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THE CRIMINALIZATION OF CHRISTIANITY
By JANET L. FOLGER
Multnomah PublishersCopyright © 2005 Janet L. Folger
All right reserved.
The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Edmund Burke, statesman, orator, and political thinker
There is a war going on for the future of our country. Most people know that. What they may not know is that if Christians lose, the result won't be just public policy with which we disagree; it'll be a prison sentence for those who disagree.
We've all seen the attack coming. The year I was born, the Supreme Court said that kids can't pray in school-at least not out loud. Can't talk about God-at least not the real one-in school. If you want to use the name of Jesus, you'd better be taking it in vain or be in another country ... like Russia.
My senior year, the Ten Commandments were ripped from classrooms for fear that unsuspecting students might read them ... and actually obey them. Wouldn't want to discourage kids from lying and stealing and killing, after all. Then the Commandments were pulled from public buildings and courthouses from Alabama to Wyoming. And while we sit idly by, our enemies are warming up the sandblasters and taking aim at our national monuments and the Supreme Court, where the Ten Commandments are engraved.
Yes, we've all seen the attack coming. But I'm not sure we all see where it's going. After all, the Supreme Court said we're still allowed to say "one nation under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Maybe things are going to be okay after all.
In 1997, my friend Bob Knight, who directs the Culture and Family Institute at Concerned Women for America, gave a speech that opened my eyes and changed my life. He made a statement that, quite frankly, I didn't believe. He said, "The ultimate goal of the homosexual movement is the criminalization of Christianity." I immediately thought, What an exaggeration! Come on, Bob. You can make your case without hyperbole. I said nothing, but for the next several years I watched and listened. And learned.
After all, homosexuality wasn't my issue. I was the "pro-life girl." Helped pass the nation's first ban on partial-birth abortion and every other law the Supreme Court would allow to help women and restore protection to children-children who were real no matter what label was used to describe them and who through no action of their own had someone else's "choice" inflicted upon them.
About ten years ago, I was where you likely are right now: I knew the Bible had strong words against homosexuality, and I knew the health consequences were severe. For their own good, I hoped people didn't engage in it, but I didn't feel the need to speak to the matter. I knew some homosexuals, and, well, they were nice people. Still are. Christ Died for them, just like He died for me.
Then one night I was watching C-Span. It was airing a conference of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest homosexual lobby in the country. One of their directors, a lesbian, was pounding on the podium, screaming words I will never forget: "We must do away with words like abomination!"
My first thought was I wonder where that word is found. For those of you who don't know, it's in the Bible (Leviticus 18:22, KJV). God uses it to describe the practice the homosexual movement has built its identity around: homosexual sex.
I began reading everything I could get my hands on and talked often with the leaders on the allied side of the cultural war (that would be the side standing for life, liberty, and family). In one such conversation, Bob Knight predicted that homosexual activists would soon go after the Boy Scouts of America. No way. Why in the world would they want to go after a group as American as apple pie? One that teaches kids how to be prepared, tie knots, and help old ladies across the street?
But with the help of the ACLU and their network of activist judges, the homosexual lobby kicked the Boy Scouts out of city parks, public schools, and local meeting rooms. Next they took away their city, county, and United Way funding to mentor kids without fathers. They started calling them names like "discriminatory" and "bigoted." Why? Because the Boy Scouts didn't think it was in the best interest of young boys to let self-proclaimed homosexuals become scout leaders and go camping with them. The whole idea makes about as much sense as letting middle-aged men go camping with teenage girls.
Some time later, I had a conversation with a local representative of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, which helps organize Christian clubs on college and university campuses. I was talking to her about the importance of speaking out on moral issues when she said something I'd heard hundreds of times: "Janet, we don't get involved in social issues. Our focus is evangelism." I agreed that evangelism is the most important thing, but then I made a prediction.
"I hope I'm wrong," I told her, "but I don't think I am. I predict that if you don't get involved with the issues in our culture, you will lose your right to evangelize." Less than a year later, Tufts University told Intervarsity Christian Fellowship that they were not permitted to meet on campus because they wouldn't allow homosexuals on their board of directors. (By the way, proabortion clubs don't let pro-lifers on their boards either, but they get to stay on campus.)
