Tag Archives: Christian persecution

Why Must Christians Suffer?

Why do I share Christ in my writing and in conversations with people who claim that God does not exist? I do it “to complete what is lacking in the affliction of Christ” (Colossians1:24). Christ’s suffering is completely sufficient to rescue every person from sin and death, but it is an incomplete sacrifice until every person has heard the good news. When I share the good news, I enter into the completion of Christ’s suffering by assuring that it is made available to everyone. I may suffer, because I do this work, and to suffer for sharing the faith is normal. I do not seek to suffer, but the suffering that befalls me because I am sharing the good news of Christ is as normal as the working of the law of gravity. My suffering is not redemptive, but when I suffer because I share Christ, I am join the church around the world in bringing the redemptive suffering of Christ for all people to its completion, its natural ultimate purpose.

We American Christians truly believe that Christ suffered for us in order for us to be comfortable. The most common thread in Christian devotional writing is that real Christians feel good about thems elves and fulfill all their dreams. We believe that suffering is an occasional intrusion in our lives designed to make us stronger, a spiritual workout plan that will make us look better to God and man. This attitude is an outrageous perversion of God’s truth. In the words of John Piper, “God intends for the afflictions of Christ to be presented to the world through the afflictions of his people.” God never meant for us to think that being a Christian meant improved self-esteem.

Many American Christians feel that Christians are threatened by the Obama administration in many different ways. Some Christians interpret Donald Trump’s victory as an answer to prayer, and they predict that Christians will be more free to act like Christians under his administration. This prediction may even come true.

If so, wise Christians will not take it as the end of Christian suffering for the faith in the USA. That would not be God’s purpose for us. We may have been granted a reprieve, a temporary truce in the battle for the kingdom of God that will allow us to catch our breath. We may wish one another “Merry Christmas” without looking around to see who is taking offense. Nevertheless, our suffering is not complete until “the world [is] filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters that cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14 KJV).

I am glad that Hillary Clinton did not win the presidency. I truly believe that it will not be as difficult to speak and act our faith under the Trump administration as it would have been under a Clinton administration. Nevertheless, I do not think Christians should assume that every barrier to Christian faith and life has now disappeared. The cultural forces which gave Clinton more popular votes than Trump received are not going anywhere. The culture classifies many behaviors that are integral elements of the Christian life as ”extreme,” and powerful groups in both government and culture will continue to attempt to suppress behaviors such as public prayer, evangelism, and display of Christian symbols, to name a few. While the Constitutional design of our government may have “saved the day,” the forces of opposition to Christ and his followers are not diminished by a Trump victory. Like any foe who feels cornered, the forces that resist Christ and his message will only become more aggressive under what they perceive to be adversity. It remains to be seen what the attitude of government under Donald Trump will be toward Christians, but his election will not reduce the cultural pressure to suppress Christianity.

When we experience that cultural pressure, we must respond as Jesus did. When confronted by the choice between suffering and testimony, we must not allow ourselves to believe that a loving God would not permit his beloved children to suffer. Such a notion is promoted by secular thinkers as an argument against the existence of God. God does not promise to spare us from suffering. He only promises to go with us though our suffering. Christ suffered abandonment on the cross, but we will not be abandoned. His grace sustains us, as it sustained the apostle Paul. Paul asked for relief, and God answered, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Suffering is not fun. It does not make us feel good about ourselves. However, when we suffer as Christ did, and when we experience his grace in the midst of our suffering,  Paul says that we participate in the completion of Christ’s suffering. We must recognize that our suffering is in the plan of God for the salvation and blessing of all people, because “God intends for the afflictions of Christ to be presented to the world through the afflictions of his people.”

Pray for America, that Christ’s redemptive suffering may bring her people to salvation. Pray for Christ’s body on earth to be made ready to complete the afflictions of Christ as we share the good news in word and deed.

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Can a Christian Learn Something From a Survivalist?

Be a survivalist.

If you are a survivalist, some people will think you are amusing, and some will think you are a threat. There are enough people in our world who believe the world might end tomorrow that most people have spoken with at least one of them. Survivalists hoard certain things, and the motivation for their hoarding is the desire to be prepared to live and thrive when there is a disaster of such proportions that even the federal government is powerless to help. Survivalists don’t stop at collecting piles of food and bottled water. They also learn skills such as fire without matches and the proper way to make pemmican. They prepare this way, because they intend to survive whatever disasters befall them.

