Persecution.org is the website of the Christian organization International Christian Concern (ICC), which "exist[s] to relieve the suffering of the worldwide persecuted church and to act as a bridge between the Western church and their suffering brothers and sisters." The organization listed for the first time the united States in its list of countries that are persecuting Christians.
In the 10-page ICC 2016 Hall of Shame Report, the united States is list on page 11.
The report begins, "On June 11, 2016, Omar Mateen, a US-based radical Muslim, attacked a gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 and injuring 53 more. In a call to 911, he clearly laid out his motivation. The attack was driven by his allegiance to ISIS and desire for retribution for attacks on ISIS. Incredibly, after the attack, numerous high profile media outlets blamed the attacks on what they perceive as the anti-LGBTQ atmosphere that Christians have created."
"In short, Christians in the US are facing constant attacks in the media, where they are portrayed as bigoted, racist, sexist, and closeminded," the report adds. "The characterization in the media may be translating into direct attacks as well. The First Liberty Institute, the largest legal organization in the US dedicated exclusively to protecting religious freedom, documents such actions and reports that attacks on religion doubled between 2012 and 2015."
"More importantly, Christians and all religious people are being marginalized through the law," the report continues. "From the case of a Christian football coach suspended for praying at the 50-yard line, to Christian business owners forced to pay a $135,000 fine for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, the number of troubling cases directed towards Christians has exploded."
According to the report Intervarsity Christian Fellowship lost their official recognition of a student organization in 2011 and the Georgia Department of Health terminated Eric Walsh just one week after he was hired because he was a Christian preacher and they didn't like the content of his sermons in 2014.
"The rise of these cases stems partly from a broad cultural shift towards secularism," the report concludes. "The Pew Foundation found that those identifying as non-religious in the US rose by seven percent, to 23 percent of the total US adult population within just seven years (2007 to 2014)."
The report goes on to state:
Anti-Christian entities have been able to leverage the growing secularization of society and culture to their advantage, utilizing the courts as a preferred venue to gradually marginalize and silence Christians. Using the cudgel of "equality," secular forces in and out of the courts have worked to create a body of law built from one bad precedent after another. Claims of intolerance and inequality are used to fundamentally distort the clear intent of the First Amendment.
The Founders carefully and deliberately placed religious freedom as the first liberty because it encompasses several fundamental rights including thought, speech, expression, and assembly. The First Amendment explicitly grants freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. The essential aim is to protect the right of citizens to practice religion in the public square.
Decades of accumulated poor judicial decisions and precedents have twisted the First Amendment so that the courts, in defiance of the Founders, are pushing religion out of the public square, and into the small space of private expression. In essence, the courts are deciding that you only have full religious freedom and expression in the church and your home. In the public domain, your religious views and thoughts must be restrained and controlled.
While one cannot compare the persecution of a Christian in the US to that of believers in other countries where Christians risk life and limb to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, it all starts slowly and then builds the more it is tolerated and encouraged. ICC finds that these trends are "an alarming indication of a decline in religious liberty in the United States."
If being a man of Christ makes me a bigot, then I am proud to be one.
Hi Scott. Thanks for this alert. The church in and out of the USA is generally aware of the general slide in America towards humanism and secularization. But most interesting to see institutions start to acknowledge it one way or the other.
But God remains on the throne. And Psalm 2:1 is still in the good book: "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?" It is for us to continue to watch and pray "your kingdom come" and to go about fulfilling our divine assignments.
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