Last week Amazon pulled books about “conversion therapy” (therapy helping people overcome homosexuality) from its website. Last week Facebook warned one of its users that posting a meme quoting 1 Timothy 2:12 was hate speech. Last week apologist James White cautioned his readers that our ability to speak out for Christ on mainstream social media platforms is quickly coming to an end.
Admittedly, such persecution is minor compared to things Christians in other countries endure for the sake of Christ. I’ve served as a contact person for missionaries in both our previous church and our current church — a position that allows me to read about people who receive physical torture for turning from Islam to Jesus Christ. A missionary from our former church regularly writes to me chronicling the intense suffering and resolute faith of a woman she led to Christ. Believe me, nothing American Christians presently face is anything like what that lady goes through on a daily basis.
At least not yet.
But I sense a degree of surprise, if not outrage, that we Americans are losing our religious liberties. We cling to the myth that our Founding Fathers designed the United States to be a specifically Christian nation, so it genuinely shocks us that Amazon and Facebook would so brazenly violate our First Amendment rights. Truthfully, I think many evangelicals honestly thought Trump would turn the country back to righteousness, therefore insulating us from persecution. They never dreamed that Big Tech would censor us on his watch!
I feel somewhat troubled that evangelicals are surprised by the moral disintegration in this country. I’m even more troubled, however, by the indignation at losing our liberties. The Constitution guaranteed them, I realize, but Jesus guaranteed quite the opposite:
18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ ~~John 15:18-25 (ESV)
Why in the world would we expect the Constitution to supersede the words of Jesus? Do we seriously think that we’re entitled by God to the religious freedoms that Christians in other parts of the world can’t begin to imagine? If so, we need to ask ourselves whether or not we really believe the Word of God.