Persecution

Umpqua Community College, Oregon

Umpqua Community College, Oregon

There’s been another school shooting, this one at a community college in Oregon. USA Today reports that ten people lost their lives. What sets this shooting apart is that the gunman was apparently hunting for Christians according to the New York Post.

Several sources who were present or who talked with someone at the scene reported the gunman’s systematic approach:

“The shooter was lining people up and asking if they were Christian,” she wrote. “If they said yes, then they were shot in the head. If they said no, or didn’t answer, they were shot in the legs.

Of course there will be the usual discussion about gun laws and mental health, but in this instance, it seems necessary to also address persecution, particularly of Christians. Some believers are shocked or outraged, as they were at the pictures of the beheadings of believers in Syria. Some are doubtful. After all, not many news outlets have included the “Christian targeting” aspect of this shooting.

Murder and intentional injuries inflicted on strangers at a college campus are both shocking and outrages in and of themselves. But if in fact some died because of their faith, a new horror has begun here in our own country: people targeted for no other reason than that they were Christians.

Undoubtedly many will chalk this incident up to one crazed individual, but what believers should not do is to discount the real possibility that persecution—and I don’t mean store clerks wishing us a Happy Holiday instead of a Merry Christmas—will be something we’ll face one day.

I tend to think that a lot of Evangelicals, raised in the theology of the Rapture assume we won’t be around to suffer persecution. In many ways this has fed into the comfortable American Christian mindset. We live in a country that protects religious freedom and we’ll be taken from this world before any judgment will come down on those who reject God. Consequently, the most important thing—and I’m not saying it isn’t important—is to protect our rights, particularly our religious freedom.

But Scripture doesn’t convince me that we are supposed to live a life free of the cost of discipleship, even if that cost is high.

Jesus Himself set the standards:

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? (Luke 9:23-25)

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Published in: on October 1, 2015 at 6:43 pm  Comments (19)  
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19 Comments

  1. “I tend to think that a lot of Evangelicals, raised in the theology of the Rapture assume we won’t be around to suffer persecution.”

    This is a really good point. We do tend to take our freedoms for granted. The anti-Christian sentiment is a tangible ting in this country and it gets a bit scary. More disturbing to me is the hesitation some people seem to show in speaking out against it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, IB. There’s no hesitation in speaking out against other religious persecution or against racial prejudice. When the African-Americans were killed in their church, the press and the authorities quickly tied the act to racism. But on the news, even after the reporter interviewed ta person recounting the gunman’s targeting of Christians, the anchor says, Authorities are still investigating motive. Well, OK. I don’t think we’d need a lengthy period of investigation if the target had been Muslims or Jews. But maybe I’m wrong.

      Becky

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Becky, I didn’t know until you wrote this that the shooter was basically Christian hunting. Wow.

    But you know, there is a tide of anti Christian sentiment building momentum in this country, and it seems to be getting worse. It’s not far from saying it’s ok to mock and harass to saying it’s ok to put bullets in our heads.

    By the way, be looking for my morning post tomorrow, it is something you might find interesting. Sort of related to the subject at hand.

    Like

    • Some of the late night network news finally did pick up the quotes from those who reported about the gunman going after Christians. But it was not something they pursued. The next related story was President Obama’s ire at the lack of change in the gun laws.

      Thanks for the heads up about your post.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I posted just the other day about persecution being part of following Jesus. It is a hard pill to swallow for us North American Christians, as you’ve pointed out. But the Scriptures are clear. We need to open our eyes and see it.

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    • Scripture is clear. Suffering and persecution ought not surprise us and they don’t mean we’re doing something wrong. Stephen preached the gospel and lost his life. Martyrs down through the ages have been faithful in their witness but have suffered and died for their faith. Only in America we seem to have this sense of entitlement when it comes to the Christian life of ease. We have this idea, expressed or unexpressed, that if we’re happy and healthy and not under financial stress, we have God’s approval, but as soon as something isn’t easy or safe or beneficial, we start questioning what we’ve done to deserve such misfortune.

      Heheh, you can tell, I really have more to say on this subject. 😉

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “It’s not far from saying it’s ok to mock and harass to saying it’s ok to put bullets in our heads.”

    Yes, it’s far. It’s very, very far.

    What happened in Oregon was horrifying. But, yes, it’s the act of one, single, solitary individual. Very, very, very few people in this county, regardless of their beliefs, would think this is anything less than horrifying. Very, very, very few people in this county will ever say that it’s ok to “put bullets in your head”

    Blacks have been killed in this country by single individuals because they were black. Whites have been killed by single individuals because they were white. Jews have been killed by single individuals because they were Jews. And so on and on.

    So, does that mean that were not far from saying that it’s ok to put bullets in the heads of blacks or white or Jews or whomever?

    No.

    Like

    • David

      You are incorrect. You missed the entire point. I was not talking about the acts of any one individual against another; of course that type of thing always exists in the minds of specific people. I get that. I am not that dense.

      What I meant was, when it becomes accepted by society as a whole, that mocking and harassing of a specific group of people is ok and acceptable, the transition to actual physical acts against them becomes acceptable as well.

      The actions against blacks and jews? When large parts of the world thought it was acceptable to consider them less than the rest of the world, then wholesale discrimination and actions against them were ok also.

      Comment stands.

      And while you are bored, why don’t you and your friends cruise over to the Muslim sites, or the one supporting equal rights for people of color and act the way you do and see how that goes. You won’t because such behavior as I see on here towards Christians would never be tolerated.

      Comment stands.

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    • David

      It’s not far. Sorry, but it’s not. You have acknowledged yourself that it does, in fact, happen. Then you state that it simply won’t happen here. Really? What makes this country any different than any other country which has waged a campaign to eradicate a segment of their population for whatever reason? Before they began to systematically eliminate the Jews, the Germans were a quite civilised society, rather like us in many ways. Yet, in just a few years they convince themselves that it was ok to wipe out 6 million of them.

      Where did it start? With the demonization of them. First it was ok to mock and harass, then it became ok to push them into the outer edges of society, then take their property, then ultimately kill them off. The Final Solution.

      David, I know you aren’t like some of the militant atheists I encounter, and I am sorry to lump you with them. You are just a pain, but overall you seem rather harmless. But, you won’t be shocked to know that many of your fellow non believers have stated outright their intention to drive Christian bloggers underground by harassment, mockery, and insults. I have been told it should be illegal for me to teach children my faith. So..we are far away from bullets? Maybe, maybe not.

      Like

      • “Where did it start? With the demonization of them. First it was ok to mock and harass, then it became ok to push them into the outer edges of society, then take their property, then ultimately kill them off. The Final Solution.”

        Yes, in Nazi Germany, Event A proceeded Event B. But when we see Event A, how often do we get Event B? How many times has the Holocaust occurred?

        What makes this time and place different? Many, many, many things. If you’d like, I can list them.

        Just to give you one, at every level of government, the majority of those in the government are Christians! How do we get from there to embracing bullets in the head for Christians?

        “You are just a pain, but overall you seem rather harmless.”

        Why, thank you, Wally! I’ve always thought of myself as mostly harmless. I’m serious. I really am harmless.

        Ever read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? “Mostly harmless” is how the Earth is described in the guide.

        “But, you won’t be shocked to know that many of your fellow non believers have stated outright their intention to drive Christian bloggers underground by harassment, mockery, and insults.”

        Yes, you’ve been mocked and harassed. No denying it. That’s absolutely true, and I can understand your distress over this.

        But it really is a huge step from this to bullets in the head. Promise.

        Like

        • Well by gosh thanks for the comfort I shall sleep well tonight for sure

          Like

          • You’re welcome.

            Well, you know, this is my mission. Spreading peace and joy wherever I go!

            Liked by 1 person

  5. “What I meant was, when it becomes accepted by society as a whole, that mocking and harassing of a specific group of people is ok and acceptable, the transition to actual physical acts against them becomes acceptable as well.”

    Yes, I understood what you were saying. I got your point.

    This does not change the observation that it’s really is a big, big leap from “mocking” to “bullets in the head.” It’s not an impossible leap, and I understand that you can find some historical examples. However, it’s still a really big leap. It’s a big leap from Event A to Event B.

    You said, specifically, “It’s not far.” Yes, it is far. This is what I’m responding to. To repeat, very, very, very few people in this county will ever say that it’s ok to “put bullets in your head.” That’s not going to change. It’s very, very unlikely that this “transition” is going to happen here. This isn’t Nazi Germany. It really isn’t.

    “Act the way you do and see how that goes.”

    Act the way I do? How do I “act” Wally?

    And by the way, very often, my comments are not “tolerated.” Your blog is an exception, but I’ve been banned from plenty of Christian sites for my opinions. So, in fact, very often, I’m not “tolerated” at all.

    Oh, and I’ve been mocked by Christians. So, are you going to put a bullet in my head?

    Like

    • To repeat, very, very, very few people in this county will ever say that it’s ok to “put bullets in your head.”

      Wow, David, I wish that were true. But it’s simply not. All you have to do is look at abortion to see that society can decide a certain set of people don’t deserve to live and we’ll pass laws allowing them to be killed. The current effort is moving that same way in regard to the elderly and the sick.

      Don’t be misled, David. Mocking and harassment are means by which society comes to believe a person (such as Kim Davis) or a people group (such as Jews or the Japanese during WWII, women in many parts of the world today) isn’t deserving of the rights other people enjoy.

      Once that idea is normalized, then it’s not a big leap to doing away with them “to preserve society.”

      Perhaps you’re thinking it would never happen to Christians because of the Christian tradition of the US. But it already is. I’ve had conversations on FB with people who separate “uber-Christians” from the rest. We’re labeled as hateful and some have suggested that saying others are sinning is a form of hate speech. Do you think “hate” will be tolerated?

      Clearly, our society has already cleared the board—it’s OK to hate haters! Jail isn’t out of the realm of possibility, and people acting on their hate is also conceivable. I have to wonder how many people even today thought some justice was served when they heard about the gunman asking who were Christians and then firing. I don’t think we’re quite at the dancing in the streets stage, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t some private celebrations.

      I wish this weren’t so, but I’ve read the “jokes” and remarks made by certain atheists in a FB group to which I belong. The animosity toward Christians is growing, and it is not going to be violent free.

      Becky

      Like

      • Yep yep. You nailed that Becky. It’s how it always starts, anytime a society decides that another part of that society is undesirable. It starts with words, then the works justify the action. Happened with abortion as you said. And, sadly in our own history it happened as we justified wholesale, institutionalized discrimination against Blacks and before that holding them in bondage as slaves. Once we convince ourselves that a group is not worthy of the simplest consideration, then we feel free to do anything we want to them.

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      • “Wow, David, I wish that were true. But it’s simply not.”

        It is true. You can believe it.

        “All you have to do is look at abortion to see that society can decide a certain set of people don’t deserve to live and we’ll pass laws allowing them to be killed.”

        Think about how long has abortion been legal in this country? Forty years? And yet, still, today, very, very, very, very few people in this county will say it’s ok to put a bullet in a Christian’s head just because they are a Christian. So, whatever the laws are concerning abortion, there is zero evidence that we’re any closer to killing Christians then we were in 1973. At this rate, we’re going to have to wait a very long time indeed before the “transition” occurs.

        Besides, embryos and fetuses are not being aborted because of their beliefs or culture or race or ethnicity. So, not the same thing as killing Christians because they are Christians.

        So, maybe the abortion issue isn’t relevant here.

        “The current effort is moving that same way in regard to the elderly and the sick. “

        Is it? Evidence?

        “Don’t be misled, David. Mocking and harassment are means by which society comes to believe a person (such as Kim Davis) or a people group (such as Jews or the Japanese during WWII, women in many parts of the world today) isn’t deserving of the rights other people enjoy.”

        Kim Davis, again? Kim Davis was cited for contempt of court because her actions infringed on the rights of the others. Kim Davis has rights, and we should try to accommodate them. But others have rights, too. Sometimes rights come into conflict with each other, and we have to work out compromises.

        In any event, the woman is free, she is receiving fantastic legal support, and she’s drawing a full salary while not doing her job. I should be so persecuted. This is NOT the same thing as what happened to the Jews or Japanese during WWII. Not even in the same universe.

        “Once that idea is normalized, then it’s not a big leap to doing away with them “to preserve society.”

        Yes, in this case, it’s a huge leap. I repeat, very, very, very, very few people in this county will say it’s ok to put a bullet in a Christian’s head just because they are a Christian. That means that we are a long, long way away from “normalizing” the idea that it’s ok to do away with Christians…who are a MAJORITY in this country. You can’t call an idea “normalized” when very, very, very few people hold that idea. That’s just a fact.

        “Do you think “hate” will be tolerated? “

        Depends on the degree to which the “hate” affects the rights of others. Look, if your beliefs negatively affect others, they are going to push back. People are going to call each other names. That’s how politics works, that’s how America works. There’s nothing new here.

        But that’s a long, long way from bullets in the head.

        “Clearly, our society has already cleared the board—it’s OK to hate haters!

        But is it OK to kill the haters? No! And it’s not going to be ok. THIS is my point.

        Very, very, very, very few people would say that it’s ok to kill the “haters.” Yes, as I said, if the “haters” take a political position that negatively affects others, then people will push back. But no one is saying it’s ok to kill the haters. See the difference between “mocking” and “bullets in the head?”

        Had the killer survived, at best, he would have been jailed until he died. In many states, he would have been executed. Very, very, very few people would have said that he was justified in his actions in any way.

        This is NOT what you would expect we were “not far away” from saying it’s ok to put bullets in Christian’s heads! Not at all. See the difference between “mocking” and “putting bullets in heads? Not the same thing!

