Saturday, June 24, 2006

Persecution is here. It will get worse.

"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved," John 3:19-20.

Brittany McComb, as the valedictorian of a school in Henderson, Nevada, was scheduled to give a speech at the school's graduation ceremony. The school heavily edited her speech, removing several references to God. McComb, likely remembering Acts 5:28-29, knew that she had to obey God rather then school administrators, and went forward with the original speech. In a spiteful and childish move, the school cut her microphone, prompting boos from the audience.

The American Civil Liberties Union, acting to restrict civil liberties rather than preserve them, whined that cutting the microphone was the right move because the content of the speech could be interpreted as "school sponsored". This is a silly argument. The school can easily offer a disclaimer that any speeches by individual students are their opinions only and not those of the school. There is no danger of government respecting an establishment of religion here, and both the ACLU and school administrators know it.

This and other incidents (including the city of San Francisco passing a resolution against Christian teaching) are evidence that we have started down the road toward persecution of Christians in America. Those who would scoff at such claims and talk about how "dominant" Christianity is would do well to think about the concept of incrementalism. Are Christians in danger of being persecuted by our government within the next three years? Probably not, but who knows what the political landscape will be like in ten or twenty years?

Christians know they will be persecuted because the Bible (see John 15:20) tells us we will be persecuted. McComb suffered persecution by having her First Amendment rights violated, and there is every reason to expect it will get worse. Canada and some parts of Europe are already moving toward criminalizing teaching Biblical truths outside of government functions under so-called "hate speech" laws. Prohibiting a high school valedictorian from mentioning God in her speech at a school function is just the first step toward further restrictions on religious freedom.

Christians have been very fortunate for the last 230 years to live in a country where we have the freedom to worship the Lord, but we should not take that freedom for granted. We must guard our religious freedom through the political system while we still have the ability to do so. But even when the persecution comes, we should not despair. Matthew 5:10-12 tells us that we are blessed when we are "persecuted for righteousness' sake", and that our reward in Heaven is great.