Christians can take a lesson from the survivalists. As long ago as the days of Jesus’s life in the flesh, he warned his followers to be prepared for the day that the followers of Christ would suffer. He foretold that the world would always hate people who followed him, and he foretold that there would be times of great danger. History is filled with evidence of the truth of his warnings. In fact, the daily news is filled with evidence that such times are already upon Christians in many places, and the evidence is clear that Christians in the USA need to prepare for real danger.

Christians who see threats to faith increasing in frequency and intensity need to learn from the survivalists. Christians need to prepare to live through some experiences unprecedented in the USA. The language of law which protected people of all faiths for more than 200 years is being re-interpreted and redefined to mean that all religious speech and actions must be confined to religious spaces, and the principle behind “conscientious objection” is being dissolved in acerbic legal conflicts. If Christians are serious about being Christians, they will need to prepare for the coming disaster.

In what ways can Christians learn from survivalists?

First, Stash the one resource without which no Christian can survive for long.

When a young pastor went to China to learn how to help Christians there, he was surprised. They did not ask to be rescued from persecution; they asked for Bibles. They considered that rather than be rescued, they wanted to live powerful testimonies to people who desperately needed to know Jesus. Who needs Jesus more than someone who is trying to arrest, imprison, torture, and kill Christians? What prepares a Christian to tell about Jesus better than a Bible?”

Every Christian needs a Bible, and that Bible should be worn and tattered. Christians need to read their Bibles. They need to ask questions about what they read and seek the answers. They need to memorize texts from the Bible and be able to share specific information from the Bible with anyone who needs it. The Bible is, according to Jesus, as important to us as daily bread. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Jesus, God himself, quoted God’s words (His words) and indicated that Scripture is the food we need most. We need it every day, just like meat and milk.

Christians also need to study commentaries and devotionals and other Bible helps if they have access to them; most people should have such access online if not in their own hands. Maps, dictionaries, and many other books can help Christians see the biblical texts more clearly, or may help them unravel complex ideas, rather like carving a turkey and eating it a slice at a time rather than trying to gobble down the whole thing at once. But Christians who do not have helps, have the best helper of all given to them freely as Christ promised – the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit “will guide you into all the truth(John 16:13).

The earliest Christians did not have the New Testament. They only had the Scriptures we now call the Old Testament. That is fine. When Jesus met the disciples walking to Emmaus after his resurrection, he talked with them and “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). The Holy Spirit taught the earliest Christians about Jesus as he is revealed in the Old Testament. After the New Testament became available, it provided much more material, but the Holy Spirit is able to use the Scriptures, all the Scriptures to nourish, sustain and inspire a believer.

Second, Pile up the promises of God.

Look at them often. Separate them and pick through them to remind yourself what God says. Make lists of them. Memorize them. Sort through them and count the repetitions. Know your inventory of the promises of God like the back of your hand. Write them down and look at them frequently. Say them to yourself when you go to bed at night and when you get up in the morning.

Third, Put all your hope in God.

It just makes sense, if you believe God’s promises. If God had promised nothing and delivered nothing over the thousands of years recorded in the Bible, then why would anybody hope in him? The Bible shares God’s promises, and the Bible demonstrates how he keeps them. You may come to understand that when God keeps his promises, the fulfillment may not look the way you imagined. God is not in the business of fulfilling your orders; he is in the business of fulfilling his plans. Therefore, you may need to exercise hope in the face of what looks like a failure. Abraham was told that all nations would be blessed through his descendants (Genesis 12:3), but at the time of God’s promise, Abraham had no children. Abraham tried to force God to fulfill his order, and Ishmael was born to Hagar, but that was not the promise God had made, and that was not the fulfillment of the promise. Abraham was 100 years old when God finally fulfilled the promise and Isaac was born. Abraham learned that if you hope in God, even the worst looking outcome can be the best possible outcome.

When Jesus died on the cross, all the disciples went home and locked the doors. It looked as if the worst possible outcome had befallen them. Jesus was dead. Gone. The great adventure was over. Kaput. Then on Sunday morning, they found the empty tomb. The worst possible outcome wasn’t the outcome at all. The real outcome was better than anything they had imagined.

