Here’s a question for you: do you feel persecuted for being a Christian?
Admittedly, religious freedom issues are a hot topic for many Americans. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that the Lord’s Prayer was recited in school every day and the Ten Commandments stood as a monument on many courthouse lawns. But before your thoughts turn to the “good old days,” let me ask another question: have you ever been arrested for being a Christian?
Now, maybe that level of persecution sounds very “first century” to you – like something experienced by the very first Christians who were systematically rounded up by Roman authorities and thrown to the lions. But the question I pose is a serious one, because the fact is, arrests are a sad reality for many modern Christians in the here and now!
Imagine having to choose between denying your faith or being beaten by authorities simply because you choose to worship the Lord openly. The thought is chilling, but this is the choice some of our partners have to make every single day in certain places where Jesus might be considered an unwanted, corrupting influence. In these dangerous areas of the world, our Cross Catholic partners must follow government guidelines placing restrictions on catechism and worship. Or else!
So the next time you feel persecuted for being a Christian in America, take pause. Say a prayer for those who not only feel persecuted but suffer the kind of aggressive persecution that leads to imprisonment, torture or worse. And add a prayer of thanks that you are able to live out your faith openly every day. Not everyone in the world has that freedom.