Don't be misled by the title of this article. I don't believe anyone should be persecuted based on their religious or social beliefs. On the other side of the coin, no one should have the right to force anyone else to believe, say or do what they do not believe in.
Tragically, there are those who would take this freedom from others. There are those who seek to cancel or punish others (or worse) who refuse to participate in their new social ideologies and dangerous agendas.
In today's generation of "wokeness," we have seen many vicious videos making their way around the internet. Many of these videos show mobs of "woke" activists in various public places including restaurants and grocery stores surrounding their prey, bullying, shouting at them to raise their fist in solidarity with their cause and denounce their whiteness or be punished. And many were punished with physical violence.
These, and many other groups, have used similar ideologies to tear down many historical sites and statues that they deem to be a threat to their cause. One example being the statue of Abraham Lincoln, with the the emancipated former black slave at his feet, of whom was modeled after Archer Alexander, the last man captured under the Fugitive Slave Act.
Unfortunately, many similar social trends have also set their sights on changing or removing religion in an ideology coined as "cancel culture." Today, we are seeing unprecedented censorship and hearing many calls to "deprogram" the "religious Right" from those seeking to punish their political opponents. Most of these potential victims happen to be Christians.
The other targets include tearing down statues of Jesus Christ, removal of any and all mentions of "God," "Creator," "Men," "Women," "In God We Trust," "Under God" from any and all places including schools, The Constitution, money, historical sites, the White House, etc. Other such targets include punishing religious hospitals, (again), for not offering anti-Christian services like abortion, gender changes, and birth control, as well as removing any tax breaks or exemptions from any groups who use "non-profit" for religious purposes.
The Call to Tear Down Statues of Christ
However one may feel about the “Black Lives Matter” protests in 2020, most Americans tend to agree that it quickly got out of hand in many ways. Upwards of one-hundred statues around the world, historical sites, plaques and artwork depicting any part of the slave trade or the Confederacy from the Civil War were torn down. I believe we can all agree that slavery is incredibly wrong and that many of those statues needed to be removed.
No matter how it's argued or justified, there isn't much of the Civil War that was clear-cut, right-or-wrong or good-or-evil with exception of slavery. In a quick look through the history of the Civil War, the morality of slavery was not the reason for war, at all. It was twofold: economics and politics. You see, the South was heavily agricultural and the North was industrialized at the time. The South used slaves to grow crops and wanted to be able to take them up North in a bid for territorial expansion but the federal government kept them from this as well as other state rights.
The North, being industrialized, used poor white immigrants as their paid labor and weren't interested in using black slaves- but not from a moral viewpoint. Meanwhile, the white immigrants were afraid that these black slaves which kept being brought over to America were going to steal their jobs. [One could argue here that these white immigrants were paid slaves as they had to buy their own food and lodging while still being whipped and put into dangerous job conditions, though this is a very controversial view, nowadays.] The one thing missing here: neither side was against slavery. Even Republican Abraham Lincoln wasn't against slavery at first, until much later in his presidency. Something changed his mind, and after which he fought long and hard to end it.
The main point is that, at the time of the Civil War, neither side was against slavery. Yet, the BLM movement has narrowly focused on only removing Confederate statues with an arguably false notion that they were the only "bad guys" or that the Union were the "good guys". For me, this fact is a reminder that, just like today, neither halves of the country can be labeled as strictly good or evil as both moral dichotomies are found within each. There were many from BOTH sides during the civil war who were against slavery.
Why am I giving a review of history on an article about Christian persecution? My answer is this: history repeats itself. Think about it. If a group called "Black Lives Matter" will tear down statues that they believe to be symbols of hate and slavery through an incredibly narrow lens of history, then what other victims of this "cancel culture" will other groups find fault with in an effort to find someone to blame no matter how narrow-sighted it may be? Remember, there is dangerous rhetoric spreading today like wildfire that violence, rioting, and silencing your opponents is okay if it has a just-cause. Finding "just causes" is an extremely slippery slope when they are based in human emotion. Slippery and firm roots don't work together.
After months of rioting and violence in 2020, many of these protesters, after removing what they felt were symbols of “white supremacy,” set their eyes upon a new target: Jesus Christ, but not in a good way. Activist Shaun King was one out of many who publicly called out for all “white” statues of Christ to be removed as they were now viewed as symbols of hate and racism. Some justified that they should be removed because of skin color; after all, Jesus was 'probably' brown.
If this decision to remove a 'racist' symbol due to the statue's 'skin' color (if marble is white, what race is granite, I wonder?), with the hope to preserve one that is closer to the person's heritage, will they remove black statues of Christ? Yellow? Where does it end?
The Trump Accountability Project (TAP)
This next one may be the most disconcerting. Before the 2020 election, many members of the DNC and their supporters, in what most feel is an irrational hatred towards President Trump, publicly called out time and again for the President to be 'accountable' for what they believe to be great wrong doings. Many of the same things were praised by the RNC as great Christian policies. So many members of the DNC created a list and assisted in its circulation. This list known as "The Trump Accountability Project", started with Trump's name, then Republican members of the House and Senate who they felt had promoted wrong-doings towards their ideology were added. The purpose of this list was to punish the DNC's political opponents once their President nominee, Joe Biden, was in power and their people were in control all three branches of Government to not be hindered in their movement towards socialist goals.
Now, when this cancel-culture movement grew to heated popularity, so too did the size of the list. As it was sent around, emailed, tweeted, posted on Facebook, this group encouraged other Democrat supporters to add any names of those they knew to be Trump supporters or voters. All slated to be 'punished'.
Thankfully, the TAP was eventually canceled and closed. We pray it will stay that way.
The Secular Democrats of America
Early December 2020, The Secular Democrats of America, a group founded and backed by many Congressional Democrats, published a 27-page report detailing many proposals that would remove any trace of God or Christianity in our society. These proposals have already been submitted to the Biden/Harris administration.
In their preamble, they say their goal is to “revive the Founders’ vision of religious freedom in our government,” yet the rest of the document proves differently. Their goal doesn't seem to just have freedom from religion in mind, but to take away others religious freedom to choose what they can be for or against and to punish and silence their political opponents by labeling them as “Christian Nationalists,” thus falsely equating them with Nazis. This label, they say, is interchangeable with another label: “religious right.” We all know them as Trump supporters. Any American, Right or Left should be appalled by this direct attack!
“We urge you not to underestimate the institutional strength of what we refer to (interchangeably) in this document as the 'Christian nationalist movement' or the 'religious right.' This movement is extraordinarily well-funded and well-organized, and the manifestation of its extreme and sectarian agenda is on constant display under the Trump-Pence administration. Its political ideology is anti-democratic and anti-scientific. It provides constant cover for white supremacy. And it advances a reactionary economic policy, tax policy, and dominionist view of the environment that undermines our capacity and will to address the climate crisis. Its agenda rests on a pinched interpretation of biblical principles preached by Christian nationalist leadership and thought leaders. With their political agenda sanctioned by a higher power, their base of support is disciplined, motivated, and deeply committed to a vision that does not align with our basic constitutional values and democratic principles.” (pg. 1)
Section 1 (pg. 5-7) proposes to completely remove any sort of government funding or exemptions towards any religious entity or groups.
“Additionally, taxpayer dollars should not be funneled either to contractors or grantees that discriminate on the basis of religion, or to programs that promote a sectarian agenda, such as private religious schools, crisis pregnancy centers, and abstinence-only sex education.”
It further details how private Christian schools would have to conform to secular-only curriculum and standards. This includes the requirement of teaching Darwinism and Evolution for science versus creationism. The requirement that public schools had to teach both evolution and creationism would be modified to not include creationism at all.
Next, they ask for these executive orders and actions to be reversed:
“Dismantle the Department of Justice Religious Liberty Task Force.
Dismantle the HHS Conscience and Religious Freedom Division.
Repeal Executive Order 13798, Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty and reverse its implementation across various executive agencies.
