The Cross and Political Correctness

In the last few weeks the national news has been focusing on the legislation in Indiana and Arkansas dealing with protecting religious liberty. We are in the midst of a collision of biblical and non-biblical values. Before dealing with the contemporary events I would like to go back to the Roman Empire and its use of crucifixion.

The Romans were not inventive. They were innovative. They had the practice of using other cultures’ ideas and improving them. Crucifixion was used by the Persians and the Macedonians, but the Romans took the practice to a new level. Crucifixion was not about killing the victim. There were much more efficient means of execution, and the Romans loved efficiency. The main purpose of crucifixion was silencing opposition. If a non-citizen was determined a threat to Roman rule he was crucified. You may have been unhappy under Roman rule, but you kept your thoughts to yourself, because the cross was always looming. Crassus crucified 6,000 slaves after crushing their uprising. That was the last revolt by the slaves. Crucifixion silenced the opposition.

We do not literally crucify people today. We are more civilized in silencing opposition than that. The Indiana Freedom of Religion bill was in line with federal legislation signed by President Bill Clinton. The purpose was to support the First Amendment protections for Indiana residents. The news media “carried the water” for the homosexual community portraying the law as promoting businesses who wish to discriminate against homosexuals. Like numerous other recent events, the facts of the case were never presented. America has become a society that does not desire truth. Our culture does not want an exchange of ideas. Instead of presenting the various positions in the public arena and trusting that the truth and the superior position will win the day, divergent positions are silenced by “crucifixion”, that horrible death.

Crucifixion was designed to humiliate and intimidate. The victim was scourged with lashes tipped with metal and bone. They were disfigured with pieces of flesh hanging from the open wounds exposing bones. They were stripped of their clothes. They were hung along the public roadways. They were made less than human. American “crucifixion” involves a social media blitz bombarding the enemy with hate mail and threats. The guilty party’s livelihood or business is threatened. The person’s integrity, character, and morals are maligned. In some cases the federal government becomes involved with threats of IRS audits or justice department investigations. The message to the observing masses is clear, do not express your views, especially do not take a stand for a biblical worldview, go with the flow. It is not surprising that our politicians run for cover, who wants that kind of attention. But, we are not politicians. We are followers of Christ.

As His followers, we are to love all people while standing on His word. As Americans we have a unique place in history. As an army officer, I took an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution. We have been given a priceless gift of the First Amendment. The freedom of religion is the foundational right. When it falls, all others will follow. As a Christian, I am a bondservant of Christ. I am to be faithful to my Lord even if it conflicts with the government. We have a moral obligation to protect our constitutional rights for future generations. In the recent collisions of values there is a clearly stated constitutional right, the freedom of religion, versus a lifestyle choice. Christianity is not a religion of coercion. You must come to Christ of your own free will. Whether you come or not, you are to be loved as a human being. The sanctity of human life is true for all. I reject all lifestyles that do not conform to God’s word, but respect the person’s right to choose their own life. In turn, I expect others to respect my choice. Do not try to force me affirm yours. The homosexual social agenda is the affirmation of their worldview while stripping all others of theirs, and one of their most powerful tools is “crucifying” anyone brave, or foolish, enough to speak in opposition. Christians and others can hold their private views, but cannot express those views as others do. We are being forced out of the public arena. Christian businesses daily serve people of other faiths and lifestyles, but that is not enough. Now those businesses must participate in practices contrary to Christian beliefs. There is a difference between others practicing their lifestyles (i.e., homosexual marriages) and being required to approve of the practice by catering the event, or providing flowers. You know it is political correctness when a Muslim business does not have to serve me pork barbeque, or the equivalent for businesses of a liberal viewpoint.

The Jewish religious leaders and the Roman government thought they had silenced the teacher from Nazareth. By all appearances they had won. The followers of Jesus were scattered, in hiding, and terrified. That was the usual effect of crucifixion. But, they were wrong. The Resurrection changed everything. The world was “turned right side up” by His followers. (Remember, it was the lost who said the disciples were turning the world upside down.) The Holy Spirit transformed the disciples into men who were more in awe of God than afraid of the cross. Tradition tells us that the disciples died for the faith. Thousands of Christians died under Roman persecution and the Church’s response to the hate was love.

Political correctness is effective as long as people are intimidated. As American Christians we have the right to hold our moral positions and exercise them in the political process. That said, our greatest concern is not the political ramifications of our silence. Our faith is not lived out in isolation.  We cannot be not salt and light in selected arenas. If we are followers of Christ, He is Lord of all the arenas of our lives.  We must speak truth in love and with boldness. Where would we be if the first century disciples were silenced by the political correctness of their time? Where will our grandchildren be if we are not faithful? No one wants to be vilified, but Jesus was not excited about his looming crucifixion.



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