There is a growing worldwide war against Christianity. Last year, over 160,000 Christians were killed for their faith. Christians have been beaten, imprisoned and killed for the crime of being a Christian in Red China. In Sudan, Christians have been bombed, massacred and sold into slavery. In Indonesia, Muslim mobs have wiped out entire villages of Christians, burning down many hundreds of churches.
Christians have been targeted and assassinated in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Missionaries in various parts of the world have been kidnapped, murdered and, in India, even burned alive by a mob of Hindu militants.
It is calculated that over 42 million Christians died at the hands of Anti-Christian governments, mostly Communist Regimes, in the 20th Century alone.
In Zimbabwe, just in 2005, hundreds of Christian churches were bulldozed or burned by army and police, prayer meetings were broken up, women beaten and hospitalized for praying for peace, pastors arrested for “subversive prayers” and churches raided by police. In Cuba, many House Churches have been attacked, with pastors arrested and imprisoned.
However, it is not only in Communist and Muslim lands that Christians are facing persecution. Christians in Europe and North America are facing not only ridicule and hostility in the media, but increasingly they are being restricted, intimidated and harassed by legislation and judicial pronouncements.
This trend towards silencing Christians is real. Christians are being labeled, ridiculed, blamed, and legislated against. There is an irrational fear and hatred of Christianity growing in all too many countries today.
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world therefore the world hates you.”
In Sweden, Pastor Ake Green was sentenced to a month in prison for having offended homosexuals in a sermon. Pastor Green is in his 70’s. 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.”
Slovakia issued a protest against this heavy handed prison sentence for the pastor in Sweden, saying that this was an example of how “left-wing liberal ideology was trying to introduce tyranny and misuse the (European Union)” to silence freedom of expression. “In Europe, people are starting to be jailed for saying what they think.”
Hugh Owens, in Canada, was prosecuted for placing a small ad in his local newspaper in response to all that he had been forced to observe during Homosexual Pride Week. His advert 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 over the line drawing with the universal red circle with a line through it, effectively summarizing the Scriptures listed. For that “crime,” Owen was fined $4,500. The newspaper was also fined. So, in Canada, even listing Bible verses can be construed as a “hate crime!”
Dr. James Dobson’s “Focus on the Family” must now edit their Canadian radio programmes 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 Centre for Disease Control, the majority of the cases of AIDS in the US are men who engage in homosexual sex.
In New Zealand, two Christian videos that questioned safe sex slogans and exposed the link between AIDS and homosexual behaviour, were outlawed by the New Zealand parliament.
When retired air force officer, Enoch Lawrence, in response to a homosexual poster the company had placed near his cubicle, placed a Bible verse, and a bumper sticker that read: “Marriage: One Man One Woman” in his own work cubicle, he was fired by Hewlett-Packard. While a “Pagan Pride Festival” flyer was posted in the break room of Hewlett-Packard, Lawrence’s Pro-Marriage bumper sticker was forbidden.
The head of the Central British Columbia Public Health Board, Chris Kempling, with a PHD in psychology, was suspended from his teaching job at the local high school for writing a letter to the editor of his local newspaper. He stated that homosexuality was not a genetic orientation, that homosexual sex was often unhealthy and promiscuous and that homosexuals could become straight. The judge pronounced Kempling a “bigot.” Although Kempling was never accused of any discriminatory act, he was condemned for having wrong thoughts.
Dianne Haskett, the Mayor of London, Ontario, Canada, was fined $10,000 for refusing to proclaim a “Gay Pride Weekend.” After she lost her case in Canada’s courts, she resigned as mayor rather than to be forced to proclaim the event – just 3 weeks before Election Day. (However, the voters re-elected her with an overwhelming 64% of the vote.)
When a homosexual group approached Scott Brockie of Imaging Excellence to print their materials, Brockie referred them to several other printers who would accept their print job. Rather than respect his deeply held religious and moral convictions, the homosexual group sued. Despite the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees Freedom of religion, the Ontario Human Rights Commission convicted Brockie of “discrimination.” The Commission commented: “Brockie remains free to hold his religious beliefs and to practise them in his home and in his Christian community.” But apparently not in the work place.
