This morning’s reading contained more than the usual smattering of articles about the legal assault under which Christian expression currently finds itself. Some were sober, good reporting and analysis, but many were hyperbolic, even fear mongering. (I will not link to those.) I will not deny that religious expression is currently under serious attack. I will not deny that the current circumstances are unique in American history. I will not deny that it is better to fight the current trends than simply succumb to them. But the tone, and in some cases language, of some of what I saw this morning needs some perspective.
The state does not fine us or tax us if we do not practice the state sponsored faith, as is true in some European states. Are we, now, in the US, being opposed? Yes, but it’s not that bad yet. In sub-Saharan Africa, Boko Haram routinely burns churches and executes Christians. Compared to that, we’re fine. Historically the Roman Empire used round up Christians and throw them, defenseless, in front of hungry lions for the amusement of the masses. The opposition we currently face is insignificant by contrast. Perspective matters.
But there is more than geopolitical and historical perspective needed. There is spiritual perspective.
Christianity has survived countless and horrific persecutions throughout its history. To worry about the fate of Christianity (which some of the more hyperbolic things I read this morning did) in light of the current legal battles we face reveals both a form of Christian bigotry and a lack of faith. The bigotry is straightforward. Such fears assume that the millions of Christians in other parts of the world, thriving and growing, are somehow not legitimate Christians. Such fears presume that if someone does not practice and express their faith in the same way and under the same auspices that I do that their faith is somehow lacking, if not simply wrong. Put that way does it not sound remarkably Pharisetical?
But it is the lack of faith that truly troubles me. We are protected because our security and safety does not ultimately rest in our nation, but in God. If we fear, it means we do not trust God to have our back. Things are changing, and change is nerve-wracking, but we are God’s people and we will survive. That’s our unique perspective.
I will close with just a few scriptures wherein we are assured of God’s oversight and protection
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? – Romans 8:31
Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. – Proverbs 30:5
“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;
And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord. – Isaiah 54:17
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. – John 14:27
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:37-39
And of course, the 23rd Psalm:
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.