In a day and age when tolerance is in, why is it that Christianity seems to be the one religion that people cannot tolerate? A few weeks ago I posted an article about a man not being hired at the University of Kentucky based on his religion alone. Just two weeks ago the professor was paid by UK to drop the case for $125,000 (you can read more about the initial lawsuit here and the settlement here). Whether we want to admit it or not, Christian discrimination is in and it's only going to get worse with time. Here's the thing, I'm not worried about it.
In the New Testament, the early church faced persecution for what they believed and there are many believers today who are locked up, beaten, and killed for believing in Jesus Christ. Persecution is a part of our heritage, even though we western believers don't like to admit it.
Those of us in the West haven't really had to work out our beliefs enough in the absence of persecution. It's been easy to be a Christian and an American. For many years, the two things were one in the same. Yet that day is gone and those of us who are active believers must actually live out our faith wisely and without fear. I love the passage in Acts 5 when the believers were being persecuted and one of their persecutors, Gamaliel the Pharisee, wisely agreed to let them go and stated, "Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God." This was stated thousands of years ago, and yet it still stands.
My one hold up is that in a world of tolerance, why is it that we seem to be the targeted religion? In my opinion it can be summed up in one word: ignorance. People who don't truly understand Christianity only grasp at the extremes and stereotype an entire religion. It is slightly ironic seeing as most of these people label themselves as "tolerant individuals who are fighting for the acceptance of all peoples." Typically these tolerant individuals fight against stereotypes, yet they eagerly embrace the stereotyping and intolerance of a religious system. Agree to disagree isn't allowed. Mocking Christianity in the workplace or media is widely accepted, yet if someone were to take the same approach to homosexuality or Judaism, these same individuals would be in uproar.
I'm not pointing fingers. It happens on both sides. There are many Christians in the South who categorize all Muslims as violent and fanatical. Ignorance. Or Christians who still find racial jokes funny. Ignorance. It's really quite un-Christian. So... are there crazy Christians among us? Yes, we'll sadly admit it. (Anyone heard of the Dove World Outreach Center or Westboro Baptist?) There are crazies in every religion or non-religious group, but it seems like our society as a whole is starting a value system of "tolerance" that really is quite intolerant of our religious freedom.
I can't offer a solution to this future problem, but I do agree with Gamaliel: this religion - Christianity - isn't going away for it is of God, not man. It's faced persecution in many countries, and yet it still thrives. So although persecution and discrimination may come, fellow believer stay true to Scriptures. Be faithful students of the Word and find encouragement in your local church.
Just food for thought on this Friday... On a lighter note, I'm going to see the Lion King tomorrow night on Broadway!!! EEEEK, I can hardly wait.