An elderly Englishman, Harry Hammond, was heckled, ridiculed and attacked on the street for holding a sign that read: “Stop immorality. Stop homosexuality. Stop lesbianism.” He was assaulted and knocked to the ground, but when the police showed up they arrested the victim of the assault! He was prosecuted for the opinion he expressed.
When a local school in Canada started handing out copies of the Koran and announced the policy of setting aside a room for Muslim students to pray during school hours, Pastor Mark Harding objected. Pointing out that Christian, Jewish and Buddhist children were not afforded similar opportunities, Harding was prosecuted. Despite Pastor Harding’s publicly stating his love for Muslims and commitment to evangelising his Muslim neighbours, he received more than 3,000 hate filled calls, many of them death threats. Some people in the courtroom motioned by running their finger across their neck from ear to ear. Entering the court, Harding had to pass through crowds of Muslims chanting: “Infidel you will burn in Hell!” However, as they were not prosecuted, these death threats were apparently not considered “hate speech.”
Harding reported receiving a call from someone, identifying himself as from Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam group, who told him that: “They were going to break my legs.” Other calls threatened various amputations and mutilations. Yet, it was Pastor Harding who was convicted of having “willfully promoted hatred” and required to undergo 2 years probation and 340 hours of “community service” at the Islamic Society of North America, where he was forced to go through Islamic “re-education.”
FREEDOM IS AT RISK
Janet Folger, in The Criminalisation of Christianity states: “Christians are singled out, labeled, fined, interrogated, humiliated, indoctrinated, fired, ordered to attend re-education programmes and sent to jail for expressing Biblical views…this battle is for truth and freedom. And we are losing by default… If we stay silent on controversial issues, like the slaughter of more than 45 million American children…no one will be offended… We work very hard to present a sensitive, positive Christianity to seekers who don’t like hearing about stuff like obedience and a place called Hell. ‘All we need is love’ has replaced ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ as our anthem. Love is critical, of course, but so is Truth. The Bible says that God is love, but also that He is Holy… Unless we embrace Him as Lord, we will face Him as Judge. Keep in mind that Jesus talked more about Hell than He did about Heaven… and if we make Him Lord, we have to actually do what He says…He commanded us:
“Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death; don’t stand back and let them die”
“Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die”
“Thou shalt not kill”…
“If you love Me you will keep My commandments”
“Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead.”
“Your actions are what youbelieve. Everything else is just religious talk… if you want to be free to speak what you believe in your church, in your work place, in your community, you are going to have to get off the side lines and into the game…but this is more than just a game. It’s a battle for our freedom. Yes, we have the right to remain silent, but if we use it much longer, we may hear those words being read to us just before we see the inside of a prison cell.”
RIDICULE AND NAME CALLING
One tactic often used to silence Christians is ridicule. This encompasses everything from insults and name calling to character assassination.
Given the prevailing dogma of “tolerance” it is extraordinary to note the abusive terminology published against Christians. One article in the Washington Post described Christians as “largely poor, uneducated and easy to lead.” Imagine describing any other group of people in that way in the press!
Ted Turner, the former owner of CNN, described Christians as “bozos” and Christianity as a “a religion for losers.” Again, imagine any prominent figure describing the adherents of any other religion in such words.
Mel Gibson was one of Hollywood’s greatest stars, popular and respected - until he wanted to make a movie about the sufferings of Christ. No one in Hollywood was willing to finance or distribute it. Mel Gibson began being described as “a wacko”,”crazy”, “a real nut case” and worse. Interestingly enough, The Passion of the Christ, in terms of box-office sales, became one of the top ten most successful films of all time - despite the extraordinary Hollywood and news media campaign against it.
Despite Christianity being based on the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ to love one another, love our neighbours, love our enemies, return good for evil, to forgive and be merciful, Christians are frequently referred to in the most negative terms: “The forces of genuine evil, evil, genuine evil;”“Their religion is so narrow, and it is so mean, and it’s so ugly…” Roseanne Barr publicly exclaimed: “You know what else I can’t stand, is them people that are anti-abortion. F – them; I hate them. They’re horrible; they’re hideous people. They’re ugly, old, geeky, hideous men… they just don’t want nobody to have an abortion…”
Syndicated radio host, Howard Stern, after vehemently arguing for abortion, responded to a pro-life caller in these words: “You’re an idiot. I can’t stand dumb people. If I were president, I would have you gassed. I would march you into the ovens!”
