The issue of religious liberty has been at the forefront of American discourse for some years, reaching new and sometimes troubling heights of intensity during the Obama administration. The most obvious examples are the Affordable Healthcare Act and its mandates and threats to conscience, and the assault on Christian small business owners who have been lambasted, and their livelihoods threatened because they refuse to deny their faith and beliefs, and acquiesce to the demands of the radical LGBTQ agenda and its supporters in the democrat party, media, entertainment, and business communities.
The threat to religious liberty is primarily concentrated toward one specific religion: Christianity has become the object of much contempt, derision, and criticism, far more than any other religion. Recently a noted media figure insulted and denigrated Vice President Pence and Christians for their faith. After being harshly criticized and having to bear the brunt of a tremendous outpouring of complaints, Joy Behar was eventually forced to make a public apology, at the demands of the network.
A troubling and ominous example of the extent of the threat to Christianity and religious liberty is something that occurred in September of 2017.Senatedemocrats on the Judiciary Committee, in a biased and unprecedented move, questioned a presidential nominee for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Amy Barrett, a scholar and law professor at Notre Dame University about her Roman Catholic faith.
Senator Diane Feinstein asked if the professor’s faith would influence her decisions and opinions as a judge. Professor Barrett responded by saying, although a devout Catholic, her faith would not interfere with her duties and obligations as a judge. Feinstein was joined in this outrageous affront by Senator Dick Durbin, a Catholic, who asked the nominee if she considers herself an “orthodox Catholic.” Their excuse for this line of questioning was speeches by the professor that contained, in their words, “religious dogma that lives loudly within you,” and that they deemed unacceptable. In other words, Catholics, or for that matter any practicing Christian of faith, need not apply.
It is apparent that both these liberal democrat senators, who afterward came under severe criticismfromrepublicans and Catholic groups, were motivated in their tactics by the fact that Professor Barrett is pro-life. And as democrats have now revealed that position is antithetical to their agenda and there is no room in their party, and apparently on the courts, for pro-life candidates. This begs the question, had the nominee been pro-life and of the Jewish or Islamic or any other religion would they have received the same unorthodox and relentless questioning of their faith, I doubt it.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has been a passionate and fervent defender of one of the first freedoms, religion. Professor Barrett has had some association with this organization. However, the ADF has come under fire from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a radical leftist group that has been in the forefront of falsely accusing mostly conservative organizations as being “hate groups.” Senator Al Franken, former comedian and senator, a Saturday Night Live alumnus, and a no-account, attacked the professor for her relations with the ADF.
Christianity is under assault the world over.InAmerica it is only getting worse and continues to escalate. The Middle East is a cauldron of hate and persecution of Christians. They are driven from their homes; females are abducted and raped, and innocent men, women, and children have been killed by the thousands by radical Islamic extremists. ISIS barbarians have left a trail of carnage throughout the Middle East, even destroying ancient Christian historical sites and monuments. And it is still spreading.
Who would have thought the intolerance and threats toward the religious liberty of Christians would find its way across an ocean to the other side of the world. Yes Australia, the “Land down under”, is home not only to the aborigines and kangaroo but anti-religious bigotry. According to the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Australia is “emulating the totalitarian regime in North Korea.” In Queensland, Australia’s second largest state, Christian children have been told to stop talking about Jesus in the schoolyard. Religious Christmas hymns and greeting cards that mention Jesus are banned, as are Christmas tree decorations and various items that speak about the “Good News” are prohibited.
Australian journalist Andrew Bolt warns “Christians, prepare for persecution.” Although not a Christian, Bolt is amazed at how Catholic and Protestant leaders have been silent and shown cowardice in the face of oppression. Anti-Christian bigotry is widespread in Australia. Bolt relates of how “two Christian preachers were summoned to Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Tribunal for preaching their faiths belief on traditional marriage and homosexuality.” Catholic Archbishop Julian Porteous, an outspoken defender of the faith, was ordered by the authorities to explain “by what right he spoke out against same-sex marriage.”
Censorship is being enforced throughout Australia. There are gag orders, pro-life demonstrators rights are being abridged, crackdowns on religious speech, and any discussion or criticisms that are deemed unfriendly toward the homosexual community are subject to censorship. The Catholic League believes this “goes beyond any anti-Christian phobia, it is more cultural fascism sponsored by the state.”
An even more troubling situation has been growing, and it seems even a country who owes much of its heritage to the Christian faith is not above intolerance. The threat to Christianity, and religious liberty for some, is a cancer that has spread across the world. And the last place anyone would have expected Christianity to come under fire and marked for criticism and rebuke is England. Yes, the land of Shakespeare, Big Ben, and the monarchy seems to have undergone a radical change in its thinking.
The Rev.PeterSanlon is a vicar in the Evangelical wing of the Church of England, and has stated “What British Christians are living with today; American Christians will almost certainly be living with tomorrow.” Rev. Sanlon goes on to say “Christians in the West today are a lot like passengers on the Titanic, refusing to believe that the ship is sinking.”
Much of the blame for this is placed on the Church’s compromising attitude, and thus the diluting of its core beliefs and doctrine to acquiesce to secular norms of inclusion. Reverend Sanlon states, “The iceberg that has ripped open the Church is composed of not frozen water, but three things: radical sexual gender ideologies, Islam, and government, and that the United Kingdom has turned deeply and aggressively against public expressions of Christian faith, and also there are currently a number of clergy in the Church of England undergoing disciplinary procedures against them for upholding plain Biblical teaching in areas that the culture finds offensive.”
Bishops in England have told clergy that unless they submit to current trends they will face disciplinary action, and a bishop, who preferred to remain anonymous, explained his position that he believes in the biblical teaching on sexuality, but can’t say so in public for fear of upsetting the apple cart and some people.
The late archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Francis George, spoke of the increasing hostility toward Christians in America when he said “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.” Cardinal George’s prognostication may very well come to pass; however his warning falls short in one respect, it stretches far beyond our borders.
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