In today’s Christian Post, Breakpoint’s John Stonestreet says it is “bogus” to claim “others have it worse” when it comes to religious persecution as a way of denying claims of the loss of religious liberty here in the West.
Now, let me first state the obvious: Nothing happening here or elsewhere in the West can remotely be compared to what Christians in the Islamic world undergo on a daily basis. Our first and second response should be to pray for them, and our third response should be to do whatever we can to draw attention to their plight.
At the same time, as Rod Dreher has helpfully pointed out, the ‘people in this country who fear and loathe Christians’ are not beneath using what happened in Libya as an ‘argument-ender’ when Christians complain about infringements on religious freedom. Their response is in essence, ‘Get back to me when they’re chopping Christian heads off in Times Square, then we’ll talk.
Stonestreet says American Christians are held to a different standard: “Hey, at least you’re not getting killed. So what are you whining about?” seems to be the response to outrage over the loss of religious liberties.
One blogger asked, ‘Can we stop complaining about this bogus idea that American Christians are persecuted now?’ He added that our complaints about the infringement of religious freedom here in the U.S. is ‘distracting, offensive, and insulting to those who face real persecution for their faith.’
Now, how he knows that our complaints are ‘offensive and distracting to those who face real persecution’ goes unsaid. There’s no hint that he has actually spoken to any Christians in Iraq or Syria.
This is a “false dilemma,” Stonestreet says. Why cannot we not work to better the situations for both Christians in mortal peril and Christians whose day-to-day liberties are being eroded? The dismissal of religious voices from the public square is the beginning of persecution; history bears that out. Stonestreet concludes:
One reason to stand for religious freedom in America is so that we can speak for our persecuted brethren elsewhere. But turning religion in the U.S. into a purely private matter makes coming to the aid of our persecuted brethren less, not more, likely.
And that would really be bogus.