Editor’s note: “Matters of faith” is a column that provides local religious leaders a place to write about how their respective faiths provide hope, courage and strength in these modern times.
I am concerned as to how much longer Christians are going to be allowed to publicly publish issues of faith. I say that in light of the increasing intolerance in our society for openly stating what the Bible has to say regarding sin.
When you consider that these attacks are coming from a segment of our society that claims tolerance to be a major plank of their social platform, all the while crying out for punishment for anyone who openly has a different moral or religious point of view than they hold, then the hypocrisy and intolerance becomes glaringly obvious.
Sadly, this is not pointed out by the media, in part for fear of similar labeling by those who are prejudiced against any who hold opinions that oppose theirs, and in part because some of the most caustic labels and attacks come from members of the media.
Have you noticed how, when those on the liberal end of our social spectrum refer to any position they champion, it is increasingly referred to by the media as “pro” this or “pro” that, even if it is a position that is clearly contrary to what many, if not most, Americans believe? And yet if the views you share come from a “Christian-Judea” belief system, even if it is given in a positive way, it is often labeled as “anti,” even by the media.
The vocal members of the gay community are not labeled as “anti-heterosexual,” or “anti-traditional,” but as “pro-gay.” But if someone in the heterosexual end of our social spectrum says that they believe that “heterosexuality is the right orientation,” they are not labeled as “pro-heterosexual,” or “pro-traditional,” but instead they are labeled “anti-gay,” or “homophobic.” I wonder if we pointed out that the Bible says murder is a sin if they would call us “murderphobic?” In addition to labeling, there are many in the gay community, or the liberal end of the social spectrum, who would call for you to be fired, in an intentional, mean-spirited attempt to cause you injury.
Sadly, this discriminatory treatment is not limited to the gay community, but finds expression almost across the board in our society when it comes to Christians stating what the Bible teaches, and, as biblical Christians, what we must accept as God’s standards. If we say that Christianity alone, as put forth by the Bible, is the only true religion, and that salvation and eternal life can be found in and through no one other than Jesus, as Jesus Himself claimed in John 14:6, we are personally labeled as intolerant.
Isn’t that interesting? If we lied about what we believe, and said that all religions lead to heaven, we would likely be allowed to speak openly, and we would not be persecuted. Of course, then we would be denying our beliefs, and we would be found lying to the world.
Why is this an issue worthy of the space in this paper? Because it goes far beyond this issue! If you look back at the recorded history of civilization, you will find some very shameful moments where others were persecuted, brutalized, and even imprisoned and murdered, simply because they spoke out against mainstream views.
In our day, we are witnessing a cooperation between those with a liberal political agenda who are joining with mainstream media in an attempt to bring about a change in our traditional social structure. Of course the media would reject that they are doing anything other than fairly report the news. But an even cursory glance at the news of the day shows a horrible bias on the part of mainstream media that used to passionately cling to objectivity, but has now jumped to an intentional subjectivity, directed by a desire to remake our society.
Some of you may have heard of Senator McCarthy from the 1950s. McCarthyism is a use of unsubstantiated accusations that are intended to change a person’s or a group’s behavior, or to attempt to silence a discussion. Under McCarthy’s “investigations,” many in Hollywood were unfairly threatened, fired, and even imprisoned for a year or more. I find it amazing, and very sad, that considering Hollywood’s mistreatment under McCarthyism, that they would perpetrate similar attempts to silence voices contrary to theirs.
These are troubling issues, making our troubling times even more explosive. But if something is true, especially something as important as sin and salvation, life and death, or right and wrong, we must not allow threats or slander to deter us from speaking out.
There was a time when Jesus was very popular, but then His popularity faded, quickly. Still, He spoke the truth, in love, with the goal of reconciling people to God. So must we. Many people were offended by what Jesus said, but I dare say that Jesus was never offensive.
Neither should we be.
McCartney is pastor of First Baptist Church of Tooele.