Rescind and replace the Department of Justice Memorandum, Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty”
Lastly, this section emphasizes again that the the new administration absolutely needs to disincentivize state funding any programs that are “not evidence-based” such as crisis pregnancy centers and abstinence-only education as quoted above. On the opposite side, they want to incentivize states to increase their vaccinations by removing any religious exemptions. Here's their page on Top Ten Public School State/Church Violations.
Section 2 (pg. 8) begins with this, "Donald Trump has empowered the religious right in ways no other administration has before, making significant advances in enacting their Christian nationalist agenda. The following recommendations serve not just as a guide to reversing these policies, but to proactively implement policies that restore secularism to federal governance and disentangle entrenched religious interests from federal policy."
In this section, they want to strengthen the Congressional Freethought Caucus (CFC) whose mission is to "promote" secular thinking and oppose 'discrimination against' atheists and all non-religious persons. Climate change is another goal here as they believe that President Trump has hidden important scientific reports that would prove their climate theories. Then they ask to have all federally funded fetal-tissue and stem cell research restrictions removed and not restricted by religion.
The final portion of section 2 calls for the removal of "Memorandum on Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty" which would redefine religious liberty in speech and outward expression in government agencies and places. They want to "Rescind Presidential Proclamation 9645" - a vetting capacity to prevent terrorism coming into America in particular from Muslim countries as they claim it is religious discrimination against people of the Muslim faith. Then they want to appoint an Attorney General to the Department of Justice that will enable and empower State Governors to continue to restrict religious in-door gatherings during the pandemic.
Now on page 11, they would restrict all government officials from religious speech which in office, force religious entities to give religious grants to ANY "inter-faith" persons including atheists and the non-religious, enable the IRS to enforce the Johnson Amendment which would "crack down on nonprofits operating as businesses" including megachurches and require extra tax filing. They want to repeal RFRA (and pass the Do No Harm Act) as they feel it has become unfair to allow some religions to use certain things like peyote while regular people cannot, and they would force religious entities to pay for contraception, which some religions are against or frown upon.
They want to combat "Project Blitz" which gives optional access to religious classes, ideas and materials through the schools. This includes lessons on abstinence which makes these secularists feel threatened because they want to keep indoctrinating our children with LGBTQ, masturbation how-to's, contraception use, etc, starting in Kindergarten. Lastly, this section says that they want only "evidence" based science (many of which are their own religions, such as evolution which has no evidence and often goes against scientific principles) taught in school versus creationism. Finally, they conclude by explaining that these "religious right," "Christian Nationalists" to be a national security threat and should be labeled as "terrorists" because they believe Christianity is a hate group.
Section 3 (pg. 14) gives asylum to oppressed atheists from other Countries. Sure, that's good.
Section 4 (pg. 15) Patriotism Pluralism and Sincere Inclusion: Protecting the Rights and Dignity of Nontheists (page 15). If the other sections weren't awful enough, check this one out. They want to remove the association of faith with patriotism and any implication that soldiers, as an example, are guided by their faith.
"With the rise of Christian nationalism, there is an urgent need to reframe public discourse surrounding patriotism. Dissent and peaceful protest—even if it’s kneeling during the national anthem or refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance—is a constitutionally protected right that our service members have fought and died for."
This quote sounds more like a political agenda than religious. Then again, this Democratic group conflates hate groups and racists with Christianity "Christian Nationalism" and Christianity with a political leaning; "Religious Right." I'd like to point out the irony that the Secular Dems - for all their bluster on the importance of separating church and state, they cannot seem to separate Christians from the political groups that they wish to punish.
Continuing on, they outline how religious Chaplains across all military branches will need to be forced to serve the non-religious (of which they already do and provide for by switching
hats from Chaplain to a general therapist when needed), but with non-religious services or things that the Chaplain do not believe in and may run contrary to the religion they represent.
Lastly, this section requests that the current and future Presidents to not pray over the nation or recite scriptures in their speeches - which has been historically done since the beginning of presidential speeches. They recommend that President Biden remove the use of any religious words such as faith, interfaith, Christian nation, Judeo-Christian values, and "in god we trust" as they see it as weaponized by the "religious right."