Fourth, Start looking at things God’s way.

When you look at things with eyes full of hope in God, then you can see things God’s way. After Jesus had fed a lot of people with a little bit of food, he and the disciples left that place and kept traveling. One day Jesus asked the disciples what people were saying about him. Jesus might have been a circus sideshow. “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets” (Mark 8:28) The people were confused about Jesus, because they did not see things God’s way. They looked for a sideshow, and that is what they saw.

Then Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do you say I am?” (Mark 8:29a) The disciples had a chance to look at Jesus up close. They saw things the other people did not see. Peter answered, “You are the Christ” (Mark 8:29b). Peter was able to see things God’s way, and he saw the Messiah God had promised over and over in the Old Testament Scriptures. Of course, Peter would simply have said that the Messiah fulfilled “the Scriptures,” because those were the Scriptures he had. Everybody else had those Scriptures, too, but they did not recognize Jesus in those Scriptures.

Fifth, Build relationships.

Jesus knew how crucial it is for humans to have strong relationships. Human beings who are isolated from other humans too long become mentally ill. They are not strong in the face of pressure or pain. They are weak and needy. They want to be with people and be liked by people so much that they will do some terrible things in order to try to earn the fulfilling experience of human caring. People don’t even need to be truly separated to feel deeply needy. They simply need to be convinced that nobody likes them. That experience cuts off the fulfillment of friendship and sharing, and a needy person cannot face persecution and pain with strength.

The most important relationship is the relationship between a human being and God, and many people have survived horrific separation and agonizing torture nourished by the presence and power of God.  Still, people who have the option to live around family and/or friends are wise to build relationships with the people in their lives, even if those people are very different or even indifferent. Joseph, for example, was thrown into a prison where the only way out was at Pharaoh’s order, and Pharaoh did not know that Joseph existed. In that depressing state of affairs, the Bible says, “the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden” (39:21). Joseph’s relationship with God bore fruit when God made Joseph look good in the eyes of the prison warden. Joseph was able to build and nurture a relationship with the man who could make his life in prison miserable. That relationship sustained him for many dark years before Pharaoh found out about Joseph.

Sixth, Refuse to be a victim.

Bad things happen.  Joseph had been a victim several times over by the time his brothers showed up in Egypt looking for food. By that time, several good things had also happened to Joseph, and he was the second most powerful person in Egypt. If Joseph had wallowed in victimhood after his brothers beat him up and sold him to slave merchants, he would likely have died in the slave market before ever getting to Potiphar’s house or to jail or anywhere. He could have whined and cried so much along the road to Egypt that he might have been beaten to death before they got there. Joseph, however, did no such thing. He trusted God. He looked for the opportunities God put in his path. He built relationships with enemies. He had a real life. In fact, he had several great life stories to tell by the time ten shepherds arrived at the grain warehouse where Egypt was able to sell food when all other nations were starving.

Nevertheless, there are many, many people who would have told Joseph that those ten men owed him big time. They would have said that the passage of time had healed nothing, and that there was nothing short of extremely painful restitution and reparations that could possibly heal the breach. We see exactly such attitudes in real life every day. The Balkan Peninsula and the Arabian Nights are full of stories where the key element is skillfully crafted revenge. A recent popular novel, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, centered on one man’s sick, gruesome notion of revenge. The culture of the USA is currently in full-blown warfare over the righteousness of a hashtag, #blacklivesmatter, because some people who prefer victimhood to blessed relationships say that the words “all lives matter” are not fair to people who feel the need for revenge.

Joseph, however, had a different outlook. He had had twenty years to decide what he would do if he ever saw his brothers, those rats, again, and his decision was — forgiveness. Joseph chose not to be a victim. He chose not to be tied in knots over the past. He chose to look at the good God had done with the bad that his brothers had done. He might even have humbly recalled that he was no prize at the time, either. Joseph abandoned a cry for sympathy and safe space and comforting words and apologies and revenge and reparations. Joseph simply said, “do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you” (Genesis 45:5). Because Joseph trusted God when things looked hopeless, willingly viewed the world God’s way, and cared about his relationship with his brothers, Joseph was able to forgive. He pulled the poison injected into the family by his brothers’ dastardly deed. He made it possible for the family to heal.

