Tuesday, September 22, 2009
By Brenda Black
An upright man wronged must still do what is right. That's not an old proverb. It's the plot for a 1956 Hitchcock classic, “The Man Who Knew Too Much.” James Stewart and Doris Day encounter international espionage, fight to find their kidnapped son and thwart the assassination of a foreign diplomat. And it's all done as innocent tourists. Had Stewart's leading character not been so trustworthy, their Moroccan vacation may have been considerably less eventful and far more safe. But along with upright living, comes responsibility.
From the movies to current events, a few leading headlines easily communicate that standing for something in the real world demands one be prepared to fight for it. Persecution and political pressure compels Christians to take the high road. Sometimes at great cost.
Headline: “Officials Cleared in Prayer Injunction Case.” This story comes from The Washington Times writer Julia Duhin, who recounts the trial of two Florida school officials. “The ACLU complained to Judge Rodgers after Mr. Lay asked Mr. Freeman to offer mealtime prayers at a Jan. 28 lunch for school employees and booster club members who had helped with a school field house project. The judge then issued a contempt order for the two men.
“When asked Thursday why he agreed to give the prayer, 'It was just out of reflex,' Mr. Freeman told the judge, according to the Pensacola News-Journal. His testimony was part of a 10-hour hearing involving several witnesses.”
If the men had been found guilty, their penalty would equal six months in jail and a possible loss of their retirement benefits and $5,000 each in fines.” For thanking God for the booster club!
It gets worse: “Christian Hotel Owners Hauled Before Court After Defending Their Beliefs in Discussion with Muslim Guest.” This story takes place in England, but sounds frighteningly probable right here in the U.S. According to reporter Jonathan Petre of the London Daily Mail, the hotel owners do not believe they were threatening, abusive or insulting. David Whiting, their defense attorney said “They are committed Christians and it is the defense’s contention that they have every right to defend their religious beliefs and explain those beliefs to others who do not hold similar views.”
The article goes on to say, “The use by the police of the Public Order Act to arrest people over offensive comments has dismayed a number of lawyers, who say the legislation was passed to deal with law and order problems in the streets. Neil Addison, a prominent criminal barrister and expert in religious law, said: ‘The purpose of the Public Order Act is to prevent disorder, but I’m very concerned that the police are using it merely because someone is offended.
“‘It should be used where there is violence, yobbish behaviour or gratuitous personal abuse. It should never be used where there has been a personal conversation or debate with views firmly expressed. If someone is in a discussion and they don’t like what they are hearing, they can walk away.’ He added that the police had a legal duty under the Human Rights Act to defend free speech ‘and I think they are forgetting that.’”
What do you know? If a Christian invokes a blessing it is a crime. If a Christian defends his faith it is a crime. And still an upright man wronged must do what is right because we ultimately count it all loss for the sake of Christ.
“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:10-11)
Christ was upright. He was crucified. We are called to carry His cross every day we live.