One doesn’t have to follow the daily news for long to realize that Christianity in America is coming under attack as never before.
While Islam and other religions get a free pass, it’s open season on the Judeo-Christian faith. Atheist Michael Newdow has sought petitions to have “under God” removed from our Pledge of Allegiance, “In God We Trust” removed from our currency and “so help me God” removed from our presidential oath. Fortunately, the courts have denied the petitions.
What is happening in America is an increasing hostility and intolerance toward Christian beliefs and values that many perceive to be an attack on religious freedom. It’s not enough that your beliefs can’t influence society; you must also embrace society’s beliefs.
The opposition to many Christian values has become an “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” mentality.
The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) threatens lawsuits to prevent religious freedom for those expressing Judeo-Christian faith. Because of their intimidation, the Catholic Charities in Illinois shut down its adoption services rather than place children with same-sex couples. A Christian counselor was penalized for refusing to advise gay couples. A wedding photographer was sued for refusing to shoot a same-sex wedding.
And the list goes on.
The founding fathers of America wrote the Constitution with one God in mind — the God of the Jews and Christians. The First Amendment states that Congress shall make NO law respecting an establishment of religion and gives the right of the people to peaceably assemble.
Even amid opposition, Christians are starting to stand strong and speak boldly.
1. Monroeville, Pennsylvania, leaders were told to stop opening council meetings with the Lord’s Prayer. They continue to open their meetings as usual.
2. Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy, a 20-year Marine veteran, for more than a decade has prayed on the 50-yard line after each game. To avoid a lawsuit, the district told him to stop, but he has refused.
3. Clemson’s football program came under fire for “Christian worship.” Led by head coach Dabo Swinney, Clemson football also employs a team chaplain.
4. Oneida High School stopped prayers before athletic events. The two cheerleading team captains took it upon themselves to lead the crowd in reciting the Lord’s Prayer.
5. An Arizona high school running back, Pedro Banda, scored a game-winning touchdown and afterward looked up and pointed to the sky for about four seconds. He was immediately ejected from the game. He was quoted as saying, ”I was just trying to thank God for everything he has given me.” He will continue to stand strong in his faith.
In each of these cases, the Christians involved were not attempting to impose their religious views on others. They simply didn’t want to be forced to participate or offer tacit support for something they felt was in violation of their religious conscience.
What aspect of religious life isn’t, in one sense or another, “public?” A worship service is a service to the public, is it not? Does that mean it too should be subject to government oversight in terms of who it must accommodate and how it must operate?
SB100 and SB344 are being heard in the Senate now to give special protection with the clauses “sexual orientation” and/or ”gender identity” added. Senate president David Long is selling them as compromises that protect religious freedoms.
Business owners can be sued up to $50,000 for refusing to participate in activity that violates their conscience. Creating a statewide protected class for “sexual orientation” and/or “gender identity” would leave millions of Judeo-Christian Hoosiers vulnerable to crippling lawsuits and fines.
Freedom of religion has come to mean no freedom for the practice of Christianity but ample freedom to practice Islam. The Muslim Day Parade in New York City has the blessing of the ACLU. The public schools in Dearborn, Michigan, have a policy of accommodating Muslim prayers at school during school hours. The Byron Union School in California instituted a three-week unit on Islam for seventh-graders. The students took Muslim names, recited Islamic prayers and celebrated Ramadan.
The ACLU, schools and U.S. courts have sided with the Islamic religion and against Christianity.
It’s been said that the U.S. is becoming a secular country, that a clash is developing between “man’s laws and God’s laws,” and even that our current president has launched a “war on religion.” This fear is clearly justified.
Martha Vail is a Charlottesville resident. She can be reached at email@example.com.