When Christians today encounter hardships, feel danger, or endure persecution, they are experiencing exactly what Christ promised would come their way. If they gather up the things they will need ahead of time, and if they practice the skills they need ahead of time, then, like survivalists, they will be prepared when hard times come. How do you prepare for persecution? You might learn something from a survivalist.

 

Is This the End of Humanity as we Know It?

When I was barely sixteen, my English teacher suggested that I read Brave New World. She did not pick that book specifically for me, or me for the book. It was on a list of 50 books college-bound students should read. I was an avid reader of science fiction at the time, and that whole idea was intriguing.

I was less than half through the book when my mother discovered I was reading it. I was lying sprawled on my bed, my favorite way to read, and when my mother saw the title of the book, she snatched it out of my hands. “Let me see that!” she said. “Where did you get this book?” After I caught my breath, I told her about the list.

“We’ll see about that!” she said, and left the room with the book in her hands. I learned from my teacher that Mother had accosted the principal, the school counselor, and my teacher about that book. She was angry that the school promoted such an immoral book. They made the best of things, telling me that I should simply choose something else from the list and not worry about it.

My mother was affronted by Brave New World because it promoted an amoral view of human sexuality. The most imaginative element of the story was the harvesting of eggs from females as they reached adulthood and the subsequent production of human beings under the government’s direction, along with the details of a strategy to produce people who did work commonly described in current political debates as “jobs Americans won’t do.” The element that outraged my mother the most was the “Malthusian drills” for schoolchildren and the game “Find the Zipper” in the brave new world of the book that replace familiar children’s games like “tag” and “ring around the rosy.”

My mother would be completely traumatized, therefore, if she were alive to read the daily news or see television broadcasts today. Today’s schools don’t even mention the fabled Malthus so honored in Brave New World, but they do teach heterosexual and homosexual practices to schoolchildren, and they routinely refer pregnant children (children! As young as 10) for abortions without the knowledge and consent of parents. There is no national standard for harvesting the eggs of all young women, but the horror of calling a couple of homosexual men a “marriage” has already raised the specter of rented wombs and genetic selection of physical traits in unborn babies. I often give thanks to God that my parents died before these issues became the grist of daily conversation.

As a writer, I have long struggled with the tortured language that arose after rabid feminists protested against the word chairman. When I read about that protest, I laughed aloud, because I knew the language, and I knew that the common usage of the suffix –man did not in any way injure or prejudice women, but the depths of my error in judgment soon became evident. The battle moved to the words fireman and policeman, and soon it had progressed to a distaste for calling God our heavenly Father. (Even if I could stomach the protest in general, which I cannot do, I would balk at changing or denying the language Jesus himself gave us for prayer. He said, “Pray this way” and “this way” begins with the words, “Our Father.”)

Today I read another article that records further degradation of the culture’s view of human sexuality. Princeton University has issued “communication guidelines” that “reflect the inclusive culture and policies at Princeton University.” Under those guidelines, students will no longer be called men or women. The correct term will be student, individual, or person. People who used to be called our forefathers, must now be called our ancestors. Work requires person hours not man hours. In order to avoid traumatizing .001% of the student body, the university is traumatizing 100% of the student body – minus .001%.

Someone will dispute my numbers. Someone will point out that every day some new “person” declares self to be gay or to be trans or to be other things for which I do not even know the vocabulary. Therefore, some will say, I must have vastly underestimated the number of people subject to be hurt if we address people according to the gender identified at birth by the simple process of examining the physical traits of the newborn baby. I contend that the vast new numbers of gender-confused and sexual-orientation-confused people is largely attributable to the fact that to be confused is the most popular trait anyone can have right now. People who are confident in their genitalia or their skin color or their nationality are viewed as conceited and arrogant. They are accused of subconscious demand for and expectation of privilege, and they need to be taken down a notch.

The culture today is a morass of confusion on many points where there need be no confusion. It is quite true that human beings have invented privileges for themselves. Hillary Clinton is a very public example of someone who does it daily. Historically every human being wants to be the best or the first or the fastest or the strongest. People naturally want to be superlative by some or by several standards, and that is the common theme behind hateful behavior related to gender or skin color or any other trait.

