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Posts tagged ‘Pride Month’

Secular intolerance of Christians’ views is leading to self-censorship, report warns


Posted By Anugrah Kumar, Christian Post Contributor | June 13, 2022

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/secular-intolerance-of-christians-is-leading-to-self-censorship-report.html/

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Secular intolerance has a “chilling effect” on Christians who are having to practice “various forms of self-censorship” as they’re finding it difficult to express their faith freely in society, according to a new report detailing accounts from four countries.

“Secular intolerance has a chilling effect on Christians, which directly affects their capacity to express their faith freely in society and is leading to various forms of self-censorship,” says the report, titled “Perceptions on Self-Censorship: Confirming and Understanding the ‘Chilling Effect,’” which includes case studies from France, Germany, Colombia and Mexico.

“Some people do indeed fear being subjected to legal proceedings or being criminally sanctioned on charges of discrimination, while others fear being subjected to disciplinary proceedings in their work or places,” notes the study, compiled by the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, the Observatory of Religious Freedom in Latin America and the International Institute for Religious Freedom.

“With some exceptions, the majority chose to keep its expressions of faith or its opinions on issues related to life, marriage and the family from a Christian doctrine perspective private because they had witnessed sanctions or prosecutions to which colleagues or peers had been subjected,” it adds.

Many incidents cited in the report might seem insignificant, the authors say, but “these many small things together cause ‘death by a thousand cuts.’”

“A few cuts do not kill you and barely hurt. But continuous small strikes eventually have an impact. We posit that the accumulation of seemingly insignificant incidents creates an environment in which Christians do not feel comfortable — to some degree — to live their faith freely. Indeed, Western Christians experience a ‘chilling effect’ resulting from perceived pressures in their cultural environment, related to widely mediatized court cases.”

Further, the study observes, “Because of the subtle and generally non-physically violent nature of the chilling effect, it is often misunderstood or even ignored and therefore largely remains invisible.”

“This is the main reason why the phenomenon is not recognized in religious freedom datasets such as the Pew Research Center indexes,” the authors add. 

The report also warns this form of censorship is not only limiting people’s exercise of religion or their right to manifest their convictions, “but also that these violations to the right to religious freedom can cause the disappearance of religion in a given context.”

Madeleine Enzelberger, executive director of OIDAC Europe, said the study “raises the legitimate question of: how is it possible in a mature, liberal democratic society that stands for tolerance, diversity, and inclusive and open discourse, that people are frightened to freely speak their minds?” according to Christian Today.

Many Christians interviewed as part of the study did not realize they were self-censoring. In some cases, they had self-censored to the extent that they now “stop seeing the characteristics related to self-censorship as a problem.”

As one of its conclusions, the study laments that “the Church has allowed itself to be self-censored … Christian religious leaders have more freedom to express themselves freely (but they do not always take advantage of it).”

To remedy this form of censorship, the authors suggest there’s “an urgent need to educate policymakers, public servants (including the police) and judges about religion to increase their religious literacy.”

“We have seen that a high degree of religious illiteracy leads to misunderstanding of how religion informs behavior in different spheres of society and what the legitimate role of religion in the public domain is. Illiteracy therefore can consequently be the cause of ‘practical intolerance’ against Christians.”

Pride Month: Things I’m proud of and things I’m not


Reported By Jay Lowder, Op-Ed Contributor | Friday, June 10, 2022

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/voices/pride-month-things-im-proud-of-and-things-im-not.html/

File photo shows men kissing each other during a gay protest in front at Nossa Senhora da Paz church in Rio de Janeiro, August 3, 2003. | (Photo: REUTERS/Bruno Domingos)

This month, the Church is confronted with a great opportunity as individuals, companies and the LGBTQ community celebrate “Pride Month.”

I was 18 when it was revealed to me that a family member had come out as gay. Shocked, embarrassed, and more concerned with how it might make “me” look, I responded out of anger that looked like hate more than anything else. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I viciously lashed out and actually told this individual I was ashamed of her, that she was no longer my family, and that I never wanted to speak to her again.

Sure, it was a different day and time, but that is no excuse. At the time, same-sex relationships were mostly covert and culturally viewed in a completely different light than they are today. Those who “came out,” at least in the South where I lived, were usually met with a dump truck of condemnation and at the very most a thimble of love and compassion, especially from people like me who were legalistic, judgmental, and filled with self-righteousness.

My actions erected a barrier between us as big as the great wall of China, and I kept it intact for the worse part of the next two years. It lasted until something major happened in my life; I went from a religious person who knew about Christ to a person who had received Him and had Him living in my life. Only then, did I realize how wrong I had been.

I reached out and expressed my regret, apology, and unconditional love. That simple act instantly restored a severed relationship. Of course, we had different opinions and convictions but never again was there any division or separation. I am proud to say we both began to genuinely love and respect one another, and it has continued this way in the decades since.

Regrettably, my original response is often the same that many other professing believers continue to serve on plates of false superiority.

For believers, the non-negotiable template has been given to love others…regardless! We must not forget the example of Christ who commonly showed love, concern, and compassion to people who had fallen into an array of transgressions. Jesus never categorized wrongs but made it clear that each of us has fallen extremely short and are in need of forgiveness and grace.

Why are we so eager to receive mercy yet so unwilling to dispense it to others?

Jesus made it clear it is not our duty to “change” anyone. This alone is the work of God. Our job is to pray for people and recognize EVERY person on earth has worth in the sight of God. It is an undeniable truth that Christ did not come to save “some,” and we would do well to remember the well-known verse that states “God so loved the world.”  He did not select a few or the religious, righteous, or untainted but the entire world. 

We as believers need to stop categorizing the failings of others. Have we dismissed the admonition to first take the plank from our own eyes? Jesus did not treat the thieving tax collector any different than the demon-possessed man or the adulteress woman. He did not berate, condemn or belittle anyone except an occasional religious phony. It is quite possible, maybe even likely, if He were on earth today, that the group He would chastise the most would not be those who had fallen into adultery, same-sex relationships, or fornication, but rather those of us who are busy quoting His words but not living them.

Our call is certainly to speak the truth but NEVER, absolutely never, without love or the recognition that we are also severely stained and not without fault. Jesus said love covers a multitude of faults and is the greatest gift of all. Speaking love alone is not enough; it must be shown through words and deeds, or otherwise it is nothing more than an annoying, empty sound.

During not only this month but every day of the year, this is what I hope we can remember most.

I just hung up the phone with the family member I wrongly judged and mistreated. I wanted to ask her permission to write about the incredible relationship we have shared for countless years. She gladly agreed and told me she couldn’t wait for me to meet her new boyfriend this July – the first guy she has dated in over three decades.

God’s love always wins!   

Jay Lowder is an evangelist and founder of Jay Lowder Harvest Ministries. He is also the producer of “The Darkest Hour” television program and author of “Midnight in Aisle 7.”

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