When I was a kid, I remember reading about those cruel, horrible Roman people who threw Christians to the lions simply because they were Christians! It was awful, and I couldn’t imagine a world where such people existed.
But it has occurred to me lately – the Romans had, what they thought to be – good reasons to persecute Christians. After all, Christians were atheists who refused to worship the Roman gods, they insisted on different behavior AND the fact that they wouldn't worship the Roman Gods was the reason all kinds of terrible woes had begun to occur in Rome. The Roman leaders were simply pointing out those facts – and of course, the people believed them. Those hateful Christians were obstinately claiming to worship a God named Jesus Christ and willfully refusing to worship theirs. Of course it only made sense that Rome should be rid of them.
The Roman people, in fact, were no different than oh… say…. Americans today.
Today there is a new god that America worships – it is the god of ‘freedom’, ‘choice’ and ‘sex’. These gods are good ones. They have given women ‘freedom’ to make whatever ‘choices’ they choose – always a good thing, right? They have given people sexual freedom to ‘love’ whomever, and whatever, they wish. And more ‘love’ is always a good thing, right? These are certainly admirable things that EVERYONE should be on board for – right? And if you are not; well then you must be an awful, hateful person.
Much like those Roman Christians long ago.
For you see, American Christians today are still spouting the same old tired lines as their Roman forebears. They claim things like ‘God’s Word is the only truth’ and ‘freedom is only good if restrained by virtue’ and ‘rights are only good if coupled with duties – and the greatest duty is thou shalt not kill.’ In fact, they even label things ‘life’ that Americans have determined, in their wisdom, are no such things. Things like unborn humans, sick and elderly individuals who have been convinced they are better off dead than alive – you know, worthless things like that.
The Romans had no such compunctions in their day either. If a child was unwanted at birth, the Romans simply left them in the cracks in the city walls at night so that the wolves could finish them off. Why would an unwanted child be allowed to live? But those stupid Christians would go at night and check all the cracks to rescue any infants put there. And women! Whereas Roman women had the right to be used by men for their sexual pleasure and amusement anytime they wanted, Christians insisted that women were made for greater things than that! They claimed that women were to be valued simply for being made in the image of God -and that they were deserving of respect, honor and purity. This simply put burdens on women, and impeded their fun!
And even sex! The Romans were very advanced in their day, and sex was simply just a way to amuse them. Most men had free rein to have sex with free women, their slaves and young boys – whoever and whenever they wanted. But then those ridiculous Christians began teaching that sex outside of marriage was wrong. They even claimed that immorality of all kind was harmful to people, and eventually to society. They conjured up foolish warnings of things like the slow collapse of the great Roman Empire if people did not turn back to their God.
And so you see how easy it is. American people, just like Romans before, see nothing wrong with government slamming of Christians. After all, these Christians are trying to prevent women from having ‘Choice’ (to kill their unborn child); and they refuse to pay for contraceptives and abortion inducing drugs because they claim it violates God law. Even though everyone else, like Roman society before them, disagree with them! They even refuse to accept that homosexuality is simply another lifestyle choice. They continue to claim that God’s law is clear, and that they will not violate it!
And that is why bakers and florists and teachers and clerks must be punished today for not accepting the opinions of the majority and those in power. And the more you think about it; the more you realize that what Chicago's Cardinal George claimed a few years ago is true:
“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square”…. and yet the successor of that bishop-martyr “will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”
Ashley and Susan
Two women asking the world to not just hope, but to Hope in Love.