If I didn't know better, I would think liberal politicians and columnists were out to prove the thesis of my book -- that there truly is a war being waged against Christianity and Christians in the United States.
Oh, yes, they deny it and attempt to turn the tables, saying it's Christians who are the belligerent ones, trying to take over the country and establish a theocracy. If it's not the New York Times' Maureen Dowd, it's her colleague Paul Krugman. It it's not them, it's John Kerry. They are all up in arms about Christianity and its influence in politics, governance and the public square.
What are these people so exercised about? Why must they insist on demonizing Christians? Why do they fear them so? Why are they so paranoid about them participating in politics and government? Why do they seem to think that only Christians must keep their views to themselves once they are elected to office?
Failed presidential candidate John Kerry said, "I am sick and tired of a bunch of people trying to tell me that God wants a bunch of conservative judges on the court." Just for the record, Senator Kerry, conservatives and Christian conservatives aren't saying they want conservative judges on the court, but originalists: judges who will interpret the Constitution according to the Framers' original intent.
The war against Christians has intensified with the recent controversy over ending the Democrats' (nearly) unprecedented filibustering of judicial nominees. Senate Democrats and their enablers apparently see the Christian right as the main bogeyman in the effort to restore majority rule to the judicial confirmation process.
They are especially upset with Senate majority leader Bill Frist for agreeing to participate in "Justice Sunday," an event organized by Christian groups to rally Christians to support politicians trying to end the judicial filibuster. Frist's opponents, from Ralph Neas, president of the People for the American Way, to junior Senator Mark Pryor, have registered disgust that Christian politicians and Christian groups would presume to approach this issue from the perspective of their Christian worldview.
Before the judicial filibuster flap, it was the Terri Schiavo case. During that acrimonious, national debate, Dowd accused Christian conservatives of trying to establish a theocracy. Actually, she said, "Oh, my God, we really are in a theocracy." She also paid homage to the "credo" that "a person's relationship with God should remain a private matter." And, she compared Christian conservatives to Muslim "religious fundamentalists" in Iraq.
Krugman, similarly, compared Christian "extremists" in America to "religious extremists" in Israel who "have already killed one prime minister." In fairness, Krugman said such assassinations aren't occurring here yet, but "unless moderates take a stand against the growing power of domestic extremists, it can happen here."
Dowd's suggestion that we have a theocracy isn't serious enough to warrant a rebuttal. Most Christians I know are radically opposed to theocracy, which is antithetical to religious freedom, a principle at the apex of their priorities.
But Dowd's wrongheaded notion that "a person's relationship with God should be a private matter," needs to be vigorously challenged.
If Christians are to honor Christ's Great Commission of spreading the Gospel to all nations, they must engage in the political arena and governance if for no other reason than that the Gospel cannot flourish as well in the absence of political and religious liberty. Christians have a duty to be involved to promote liberty.
Where did we get this crazy idea that Christians can't base their support and opposition of candidates, issues and even laws on Christian morality? Dowd's specious assertion ignores that the overwhelming majority of our Founding Fathers formed this government on Christian principles. Most of our laws, civil and criminal -- from trespassing, to stealing, assault, rape and murder -- are grounded in morality, and it is an astonishing deception to suggest otherwise.
This idea that Christians must keep their views to themselves, and that politicians must keep their Christian worldview in a lockbox has caught on even among many Christians. But a Christian inhibits his Christian walk if he places his religion on just one "shelf" of his life. His worldview must inform his politics, just as everyone else's does.
What the secular Left wants to do is marginalize Christian conservatives by suggesting they are hell-bent on reserving religious liberty (and presumably other types of freedom) only for themselves.
But all we have to do to refute that lie is to point to the history of this great nation, which owes its freedom largely to the religious liberties enshrined in the Constitution by Christians. The Left will never tire of castigating Christians, so we might as well get used to that. But in the meantime, it is important that Christians be neither duped nor intimidated from participating aggressively in politics and governance, which is their sacred right and their unquestionable duty.
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