Crazy laws! They’re everywhere if you know where to look. For example, a small town in Alabama has outlawed bear wrestling, while an Arizona town forbids camel hunting. Another place in Arkansas prohibits honking your horn in front of a sandwich shop and an Illinois town has banned saggy pants! Go figure!
But as silly as these small town laws may seem, legitimate laws for our safety and well-being are an absolute necessity for any civilized society. As Proverbs 29:2 puts it: “When just leaders are in power, the citizens celebrate; but when evil people gain control, their joys become moans.” It seems we’ve had quite a lot to moan about this year, not only with a horrible pandemic assailing us, but attacks and threats against our laws and religious institutions have been relentless. It appears we are immersed in a real live cultural civil war!
If you think this can’t possibly happen in the good ol’ US of A, think again. Bill Maher (comedian and political commentator) has said: “Religion must die in order for mankind to live.” What a direct contrast to John 10:10 where Jesus told us: “The thief (satan, darkness) comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life.” It seems that Mr. Maher may be following in the footsteps of his bother in arms – Karl Marx.
Karl Marx was a blatant anti-Christian who viewed religion as the enemy of progress. According to Wikipedia, his followers removed religious teachings from schools, (sound familiar?) outlawed criticism of atheists and agnostics, (they’re working on that) and burned 100,000 churches (multiple churches have been burned and vandalized this year.) When pastors demanded freedom of religion, they were sentenced to death. Between 1917 and 1935, 130,000 Russian Orthodox priests were arrested, 95,000 of whom were executed by firing squad.
So fast-forward to 2020; all of the sudden, it’s racist to love God, our country, Mount Rushmore and the Pledge of Allegiance. Fellow citizens are doing their best to silence people of faith and ban and/or limit our free expressions of worship with threats of more to come. (I’m still waiting for reruns of Law and Order to come under fire.)
But what are people of faith to do? Well…a good start would be to pray. But not some weak-kneed, feeble plea from under the kitchen table. In Acts 4:29 Peter, under similar circumstances in Jerusalem, prayed this gutsy prayer: “Now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word…”
Peter hits the mark when he asks for “boldness.” Why boldness? Boldness is essential if one is going to tell the truth, especially in these volatile times. They say any old dead fish can float downstream! It’s a lot tougher to take the high road and stand for truth, speak the truth and walk in truth — even, and especially, under threats!
In 1980 there was a message found in the desk of a pastor from Zimbabwe who refused to renounce Christ and was martyred for his faith. Here is a portion of that letter: “I am a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure.
I’m finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.
I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, pander at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I’ve stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus!”
Bob and Susan Beckett pastor The Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet, CA. For more information you can visit them at DPCityChurch.com.
Find your latest news here at the Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle