Cal Thomas

Speaking to an audience of devoted fans at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville last Friday, Donald Trump said if reelected president he will “… create a new federal task force on fighting anti-Christian bias. … Its mission will be to investigate all forms of illegal discrimination, harassment and persecution against Christians in America.”

Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the mega First Baptist Church in Dallas, said Trump’s speech “was the most powerfully pro-Christian speech I’ve ever heard from any president. He will win the Christian vote in a landslide!”

From the beginning of the nation, presidents and candidates have used religious language and quoted Scripture to influence especially conservative Christians to vote for them and back their policies. Not all have meant what they said, or followed through in their personal and political lives in ways that reflected the faith they claimed to hold.

Trump also repeated his assertion that the “radical left…” want(s) to tear down crosses where they can, and cover them up with social justice flags,” adding, “But no one will be touching the cross of Christ under the Trump administration, I swear to you.”

I always thought crosses were a good defense against vampires until someone told me there are no vampires in America. I replied, “see, the crosses are working!”

But seriously, folks.

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Evangelical Christians who believe government is necessary to defend their faith are getting their marching orders from somewhere other than the Scriptures they claim to revere.

For those who need a reminder on what should be expected from the unbelieving world, here are some verses that might help sharpen their focus.

Paul, an Apostle of Jesus, suffered numerous persecutions because of his faith. These included beatings, shipwrecks, hunger, jail and eventually death. He responded: “ My persecutions and sufferings that happened to me … I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Jesus Christ will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:11-12 ) All means all.

Jesus, Himself, told his disciples to expect persecution: “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you…” ( John 15;19-20 )

Elsewhere, Matthew records Jesus saying: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12)

The key words here are “for righteousness’ sake” and “falsely.” If one is persecuted for saying and doing stupid things, the persecution is on them.

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Christians all over the world have suffered harsh persecution. American Christians think they are being persecuted for things that would be considered trivial by those who have experienced imprisonment, even death, for their faith.

Surveys show that many Americans, especially the young, have stopped attending formal worship services because they see them as having been tainted by poisonous political agendas. People of strong faith who have not made a bargain with the political devils of our day don’t need secular government to defend them. Like those Christians of the past they (and some in the present like Russian patriot Alexei Navalny) should stand strong for their faith, living it out in the world in obedience to the one they call “Lord.”

If they do that, the world just might stand back and marvel.

Email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.


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