Are All These Christians' Complaints of Religious Discrimination Just So Much Empty Whining?
Should we just shrug off the alarming daily reports of persecution of people who follow Jesus? After all, He warned His followers that they would be hated, right?
BY: Rob Kerby, Senior Editor
For example, he tells how over the past 31 years, a Christian ministry has been providing food to the hungry in Lake City, Florida. “But all that changed when they said a state government worker showed up to negotiate a new contract.” A state agriculture department official “told them they would not be allowed to receive USDA food unless they removed portraits of Christ, the Ten Commandments, a banner that read ‘Jesus is Lord’ and stopping giving Bibles to the needy.
“When the government tells the Christian Service Center it has to give up on Christ or quit using USDA food to help the poor, that’s religious discrimination. But that’s just an isolated instance, right?”
Not according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Franklin Graham told the liberal magazine Politico that the IRS targeted them – not auditing their books or tax returns – instead, conducting a “review” of their activities. “With the IRS admitting it gave extra scrutiny to conservative political organizations, Graham says he now believes that the review was part of an Obama administration effort of “targeting and attempting to intimidate us,” writes Politico’s Reed J. Epstein. The IRS review came after Graham urged voters to back “candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel.”
“While these audits not only wasted taxpayer money, they wasted money contributed by donors for ministry purposes as we had to spend precious resources servicing the IRS agents in our offices,” Franklin Graham told Politico. “This is morally wrong and unethical – indeed some would call it ‘un-American.”
Meanwhile in California, two Christian street preachers had to fight in court for two years to be allowed to read the Bible aloud outside the Department of Motor Vehicles in Hemet, California. Mark Mackey and Bret Coronado were arrested and charged with misdemeanor offenses for reading the Bible, but recently Superior Court Judge Timothy Freer found the men “not guilty” of any offenses.
“Interestingly,” writes Hawkins, “the judge also pointed out that the law prosecutors tried to invoke was likely unconstitutional as it gave law enforcement overbroad powers to quash public gatherings in the first place."
Mackey and Coronado fought back – and won.
Is discrimination against Christians in the U.S. a real issue? “More than 25 percent of American workers say that discrimination against Christians has become as big a problem as discrimination against religious minorities,” reports Joyce Dubensky in the Daily Caller, writing about a new survey of over 2,000 American employees. The results were published in What American Workers Really Think About Religion from the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding.
“In my work combating religious prejudice,” writes Dubensky, “I’ve heard many stories of how companies struggle with these issues. For example, in 2004, a Christian employee was fired for refusing to sign his company’s diversity policy. The policy required him to respect and value everyone’s differences. He explained to his managers that he would respect all of his colleagues regardless of their differences, but that he could not agree to value homosexuality or any religious belief other than Christianity. A judge sided with the fired employee, noting that the company had every right to expect him to behave respectfully at work – but it had no right to tell him what to value.
“Eradicating discrimination should be our vision,” says Dubensky.