News

Declaring War on Christians

by Don Meyer, Ph.D. | August 23, 2014

“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”
Tertullian

Quite a bit of dust was stirred up in Dublin, Ga., recently because managers of a shopping mall told a group of visitors they were not allowed to pray there, not even over their lunches in the food court. Tammy Brantley, a person of deep faith in God, along with her friends, had paused for a brief of prayer before they began their regular walking exercise at the mall.

Just as they bowed their heads, a mall cop came running toward them saying, “You are not allowed to pray at the mall. That is against our policy.” When they challenged the policy and asked if they could pray a silent prayer in the food court before eating, the cop quoted the mall manager, “No ma’am.” 

Only after the mall owners received enormous opposition did they recant by saying they no longer “have an issue” with people praying “privately or quietly.” I believe their position was informed more for reasons of economics than because it was the right thing for them to do. 

Over the years I have encountered sincere people who have tried to force their religious views down my throat. Their behavior was the problem, not their message. Of them, Mahatma Gandhi once said, “I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

When I read this story, however, I could hardly believe what I was reading. These people were living out their faith with genuine simplicity and they were anything but obnoxious. 

Opposition against followers of Jesus is showing up everywhere. Garrett Haley in the Christian News Network (July 29, 2014) wrote “Ohio State teaches ‘atheists have higher IQs than Christians.’” In addition to this outrageous claim, Dr. Mike Adams, a Christian professor at the University of North Carolina, said that “every group is protected from offensive speech on campus except for conservative Christians.”  

John L. Allen Jr. said in his article The War on Christians (October 5, 2013), “The global persecution of churchgoers is the unreported catastrophe of our time.” And, according to the International Society of Human Rights, a secular observatory based in Frankfurt, Germany, 80 percent of all acts of discrimination in the world today are directed at Christians. 

Allen also referenced the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, which says an average of 100,00 Christians have been killed in what the center calls a ‘situation of witness’ each year for the past decade. Which means 11 Christians are killed somewhere in the world every hour, seven days a week and 365 days a year, for reasons of the faith. 

And we have all heard of the brutality of ISIS Jihadist terrorists in Iraq who have issued an ultimatum to Christians that they must convert to Islam, pay a tax or die. ISIS rulers have ordered hospitals to dismiss Christian doctors and female employees and mark the houses of Christians as “Property of the Islamic State.” Some say the end of Christianity is near in Iraq. 

From an Anglican church in Pakistan and a Catholic church in Kenya, and from machete-wielding Hindu radicals in India to the militant Islamic movement of “Boko Haram” in Nigeria, these are perilous times for Christians in many places of the world.

But even in America, “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” which rightly boasts of religious freedom and the right of free speech, we find way too much evidence that if you are a follower of Jesus you are no longer welcome in the public square. Granted, this is a long way from radical persecution, but those radical views started somewhere. 

I never thought I would see the day in America when I could be asked not to bow my head and quietly pray for lunch. 

Think about it.

Dr. Don Meyer is President of 
Valley Forge Christian College, Phoenixville, Pa. 
Responses can be mailed to president@vfcc.edu 
Official page: Facebook.com/DrDonMeyer
Follow on Twitter: @DrDonMeyer
Archives at www.vfcc.edu/thinkaboutit