Can one imagine any radio host being able to refer to Muslims, Jews or any other group with such words?!
At a Grateful Dead concert, musician Bob Weir announced to a crowd of 30,000: “Can I hear everyone say, ‘F-the Christian Right?”
“If they are Christians, you can hate them. You can ridicule them, and before you silence them make sure you blame them for everything you don’t like. Pick a Christian, any Christian. And, hey, why not start at the top? There are now more than 50 books bashing (President) Bush” The Criminalisation of Christianity.
Janet Folger documents hundreds of examples of Christians being vilified, harassed, prosecuted and persecuted. After the Oklahoma City bombing, Christians, Pro-Lifers, and Home schoolers were blamed. “The main form of political terrorism in the United States today is perpetrated by right-wing opponents of abortion!” One columnist wrote that: “Anti-Abortion groups like Operation Rescue…have to be dealt with as domestic terrorists as deadly as the ones who blew up the World Trade Centre and as fanatic as the cultists in Waco.” As Folger points out, “They burned the men, women and children in Waco…the unbounded finger pointing has silenced many Christians who don’t like being called ‘homophobic, bigoted, extremists.’ But for those with courage enough to face the verbal assault with the truth on subjects like abortion and homosexuality, watch out – they are now blaming you for murder.”
Kate Michelman, former president of National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) threatened: “They must stop referring to abortion as murder and to doctors who perform them as murderers.”“But truth doesn’t kill. Abortion kills. Christians who say: ‘Don’t kill babies’ should be silenced because some people may not follow their advice when it comes to adults?” Janet Folger.
Former Clinton White House Spokesman, Mike McCurry, declared that anyone who believed what the Bible had to say about homosexuality was “backward thinking.” Can you imagine him saying that about people who believed the Koran?
The Criminalisation of Christianity observes that while there were 13,500 stories on the murder of Matthew Shepard, who was a homosexual, there were only 632 stories on the brutal murder of 13 year old Jesse Dirkhising by homosexual assailants. The people who killed Matthew Shepard later confirmed that they didn’t do it out of any animosity for his sexual behaviour – they killed him for money for drugs. Both killers attacked Shepard for robbery, it had nothing to do with his homosexuality. Yet there was massive newspaper and TV coverage of the Shepard case, two major Hollywood specials, three TV movies and a play, all depicting Shepard as a victim of an anti-homosexual hate crime. However, people like Jesse Dirkhising, who was bound, gagged and brutally sodomised, then smothered to death, by homosexual assailants failed to receive any such media coverage.
Similarly, the murder of Mary Stachowicz, a 51 year old wife, and mother of 4, who was murdered by a 19 year old homosexual, Nicholas Gutierrez, for witnessing to him and suggesting that he could change his lifestyle, was ignored by most newspapers. This mother, who was described as a deeply compassionate church member and soft-spoken, was “punched, kicked, stabbed and strangled to death.” But that wasn’t considered a hate crime.
HATRED AND BLASPHEMY
Folger points out that while pro-family leaders repeatedly condemned the murder of Shepard, the homosexual community never condemned this horrific murder. Posted on the ACLU On Line Forum, were these comments: “I really don’t feel sorry for her. She paid a very steep price for being an arrogant religious fascist.” And “quite frankly, if anyone in this case was being persecuted it was Mr. Gutierrez.”
Posted on YAHOO were these comments: “Maybe (Stachowicz’s murder) will strike fear in the hearts of a few fundamentalists…Where do I send a cheque for (Gutierrez’s) defense fund!”; “the B- had it coming to her. I’m glad he killed her…the B- deserved to die!”
So tolerance does not seem to apply toward Pro-Life, Pro-Family Christians. Nor does any amount of venom poured out against Christians seem to be worthy of the designation “hate speech.”
