christians are so fought against is they have the only belief system that actually has power. Jesus gave much authority to His followers and those that followed them. The satan influence in the non-Christians realize this power and they rise up against it. There is power in just the name Jesus. Folks don't get too upset over the word God but "Jesus" gets them upset. Christians don't have a religion but have a relationship with the creator of the universe. God is willing to place His spirit within them and lead them into all truth and the power to speak to the mountains in this earthly life. Fellow Christians, don't be surprised how some will react to you. The more the other person is influenced by satan the more they realize the power in your life via the Holy Spirit and the stronger their reaction. They won't react this way to any other religion. Let that be a confirmation to you (I know you don't need one) that the you are serving the real God and can expect power and miracles in your life.

GiantsAllDay
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GiantsAllDay 09/02/13 - 01:47 am
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Of all the religious groups

Of all the religious groups in the United States, the Christians are by far them most discriminated against and persecuted. Even more so in the southeast. Being a christian in the Southeastern United States has got to be the absolute worst thing ever! Holocaust victims have nothing on the persecuted Christians in Augusta, GA. In fact, if I were ever to become religious, Christianity would be the LAST religion I would chose, due to all the persecution I would have to face on a daily basis.

shrimp for breakfast
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shrimp for breakfast 09/02/13 - 02:09 am
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I don't buy it

I am a practicing Catholic and there is no discrimination against Christians. None that bothers me anyway. I am free to worship any way I choose and not a soul can do one thing about it. I'm so sick of Christians thinking they are being persecuted in this country it make me sick. It's not true and it's pure hokum. Look around. There are churches on every block. Christianity is the majority religion in this country and it always will be.
Quit being paranoid and worship any way you want. If someone tries to tell you how you should pray turn the other check after cold clocking theirs.
This letter is absolutely ridiculous and is full of facts that are not only WRONG but downright laughable.
This letter writer is an alarmist who has no idea what he's talking about.

specsta
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specsta 09/02/13 - 02:25 am
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Church World

The ones doing the discriminating are the "Christians". The ones doing the persecuting are the "Christians". That is the main reason so many have turned away from the traditional church, because of the heinous behavior of so-called believers. Their narrow-mindedness and haste to condemn others has created their own worst nightmare.

There are streets in this city where one can count no less than five different churches on a short stretch. Wow, that's really persecution, isn't it?

Young Fred
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Young Fred 09/02/13 - 04:12 am
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Simple minded fools

Don't seem to understand the letter writer is talking "world-wide". They wish to project their experience from the Southeast onto the rest of the world. Not realizing how blessed we are.

Ya, that's right, we've probably got more churches per square mile than any other place in the world - so that means what to the rest of the world?

Many from the Southeast project they're own feelings of Christianity onto the rest of the world.

The good 'ole US of A has bombarded us from cradle to grave with examples of every Christian that's fallen short of the man or women they could be. Every short-falling, every example of hypocrisy is gleefully jumped on by main stream media, and simpletons eat it up like their daily sustenance!

They're blissfully unaware of the good that's done. OR MAYBE, they purposely ignore.

Every single group of ANY kind of people have examples of those that fall short. JUST BECAUSE certain faiths strive to be better human beings is not reason to condemn all just because some fall short!

At least some beliefs have a set of unchanging morals to live by. Versus those that live by morals subject to the whim of man!

Fundamental_Arminian
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Fundamental_Arminian 09/02/13 - 06:02 am
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We don't condemn; we warn

    Their narrow-mindedness and haste to condemn others has created their own worst nightmare (specsta).

Specsta, Christians don't condemn others; they warn them. It's an act of love to warn people that they're on the wrong path and heading for ruin unless they repent. God alone condemns, and once he does that, there's no more opportunity to be saved.

Brother Almeter made an excellent point where he said freedom of religion "is both our God-given and constitutional guarantee to be free to act on our beliefs in the public square, to speak about them and to seek to persuade others." Persuasion, friendly persuasion, is what we use; but we're falsely accused of hate speech.

Bodhisattva
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Bodhisattva 09/02/13 - 07:17 am
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The American Taliban speaks.

The American Taliban speaks. Sharia Law? Might as well be. Unless certain individuals narrow interpretation of the Bible and religion are codified into law and forced onto others they claim they are persecuted. They are free to pray, to speak to practice their religion in any way, and in any place that is privately owned in the United States. How is that persecution? Why not just come out and say what you want or do you do you just not have the guts. You want to make the US into a theocracy. You want prayer, or your own faith, in public places, in schools, in all areas of government. You want to be the persecutor and are dying inside because you can't force your will on to others. You want your God to be declared the God of all the land against all Constitutional restrictions and against all the founders fought and died for. You're willing to take their sacrifice and throw it away because you are so power hungry and sanctimonious that you think that everyone in the nation should bow down and worship your God. This is America. It was founded on freedom of religion. That means you worship your way and everyone else gets to worships their way or not at all. Go down to the synagogue and find someone with tattoos on his or her arm and ask them about persecution. Just because you can't force others to follow your way isn't persecution, it's freedom. That's something you need a real long lesson in.