The campus crusade against Christ has since intensified, and "antidiscrimination policies" are trumping religious freedom on campuses across the country. In 2002, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill attacked Intervarsity Christian Fellowship in the same way. As I write this, UNC has just revoked the charter of a Christian fraternity, Alpha Iota Omega, because they want the people who join to actually agree with the religious beliefs upon which the fraternity was founded.
Threats to our freedoms are all around, but I believe there is one issue liberals are going to use to silence our churches. It's not the looming threat of losing their precious 501c(3) tax-exempt status that has kept churches quiet on critical moral issues like abortion. It's not all the nasty letters and threats about those "dangerous" nativity scenes.
The greatest threat to our freedoms comes from the homosexual agenda.
Since the Bible says that persecution is coming anyway, some are of the opinion that we should just take it lying down. I've got news for you: It's already here.
In China, government agents can beat, imprison, or kill you for the crime of being a Christian. Christians in Sudan are being sold into slavery or killed. Muslims have wiped out entire villages in Indonesia and gunned down Christians in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt-just to name a few. In 2004, missionaries were burned alive by a Hindu mob in India. And that's only the beginning. According to Freedom House, which tracks persecution worldwide, about 160,000 Christians are killed every year for their faith.
I don't believe we have to take this lying down, especially while we still have the freedom to do something about it. I will undergo persecution if that's my only choice, but right now it's not. Paul appealed to Caesar because of his Roman citizenship, and we can do the same. We are Americans, endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights. We have freedom of religion, not freedom from it.
By the way, if this book is translated and/or smuggled into other countries like Canada, these freedoms apply to you, too, no matter what your government says. More on that later.
I know that the Bible says, "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake" (Matthew 5:11, NKJV). When persecution happens, we'll know we're on the right track. But that doesn't mean we have to usher it in. I will fight it with my last breath. But if it comes full-scale despite our prayers and best efforts, someone remind me to read that verse again, will you?
I know what many of you are thinking: Who cares what the world does? As long as we can still do whatever we want in our churches, we'll be just fine. Our kids are in Christian schools, we listen to Christian radio, read Christian publications, go to church twice a week.
All good things to do. But we've effectively withdrawn from society and built ourselves a nice little subculture that some have referred to as the Christian ghetto. So much for being salt and light in a dark and decaying world. Christians are the only group still in the closet. We'll just hold out in our holy bunkers until Jesus comes. I've heard it a million times: "Read 'the Book,' Janet. It's going to get worse. Let them do whatever they want in the world. We are not 'of the world.' We're still free to speak what we believe in our church."
THOU SHALT NOT QUOTE THE BIBLE
I was prepared to make another prediction in this book that many of you wouldn't have believed. I had written it down as an unbelievable, outrageous possibility. I was going to say that if we remain silent in this battle, pastors will go to jail for speaking about homosexuality from their own pulpits in their own churches. But before I could finish the first chapter, it had already happened:
A Swedish court has sentenced a pastor belonging to the Pentecostal movement in Sweden, Ake Green, to a month in prison, under a law against incitement, after he was found guilty of having offended homosexuals in a sermon. Soren Andersson, the president of the Swedish federation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights (RFSL), said on hearing the sentence that religious freedom could never be used as a reason to offend people. "Therefore," he told journalists, "I cannot regard the sentence as an act of interference with freedom of religion."
Pastor Green is in his seventies. The prosecutor appealed the court decision, demanding that the pastor be sentenced to six months imprisonment. When a reporter asked, "What about the pastor's rights?" the prosecutor replied, "When he started reading Bible verses about homosexuality, he crossed the line."
On July 13, 2004, Swedish Ambassador Cecilia Julin defended the sentence by saying, "Swedish law states that public addresses cannot be used to instigate hatred towards a certain group."
The ruling party of the central European nation of Slovakia has protested Pastor Green's prison sentence. According to the Slovak Spectator, Slovakian Interior Minister Vladimir Palko, who voiced the protest, said at a press conference that Sweden's actions were an example of how "left-wing liberal ideology was trying to introduce tyranny and misuse the [European Union]" to silence freedom of expression. He added, "In Europe people are starting to be jailed for saying what they think."
Prison sentences for pastors who offend homosexuals in a sermon? Could've been worse. Sweden's law bans "all speech and materials opposing homosexual behavior and other alternative lifestyles" and calls for up to four years in jail for violating it. That will be next.