American Christians have endured all kinds of harassment and threats from militant homosexuals. ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) founder, Eric Pollard, threatened Pro-Family leaders: “I shall torture you during the day time, and will keep you from a peaceful sleep at night.” In Madison, Wisconsin, 400 homosexual activists stormed Trinity Evangelical Fellowship Church shouting obscenities inside the church for nearly an hour, while some of the protesters urinated and defecated on the church floor. Hundreds of others banged on the walls and windows with rocks and trash can lids, shouting: “Crush the Christians!” and “Bring back the lions!”
ACT UP member, Michael Petrelis, publicly stated: “We should have shut down the subway and burned down City Hall. I think rioting is a valid tactic and should be tried…if some one took out (former Congressman) Jesse Helms or William Dannemeyer…I will be the first to stand up and applaud.”
At St. Patrick’s Cathedral, ACT UP homosexual activists stormed the church, screamed obscenities and stomped on communion bread, urinating in the church. Posters with vile curses against the Pro-Life pastor and the church predominated. ACT UP protesters simulated various perversions on the altar, and swarmed around congregants pelting them with condoms and shouting and threatening them.
ATTACKING THE CHURCH
In their book When the Wicked Seize a City, Chuck and Donna McIlhenny, described what happened after the San Fransisco Presbyterian Church fired a homosexual organist. “Rocks, beer bottles, beer cans were thrown through the church windows on many occasions. Swastikas were carved in the church doors and drawn on our house. A window in our car was smashed out. Graffiti was spray painted all over the church, house and sidewalk. Anti-Christian, Pro-homosexual leaflets were scattered around the neighbourhood, calling us Nazis, bigots, anti-gay, etc. Demonstrators would come to our Sunday services and disrupt the worship…one man came pounding and spitting on our front door in the middle of the night, screaming: ‘We’re going to get you McIlhenny – we’re going to kill you politically!’ We were verbally threatened outside the house on the way to the car. There were daily – 24 hours per day – telephone calls. It began with screaming and obscenities. They graduated in the phone calls to describing our children…and what sexually deviant behaviour was to be practiced on the children before killing them…Then…someone actually attempted to follow through with their threats to kill us by fire bombing the house while the children were asleep inside.”
One radical gay activist, Robert Schwab, suggested: “If AIDS research money is not forthcoming at a certain level by a certain date, all gay males should give blood. Whatever action is required to get national attention is valid. If that includes blood terrorism, so be it.”
Doug Herman of Pure Revolution lost his wife and baby to “blood terrorism.” Now he travels America speaking about Purity. Folger writes: “And let me assure you, homosexual activists attack him. You would think that killing his wife and daughter would have been enough.”
DIAGNOSIS BY INTIMIDATION
The New York Academy of Medicine issued a Report on Homosexuality in 1963, which stated: “Homosexuality is indeed an illness. The homosexual is an emotionally disturbed individual who has not acquired the normal capacity to develop satisfying heterosexual relations.” However, in 1973, the American Psychiatric Association voted to strike homosexuality from the official list of Psychiatric Illnesses. Not because of any new scientific revelations, nor even from any consensus within the scientific community, but because of threats and intimidation.
Dr. Jeffery Satimoveo, in Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, wrote: “Homosexual activists planned a systematic effort to disrupt the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.” Protesters broke into the meeting of APA members and grabbed the microphone and proclaimed: “Psychiatry is the enemy incarnate. Psychiatry has waged a relentless war of extermination against us. You may take this as a declaration of war against you…we are rejecting you all…” The committee later voted that maybe homosexual behaviour was not a sign of psychiatric disorder after all.
At the 1973 APA Convention, dissenters were allowed only 15 minutes to discuss 70 years of psychiatric research that contradicted it, before the hijacked vote was formally applied to the full membership. Although 69% of psychiatrists disagreed with the vote and still considered homosexuality a disorder, intimidation tactics had succeeded in forcing the APA to reverse their official position.
In 1994, activists tried to make it illegal for practitioners to give therapy aimed at helping homosexuals change. Although this attempt failed to secure a majority vote, a few years ago, the APA published a study favourable to Pedophilia.