Deprogramming the Religious Right
As many of you have already seen in the media, there have been many notable calls to "deprogram" the "religious right", or Trump supporters. Katie Couric was among the first to come out and suggest this on video, take a look here. She exclaims this terrible "cult" of Trump who just will not accept the Democratic views of reality. Others include people in the main-stream media such as Don Lemon and many DNC congressmen.
Then, as per the course, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson and New York Times Magazine's Nikole Hannah-Jones took it to the next level by equating the "religious right" as racists while she agreed that these "millions of Americans, almost all white, almost all Republicans" need to be deprogrammed and punished, during an MSNBC interview last week.
In a "hold-my-beer" sort of fashion, David Atkins who is a new DNC member in California tweeted that Democrats and liberals should "start thinking in terms of post-WWII Germany or Japan" in order to "deprogram 75 million people." This is suggesting that they put these Trump supporters, labeled by the Left as "religious right" nutcases in concentration camps.
"Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act"
Tulsi Gabbard, a rarity among Democrats, spoke out against the "Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act" that was introduced to the House in early January after the riot at the capital. She spoke out against the obvious slippery slope and its grave potential to undermine civil liberties. She pointed out her concern of how these officials with define the characteristics of these "domestic terrorists" and the danger of generalizing half the country.
"What characteristics are we looking for as we are building this profile of a potential extremist, what are we talking about? Religious extremists, are we talking about Christians, evangelical Christians, what is a religious extremist? Is it somebody who is pro-life? Where do you take this?
"You start looking at obviously, have to be a white person, obviously likely male, libertarians, anyone who loves freedom, liberty, maybe has an American flag outside their house, or people who, you know, attended a Trump rally."
The Department of Homeland Security has now issued a National Terrorism Advisory as of January 27, 2021, and extends through the end of April. This new advisory is the first time in national history, according to the Wall Street Journal, where the advisory focuses on domestic terrorism rather than foreign, all because a handful of people (some say AntiFa, some say Qanon) rushed inside the capitol, some of them fought police then destroyed property. None of which is okay and it has been condemned over again by the Right. Conversely, the Left still cannot condemn the rioting, burning, looting, destruction of federal property and violence that plagued 2020 (and is still going on in some areas of the country, today) from groups such as BLM and AntiFa.
That is an important distinction to make because it is a dangerous precedent to pick and choose which violent rioters to support when those who get condemned (as all violence should be condemned) are your political enemies, the "religious right." Then it isn't just about politics anymore, but vilifying Christians even though they may not have been the ones involved. A political opportunity to smear your enemy as the worst threat they could be - Nazis, murderers, racists, Nationalists, extremists....terrorists. Then they have a justification to believe in and rally around, no matter how blatantly false.
Just take a look at this Domestic Terrorist Advisory description:
The DHS, "has issued a National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin due to a heightened threat environment across the United States, which DHS believes will persist in the weeks following the successful Presidential Inauguration. Information suggests that some - ideologically motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence."
Who exactly are these extremists? Will the "religious right" be on this list? Where will this stop? After millions are dead or "deprogrammed" in concentration camps? Why stop there?
Honorable Mention - "Cool Christianity"
While it's no secret that there's a great double-standard when it comes to politics and the mainstream media, it's still disgusting. This is especially so when it is done with Christianity.
We've all seen it, whether you like Trump or not, for four years on end there was this never-ending amount of hate and criticism of former President Trump's Christian faith. Yes, obviously he isn't perfect as a person or a saint. Far from it. However, he consistently held up many important key Christian policies such as anti-abortion policies, DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), upholding the laws such as legal immigration, he was also the most pro-Israel president in US history and the first US president ever to speak at the March for Life and many others. Yet he was constantly slandered and vilified by the main-stream media and the Left as anti-Christian and racist, then vilified by the same groups when he did something too religiously Christian. Then he was the crazy "religious right" figure and his supporters were like cultists. This is the "uncool" version of Christianity, apparently.