GiantsAllDay
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GiantsAllDay 09/02/13 - 07:48 am
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The Salem witch trials were

The Salem witch trials were America's first faith based initiative.

corgimom
28230
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corgimom 09/02/13 - 07:57 am
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One of my ancestors, the Rev.

One of my ancestors, the Rev. Richard Hale, was one of the judges in the Salem Witch trials.

And no, the Pilgrims didn't come here for "religious freedom"; they were intolerant and didn't have freedom of religion at all. They came here to get away from the Church of England, but once they were here, you either worshipped their way, or hit the highway. They just wanted to do things their way. There was no room for religious freedom. The Puritans were well-known for their intolerance.

That's why William Penn and Lord Baltimore were so unusual for their time.

grouse
1635
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grouse 09/02/13 - 08:30 am
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Poor American Christians. How
Unpublished

Poor American Christians. How do they survive with no churches, no mention of God in their government, not even a nod to God on its currency, not allowed to broadcast on television, not allowed to play their music on the radio (or through carillons), not allowed to educate their children in religious schools, etc., not allowed to write ridiculous, error-filled letters to the editor. Truly heart-breaking...

effete elitist liberal
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effete elitist liberal 09/02/13 - 08:34 am
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mess?

Really? Christians have been "making a mess" for centuries!

effete elitist liberal
3018
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effete elitist liberal 09/02/13 - 08:41 am
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satan???

Hey, soldout. This is Saran speaking. My side is gaining ground all the time, even right here in Georgia. I say the real problem is that there is not enough discrimination against Christians! And don't worry, soldout, after I get rid of all you Christians, I'm going after the Muslims. Then the Jews, Hindus, Zoroastrians, lots of work to do....

t3bledsoe
14223
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t3bledsoe 09/02/13 - 08:47 am
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Mis-understandings

In my opinion, I believe that Christianity CAN NOT take as big of a role in American life as it once did, BECAUSE there are more religions in this country now!!

GiantsAllDay
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GiantsAllDay 09/02/13 - 08:54 am
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EEL, I always wondered why

EEL, I always wondered why some blame a mythological creature for all the evil in the world. In English class, my junior year of HS, we had to read and analyze a couple of poems, Dante's Inferno and Milton's Paradise Lost. Little did I know, as a 16 year old kid, that someday in the future, there would be 21st century adults who would view these works as non-fiction.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 09/02/13 - 09:02 am
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Catholicism is growing from

Catholicism is growing from Hispanic immigration, Islam is growing in the US because of muslims immigrating, so while atheism is growing in whites-blacks, hispanics, and muslims don't seem be bothered. Because christians have strong convictions and want to change laws doesn't mean they want a theocracy. No more than gay's wanting to marry mean they want to take over. Progressives seem to have a big atheist base but all the blacks and hispanics they are recruiting tend to be very religious which seems problematic for the parties future. Many Christians are baby boomer who grew up being taught about americas founders christian principals, etc, and they experience a period where christianity was the dominate religion so it was pervasive. Now times are changing and I think many Christians perceive this change as being proactive against them rather than just change. Religions will never die on this planet and although atheism is growing now in the US I believe that tide will turn-especially as Hispanics become the dominate ethnicity in America in the next few decades.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 09/02/13 - 09:17 am
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It is funny how popular

It is funny how popular culture have created Satan as a demi-god ruling over hell. Abrahamic religions have satan and shay tan, but this figure has no power. In Christianity this fallen angel (in Islam he is a jinn) is already defeated just awaiting a pit and lake of fire. Apparently Satan only directly influenced by possession one person-Judas Iscariot. The satan metaphor is to entice and manipulate by misinformation-Gosh sounds like the Obama administration. Christians don't blame Satan for the evil in the world-man's free will and choice is the culprit.

GiantsAllDay
9102
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GiantsAllDay 09/02/13 - 09:15 am
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Bizkit, Nice, thought

Bizkit,
Nice, thought provoking post. Did you know that the "nones" are the fasting growing group today?
http://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise/

Bizkit
29242
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Bizkit 09/02/13 - 09:21 am
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I didn't read your link but I

I didn't read your link but I mentioned how atheism is growing in whites. African-americans and hispanic are still very religious. I know some people believe you should put up childish things once your grown, I do too so that is why I'm so anti-sports. I played sports in high school but what are grown men doing playing with a ball in some childish sport. What a huge waste of time for most Americans (huge number of hours wasted watchin' sports on the tube), but I appreciate people hold on to childish things too. Let freedom ring and people can chase whatever childish habits they like.

Bizkit
29242
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Bizkit 09/02/13 - 09:36 am
2
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Yeah I remember when people

Yeah I remember when people thought the Iliiad and Odyssey and the city of Troy and Trojan wars were fiction too. But at least the city and wars appear to be real. There was an article in Science about how most myths have a kernel of truth and likely a scientific explanation. Like the Oracle of Delphi may have been hallucinations induced from hydrogen sulfide gas released from volcanic vents.

shrimp for breakfast
5422
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shrimp for breakfast 09/02/13 - 09:30 am
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2
Hey Bizkit

My Feminine side is suing me for custody of my inner child.

Bizkit
29242
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Bizkit 09/02/13 - 09:34 am
2
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You know what is funny GAD is

You know what is funny GAD is christians delight in this statistic because during the end times Christianity is suppose to diminish with only a remnant of believers. Mostly the world will be evil. Sure seems like a lot of evil people running around-all our politicians will be evil-yep that's a definite. LOL. Seems theologist have us doomed with sin and scientist have us doomed with global warming. Either way we seem to be screwed.

GiantsAllDay
9102
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GiantsAllDay 09/02/13 - 09:47 am
2
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Bizkit, Good point. As for

Bizkit,
Good point. As for myself (and this is just me), if I belonged to ANY group who took delight in bad news, I would seriously reconsider my affiliation with that group.

Bizkit
29242
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Bizkit 09/02/13 - 09:49 am
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1
There would be some credence

There would be some credence to Christians not being persecuted if we didn't have posters attack christians-referring to their beliefs as myth or calling them the Taliban. Shheeez! Yeah I see complete tolerance and no hint of persecution. Oh the irony.

Fundamental_Arminian
1833
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Fundamental_Arminian 09/02/13 - 09:51 am
3
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Success requires a Christian education

    Religions will never die on this planet and although atheism is growing now in the US I believe that tide will turn-especially as Hispanics become the dominate ethnicity in America in the next few decades (Bizkit).

Question is whether Hispanics will send their children to Catholic schools or to government ones. Catholics and other Christians lose their children when they surrender them to government schools for indoctrination in the latest ungodly traditions of the day. Christian parents need to care enough to make the financial sacrifice necessary to pay for a good Christian education for their children. Until Christian parents do that, the spiritual battle for our children's minds and hearts will remain a lost cause.

Bizkit
29242
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Bizkit 09/02/13 - 09:52 am
2
1
So GAD are you moving to

So GAD are you moving to another country??? hee,hee,hee. Our politicians sure seem to take delight in bad news-never let a disaster go to waste.

Fiat_Lux
14851
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Fiat_Lux 09/02/13 - 10:11 am
4
3
Good letter, Dan,

and as you know, people haven't changed much over the last 2000 years. Those with ears still don't hear and with eyes, still don't see. Some even sit in Catholic churches every Sunday and don't have a clue.

Keep speaking up, Dan. People need to see that being a Christian is not about worship only, but about living our faith with courage, speaking the truth without fear of the kinds of attacks you can read so clearly in the comments above, or the kind that takes away your job or your personal freedom. There is real martyrdom being experienced by people even here in little old Augusta, to people who aren't willing to keep silent about basic truths, about right and wrong, good and bad.

The hatred of God and of Christians is genuine. But just as with fear, it's no match for the love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.

GiantsAllDay
9102
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GiantsAllDay 09/02/13 - 10:11 am
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Ask a holocaust survivor what

Ask a holocaust survivor what religious persecution is. I don't think comments in a newspaper will quickly come to mind. Shheeez!

faithson
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faithson 09/02/13 - 10:20 am
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1
Western Christianity

Christianity as practiced in the west IS a WESTERN Institution, created by European white man. This 'slant' to appeal to the white races has tainted Christian theology to the point that it loses its effect upon the other cultures of the world. We may think that OUR's IS the religion of the Christ, but if you think about it, the religion of the Christ should have an appeal to ALL peoples, as the Christ IS in partnership with the Father, the creator of them. Something is amiss when the creator's message only finds settlement within ONE of the world's cultures and not all. Thus my thesis that there is MORE to Jesus's message than the Roman Curia teaches, a universal message that if truly taught, would cede power from the now institutional Christianity we see in the west.

Fiat_Lux
14851
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Fiat_Lux 09/02/13 - 10:43 am
3
1
Uuuhh, no.

Faithson, there are things the Roman curia might be challenged upon, but the Orthodox faith has it exactly right. You probably should widen your reading to include Kallistos Ware. Or Fr. Thomas Hopko, but most of his stuff is in podcasts on AncientFaith.org. Very worth the effort even if he does ramble a little. It's all very useful and he does it all completely without notes.

You'd probably thank me for the tip on these two greats.

Bizkit
29242
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Bizkit 09/02/13 - 10:42 am
1
1
Comments in a newspaper , any

Comments in a newspaper , any written word, or in public against homosexuals is considered "persecution" so I don't get your gist. Oh I get it homosexual have never been persecuted either. Who knew??

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