PERSECUTED FOR PROTECTING
In recent years, the Boy Scouts of America have come under relentless attack for not allowing self-described homosexual activists to become Scout leaders. As a result of attempting to protect the children who had been entrusted to them, the Boy Scouts have been kicked out of parks, schools and public forums, denied funding by cities and counties. So far, despite being defunded, ostracized, thrown out and left out, they have stood up against the ridicule, the assaults, the censorship and the law suits. And all that because they want to teach young boys honesty, courage, hard work, respect, patriotism and positive values.
CENSORSHIP IN THE CLASSROOM
When 5 year old Antonio Peck was told to make a poster on How to Save the World, he drew a picture of Jesus and wrote: “The only way to save our world.” His teacher told him that this was: “Unacceptable!”
When Craig Cunningham of the Genocide Awareness Project set up a display at the University of Miami depicting various forms of Genocide throughout history, some students tried to cut, mangle and destroy them. Reason? He had included pictures of the Abortion Holocaust. A quote from the University paper concerning his Genocide Awareness Project: “Whoever these people are, they should be shot.” So whatever happened to freedom of speech on campus? Imagine some Christian writing something like that about, for example, a homosexual group? Why, that would be a hate crime!
The Mayor of San Jose justified spending $500,000 of public money to construct a statue of the Aztec god, Quetzalcoatl, because the Aztec religion contained: “those elements that seek to elevate the human consciousness to a higher plane.” The fact that this very same Aztec religion marched hundreds of thousands of slaves to the top of their pyramid like temples, to have their still-beating hearts ripped out of their chests with flint knives, hardly seems to justify such praise. Yet at the same time as this tax funded Aztec idol was being erected, the San Jose Parks Board decided to remove a Nativity scene from the same park. (A flood of protests to the City Hall managed to reverse this incredible decision.)
While GOOGLE takes ads for all kinds of XXX pornographic films and sites, GOOGLE recently banned an advertisement from a Christian Organisation, Stand To Reason, because the group’s website contained articles saying what the Bible says about homosexuality!
Various judges nominated in the USA, have been opposed by liberals because: “His children are home-schooled”; “They are leaders in the Boy Scouts” and “They teach Sunday School!”
A ONE WORLD CHURCH
Robert Muller, was Under Secretary General of the United Nations for more than 30 years. He is now working on the promotion of a One World Church. “My dream, is to get a tremendous alliance between all the major religions and the UN.” Robert Muller believes that “world unity cannot be achieved without a one world government and a one world religion.” The UNESCO Declaration of Principles on Tolerance declares: “Tolerance promotion and the shaping of attitudes of openness, neutral listening and solidarity should take place in schools and universities and through non-formal education, at home and in the workplace.”
There are elements in the UN, who are preparing to deal with the opposition of Christians to this “watered down, lowest common denominator god of tolerance and pluralism” by accusing them of “Mental Genocide!” This is vaguely defined as “causing…mental harm…”
Janet Folger writes: “The trend towards silencing Christians is real. Label them. Ridicule them. Even blame them for murder. And if they still won’t keep quiet? The next logical step is to make them keep quiet…silencing, ostracizing, and criminalizing those with whom they disagree.”
A WAKE UP CALL
Many of our freedoms are at risk. There is a rising tide of Anti-Christian intolerance worldwide. Through Hollywood and the news media, in schools and universities, through legislation and judicial pronouncements, we are loosing freedoms at such a rate that, unless the church wakes up and works together to restore Christian freedoms, we will be seeing many more encroachments upon our schools, churches and homes.
Our children are at risk with the OBE social engineering, values clarification, lifeskills, sex education, re-writing of history and evolutionism in the classroom. Pastors, evangelists and Christian activists are at risk of prosecution for merely saying what the Bible teaches on many of these issues. Our freedom to evangelise in schools, colleges and the work place is being systematically eroded. Even the definition of marriage is under attack with pressure for same-sex “marriages.” The foundation of our faith and freedoms – Civilisation itself - is under attack.
“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of…All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:12-17
Dr. Peter Hammond
Africa Christian Action
P.O. Box 23632
Tel: (021) 689-4481
Fax: (021) 685-5884
See also : Religious Freedoms at Risk and The Urgent Need for Reformation and Revival in SA
This article is based on The Criminalisation of Christianity, by Janet Folger