Shadow of Persecution Advancing
High profile news of persecution of Christians in Muslim countries may be masking a more subtle threat to the spread of the gospel in the free world. Laws are being put in place in Europe, Australia, Canada and now in America to criminalize witnessing or sharing Bible truths.
The laws are drafted to address "intolerance," "discrimination" and "harassment." Several years ago extra penalties were added to the standard penalties for murder and assault, if the crime was motivated by hatred for a protected class such as race, ethnicity, sex, and more recently, sexual "orientation."
Now, a new, most dangerous, dimension is being added. In Canada, England and Sweden, Christians are being prosecuted for "hate speech." They are being charged with "incitement" of hatred for preaching and teaching against sin.
In Sweden a pastor was recently sentenced to 30 days in jail for stating in a sermon that homosexuality was "abnormal – a horrible cancerous tumor in the body of society." In England, a street preacher was fined for carrying a placard denouncing homosexuality. An Anglican bishop in Chester, England was investigated for "hate speech" after remarking that some homosexuals can overcome their "orientation."
Even the pope's stand against homosexuality is coming under fire. In Ireland, Catholic clergy were cautioned that they could be prosecuted under the laws of incitement to hatred if they distributed a Vatican statement against same sex marriage. The Netherlands formally considered prosecuting Pope John Paul II for his stand against homosexuality but ultimately decided they could not succeed because he was a head of state.
U.S. ministers are being forbidden to air certain sermons on Canadian TV and radio if they speak against some types of sins. Australia is another country experimenting with "incitement" laws. Currently two pastors are defending themselves against charges of violating Victoria state's Racial and Religious Tolerance Act. A Muslim organization brought complaints against them after they held a seminar to instruct Christians on the teachings of Islam.
A witch has also placed a complaint with authorities against another Christian claiming that he violated the Tolerance Act by "vilifying" her religion.
Around the world, the forces of evil are closing in on the Bible believers. And America may not be immune for much longer.
The commonwealth of Pennsylvania recently amended its hate crimes law to include "harassment by communication." Christian leaders concerned with religious liberty are watching to see if the pulpits in Pennsylvania are no longer "free speech zones" and are preparing to challenge the law in court.
How sad that, with all the freedoms we have had, our culture is no longer considered Christian based. Perhaps persecution is necessary for the gospel to flourish again. In China, Bible believers are outlawed, yet there are an estimated 100 million believers in the underground churches.
Jesus said that we must work while it is day for the night cometh when no man can work.
Soulwinners, we have much work to do.
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