Christian Music gets Counselor suspended

For a few weeks now, I’ve been reading stories about a Christian persecution taking place overseas.  I’m not talking about remote countries where tribes are fighting daily, or a radical Muslim group, this persecution has been taking place in Great Britain.  Let me just provide you with a brief overview of the latest two:

February 12, 2009 – U.K. A school secretary’s 5 year old daughter who mentioned the name of Jesus was scolded by her teacher for doing so.  Because her daughter became so upset over the matter, the mother emailed a prayer request about the situation to some of her friends at church.  The school found out about the “prayer email” and now the secretary faces disciplinary action for professional misconduct because of both her and her daughter’s profession of faith. WND

February 2, 2009 – U.K. A Christian nurse was suspended for failing to display “personal and professional commitment to equality and diversity.”  Her crime?  The community nurse visited an elderly woman and asked the patient if she could pray for her, to which the patient said no.  When she returned home that day, she found a message on her answering machine stating that she had been suspended without pay and would be forced to attend a disciplinary meeting.  She has since been reinstated. WND

I don’t recall hearing either of these in the mainstream media, as they were likely dismissed as trivial, but there are patterns of this behavior that are beginning to take shape.  Which is why I wasn’t surprised when I heard the latest story of Christian persecution.  Except this time it happened in the United States, specifically in California.  The story broke in 2006, also not covered in the mainstream media, but a lawsuit was filed just last week on behalf of a veteran youth counselor, for abused/abandoned children, who was suspended 6 weeks without pay.  Her crime, “exposing children to unapproved religious activities.”  You might be thinking, “Who is she to be preaching to kids about her faith?  Those children could have different beliefs and she shouldn’t try to influence them.”  Maybe, only she wasn’t preaching or sharing her own faith.  The counselor had taken four teenage girls on an approved field trip to the Anaheim 5k run and then to the beach.  While there, the group watched a surfing contest from the pier and overheard a few minutes of Christian music.  Let me repeat that, the group overheard a few minutes of Christian music.  This resulted in the suspension of the youth counselor. The counselor has since filed suit on February 13, 2009, for religious discrimination. ChristianPost

I know these are just three incidents and there are a lot more, many of which are happening in countries of our closest allies, but many also are happening here in the U.S.  This isn’t a pattern that is short-lived or isolated.  I believe this is what is coming.  I don’t say that to strike fear in the heart of anyone, but for it to serve as a wake-up call to Christians everywhere.  Now is the time to strengthen your faith, return to church, begin reading your Bible and praying. 

Matthew 5:10-12 “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

New Poll shows shift in Worldviews

There was a new poll out yesterday asking American’s who they admire most.  The 2,634 respondents were not given a list of names, but instead offered names spontaneously.  The majority of those polled responded with “President Obama” as their #1 choice, followed by Jesus Christ and Martin Luther King #3.  When asked to explain their choices the top responses were:

Doing what’s right regardless of personal consequences: 89%

Not giving up until the goal is accomplished: 83%

Doing more than what other people expect of them: 82%

Overcoming adversity: 81%

Staying level-headed in crisis: 81%

What does this say about our society and the direction it’s heading?  Mr. Obama has barely been on the job a month and has made some less than popular decisions already.  Even the most successful presidents have failed policies.  Jesus has been on the job for over 2000 years and His policies in the Bible have never failed.  Let’s make some things very clear: only Jesus died on the cross for our sins.  These were the sins of those that crucified him, those that mocked and ridiculed him, and those of us who weren’t even born yet.  His personal consequence was death, yet he did not give up.  No one on earth expected Him to die on the cross, yet He did because that was the only way.  Only Jesus rose again on the 3rd day.   How could there ever be more adversity than that to overcome?  Only Jesus is the King of Kings. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

This same poll was conducted in 2001 and the #1 answer was Jesus Christ.    I talked about this shift of worldview from the cross to man in the Are we living in the time of Samuel post and I think this poll is yet another indicator that a shift is definitely underway.  I want to reiterate the quote I used in that post, “Unless the people can return to their roots and mission, they will crumble from within.”

Isaiah 40:28-31 “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Making Cent$ of the $timulus

I know what you’re thinking, “Here you go with a political post about the signing of a piece of legislation, what’s this have to do with the Bible?”  Folks, it has everything to do with the Bible.  Despite our inclinations otherwise, Politics and Religion have had a Love/Hate relationship since roughly the beginning of time.  Don’t believe me?  Didn’t Joseph offer to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh through God? Genesis 40:8 What about Saul, David, Solomon?  Each were kings all tied to a strong belief in God.  Think it ends there?  Wasn’t it King Herod that ordered the first born to be killed because he felt his throne would be threatened by the birth of the Messiah? Matthew 2:2-8 Is not Constantine credited for being the first Christian Roman Emperor?  Politics and Religion have walked hand in hand throughout the centuries and this extends to the present and the future.  The fact of the matter is if you focus only on religion and not politics, you’re going to miss out on half of the prophetic picture.  Revelation 17:9-13 refers to kingdoms which have fallen and one that has not yet come, while Revelation 13:11-18 refers to the second beast that represents a “religious” empire.  Religion and politics aren’t to be separated, but understood as two co-joining pieces of a larger puzzle.

So what about the stimulus, big deal right?  Yeah it’s loaded with “stuff”, but I’ll bet you missed one (at least one) little nugget of deception in the bill.  The “stimulus” plan bans religious worship or instruction in university and college facilities that receive state funds for renovations.  Here’s the excerpt:

“No funds awarded under this section may be used for – (3) modernization, renovation, or repair of facilities – (A) used for sectarian instruction or religious worship; or (B) in which a substantial portion of the functions of the facilities are subsumed in a religious mission.”

The story, on WorthNews.com states that “One of the effects will be to bar Bible studies and worship meetings by Christian and other religious student groups in facilities that have undergone repairs or modernization work underwritten by stimulus funds, according to religious liberty advocates.”  What does this mean?  Great question, but like most legislation it will open to interpretation.  In just analyzing the statement in the bill it sounds like the possibility might exist to force religious groups on campus to relocate to a different (off-campus?) facility than one that might receive funding for renovations through this “stimulus”.  I’m not sure how this will affect groups like Campus Crusade for Christ, but it no doubt could initially shake up on-campus ministries such as this.

The news article goes on to say that former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee referred to this legislation as a, “blatantly anti-religious provision”.  While the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) will likely argue in court that this provision discriminates against religious organizations that have a right to use those facilities.  “Supporters of the provision say it guarantees the separation of church and state and ensures that tax payer’s dollars are not used for religion.”

Separation of church and state?  Or just separation of church?  Either way it’s scary and this is only the beginning of a storm that’s coming.  If the church has one more revival in her and I believe she does, now is the time for it.  If you’re reading this, do not let it fall on deaf ears.  If you’re part of an on-campus ministry this could significantly impact you, so be sure to pass the word along about the potential of this provision.

Matthew 24:9-14 “…you will be hated by all nations because of me.  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Matthew 25:31-33 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.   All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”

Ephesians 4:15 "Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ"