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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Sean Moores
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Sean Moores 09/03/13 - 10:38 am
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@ Fiat 7:59

You are correct.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 09/03/13 - 10:56 am
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Don't you just love it

when non-Christians and genuine haters of Christians express their opinions regarding the adequacy of actual Christians' practice of Christianity?

I mean, how could even they not see the sheer, unadulterated hypocrisy and arrogance of that? Well, I mean, apart from being mostly clueless about what being a Christian actually entails and means.

OJP
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OJP 09/03/13 - 02:03 pm
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@Fiat_Lux

Eh, I was raised a Southern Baptist and my entire family are practicing Catholics. But that's not really the point. Whether Christians are persecuted is a matter of fact.

Considering that Christians make up about 70% of all Americans, every President and probably over 90% of all elected officials have been/are Christians, and no one gets thrown in lion dens any longer, it's just impossible to take your statement at face value.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So put up: who is being persecuted in Augusta for being Christian, and to what extent?

OJP
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OJP 09/03/13 - 02:14 pm
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@Fiat_Lux

From the former archbishop of Cantebury (I hope you agree he is an authority on the subject):

"Christians in Britain and the US who claim that they are persecuted should 'grow up' and not exaggerate what amounts to feeling 'mildly uncomfortable', according to Rowan Williams."

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/aug/15/rowan-williams-persecuted...

myfather15
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myfather15 09/04/13 - 07:15 am
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OJP

Just because someone CLAIMS to be Christian; doesn't mean they are!! Do you really believe Obama is a Christian?

Now, some would accuse me of judging and I would say "By their FRUITS, ye shall KNOW them." Not by their words!! The Bible specifically WARNS US about those who CLAIM to be Christian and are NOT!! I'll trust the Bible, over some archbishop!!

I'm very familiar with who are Christian's; because they will STAND for God!! Not advocate other Christian's pipe down or be doormats!!

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 09/04/13 - 01:40 pm
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@ OJP

No, actually I don't consider the Archbishop of Canterbury an authority on much of anything beyond the liberal PC social agenda, and this has been true since the time of Archbishop Michael Ramsey.

They've all been flaming liberals, some even bordering on heresy if for no other reason than by what they have tolerated and even embraced from among the dioceses and clergy over which they are supposed to be exercising ecclesiastical authority.

So, no, he's not someone who has a clue even about what modern-day persecution of Christians looks like. He simply wouldn't recognize it any more than you do. He wouldn't see as persecution someone losing his job because he refused to overtly, genuinely celebrate the homosexual lifestyle of one of his co-workers or bosses. He wouldn't come to the defense of a pharmacist whose license (and livelihood) is being revoked because he can't in good conscience fill a prescription for a drug that will abort an unborn baby. He wouldn't even notice if someone is charged with a hate crime in the UK for speaking out against the liberal, amoral values so cherished by people such as himself.

Persecution isn't only what happens in the Sudan. Think about what used to happen in the USSR to Christians of all stripes. Not only were their children denied educational opportunities (remember that happening to a grad student at ASU a couple of years ago?), their careers went no where and they were allocated the dregs of every kind of living arrangement and accommodation. They often were throw into gulags and other kinds of prison, including mental institutions for refusing to spout the specifically atheistic parts of the official party line.

China today is a great example of what the US is morphing into regarding religious expression. People are routinely persecuted and imprisoned for being disloyal BECAUSE and only because they are Christians. They are labeled as "crazy" and delusional because they believe in an unseen Person.

Just how far down that road do you think we are? How many people who comment here would love to have the Christians also commenting officially labeled as crazy, to go along with their sneering mockery and slurs?

And as Dan said above, Obozo doesn't even call it "freedom of religion" anymore, but "freedom to worship". That little change in the narrative opens gigantic gates to regulation and control over religious expression and public practice, which is exactly what some benighted people would simply love to have happen.

Do you count yourself among them?

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