The Anglican Bishop of Chester, England, Reverend Dr. Peter Forster, was under police investigation for saying, "Some people who are primarily homosexual can re-orientate themselves. I would encourage them to consider that as an option." Police turned his case over for prosecution. I wonder what would have happened if an ex-homosexual had spoken about his life. Probably would've been arrested on the spot. If Reverend Forster can't talk about reorientation, I'm sure an ex-homosexual wouldn't even be allowed to exist.
What's the next step? Declare the Bible "hate literature" and censor its contents? It's already been done.
Hugh Owens, of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, took out an ad in response to all he was forced to observe during Homosexual Pride Week. Homosexuals had expressed their views in the streets; surely he could express his in a small newspaper ad. Forget about his views-he was just going to list some verses that expressed God's view on the matter. Radical, huh?
The ad listed four Scripture references (Romans 1, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) next to an equal sign and a drawing depicting two men holding hands. Superimposed on the line drawing was the universal red circle with a line through it, effectively summarizing the Scriptures listed. For that "crime," Owens was fined $4500. The newspaper was also fined. Now merely listing Bible verses is a hate crime.
Owens was fined by the Court of Queen's Bench in Saskatchewan, which upheld a 2001 ruling by the province's human rights tribunal. The tribunal had said, "The slashed figures alone were not enough to communicate the hatred ... but the addition of Bible references are more dangerous." The Bench said that the tribunal "was correct in concluding that the advertisement can objectively be seen as exposing homosexuals to hatred or ridicule."
Incidentally, Owens's fine was broken into three parts: $1500 Canadian for each of the three homosexual men who filed the complaint. Wow, if there's money in filing complaints, imagine the incentive for going after Christians who refuse to embrace, celebrate, and further the homosexual agenda!
THOU SHALT NOT TELL THE TRUTH ON RADIO OR VIDEO
Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms has a broad antidiscrimination provision that is interpreted to prohibit discrimination against sexual orientation. This provision has been used to silence religious organizations and pastors. Canada's Broadcast Standards Council rebuked Dr. Laura Schlessinger, an Orthodox Jew, for a speech she made on homosexuality, and stations were forced to make an announcement of the Council's ruling before the show was aired. (In America, her television show was cancelled over the same issue.)
Dr. Jerry Falwell's Old-Time Gospel Hour and Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family must now edit their Canadian programs to remove anything that might be deemed critical of homosexuality, including Bible verses on the subject and information like the fact that according to the Centers for Disease Control, the majority of the cases of AIDS in the U.S. are men who engage in homosexual sex. Wouldn't want that to get out. If people knew how dangerous homosexual sex is, they might actually change their behavior. Now it's illegal to tell them.
But maybe we could still get the word out if we made a video. Great Idea. Some people in New Zealand tried. They made two Christian videos that questioned safe-sex slogans by exposing the link between AIDS and homosexual behavior. The New Zealand Parliament outlawed the videos for promoting "hate speech."
THOU SHALT NOT POST BIBLE VERSES AT WORK
In the case of Peterson v. Hewlett-Packard Co., a Christian worker exercised his right to free speech in response to a homosexual poster the company had placed near his cubicle. He posted Bible verses to express his beliefs on the matter. He was fired. Was he in Sweden? Canada? Try Boise, Idaho. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote, "An employer need not accommodate an employee's religious beliefs if doing so would result in discrimination against his co-workers or deprive them of contractual or other statutory rights."
The homosexual agenda trumps an employee's religious beliefs? Doesn't make me feel any better knowing that I bought my printer from them. But it might make that former employee feel a little bit better to know what I'm using it for.
When the California Department of Social Services didn't like the things an employee, retired Air Force Officer Enoch Lawrence, had posted in his cubicle, they ripped them from the walls. The items included a small sign that said "Jesus Spoken Here," several Bible verses, two published articles on current issues, and a bumper sticker that read "Marriage: One Man One Woman."
I'm familiar with that bumper sticker. I just checked my records, and my organization, Faith2Action, printed it. This is starting to hit close to home.
Excerpted from THE CRIMINALIZATION OF CHRISTIANITY by JANET L. FOLGER Copyright © 2005 by Janet L. Folger. Excerpted by permission.
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