Now that we have President Biden in office signing Executive Orders like it's in style, the New York Times in true main-stream media fashion, has flipped the narrative for Christian culture once again in an effort to make Biden look appetizing to the masses. The article is called, "In Biden's Catholic faith, an Ascendant Liberal Christianity." Here are some excerpts:
"There are [a] myriad [of] changes with the incoming Biden administration. One of the most significant: a president who has spent a lifetime steeped in Christian rituals and practices.
Mr. Biden, perhaps the most religiously observant commander in chief in half a century, regularly attends Mass and speaks of how his Catholic faith grounds his life and his policies.
And with Mr. Biden, a different, more liberal Christianity is ascendant: less focused on sexual politics and more on combating poverty, climate change and racial inequality.
His arrival comes after four years in which conservative Christianity has reigned in America’s highest halls of power, embodied in white evangelicals laser-focused on ending abortion and guarding against what they saw as encroachments on their freedoms. Their devotion to former President Donald J. Trump was so fervent that many showed up in Washington on Jan. 6 to protest the election results.
Mr. Biden’s support for abortion rights is already causing tension in the Catholic church. Even before the inaugural ceremony had finished, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued an extensive statement criticizing Mr. Biden for policies “that would advance moral evils,” especially “in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender.”
The grassroots progressive Christian movement is center stage in Mr. Biden’s Washington.
Unlike four years ago, when many of the participants in the post-inaugural prayer service were conservative evangelicals or prosperity gospel preachers, this year’s Thursday service included a broad array of religious progressives, including two transgender faith leaders. Rabbi Sharon Brous of IKAR, a Jewish community in Los Angeles, prayed for the coming of a new America, one “built on love, rooted in justice and propelled by our moral imagination.”
There you have it. The new term is "Liberal Christianity" or "Progressive Christianity" for this new popular or cool version of Christianity. Why? In the article they mention that the Democratic party has few Christians who vote while the Republican party is at least 80% Christian voters. Why? Well, while the Republican party isn't perfect, many Christians align themselves thusly because the general consensus is that it is much more closely aligned with Christian principles.
In a very well written article "Why Cool Christianity Doesn't Work," the author Brett McCracken makes some very good points and connections between trends, politics and Christianity and well...why it doesn't work. In his book he explains the difference between relevance-focused Christianity versus traditional Christianity:
"Cool Christianity” is, if not an oxymoron, at least an exercise in futility. A relevance-focused Christianity sows the seeds of its own obsolescence. Rather than rescuing or reviving Christianity, hipster faith shrinks it to the level of consumer commodity, as fickle and fleeting as the latest runway fashion.
"This mindset assumes no one will listen to us if we aren’t loud and edgy; no one will take us seriously if we aren’t conversant with culture; and no one will find Jesus interesting unless he is made to fit the particularities of the zeitgeist. But this sort of 'relevance' is defined chiefly and inextricably by the one thing Christianity resolutely defeats: impermanence. Things that are permanent are not faddish or fickle or trendy. They are solid. . . . True relevance lasts.
"Overemphasis on cultural acceptability—in whatever culture you’re in—inevitably leads to theological compromise... Seeker-friendliness almost always means softening difficult doctrines or ignoring them altogether. Preaching for applause, clicks, and street cred with a particular tribe almost always leads to theological distortion. 'It’s time to bring Christianity into the 21st century' is usually code for 'let’s stop harping about sex, cussing, holiness, inerrancy, and all that unpopular fundamentalist stuff.' Attempts to square Christianity with the politics of whatever audience you want to impress (and this happens across the spectrum) eventually leads to a faith shaped by politics rather than a politics shaped by faith."
Mr. McCracken says it so perfectly and hits the proverbial nail on the head. When we try to follow fads - especially these political fads that try to mimic Christianity - it is a mockery and it will always fail. God says that Hfe is the same, yesterday, today and forever. He doesn't change His doctrine when it becomes inconvenient, too tough, uncool, or because your party doesn't support it. This is potentially the most perverse and twisted corruption of Christianity itself and sadly prevalent today in and out of politics.