Many news sources at this time of year publish “Top 10” lists looking back on notable events of the past year. Many of these lists are lighthearted or, at the very least, try to reflect on some of the more positive events of the expiring year. I'm not saying that nothing good has happened in 2012 but as I look back, this year seems to have brought many challenges to the Church. I hate to throw a wet blanket on everyone's New Year celebrations, but here are a few things Christians need to think about and pray for in 2013.
Chick-fil-A CEO, Dan Cathy, suffered much political persecution after his personal endorsement of traditional marriages. In a less publicized story, Matt Grubbs, owner of Maryland based, Discover Annapolis Tours, has decided to close shop rather than facing a pointless legal battle with Maryland's Commission on Civil Rights because Discover Annapolis Tours does not offer its services to same sex couples. These are not isolated cases. More and more Christian business owners are discovering that their right to exercise their faith is subservient to an unenumerated right to be gay.
The tide is turning in America concerning gay marriage. In November, Maine and Maryland became the first states to approve gay marriage by popular vote, breaking a 32-state streak where gay marriage has already been defeated at the ballot box. In some states where gay marriage was defeated in referendum, it has still been foisted upon the people by activist courts or liberal legislatures. Nine states now allow same sex marriage.
Christian owned businesses have also found their right to practice their religion is being infringed upon by The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly called “Obamacare”). In an editorial last January, Catholic Bishop, David Zubik, detailed how the new health care law violates Catholic doctrine by forcing Catholic owned organization to pay for birth control and abortion-inducing drugs as part of its healthcare benefit their employees.
The new law doesn't just effect Catholics. Any Christian who owns a business will be forced to offer these services to their employees regardless of his or her religious conviction.
The Obama administration has set forth guidelines in a weak attempt to defend the religious liberties of Christian businesses but they are so narrow they basically do not exempt anyone except churches.
By the way, since when does the government get to decide which organizations are religious enough to practice their faith?
The DNC Booed God
More and more often, we see God being pushed out of public discourse. Prayer has long since been removed from schools along with the 10 Commandments. High school commencement speeches are scrubbed and censored to insure no student makes any mention of God. In general, any mention of God in the public arena risks swift reprisal from the ACLU or the Americans for the Separation of Church and State.
The recent election shed light on the current administration's attitude toward people of faith. The Democrat platform conspicuously omitted any mention of God and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (both of which had been included in the platform in previous elections). Having long been seen as the anti-God party already, the Democrats soon realized that omission was a little too blatant and moved to amend the platform and add the words. A voice vote was taken and the motion did not seem to have the required number of “aye” votes to be adopted. In an awkward moment of indecisiveness, former Governor, Ted Strickland, deemed the motion had passed which prompted a round of boos from the delegates.
On September 5, 2012, Democrats booed God!
2012 was spotted with tragic murders in Colorado and Connecticut. The senseless events serve to remind us that evil is real. John 16:33 tells us that in this fallen world there will be tribulation but we can have peace in Jesus.
These sad events have been made even more unfortunate as political opportunists have shamelessly used them as leverage to infringe upon our God given right to own guns. The war on God includes attacks on our liberties.
There were many things that happened in 2012 that I could discuss now but I don't mean this to be an exhaustive list. Neither am I saying that these are the “top” events of that past 12 months. I've merely given these few examples to put the past year into perspective.
The New Year is usually a time for celebration and optimism. People see it as a turning of the page – an opportunity to start over on the right foot. I'm not trying to take away from any of that. Instead, I want people to think about some goals we could have for 2013 that might be a little more important than losing weight or going to the gym.