Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Forced Conversion of Christians

Grace and peace to you, gentle reader, from our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

Today, at the American Thinker, Fay Voshell has an excellent piece on Forced Conversion of Christians in America. She cites two examples, but I am sure you can think of many others. One is the continuing dismantling of Christian symbols like the Ten Commandments that were taken down from the grounds of Oklahoma's state capitol. Voshell:
Under the cover of darkness, construction workers removed from the grounds of Oklahoma’s state capitol a granite slab on which the Ten Commandments were engraved. The furtive undertaking, which had the appearance of a mini apocalypse, complete with an eerie darkness and billowing stone dust clouds occurred within a state in which only 5.7% of the population declares itself “non-religious.”
At Christmas time especially, you hear about nativity scenes being banned in this city, or that. Or you hear about them compromising by including a Jewish Menorah, or some other religion's symbols.... you know, just to be "fair." If you are like me, your gut twists when reading about such things, because you know that these symbols are important, but they are not the faith itself. Being a Christian involves having faith in the saving Grace of Jesus the Christ, and in following Christ as dictated by the Word and the Holy Spirit.

But Voshell presents even more insidious methods by which the Christians who try to be disciples are being forced to worship instead the State:
Yes, mandatory capitulation to another belief system, in this case, the religion of the progressive State, is actually forced conversion from Christianity to progressive secularism. If Christians must bow down to, sacrifice and worship the gods of the State, Christians are no longer Christians. They are converts.

What does forced conversion to the state religion look like?

A program of forced conversion looks very much like what is happening to the churches in California.

According to Becky Yeh, reporting for Live Action News, the California Department of Managed Health Care is mandating that churches subsidize elective abortions by requiring congregations to cover the practice in their health insurance plans.
But the demand that churches provide abortion coverage goes far beyond “government entanglement” to government demand that Christians must participate in the progressive sacrament of abortion. As just noted, capitulation to that demand effectively means forced conversion to the current religion of the State. A person or Church simply is no longer Christian after so severe an overriding of their conscience and principles.
It does not help, of course, when Church leaders, Bishops, and Deacons of the Church capitulate before being forced to by the state. For example, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), a congregation of which I am a member (for now), several years ago decided to ordain pastors who are homosexual and are in a committed relationship. How this came about you can read here. I have thought about this, and prayed, but in the end, I still think it was the wrong decision.

Now, we all sin and fall short, I most of all. We all live only because of God's grace. But would a congregation tolerate a pastor who was having an affair? How about a pastor who was embezzling money from the Church?  One must love such a pastor, and include them in the Church life and ministry, but one can not tolerate such behavior while acting in the position of being pastor of a congregation.  It may even mean that the Deacons must take firm action to excommunicate him until he repents.

Voshell notes that while the State may try to force its religion on believers, in fact they will still remain Christian in their hearts, but it will mean the end of the Republic. She writes:
Dispense with freedom of religion; accept the State’s power to force its religion on you and your children, and you will get the results you are seeing in America today. You will see the end of the Republic.

But while there is still a window of opportunity, Christians do not have to passively accept exile, be it self-imposed, as it often and lamentably has been in the past, or forcibly imposed on them by a rival State religion that brooks no opposition.

There are still tools available to Christians who wish to preserve their religious freedom, civil disobedience being among them.
But, you have to first find others like yourself and form alliances with them. In my case, I intend to withdraw from the ELCA and seek out a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church to attend. The new ELCA is not the church of my youth, but seems to have been hijacked, as so many institutions have been, by the "Progessives," who are also known as socialists, communists, and sometimes as liberals.  Their "march through the institutions" is nearing completion, and we may at last be left standing on our own.  But, as society burns, while there is a window not yet blocked, one should crawl out of it.

Update: If you need another example, here is one by Ted Starnes over at Townhall.com entitled School District Threatens to Fire Football Coach if he Prays in Public.

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