Sunday, June 28, 2009

Are Christians in America persecuted? (part 1)

Right now I'm reading a book called "Persecution: How Liberals are Waging War Against Christianity," by David Limbaugh.

I know, it sounds a bit melodramatic. So far the chapter I'm reading describes a series of cases in which students and teachers were barred from speaking about Christ in public. A majority of the cases are related to either saying a prayer at a public event or mentioning prayer in a graduation speech.

It seems too much like complaining. We have so many freedoms in this country! How can we call this persecution when people in other countries die for their faith? Yet...should we be aware that these restrictions are in place? Should we be fighting back?

A book that I liked on a similar topic was "Total Truth" by Nancy Pearcey. I thought she made a good argument for Christians needing to be informed about secular indoctrination.

Maybe I'm not aware of all the legal battles, but I don't need to read a book to know that this kind of discrimination is going on. It happens enough in real life...

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Here are a few examples from my days as a student.

1) 11th grade English class

In practicing writing modes, we came to a "cause and effect" assignment. I worked my faith into as many writing assignments as possible. This was partly for evangelism purposes (if only for the teacher to be saved!), but it was also just an easy thing to write about because I thought of it often. So thinking of a topic for "cause and effect" was a no-brainer..."How Being a Christian Affects My Life." I'm not sure where the paper is now, but a 30-second outline would have looked like this:




After turning in the rough draft, the teacher asked to see me. "I'm not sure this is really cause and effect," he said.

Awkward silence. Then I pleaded my case. How could any writing topic be clearer than this one? How could anyone NOT see how my lifestyle was affected by my faith? (at least, the way I portrayed it in the paper...maybe I didn't always stick to my values)

Eventually he gave me a few options for editing, but even after the final review, he took some points off, due to my choice of topic.

2) First year of college, scholarship application

I was awarded a merit-based scholarship my freshman year to be used for a summer project. I had to write an essay to claim it. I didn't have any plans other than a short-term missions trip to Russia, so I thought I could apply the money to that to cover supplies and travel expenses.

Why was I going on this trip? Easy. To share my faith in God.

I was called into the department head's office. With some awkwardness, he explained that to give me the scholarship would be a violation of the separation of church and state, because the university would essentially be financing my missionary efforts. He also mentioned that another Christian student (incidentally, studying Russian) had run into the same issue, a few years before.

In the end, I changed the proposal to read that my goal was to "serve with my church group," or something to that effect. I left out the part about evangelism. The department head approved it. I didn't really consider the restrictions to be discrimination, considering that the university had certain rules, and he was just doing his job. He also could have rejected my proposal the first time, since he knew the true goal of my trip. But instead he gave me tips on changing the wording, as if he secretly wanted me to succeed.

I've never felt discriminated against so much that it warranted legal action. Should Christians sue? I suppose that is a whole different topic. But, I have definitely felt ostracized. And that psychological humiliation is almost worse than the punishment of not being able to hold your little Bible study on campus or not getting to wear your "I love Jesus" t-shirt. It's the feeling that you are the weirdo in the room. Do Christians need to be prepared to fight these kinds of battles? Yes! At least, we should be surrendered to Christ, so that He helps us to overcome the temptation to let our pride rule our actions.

I'll see if I have any more thoughts after finishing the book.

7 comments:

  1. Well, religion always has been an interesting and very dangerous topic. There have been many attacks against religious groups during the course of History. Luckily Hungary hasn't been exposed to it very much.

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  2. Hello, Ropi. It's interesting you should mention Hungary as I was just watching "How Should We Then Live?"(also a book) by Francis Schaeffer, and he made note of Hungary, specifically with regards to it being taken over by Communism and innocent people being arrested. I understand that was a long time ago...but, I would be surprised if there is NO religious persecution going on at the moment. Maybe it is just more subtle as in the U.S.

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  3. Думаю, в любой стране верное следование за Христом будет вызывать непонимание.
    У нас светские люди часто говорят: я тоже верю в Бога, но не так фанатично как вы! :)

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  4. I wonder if I have ever been persecuted for being a Christian...in fact, I think I have received more benefits. Or do I imagine this?

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  5. As a person who grew up in indonesia - a country where majority of people are moslems, i get used to discriminative people for i'm a christian.
    But yeah..it's hard to imagine for me that many american ppl are so discriminative toward the christians there, since america is a more free country than indonesia.

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  6. We are certainly privileged in the U.S. to have religious freedoms, at least in our personal lives.

    But, as Andrei observed above in Russia, there is the dilemma of having many nominal believers and few who make it the focal point of their lives. People who have put their faith into a little box including church on Sunday and holidays will find points of conflict with those for whom it is a daily reality (and vice versa).

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  7. To me, being pursecuted means to be physically mistreated in some way. It means being beaten, jailed, spat upon and abused in some other physical way.

    Are the American Christians being pursecuted?? Let me laugh for about 10 seconds first. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha....

    No they are not. When a real pursecution comes you won't have any desire to ask any questions.

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