My mother was right to recognize the moral danger expressed in Brave New World. However, she was wrong to believe that suppressing the reading of that book would suppress the evil it contained. No amount of laws or policies or regulations will ever change human nature. Secular thinkers who flout all the existing laws are the very ones who propose an endless stream of new laws to suppress things they do not like.

The real moral danger of Brave New World was the way it opened the door to an amoral worldview in which humankind became factory products. Chairs and automobiles cannot commit sin, because they are incapable of moral choices. Only human beings have that capability, but human beings produced by an amoral process and spit out into an amoral world can absorb the programming “it is good to be an eta,” and never worry about anything.

Today’s evil is really nothing new in the moral sense. The only difference between today’s amoral activists and Caligula is technology. Christians in the Roman Empire were hated for their moral standards, and Christians today are hated for the same reasons. The news gets out faster and goes viral today in ways not possible in the first century CE.

Today’s agenda is to suppress any moral standard not invented by some human being to make himself feel good. That was the agenda of Caligula, and that is the agenda of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. This agenda is not invented by the people who are promoting it. As Paul pointed out in his letter to the Ephesians, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 ESV).

Christians in the first century were asked to look to their government for all guidance. The Emperor thought of himself as a god, and he expected Roman citizens, and all the people Rome had conquered, to worship him as their duty in return for what Roman government did for them, i.e. the emperor. Today, the government makes the same request. The government uses money as its tool of oppression. People who receive money from the government must put the government ahead of all other powers in their lives. The government wants to be the god of the USA. The government wants people who worship any other god to keep their god somewhere out of sight in a box marked “worship space.” There, and only there, may any god other than the federal government be honored. Without a doubt, the people behind this agenda intend those little boxes to go away, too, as they did in the Soviet Union, where churches became at best museums of a defunct sort of cultural phenomenon and at worst, factories or warehouses for instruments of oppression.

The spiritual armor about which Paul wrote, and the spiritual fiber exhorted by the book of Revelation are the means of our warfare. In the case of gender confusion and the associated sexual chaos it creates, Satan’s battle, expressed in the lives of people who deny his existence as firmly as they deny God’s existence, targets the creation of human beings.

That moment is recorded in Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27 ESV). There is no room for confusion in this statement. Like all the other living things, God gave humans gender and sexuality, precious gifts, gifts that were encoded so deeply into their being that even the very first cell, at the moment of conception, already had gender. The moment of creation is followed by God’s blessing, evidence that God was pleased with human beings.

The first instructions God gave to humans grew out of the blessed power he had given them by creating them male and female. “God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” Genesis 1:28 (ESV). They could not have been fruitful if not for gender and the process of sexual reproduction. That is the only means God has provided for humans to “be fruitful.” The Bible tells us that God is not the author of confusion, a fact that explains where gender confusion and sexual confusion originates; those problems are due to Satanic work in the lives of human beings.

There is a way to deal with gender confusion and warped sexual orientation. The solution to every sin is the work of Christ on the cross, where he defeated Satan. Human beings who succumb to the temptation to be confused and warped need Jesus. The existence of such sin does not justify name calling or any other ungracious behavior toward the people who have been enslaved that way. It was not Christ’s way to call people names and authorize stonings of sinners. Rather, he invited them to find a better way, and people such as the Samaritan woman at the well, Zaccheus the tax collector, the woman caught in adultery, and the man born blind were transformed by his grace. They turned their lives around and became different. They were reconciled with God and with creation, and they were not confused about the source of their moral guidance.

If the human race (the only race I ever acknowledge) loses God-given gender and God-given sexual procreation, it will disappear. That is why I ask the question: Is this the end of humanity as we know it? I don’t actually believe that will happen, because the Bible predicts that there will still be people on earth when Jesus comes back. I do believe that Christians are in for a long period of cruel persecution by Satan’s slaves. The book of Revelation makes it pretty clear that there will be persecution, to a greater or lesser degree, until Jesus returns. That means that even if the fad of confused gender and warped sexuality fades away, Satan has many other ways to assault Christians, always with the goal of separating them from Christ. Whether or not humankind vanishes from the earth, it is good to know that “neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39 ESV)

Something to Die For

People who eat decadent desserts sometimes sigh, “It’s to die for.” A woman might be shopping for a dress for a wedding or a gala event and find one that she says is “to die for.” Chocolate is such a beloved flavor in large segments of the population that anything dipped in chocolate is supposedly “to die for.”

