Wolf Leads the Pack in Religious Push
January 10, 2013 - Thursday
A half a world away on Christmas Eve, instead of tucking in excited children, some families went to bed knowing they would never have the privilege again. They were Christians in Nigerian churches, celebrating the peace of Christ, when gunman broke through the doors at midnight and opened fire. Twelve people were killed in their pews before attackers set fire to the building and shattered the silent night. It was one of many bloodbaths that have taken the lives of Christians--not just in Western Africa, but around the world.
While we in America long to see religion restored to its rightful place in society, our nation has so much to be grateful for. It's been easy, under this administration, to pity ourselves about the way our faith has been treated. And while the walls may be closing in on followers of Christ, the hostility believers face is just a taste of the suffering our brothers and sisters are experiencing all across the world. For them, the cost of conviction is not in dollars--as it is here for those who reject the President's mandate--but in lives. In places such as Iraq, Egypt, Syria, China, North Korea, or Pakistan, picking up your cross is not a right but a death sentence.
Congressman Frank Wolf (R-Va.) has invested years of his career elevating the cause of the persecuted church. He understands, as we do, that people in other countries depend on America to lead by example on issues like freedom, life, and faith. Today, as that leadership fades on this President's watch, Rep. Wolf is pleading with churches to take up the cause. In a letter to 300 Protestant and Catholic ministers, he looks to the leaders of the West to pick up the torch. Once vibrant communities of Christians and Jews are being decimated, he writes. Sixty years ago, there were 150,000 Jews in Iraq, "today, less than 10 remain."
Christians, he writes, "have been targeted, believers kidnapped for ransom, and families threatened with violence if they stay." And what is America--but silent? "Has our comfort led to complacency?" Congressman Wolf asks. "[Has] the West ceased to be salt and light? What tragedy must befall this community before we are propelled to act?" He tells the story of a German believer, who, during the Holocaust, went to church by a railroad track where trains carried thousands of Jews to their death.
We knew the train was coming and when we heard the whistle blow, we began singing hymns... If we heard the screams, we sang more loudly and soon we heard them no more. Years have passed and no one talks about it anymore. But I still heard that train whistle in my sleep. God forgive me; forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians and yet did nothing.
Next Wednesday, January 16, the President will declare Religious Freedom Day. Congressman Wolf, as the author of the International Religious Freedom Act, knows the Day well. He helped created the Commission on Religious Freedom at the State Department--and last Congress, he did everything he could to create special religious envoy there. His legislation was blocked, ironically, by Senator John Kerry, the President's nominee Secretary of State.
This month, Congressman Wolf is trying again--and he'll need every Christian's help to make it happen. The time has come for the church to engage, or risk facing these threats at our very doors. Contact your Congressman and ask him to recognize Religious Freedom Day by speaking out for the persecuted believers--everywhere. For more on Rep. Wolf's effort, tune in to today's show, "Washington Watch with Tony Perkins" at 5:00 (ET) to hear from the Congressman himself.
Benediction Arnold: White House Turns on Inauguration Pastor
The President's endorsement of same-sex "marriage" wasn't the culmination of the homosexual agenda--in many ways, it was just the beginning of a sweeping zero tolerance policy for any American with a biblical view of sexuality. The country is witnessing that for itself in the breaking news that the President's inauguration no longer includes Pastor Louie Giglio, an evangelical minister who, years ago, delivered a sermon on the Christian response to homosexuality. Gay activists brought the comments to the President's attention and demanded his removal from the ceremony. Although it's unclear whether the White House forced him to withdraw or not, Pastor Giglio formally dropped out less than 24 hours later. In a press release, he insists that his participation and prayer "would be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration."
What a difference four years makes! In 2009, when the Left was in an uproar about Pastor Rick Warren's prayer, the President was quick to come to his defense. "We have to disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things we hold in common as Americans." Now, having revealed his true position on same-sex "marriage," the President seems determined to create even more division. If anything, this pulls back the curtain on the Left's real agenda. And it's not about tolerance. It's about forced acceptance. Americans need to wake up and realize that the homosexual movement cannot be appeased--not by marriage, not by special benefits, not by anything but the sanitization of Christianity from the public square.
In a statement, the President's Inaugural Committee hints there was more behind Pastor Giglio's decision. "We were not aware of Pastor Giglio's past comments at the time of his selection and they don't reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country." Is it really that surprising to a President who professes to be a Christian that an evangelical pastor would hold a biblical definition of marriage and sexuality? The spokeswoman goes on to say that the Committee will work to find someone else whose "beliefs reflect this administration's vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans." (Or at least "all" Americans who agree with the Left's position.)
Perhaps the most shocking part is how willing the White House is to distance itself from the good work Pastor Giglio has done on behalf of human trafficking victims. That's why he was selected in the first place--to draw more attention to the crisis of sexual slavery. None of that seems to matter to a President whose vision of tolerance is just a pretense for religious hostility.
Too often as a church, our tendency is to avoid confrontation. This is a battle, after all, that we did not seek. But the battle is here nonetheless. Will we side step our responsibility or stand for truth?