That's not exactly what you'd like to hear after preaching your Sunday morning message; but depending on the content of your message, the risk may be greater than you think. As I have begun a Sunday morning series on Romans, it was not a critique of my message so much as a measure of the anti-Christian times in which we live. Lest you think this is an aberration of political correctness only found in big cities like Philadelphia, you need to read further:
Dateline October 10, 2004, Philadelphia
Pennsylvania Christians Face 47 years in Prison for Reading the Bible in Public
American Family Association (AFA) website reportb
"Four Christians are facing up to 47 years in prison and $90,000 in fines for preaching the Gospel on a public sidewalk, a right fully protected by the first amendment.
On October 10, 2004, the four Christians were arrested in Philadelphia. They are part of Repent America. Along with founder Michael Marcavage, members of Repent America - with police approval- were preaching near Outfest, a homosexual event, handing out Gospel literature and carrying banners with Biblical messages.
When they tried to speak, they were surrounded by a group of radical homosexual activists dubbed the Pink Angels. A videotape of the incident shows the Pink Angels interfering with the Christians' movement on the street, holding up large pink symbols of angels to cover up the Christians' messages and blowing high- pitched whistles to drown out their preaching.
Rather than arrest the homosexual activists and allow the Christians to exercise their First Amendment rights, the Philadelphia Police arrested and jailed the Christians!
They were charged with eight crimes, including three felonies: possession of instruments of crime (a bullhorn), ethnic intimidation (saying that homosexuality is a sin), and inciting a riot (reading from the Bible some passages relating to homosexuality) despite the fact that no riot occurred."
Some other details not included in AFA's report might be of further interest. For example, this group was asked to move three times by the Philadelphia Police, and they complied with their requests until a fourth time when they refused and were arrested. Furthermore, it is reported that federal attorneys who were attending the Outfest played a part in causing their arrest by the police. Since they are charged with federal crimes, the prospect of serving their sentences is a serious reality. The Philadelphia District Attorney, Lynn Abraham, is onboard with their prosecution; and she and presiding judge, William Austin Meehan, are no strangers to political correctness by running roughshod over constitutional rights. However, another judge who reviewed the video taken of the event declared that she saw no cause for their arrest. There were others arrested, including a minor, but the brunt of the case is being weighed against the "Philadelphia Four."
If you still have any doubts that this is a spiritual Tsunami coming to a shore near you, read on:
Dateline January, 2005 Churches Barred From "Gay" Discrimination
Worldnetdaily report online
Illinois churches are protesting a new state law that bars them from "discriminating" against homosexuals, contending it robs Christians of their First Amendment freedoms.
Gov. Rod Blagojevitch signed the bill into law yesterday amid a demonstration led by the Illinois Family Institute, or IFI, a non-profit group affiliated with Focus on the Family, Family Research Council and Alliance Defense Fund.
The measure adds "sexual orientation" to the state law that bars discrimination based on race, religion and similar traits in such areas as jobs and housing.
The bill was signed to loud cheers and a standing ovation from about 150 homosexual- rights supporters who see it as a human-rights issue.
"This legislation sends a clear message that we will not allow our citizens to be discriminated against," Blagojevitch said in a statement. "What we're doing is older than scripture: ‘Love thy neighbor,' the governor told the audience yesterday, according to the Associated Press. "It's what Jesus said when he gave his Sermon on the Mount: ‘Do unto others what you would have others do unto you.'"
The report further notes that a sponsor of the bill, State Senator Carol Ronen (D-Chicago), is on record calling for its application to churches: "If that is their goal, to discriminate against gay people, this law wouldn't allow them to do that. But I don't think that's what the Catholic Church wants, or stands for."
An opinion from an Illinois law firm, Ungaretti & Harris, gave this analysis: "While many such municipal prohibitions on sexual orientation discrimination expressly exempt religious organizations from their coverage, the new amendment to Illinois' Human Rights Act does not."
The issue here is not about our agreement with, or even recognition of, the organizations and people mentioned in these reports. What we need to see clearly is that the abridgment of their rights foreshadows a loss of our own rights, whether it be in the pulpits of our churches or in the public square. When political correctness and appeasement of special interest groups encroaches on my right to preach the whole counsel of God's Word, I have a serious problem that comes as a direct result of politicizing both law and law enforcement.
When the anti-discrimination laws were first proposed and Christians objected, we were pacified by a promise that they would never be applied to Churches or ministries. Such "Palestinian promises" have proven themselves utterly worthless when expediency is the order of the day. If you thought we were safe inside our church walls, you have underestimated the enemies of Jesus Christ. As a result, 21st century believers sit idly by, presuming there is nothing they can do or that nothing can be done to stem the tide of legally sanctioned immorality and perversion. We didn't see the wave coming and so, we would not believe that it could be so overwhelming or so destructive until now it is upon us.
Militant Christianity is not a cliché, neither is it a distant milepost of bygone days in the battle for Truth. The calls to be both salt and light in a corrupt and darkened world cannot be ignored or summarily dismissed. Neither should believers accept a silence imposed by the forces of evil, no matter what the cost.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Edmund Burke Dr. Charles L. Dear