None Dare Call It Persecution

Christians In Damascus are being forced by ISIS to sign a contract with these ten rules in return for exclusion from punishment:

  1. Christians may not build churches, monasteries, or hermitages in the city or in the surrounding areas.
  2. They may not show the cross or any of their books in the Muslims’ streets or markets, and may not use amplifiers when worshiping or during prayer.
  3. They may not make Muslims hear the reciting of their books or the sounds of church bells, which must be rung only inside their churches.
  4. They may not carry out any act of aggression against ISIS, such as giving refuge to spies and wanted men. If they come to know of any plot against Muslims, they must report it.
  5. They must not perform religious rituals in public.
  6. They must respect Muslims and not criticize their religion.
  7. Wealthy Christians must pay an annual jizya of four gold dinars; middle-class Christians must pay two gold dinars, and the poor must pay one. Christians must disclose their income, and may split the jizya into two payments.
  8. They may not own guns.
  9. They may not engage in commercial activity involving pigs or alcohol with Muslims or in Muslim markets, and may not drink alcohol in public.
  10. They may maintain their own cemeteries.
  11. They must abide by ISIS dress code and commerce guidelines.

The brutality ISIS has committed against Christians in the Middle East can easily be called persecution. Whenever Christian martyrdom is imagined, Nero feeding Christians to the lions is a familiar thought. So, the question is whether or not Christians simply being forced to submit to the rules of an ISIS community is persecution. They are allowed to worship in private and function in society in a limited away, so it is persecution?

In the legal and social fallout of homosexual marriage being officially sanctioned by the government, some Christians have refused to comply with the sanction. They refuse to bake gay wedding cakes or issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples or marry gay couples. Conservative Christians call it persecution while Progressive Christians dismiss persecution claims as a “persecution complex.”

But what if these ten rules were issued by a Southern Christian community on gays and they looked like this:

  1. LGBTs may not build buildings in the city or in the surrounding areas.
  2. They may not show Gay Pride symbols or any of their flags in the Christians’ streets or markets, and may not use amplifiers when speaking or singing or during ceremonies.
  3. They may not make Christians hear the reciting of their books or the sounds of speeches, which must be made only inside their homes.
  4. They may not carry out any act of aggression against Christians, such as giving refuge to spies and wanted men. If they come to know of any plot against Christians, they must report it.
  5. They must not perform LGBT celebrations in public.
  6. They must respect Christians and not criticize their religion.
  7. Wealthy LGBTs must pay an annual tax of $4800; middle-class LGBTs must pay $2400, and the poor must pay $1200. LGBTs must disclose their income, and may split the tax into two payments.
  8. They may not own guns.
  9. They may not engage in commercial activity involving entertainment or alcohol with Christians or in Christians markets, and may not drink alcohol in public.
  10. They may maintain their own cemeteries.
  11. They must abide by Christian dress code and commerce guidelines.

What if every gay man and woman had to sign this contract or face prison time? Would Progressive Christians call that persecution? Yes, I think they would and would do so loudly. And Progressive Christians would do so while at the same time accepting such a contract for themselves without calling it the same. They would call it loving one’s enemies, but such love makes their enemies into friends and their fellow faithful into outcasts.

It seems strange that Christians would advocate for the liberty of those who reject Christianity while accepting the curtailing of liberty of those who labor to uphold it.

Ad Hoc Interpretation of Revelation 13

For the majority of my Protestant years, I have been taught emphatically that the future would hold a global government dedicated to worshiping Satan and that the Pope would be the devil’s right-hand man. There’s money to be made in hysteria and such an idea brings about much hysteria among the biblically faithful.

I’m not a trained theologian or some expert on ancient biblical texts and their culture. What I offer is merely my own poor attempt to understand Revelation in light of what is currently happening. I’m probably wrong, but I know what I offer is superior to the silliness that is the “Left Behind” phenomenon.

Let’s begin some basics. In Revelation 13, there are descriptions of what John calls “beasts.”

The first:

The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. – Revelation 13:1

The second:

Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. – Revelation 13:11.

According to the Left Behind crowd, the first beast is a government because it exercises authority and the second beast is a religion because it causes people to worship:

[The first beast] was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation … [The second beast] exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, – Revelation 13:7,12

Okay, fine. I agree that the first beast could symbolize a government. However, the second beast is curious. The primary work of the first beast is to rule with power, but the second beast’s primary work is not religious, but economic.

It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. – Revelation 13:16-17

If there are two great evils in the world, it is not power and faith, it is power and money. So, I see the first beast as a massive movement of governmental power and the second as a massive movement of economic power.

The governmental power is waging war against God’s saints:

It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them … – Revelation 13:6-7

The economic power enslaves people:

It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. – Revelation 13:16-17

In 2015, today, there are two major movements that are proving to be dangerous to the West and the world. It is my contention that the governmental power is the persistent presence of Marxist believe in the world and the economic power is global corporations and criminal enterprises.

