by Jefferson David Tant
A familiar phrase to Americans is found in our Declaration of Independence, which says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
You will notice that credit for these truths is given to God, our Creator. We are thankful today for the foresight of our Founding Fathers, and their acknowledgment of the existence of God and the blessings He has bestowed on His creation.
Now consider a world where there is no God. What “unalienable rights” would men have? There would be none except the instinct of self-preservation. What rights did humans have in the slaughter of millions under the rule of atheist Marxists in Russian, or the ethnic cleansing of millions of Jews under the atheist German Hitler, or the present slaughter of millions of Uighurs under China's atheistic Communist government? And we could go on and on with similar stories. We must consider that this is one of the ultimate conclusions of atheism.
Sadly, it is evident today that there are forces within our nation that are doing their best to erase any mention of God or any religious influence in our nation. Military chaplains have had severe restrictions placed upon them. Prayer and Bibles have been kicked out of our public schools. Can you fathom a 5-year-old kindergartener being rebuked for bowing her head to give thanks for her food in the school cafeteria? Or a young boy being forbidden to bring his Bible to read during a class period devoted to bringing a favorite book to read? Then there was the case of a girl who was to deliver the valedictorian speech at graduation. She was instructed that she could not mention God in her speech. This young woman formulated a plan with her fellow students. At one point in her speech, she sneezed. The class in unison said, “God bless you.” Good for them.
A State Department report points out that “more than half the world's population suffers under regimes where the most basic freedoms are systematically denied, or under regimes too weak or unwilling to protect individual rights, especially in the context of ethnic conflict.”
Without God, what “rights” are humans born with? It is interesting that there are atheists who give credit to the “idea” of God and its benefits while denying that God exists. Friederich Nietzsche, who claimed that “God is dead,” said universal human rights came from a Christian view of the world. Tom Holland, the author of Dominion, has recognized that our ideas about freedom and the dignity of humans are the product of Christianity. The atheist philosopher Luc Ferry, wrote a book titled A Brief History of Thought, and observed that the idea of the existence of a God is why the “west owes its entire democratic inheritance.”
Yet increasingly, we see believers in God paying the price for their faith. A New Jersey teacher suspended for giving a student a Bible; the Washington football coach placed on leave for saying a prayer on the field at a game”s end; the Atlanta fire chief fired for publishing a book defending Christian moral teaching; the Marine court-martialed for posting a Bible verse above her desk; and other examples of the new intolerance. Anti-Christian activists hurl smears like “bigot” and “hater” at Americans who hold traditional beliefs about marriage and accuse anti-abortion Christians of waging a supposed “war on women.”
Various conservative institutions face pressure to conform to secularist ideology — or else. Evangelical schools like Gordon College in Massachusetts and Kings College in New York have had their accreditation questioned. It is argued that such schools don”t deserve accreditation, period. Activists are targeting homeschooling for being a Christian thing; atheist Richard Dawkins and others even compare it to child abuse. Student groups like InterVarsity have been kicked off campuses.
American Atheists Association, Black Lives Matter, Military Religious Freedom Foundation…Well, there is not enough room to list them all. According to an article in the Washington Times, February 24, 2015, here is what we face:
“More than 200 groups and organizations that 'openly display bigotry' toward the Christian faith have been identified on an interactive map, a traditional values group said Tuesday. These atheist, humanist, gay rights, or anti-Christian groups have made the list because they have tried to silence Christians or remove all public displays of Christian heritage and faith in America, said the American Family Association (AFA) in Tupelo, MS” [Cheryl Wetzstein].
So, in the face of increasing attacks on Christians, what are we to do? Here are some suggestions.
- Pray for strength. “The LORD is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29). “My soul weeps because of grief; strengthen me according to Your word” (Psalms 119:28).
- Pray for our leaders. “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (I Timothy 2:1-3).
- Strengthen our faith. In a conversation Christ was having with his disciples, “The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" (Luke 17:5). And how do we increase our faith? “Be diligent [“study” KJV] to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15).
- Resolve to stand strong, as did Job. “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him” (Job 13:15). Which of us has endured one-tenth of the trials that Job suffered?
- Accept persecution when it comes. “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).
As our nation faces trying times, let us pray for a restoration of the principles that guided our forefathers which are enshrined in our “Pledge of Allegiance:” “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” And yes, some are now clamoring for the removal of “under God.” I still like the song “God Bless America!”