In today’s culture, however, nobody is actually supposed to die. Continue reading Something to Die For

Free Exercise of Religion–What is it?

Despite immense cultural pressure on Christians to keep their faith hidden from sight, many Christians continue to obey Christ’s command to “make disciples of all nations,” and to “hold fast” to their testimony. Recently, a young marine was court-martialed, because she refused to remove from her work area a piece of paper on which was written a Bible verse. The court-martial apparently based its decision on the findings of hearing that determined that a command to remove the verse from her workspace was a lawful command that she refused to obey.

The details can be found here and here. The story is simple. Marine Lance Cpl. Monifa Sterling copied a verse from the Bible onto a strip of paper that she taped to her computer monitor. The verse said, “”No weapon formed against me shall prosper,” and was copied from Isaiah 54:17. The strip of paper contained only the words, however, not the reference. Most Christians would understand completely the reason a Marine might choose those words for both comfort and inspiration. Probably anyone would understand why this Marine chose those words, regardless of the source. In fact, people who saw the verse when they came to Lance Corporal Sterling’s desk might not even recognize the statement as a biblical quotation. They might very well think that these words are no more divine than “If you can dream it, you can do it,” a very common secular inspirational quotation. That fact makes it clear that the accusation that this verse constitutes a “divisive impact to good order and discipline” is a deliberate misrepresentation of the impact of the lance corporal’s little note on her computer monitor. Furthermore, it is hard to understand how the presence of this small strip of paper on a computer monitor constitutes being “festooned” as alleged by the court’s ruling.

Thoughtful readers may well wonder why the court chose to focus on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (or RFRA) as the basis for deciding the future of the young Marine who stood firm on her right to display this verse as the exercise of her faith, a right protected by the US Constitution. The RFRA was never intended to be the basic guide for determining when someone’s exercise of faith is in conflict with the compelling interests of government. RFRA establishes the principle that such conflicts must be resolved in the manner least onerous to the free exercise of faith guaranteed by the Constitution.

By stating that RFRA did not permit the display of this verse in the workplace, the court-martial completely missed the point of RFRA. It was probably not in the lance corporal’s best interests that she represented herself in that trial. Currently, she has engaged a lawyer, Liberty Institute volunteer attorney Paul Clement, who successfully defended Hobby Lobby when the might of the federal government infringed on the free exercise of faith by Hobby Lobby’s owners. Liberty Institute’s Director of Military Affairs, Mike Berry, points out that “If a service member has a right to display a secular poster, put an atheist bumper sticker on their car, or get a Star of David tattoo, then Lance Cpl. Sterling has the right to display a small Bible verse on her computer monitor.”

Did Lance Corporal Sterling refuse to obey a lawful order? The answer is a resounding, “No.” She received an unlawful order, because the order required her to give up her right to exercise her religion without hindrance. Her refusal to obey was justified, because the order was unlawful.

There is a concerted effort in the US today to eradicate all evidence that the people who founded this country served God and trusted him for guidance in their daily lives. Secular thinkers pretend that commitment to secular ideas is a different thing from religion, and they even allege that the original colonists believed in a wall of separation between sacred and secular ideas and behaviors. This misconception about the way of life of the original colonists and the teaching they embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution must be resisted and defeated.

The truth is that the colonists who came to the shores of North America would find it appalling that a Marine Lance Corporal could be denied the right to express her faith. They believed in the Bible as a guide for faith and life, and they would naturally expect that every military person serving this country would find comfort and inspiration in the Bible.

The Bible is where Lance Corporal Sterling found her guidance for a way of life that is fulfilling and satisfying. In the Bible, she found comfort in words that reminded her of God’s love for her and his power to protect her. Her response to that blessing is a life that is a constant expression of her faith in God. When she posted the words of  a Bible verse on her computer monitor, she exercised her faith and showed that she lived according to the teaching in the Bible that “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV). The First Amendment to the Constitution protects her right to do exactly that.

Every Christian must pray that God go with her lawyer, Paul Clement, and with Lance Corporal Sterling through all the coming court proceedings. They stand on the front lines for all people of faith who want to live their faith under the protection of the US Constitution.