It makes sense that the money beast would make people worship the government beast. The constant solution offered to the problems of economic poverty and exploitation is Marxist government. A dream of utopia of socialist democracy that eliminates poverty, wealth domination, and criminal enterprise is spreading through the West and in many countries, Marxism is the governmental model.

Whenever the American left says “We need a Marxist society,” without actually using those words, the main points are always inequality between the poor and the rich and corporate greed. So, people enslaved by a non-free market controlled by economic elites are turning toward Marxist elites to save them and will find themselves enslaved by a non-free market controlled by the heavy hand of Communism.

If the thirteenth chapter is predicting events in 2015, then the godless two prongs of global Marxism and global corporations make the most sense as a real-world interpretation.

Some Thoughts On Regaining Western Marriage

The secular world has killed marriage as it has been known through the long history of Western Civilization. It will never be engaged in any meaningful way again by a culture that has essentially thrown off the shackles of sexuality. Marriage was never the goal of achieving “marriage equality.” The goal was to do away with marriage and its limitations as an institution for the fluid and feelings-based concept of “love.” God is no longer needed and neither is His marriage.

If those Christians who are still interested in preserving marriage have any hope of regaining ground within their own churches, they will need to recover two important ideas.

First is the permanence of marriage. The Western Church has always, in some fashion or form, recognized the union between one man and one woman was not to be broken save for infidelity or death. Adultery was once a crime and divorce once brought social shame. Both of these broke marriage, violating the permanence. The filth and farce that is called “gay marriage” did not destroy marriage. It is the decadent celebration of the institution of marriage being burned to the ground.

Second is the hierarchy in marriage. Men and women cannot be equal and be married. Marriage and equality of the sexes are at stark odds with each other and cannot be reconciled, no matter how much “love” greases the grinding gears of two people pulling opposite directions and expecting the other to follow. Male headship has long been assumed to the be solution to this conflict. It is obvious that men and women are different and both will have different goals for the family. To make men and women equal in marriage is to ensure endless conflict until one spouse either gives in or leaves.

It is interesting to note that while Western marriage has been destroyed for the cause the sexual democracy, it is being remade. Only it looks quite different from what marriage once was.

The Church Is Now Organized Crime

CNN reports, “In a landmark opinion, the Supreme Court ruled Friday that states cannot ban same-sex marriage, establishing a new civil right and handing gay rights advocates a victory that until very recently would have seemed unthinkable.”

Everywhere, homosexuals and there heterosexual endorsers are celebrating a major political victory. The question is just what or who have they won a victory over?

Initially, the idea that two men or two women sexualizing each other is somehow considered the same as a man and woman interacting in a way that both is moral and natural seems ludicrous. This is why much of the dirty realities of same-sex relationships are covered with a purifying white veil of ambiguous terms like “love” and “relationship.” When the word “marriage” comes up, it is a pseudo-romantic notion based on emotions and those emotions justify whatever physical acts performed.

What you will hear, in one way or another, is that the victory that has been won is gays who love each other overcoming a bitter zealous culture that hates them simply because they are gay, in the same way this culture hates non-Anglos, women, and the poor. That headlined narrative is merely feelings-based rhetoric and many ascribe to it actually believe it.

The real victory is found in the recent acceptance of same-sex marriage in Ireland. For centuries, Ireland was an overwhelmingly Catholic country, with the Church holding fast the teaching that marriage is between one man and one woman. Ireland threw aside its Catholic identity for the acceptance of equal sexual rights. Writing for Crisis Magazine, James Matthew Wilson says:

The reason the Irish—as Irish—are celebrating is that they have with this referendum delivered a decisive and final blow to their venerable image as a Catholic nation. They have taken their vengeance on the Church. They must relish the unshackling; they must love the taste of blood.

The modern world does not rebel against the heavenly things of God, such as the Crucifixion and Resurrection, because it is comfortable in its religious atheism, with heavenly matters kept far away from affairs on earth by scientific skepticism.

What the modern world is rebelling against are the earthly things of God, such as Marriage and the Church. In the modern mind, these things belong to man and must answer to his constitutional right to happiness and whatever he deems happiness to be relative to the individual. The US Supreme Court has handed a victory to the people’s war against the Church and there is no more poignant symbol of this victory that the utter rejection by law of the Church’s long-held teachings on sex and marriage.

Now that same-sex marriage is the law of the land and with same-sex marriage being perfectly defiant against the Church, if the Church, and individual Christians, do not accept the law of the land, the law will have to be enforced or the law will not be taken seriously. The Church in America, holding as it does to marriage as being of God, moral, and between one man and one woman, is now against the law of the land.

The Church is now considered by modernity to be organized crime.

The Deaf Ears And Blind Eyes of Modernity

Whenever the term ‘atheist’ is brought up, the immediate thought is someone who denies the existence of God. Most evangelical efforts to counter the prevalent form of atheism found modern academia and culture begin with this basic idea. Atheism says there is no God. Christianity attempts to prove there is. The problem with this approach is that the modern intellectual culture is not so direct and clear.

The late Christopher Hitchens was an unapologetic atheist and often engaged Christians in direct debate. While he would find a much more receptive audience in the modern mind than a Christian apologist, that modern audience would not openly subscribe to atheism, though they welcome its application through the secular state.

Instead of openly saying “God does not exist,” modern thought takes a non-committal stance. Stephen Hawking has provided what is close to an open declaration of what the modern mind holds. He states “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.”

What the modern mind is holding in academia and pushing into the culture is not the declaration that there is no God, but that God is not necessary.

In a previous article, I wrote:

Within Evolution, it is reasonable to conclude that if the fundamental process that brought man into existence, and has brought man to his current place in the world, did so without need for a supernatural agent then man can safely get along without a supernatural agent. Man is not dependent on God. He may exist, but such existence, while comforting and meaningful, is ultimately irrelevant. [Emphasis mine]

This allows a man to live as an atheist, but speak as theist. His has no need for God, but is free to invoke Him when needed. He can go to church, participate in the rituals, and be completely free to deny the very meaning of those rituals.

Christians who seek to evangelize the modern world with movies like “God is Not Dead” will find themselves wasting their time. The non-committed mind of modernity believes itself both religious and good, without need of conversion to God, but also without need of God. Modernity believes itself both Christian and atheist without declaring either. They have no need to hear God’s Son or see His church here on earth, but both are pronounced welcomed in public.

However, while it speaks in safe, ambiguous language, modernity is through its actions decidedly atheistic and hostile to Christianity.

The One Reason Why Socialist Ideas Should Be Rejected

When you hear of ideas like universal healthcare and government-provided subsidies for the poor, the idea of living in a Socialist state, such as is found in Europe and Canada, is very appealing. Economics governed to both allow people to work and to provide for the poor is something that most people, especially American Christians, would gladly welcome.

So why are most American conservatives, libertarians, and right-wing thinkers so opposed to it (I won’t say that Christians are opposed to it as many Christians on the left are avid supporters of it)? Who doesn’t want to live in a better world?

A recent article on the Crisis Magazine reveals the major reason why every Christian should resist the concept inherent in Marxist theories and the allure of the socialist state. Canada officially offered legal sanction to homosexual couples by legalizing gay marriage in 2005. Gays and lesbians everywhere rejoiced in their newfound freedom and the cause of human rights was advanced.

However, not everyone is feeling a new sense of freedom. What they are feeling is a new sense of restriction and a direct violation of both their conscience and flourishing. The legal profession in Canada is one area where citizens are openly discriminated against based on their religious beliefs.

Not only are Christian lawyers being pushed out by their colleagues, but they are also experiencing ostracism from their clients. As the debate over TWU heated in the media, some of Canada’s most powerful corporations created Legal Leaders for Diversity (LLD), a group that now includes over 70 of Canada’s largest corporations. Through LLD, these companies aim to alter the legal landscape by choosing to do business only with pro-gay law firms. Never before has there been a concerted effort to essentially starve Christian law firms out of business. [Emphasis mine]

Lawyers are not the only ones facing this trend.

In March, Toronto’s city council voted to remove the nomination of a Catholic school trustee to the city’s Board of Health. The trustee had not shown any wrongdoing or incompetence, and city councilors didn’t even try to argue this. Their stated concern was that the trustee had a history of voting in line with Catholic teaching.

Canada has openly said that these things would not happen.

Opponents of same-sex “marriage” were given all kinds of assurances. The preamble to the Civil Marriage Act states that “everyone has the freedom of conscience and religion,” “nothing in this Act affects the guarantee of freedom of conscience and religion and, in particular, the freedom of members of religious groups to hold and declare their religious beliefs,” and “it is not against the public interest to hold and publicly express diverse views on marriage.” [Emphasis mine]

These assurances are lies.

The reason to oppose a socialist state is not because of its goals, ideas, and economics models. Rather, it should be opposed, and opposed vehemently, because it is rooted in a culture that is functionally hostile to Christians and God. The secular state is basically atheism applied to daily life and atheism has no room for a God who created one man and one woman and bound them in marriage.

The Christian left has essentially taken a pacifist stance and chosen to accept any persecution for what they believe will be a much better world. In fact, they have heralded the atheist state as the Kingdom of God.

The American left looks forward to a time of utopian bliss, a world that is devoid of things like discrimination and inequality. However, they will discriminate against Christians who oppose them and create a state of oppressive inequality for them. It may be re-branded under different names and words, but in practice, Bible and Church faithful will be second class citizens.