August 8, 2003

Tolerance, Where Art Thou?
by Donald G. Mashburn

Ever since Jesus’ crucifixion and the martyring of His early disciples, Christianity has brought out the worst in certain people. George W. Bush found that out early in the 2000 election campaign.

Asked to name his favorite political philosopher, Bush promptly answered, “Christ, because he changed my life.” Bush later said that Jesus’ teachings were the “foundation” for how he lives his life.”

Such expressions of Christian faith didn’t sit well with many in the liberal media. David Corn, Washington editor of The Nation, a leftist weekly, denigrated Bush’s testimony of being transformed by faith in Jesus Christ. Corn called Bush’s expression of Christian faith, a “smug answer.”

Corn editorialized, “How precisely has the political philosophy of J.C. transformed George W.?” His contempt for Bush’s Christian faith went far beyond the irreverent reference to the Son of God as “J.C.” Corn, a Jew and staunch leftist, impugned Bush’s faith and integrity with a rant that included misleading quotes from the New Testament.

Such vitriol is upsetting, but not unexpected. If Christians get serious about carrying out the Great Commission, to “preach the gospel” and “make disciples,” the simple fact is they can expect more and more hostility and persecution. Jesus told us as much. And we’re seeing it come to pass.

When I was growing up in Oklahoma, it was virtually impossible to find someone that didn’t believe in God. Only a prankster, teasing some victim for the sake of argument, would pretend not to believe in God.

Christians were never ridiculed for their faith. They could be discussed as not having enough faith, having “gone to seed” on their faith, or living and walking in faith. But they were never belittled or ostracized.

Not so today. Liberals, in general, do not like “too much” Christianity, especially in a president or a judge. William Pryor, the Alabama attorney general nominated for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, is another Christian the liberals have targeted.

Recently, in the Senate Judiciary Committee, liberal senators, led by Ted Kennedy (Mass.) and Charles Schumer (N.Y.) tried every trick to show that Pryor is the “hostile” and “controversial” nominee they claim him to be. At the bottom, their main concerns have to do with Pryor’s Christian beliefs, and his opposition to abortion and twisting the Constitution to achieve liberal goals.

And although Pryor’s beliefs stem from his Christian faith, the senators stopped short of making it an issue. They aren’t ready to openly attack Christian faith in prime time, yet.

Instead, they muckrake for anything they think will keep Christians from reaching high positions. They leave the ridicule and belittling of men and women of faith to cutthroat liberal allies in the media.

Christians more and more are treated as an unimportant minority. And in more and more contexts, it seems that followers of Jesus the Christ are indeed in danger of achieving minority status.

However, not all politicians are anti-Christian. Many who have discovered the free gift of salvation through faith in God’s own Son openly express their faith in public and private life.

They, like others who accept Jesus Christ as Lord – “Christians,” they’re called – rest in the “blessed assurance” of eternity with Him. They, along with other Christians, thank God for that gift of life, purchased on the cross by His Son Jesus Christ.

Witnessing to faith in Jesus Christ often incurs the enmity of the world. That’s not necessarily bad. James, the Lord’s brother, said, “Friendship with the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4). And the Apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. ...” (Romans 12:2).

Criticism of our Christian faith isn’t a life-shattering event. Each of us will in some way be tested in our faith.

At the end of this life, faith in Jesus Christ will be all we have, and through His grace it will be enough.