Watching the news in the last few weeks, I couldnt help but wonder: Who let the dogs out? And who decided to sic them on Christians?
At the University of Virginia, the school paper, The Cavalier Daily, recently ran two cartoons that deliberately offended Christians. One, titled A Nativity Ob-scene, features Joseph asking Mary about a nasty rash. Mary tells him her rash was immaculately transmitted.
The second comic is titled Christ on a Cartesian Plane. It depicts the Crucifixion with a parabolic graph superimposed on the figure of Christ.
The Cavalier Daily initially refused to apologize for giving offenceeven though editors apologized last year for a cartoon homosexuals found offensive. After more than two thousand angry calls and e-mails, the editors and cartoonist finally did apologize.
And then there were those charming comments from Rosie ODonnell, speaking on the ABC TV program The View. While discussing the September 11 anniversary and the war in Iraq, ODonnell compared radical Christianity to the beliefs of Islamo-fascist terrorists who murdered three thousand people on September 11. She declared, Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America.
Her comment shocked co-host Joy Behar, who said, But Christians are not threatening to kill us. Theres that difference. ODonnell refused to back down.
Today even Christian vegetables are not immune to attacks. NBC recently began airing the popular VeggieTales cartoons on Saturday mornings. Each cartoon ends with a Bible verse. That is, they are supposed to. But just two weeks before the first episode was due, NBC ordered the producers of VeggieTales to edit out all biblical references. After all, they might offend people! Is this the same network that tells parents that if they are offended by prime-time sex and profanity to just turn the channel or use a V-Chip? Is this the same network that will allow Madonna to sing a song from her tourthe one she performs while suspended from a crucifix? Evidently, blasphemy and four-letter words are fine, but any positive mention of God is so offensive it has to be censored.
I may be particularly sensitive these days to religious bigotry because of what Prison Fellowship has lately endured. Last June, a federal judge shot down the InnerChange Freedom Initiative, an extremely effective pre-release program for prisoners launched by Prison Fellowship. Why? Not because of what the program did, but because of who we are. And we, as he defined us, were evangelicals who could not say or do anything without intending to convert someone else.
When we Christians see our faith treated with such hostility, our blood starts to boil. But we should remember that the Church was born into a hostile environment. Throughout history, the Church has always made its most profound witness when it was under attack. Why? Because then, more than at any other time, we have the opportunity to demonstrate the unmerited love, patience, mercy, and grace of God.
Indeed, when the culture sets the dogs on us, we have a biblical responsibility to speak the truth, yes, but to speak it in love. In so doing, we provide our greatest witness and unleash the greatest power: Thats the power of the love of God in Jesus Christ.
From BreakPoint®, September 20, 2006, Copyright 2006, Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with the permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. BreakPoint® and Prison Fellowship Ministries® are registered trademarks of Prison Fellowship Ministries.