        “I don’t think we’re quite at the dancing in the streets stage, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t some private celebrations. “

        Well, you can believe the worst if you want. You can imagine all the horrible things about people that you wish. Go ahead and believe the horrible things about others. Nothing that I can say will change your mind.

        “The animosity toward Christians is growing, and it is not going to be violent free.”

        If you chose to be afraid and fear the worst, there’s not much I can do about it.

        Like

        • Think about how long has abortion been legal in this country? Forty years? And yet, still, today, very, very, very, very few people in this county will say it’s ok to put a bullet in a Christian’s head just because they are a Christian.

          Well, apparently analogies don’t work for you, David. I’m not saying since abortion, therefore murdering Christians.

          I’m saying once we thought the killing of the unborn was unthinkable, but then it became legal. So the analogy is if abortion, no check against other heinous actions.

          And I’m so shocked that you would ask about the movement toward euthanasia, also known as assisted suicide, which is now legal in Oregon, Montana, Washington, and Vermont.

          But is it OK to kill the haters? No! And it’s not going to be ok. THIS is my point.

          As I said before, David, would that this were true, but there’s nothing her but your opinion. You have nothing to go on other than your firm belief that no, Christians aren’t going to be persecuted in America to the point of being killed. You have nothing.

          On the other hand, Christians can point to humankind’s sin nature which makes it possible for starving people to eat the corpses of their companions, for neighbors to turn on neighbors, for refined and civil people to “own” their children’s nanny, for business people to participate in sex trafficking and any number of other heinous things. There simply is no NOT THAT gene in the human. We are capable and the signs are there showing that our society is moving toward a persecution of Christians.

          As to being afraid, I’m actually not. Forewarned is forearmed as my mother used to say. I’m forewarned and already know I have to put my trust in God, not just for a cataclysmic event but for everyday stuff, too. In return, God gives “peace that passes understanding.”

          I don’t have time to continue this discussion, David, so feel free to have the last word on it.

          Becky

          Like

        • “I’m saying once we thought the killing of the unborn was unthinkable, but then it became legal. So the analogy is if abortion, no check against other heinous actions.”

          There was never a time when “killing the unborn was unthinkable.” Abortion is nothing new. My point was the legalization of abortion happened over 40 years ago, and still, very, very, very few people in this country would say it’s ok to put bullets in Christian’s brains. That hasn’t changed in 40 years. In other words, the legalization of abortion is neither predictive nor indicative that we will soon find it acceptable to kill Christians because they are Christians. So, it’s not relevant here.

          “And I’m so shocked that you would ask about the movement toward euthanasia, also known as assisted suicide, which is now legal in Oregon, Montana, Washington, and Vermont.”

          I suspected that this is what you were referring to, but I wasn’t sure. This is a whole ‘nother subject, but assisted suicide laws are NOT an example of “deciding that a certain set of people don’t deserve to live and we’ll pass laws allowing them to be killed.” It just isn’t. And it’s not an indication that we’ll soon be killing Christians.

          “As I said before, David, would that this were true, but there’s nothing her but your opinion. You have nothing to go on other than your firm belief that no, Christians aren’t going to be persecuted in America to the point of being killed. You have nothing.”

          Not just “opinion.” Not “nothing.” I have fact after fact to support this view, fact after fact about U.S. history, government and culture.

          I have a country that is majority Christian, I have a government that is majority Christian, I have the recent 24 hour a day celebration of the leader of the largest Christian denomination right here in this country. I have 230 years of a constitution that is venerated by the people and that contains a very strong bill of rights, and I have millions and millions of Christians who freely attend church every week. I have a country that does not have centuries of history of persecuting Christians, I have a country that has not suffered a catastrophic defeat in a world war that costs millions of lives, I have a country that has not experienced a total economic collapse…

          You want me to keep going? I’m just getting warmed up. Not opinion. Facts. This isn’t Nazi Germany.

          “We are capable and the signs are there showing that our society is moving toward a persecution of Christians.”

          Could bad things happen in the future? Of course! It’s always possible that bad things could happen in the future. But give me a call when it’s a “normative value” to put bullets in the heads of Christians. It’s not impossible, just very, very unlikely.

          “As to being afraid, I’m actually not. God gives “peace that passes understanding.”

          That’s nice, but not needed. No one is going to send you to the gas chambers.

          Like

  6. I saw that yesterday and I just wanted to cry. My mother was like, “Just makes you want Jesus to come sooner.” To find out it was about Christian targeting is even sadder. God help us. As always, wonderful, thought provoking posts. Would love to have you on my show sometime when your schedule permits.

    Liked by 1 person


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