Tuesday, September 05, 2006

So where is the persecution?

1. Take a Bible Study out of the church.

2. Go to a public park, maintained with tax dollars for the benefit of all.

3. Find and occupy a vacant picnic table.

4. Exercise your First Amendment right to Freedom of Worship without State endorsement of religion.

5. Now, explain to me again why you are so convinced that religion is banished from the public square, and why you believe Christians are being persecuted in the U.S.A.

Tonight the Bible Study following the Tuesday Evening Meal and Ministry at Central Presbyterian Church of Tarentum took advantage of the nice weather and moved itself two blocks to a picnic table in Riverview Memorial Park.

We studied Acts 22:22-29, in which Paul successfully asserted his rights as a Roman citizen when he was about to be flogged by the Roman authorities in Jerusalem.

No one interfered with our Bible Study. No one objected to our presence. And if they had objected, I don't think they could have done so successfully.

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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stewart,

Can we throw out the word persecution for a moment? My First Amendment right is being violated in so many fashions it's hard to find a begining. You forgot to say that in Acts22:22-29, the Centurian asks Paul if he were a Roman citizen. Pauls replies that he is. The Centurian then says he(the Centurian)paid a steep price for his citizenship. Paul replies that he was born a Roman citizen.

My point here is that I am a born American citizen. I was granted these wonderful rights when I was born on this soil. I did not have to earn or pay for my right to be an American. However, there are many who have fought to protect the rights I enjoy every day. And every day when I walk the streets, freely, I thank those folks. How do you suppose they feel when they cannot wish someone a Merry Christmas because it would, could, offend someone else?, or, when they make a phone call and they have to press 1 for Engish!!! Our native tongue. Do you think in Mexico the prompt is press 1 para espanol? No, I'm not focusing on the Hispanics, or any one ethnic group, (I'm trying to be politically correct here). I am just so offended that I have been instructed by the corporation I work for, as many others have also, that we cannot wish our customers a Merry Christmas. We have to say Happy Holidays. We can no longer have Christmas parades, now they are Holiday parades.


Don't really care what or who you want to worship and pray to, but my right as well as all Americans, have the freedom to worship alone or in groups without fear of reprisal from their government or any other entity. As long as it is not a forced issue, or a violent issue, we have been given that right. I feel anyone who wants to live in our country should make every effort to conform to our ways, not the other way around. Again, I'm all for the open-door policy, but don't infringe upon my rights when you step over the threshold. Say thank you and be greatful for being allowed to live in the greatest country in the entire world.

We live in a heavily populated Christian area. I think that when you do your Bible study at the park, it is a wonderful thing. It allows you to enjoy all we have to enjoy from the beautiful scenery, the kids playing at the park, the word of God being explored and learned in the settings and gifts He gave us to enjoy. So, unless you are beating folks over the head and dragging them to your table and forcing them to stay and listen or interact, then I ask you, where is the bad in any of this? If you were with a group of friends discussing God's word and it wasn't an organized session, would you be in violation of offending someone if they were to overhear your conversation? Is that next?

I think Paul had every right to exert his rights as a Roman citizen. His civil rights, as he had always been granted without question, were being violated and he had the nerve to stand up for them no matter what the cost.

I shutter to think what God would do if he were to become very, very angry at us for destroying what he worked so hard to give us.


Peace to you,

Elphie

Stewart said...

Elphie, the First Amendment protects your right of free speech from interference by the government. The corporation that employes you has not interfered with your First Amendment rights any more than your Thirteenth Amendment rights (unless there is something you have not told me).

There are other employers who require their employees to give out explicitly Christian messages, without regard for what the employee actually believes, or for what the customers might actually want to hear. There will always be someone who might feel uncomfortable with that, but no one can force you to stay in a job that requires you to do something against your conscience.

I do keep hearing from people who believe that there is persecution of Christians going on, when what they describe is not actually persecution.

As to the parades, we can have Christmas parades. The Borough of Tarentum cannot do so. (And didn't I see you in Tarentum's short Labor Day parade that was organized without the help of the Borough?)

I understand you have a grievance about the language issue, but I don't understand how it affects your First Amendment rights. Could you say more about that?

W. said...

Whenever I hear Christians in America complain about being persecuted, I think of the Buddhists in Tibet, the Jews in the former Soviet Union or the Falon Gong in China.

They'd love to be persecuted as we are.

I guess the distinction that's lost on some American Christians is the difference between being persecuted and being put upon.

Anonymous said...

Corporate America---BIG BROTHER--- seem to go hand-in hand these days. I sure do think my First Amendment is violated when an entity regulates and dictates what I am allowed to say at my place of employment, barring the use of foul and offensive language. No, I'm not forced into remaining at that job, however, I am a person of faith, whatever that faith may be, and if I am not force feeding it to the public, I am entitled to wish someone a Merry Christmas. If they are offended by that than they should be the one to tell me, not a corporation that employs me by some guy or woman who has landed in our country for the $$$$ and the rights and freedoms afforded to US. It can be compared to the flag burnung issue. I don't like to see our flag burned for any reason unless it is being retired. The right to burn our flag is a Constitutional right, the right to freely and openly express our opinion. BUT, when I see the outlanders who have come to reside here for the freedoms they never had, burn our flag in protest against our government, it makes me asolutely furious. So, in the work place, I feel it is a violation of my rights not to be able to express my opinion openly and freely and that includes saying Merry Christmas to my customers. What's next, handcuffs and shakles for wishing people a Merry Christmas because I might be offending someone? Will I be led to the town square for a good flogging if I speak the name of God in public and someone overhears and is offended by it? I think there are far more people out there who feel the same way and are reluctant to speak up on the issue beacuse they believe they have no voice anymore. And rightfully so. Our government has allowed the outlanders to impose their laws and beliefs on our society without protecting our rights first. I can walk the streets of our country and tell everyone that Bush is a freaking idiot without fear of reprisal from the system and yet I can't wish my customers a Merry Christmas. What's wrong with this picture?

What would you do or how would you react if Big Brother tells you tomorrow that within the confines of your church you cannot speak the name of God because some schmuck happened to wander in off the streets during service and was offended by the message you were delivering to your congregation? Never say it won't or could not happen. The way things are going these days I'm fearful that at some point in time there may be locks on the church doors because the word of God is offensive to someone. Do we need to worry that in the future all of the Reverends, Ministers, etc., will be hauled off to prison for speaking the name of God in their own houses of worship? These are not ridiculous questions. These are concerns we need to recon with before it gets out of control. No, I'm not into conspiracies, but with the way things are going I am a bit concerned for my rights in the futrure.

As far as I'm concerned, way too many of my rights and freedoms have been imposed upon and censored due to the "new and better" folks landing on our shores.

So, before it's too late......



MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Peace to you,

Elphie

Stewart said...

Elphie, Merry Christmas to you, too.

Please be careful with the comments that claim the immigration issue causes the situations you don't like. I am also a descendant of immigrants. Xenophobia can arise easily in situations where people are uncomfortable about things that have nothing to do with the arrival of outsiders.

I understand your concern about limits on free speech encroaching on churches. I don't see the risk coming from employers dictating how their representatives speak. Your employer cannot handcuff and shackle you and still be acting within the law.

I see a far greater risk of the loss of free speech every time the "Christian" Taliban try to use public funds to promote their particular, highly sectarian faith. Once they start controlling the government and making sure that it supports their particular doctrines, it would be a very short step to interfering with the religious free speech of people with whom they disagree.

And it would work so neatly for them to start describing their victims as strangers and foreigners.