Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bake Them a Cake

A changing reality for the American Christian.

A movement of culture, a shift in society. The calculated plan of government. They all come together to bring change to a nation. But it is the law of the land that alters what is accepted and what is forbidden. The people endure the change and the nation may become a new thing altogether. It’s happening in America, and Christians are paying attention.

Religious organizations, churches, ministries, and individuals once assuming their rights and liberties were for all time set in stone are now bracing themselves as the stone fractures. Decisions that will tame or unleash the HHS mandate are not yet established. Faith-based entities have a battle ahead of them in regard to providing and funding services they consider immoral. If they haven’t already, they may soon face the choice of obeying a call of conscience, or submitting to the law.

In another layer of American bedrock, reports and rumors abound suggesting the military has become intolerant of Christianity, and that even a minor expression of faith will be reprimanded. A recent Washington Times article stated, “Soon, there may be only atheists in foxholes.”

Shaking an even deeper foundation, the Supreme Court seems to have no other road to take than the one leading to Federal recognition of same-sex marriage. The city of Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho has put in effect an anti-discrimination law that, if interpreted and applied by a court of law, will make it illegal for a Christian pastor to refuse to marry a gay couple. This pushes far beyond a bakery making headlines for denying a wedding cake to the happy couple. This is demanding a religious leader turn from his beliefs in order to be non-discriminatory. And that is an attack against the rights and liberty of the Christian leader and of the church.

Of course, there are pastors who will gladly officiate. So why would a same-sex couple seek clergy adamantly opposed to marrying them? Why put the baker on the evening news when he stands up for his right to run his own business? Of course, it’s newsworthy because it makes a statement. A pro-government, anti-discrimination statement. Perhaps what should be adopted next is an anti-anti-discrimination law.

American Christians fuss and fume over the law of the land, vowing to protect their rights as citizens of a country built on a crumbling Christian bedrock. But the faithful in other places are not too concerned about who bakes the four-hundred dollar decadently scrumptious cake for the alternative wedding festivities.

Here are some people who may not be worried about the plight of the American Christian:

The Nigerian Christians left homeless after government officials burned down their homes, and the many parishioners who lost church buildings by the same method.

The Egyptians whose church services were stormed by terrorists.

The pastor in India whose punishment for being a Christian was the amputation of his hands.

The Christians in North Korean prisons who are daily starved and beaten.

The Christians in these countries, as well as Kenya, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and many other countries who have been executed.

When researching recent examples of persecution, reports lead back to America. A trend emerges, even with all the death and destruction around the world, to remind American Christians they are now counted among the persecuted. They must pay for the abortion, perform the ceremony, and bake the cake. But the mission of the Christian will continue in America, at least for a time. For today, the clinic with religious affiliation may give good council. The pastor is free speak the truth with love.  Perhaps the baker ought to offer the best cake in the city and do it with a smile, even though he doesn’t approve of the two-guy cake topper. If he's in the business of baking cakes, then maybe he shouldn’t discriminate. While he’s still able to share his faith with anyone willing to set foot in his privately-owned place of business, he should do it. If his customers don't like the message, they're free to let someone else bake them a cake.

It’s not an American problem—not like it is in other countries. Prayers for those persecuted around the world are only beginning to rise up from American churches. Is it because the threat is drawing nearer? Persecution in America is a shadow of a beast still far off. It’s not here yet. It may be coming. It probably will come. Why should a country once considered Christian, once the greatest in evangelizing the world be exempt? After all, it is no longer a Christian nation, no longer growing out of infancy but thriving in advancement. Tolerant of all, except those deemed intolerant. Supportive of choice, except the choice for Christ.

The minority called Christian will likely meet the beast of persecution in a land no longer classified as Christian. And Christians around the world will sympathize. And they will pray.

God be with us all.

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