By Tom Quiner
We’ve gotten soft.
Western Christians think of persecution for one’s faith as an anachronism, a throwback to another era.
Even as Christians are raped, tortured, beheaded, and crucified for their faith in the Mideast and portions of Africa; even as Christians are driven from their homes in many parts of the world; and even as state power bullies Christians at home and abroad to keep their faith private, Christians in Europe, the U.S., and Canada don’t fully recognize the horror.
I’d like to say that I do, but I don’t. I/we Western Christians expect the state to protect us. We’ve enjoyed an unusual period in history where religious liberty was prized as a fundamental right. We forged nations grounded in Judeo-Christian values and think this is the way it is everywhere.
But now we’ve gotten soft. And we’re paying the price.
Many Christians in the West have embraced a watered-down, human Jesus stripped of His Christly divinity. They pursue a “social justice” Jesus who feeds the poor, and their vehicle to do it is an antiseptic societal safety-net, paid for by their neighbor, never mind if destroys the family unit.
Many of these same Christians forget that we were made in God’s image, not the other way around. They’ve gotten confused about other forms of social justice. They mumble that while they are personally opposed to the killing of the infant in the womb, they can’t tell another woman what she can do with her body. And yet at the same time, they are okay telling a baker that they must use their eggs and flour and sugar to bake a wedding cake for two men, even if the bakers are personally opposed to so-called same-sex marriage.
We’ve gotten confused. We’ve gotten soft.
I’m not sure “conservative” Christians are any better than “liberal” Christians when it comes to the unrelenting persecution of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world.
Where is the outrage?
How many sermons do you hear on the subject? How many blogposts are we writing on the subject? How much money are we sending to help? How cranky are we getting with our elected officials to let Christian refugees into our country first … and not last … if at all?
Something terrible happened yesterday. A Catholic priest in France was attacked and beheaded while he said Mass. The murderers killed the 84 year old Father Jacques Hamel in the name of Allah. Right in the middle of the altar.
Islamic terrorism is old hat, unless you’re an American liberal, in which case Fr. Hamel’s death was “work place violence.” Fr. Hamel’s death was important for three reasons.
First, this murder is a wake-up call to Western Christians. Islam has always been at war with Christianity. Modern liberals, like America’s president, like to present a moral equivalence between the two religions by invoking the Crusades, even though it is a dishonest comparison. Modern Islam is bringing their fight into Western houses of Christian worship. Expect more attacks.
Secondly, Fr. Hamel’s murder is symbolic of the true nature of the Islam/Christianity conflict, which in many respects is expressed in the Gospel of John, chapter 20:
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,[a] Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
Do you realize how infuriating this must sound to a religion that believes you must earn Allah’s love through obedience and submission? Christians haven’t earned it. Christ earned it for us with His Blood. Christ paid the price for each believer. And His priests were given the power to forgive repentant sinners. To Muslims, this sounds heretical.
Finally, Fr. Hamel’s martyrdom is important because the blood of martyrs is powerful. As Church father Tertullian said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Events are moving fast. You and I are being asked if we are willing to stand up for Christ in the public square. Many Christians will say no. Those that remain will be formidable.
We can’t remain soft any longer.
Are we willing to stand up for the infant in the womb in the public square?
Are we willing to stand up for natural marriage in the public square?
Are we willing to oppose so-called “death with dignity” in the public square?
Are we willing to stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ living in dangerous parts of the world with our blood, sweat, and tears?
The blood of the martyrs remind us that when we die to ourselves, we live.
We’re at war. We can no longer be soft. It is time to flex our faith muscles.
It is time to stand up for Christ.