Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

A review of Speechless: Silencing the Christians. By Donald Wildmon.

May 8, 2009

Richard Vigilante Books, 2009.

The many freedoms and benefits of Western civilisation are in large measure due to the Judeo-Christian worldview. Yet throughout the West, Christianity is increasingly coming under attack. Religious freedom in general and Christianity in particular are both under direct assault as the West moves in a leftwards and secular direction.

Donald Wildmon, who has for decades championed pro-faith and pro-family causes, here documents the relentless war being waged against biblical Christianity. He provides numerous examples of how Christians in North America are being targeted by secular activists.

All these cases of anti-Christian bigotry and intimidation make for very sobering reading. One wonders how it is that a nation like the US has so quickly become a land where Christians are being bullied into silence, and where activist minority groups are turning the values and beliefs of a once great nation upside down.

Earlier books have offered similar warnings. Persecution by David Limbaugh (Regnery, 2003) and The Criminalization of Christianity by Janet Folger (Multnomah, 2005) were two such books. But things have heated up considerably ever since those volumes were released.

Simply listing the many examples of the war on Christianity could fill volumes. Consider briefly a few recent cases:

-Christians are arrested for expressing their concerns about homosexuality.
-A church was told by the government that it must allow lesbian “weddings” to be performed there.
-Workers are being fired for simply quoting from the Bible.
-Christians are jailed for singing in a public park where a homosexual festival is held.
-School kids have been threatened for daring to recite passages of Scripture.
-Christian charities are being shut down for refusing to comply with politically correct agendas.
-Workers are told the words “family values” are offensive and cannot be used in the workplace.
-Fines and imprisonment are being handed out to those who speak up for Christian values in the public arena.

The list goes on and on. A once free nation is now becoming a soft totalitarian state, where the biggest threat to the government seems to be biblical Christians who stand up for their faith. Wildmon documents how in every field – be it education, the workplace, finance and taxation, the media, the courts – laws are being passed and actions taken which specifically target believers who refuse to bow to the secularist agenda.

Wildmon examines groups like the ACLU which seek to “intimidate the schools and other public institutions into censoring Christian speech” for fear of legal action. He also looks at how government bodies are putting the squeeze on Christian groups, all the while funding and promoting organisations which oppose Christianity.

Increasingly it is an activist judiciary which is using rights talk to target Christians. Legislation which sounds good on the surface is being used to implement the secular left’s agenda and silence believers. Whether it is anti-discrimination legislation or equal opportunity laws, it is getting harder by the day for believers to freely proclaim their beliefs and values in the public arena.

One of the most insidious examples of such legislation is the so-called “hate speech” laws which are being passed. These usually include sexual orientation and gender identity components which are designed to gag all criticism of the homosexual lifestyle.

Consider two Christian employees of the city of Oakland, California who were ordered to stop posting flyers which used such terms as “natural family,” and “marriage”. They had done this in response to a steady stream of anti-Christian messages sent by city officials on the city’s email and bulletin board systems.

A lesbian activist complained that such terms were “hate speech” and the pair had to cease and desist. It seems that tax dollars can be used to assault the beliefs and values of Christians, but if believers dare to respond, they are met with the full force of the law.

As Wildmon demonstrates, the “homosecularists” are using these bogus hate speech laws to in fact punish politically incorrect thoughts. The “crime” entails the supposed “hateful” thoughts, not the act itself. Thus if a pastor simply quotes from a passage of the Bible which is critical of homosexuality, he can be accused of a hate crime and punished accordingly, all because his thoughts do not conform to the homosexual lobby and its agenda.

Says Wildmon: “The law in general and criminal law in particular is properly concerned with actions. When the law attempts to first identify and then punish certain thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, the law becomes a force of tyranny.”

Tyranny it is, and it is a secular tyranny with Christianity directly in the crosshairs. Says Wildmon, “Laws equating the expression of Christian principles with promoting an illegal act put a terrible weapon in the hands of the secularists who want to silence Christians.”

And it gets worse: “Federal hate crime proposals typically include monetary bonuses to local and state governments for prosecuting such crimes.” So there may even be financial incentives to go after those pesky Christians. So be forewarned: carrying a Bible in a park, having a Christian bumper sticker, or displaying an inspirational poster in the workplace may all soon be considered to be hate crimes.

This book is must reading. Not only does Wildmon offer us a vitally important book, but the foreword by Ann Coulter is almost worth the price of the book itself. She rightly warns how the secular left is actively seeking to squeeze faith out of the public square:

“For them separation of church and state is a door that swings only one way. Every time the government expands into a new aspect of life, suddenly we have to ‘separate out’ religion. First they claim there is no place for religion in the public square, then they expand the public square to include everything”.

Exactly so. And as she reminds us, the battle is really a battle of theism versus anti-theism: “Liberals used to hate Christianity because it was the most powerful force in the world opposing communism. Now they hate Christianity because it is the most powerful force in the world opposing sexual depravity. In both cases their real enemy has been God.”

What Coulter calls leftist/liberal dhimmitude – the imposition of “liberal sharia law” – is very carefully chronicled and detailed in this vitally important book. Every believer must read it and be reminded of how the secular pogrom against Christianity is gaining momentum throughout the West.

We are clearly in danger of losing it all. Thus we need to be informed about the battles we face, and be made aware of the foes who seek our ruin. This book very capably does just that. Ignore this book at your own peril.

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14 Responses to A review of Speechless: Silencing the Christians. By Donald Wildmon.

  • Great Article Bill.

    It is also worth noting that even when proclaiming the truth it can still be considered hate speech. For instance if I say in the public arena that ‘there is a higher chance of contacting HIV in the homosexual community than in the heterosexual community’. this comment could be considered hate speech even though this statement is truth and can be backed up by evidence.

    It seams that truth is no longer important.

    Brad Rauber

  • Many thanks Brad

    I see you actually stock the book in Australia. Well done. Here are the ordering details;

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • True enough as far as it goes however, it can be argued that perhaps much of the backlash against Christianity in the USA is as much about the subconscious puritan face perceived by the unconverted as it is about the people refusing to carry their Cross and follow the Lord.
    In fact it just might be that materialism and an uncritical acceptance of ‘greed is good’ in business, mass n’ crass marketing and un-unionised workplaces by many Christians is actually a big turn-off for many Americans.
    Human nature quite rightly revolts inthe long run and by most people against puritanism that is often the counterfeit being falsely presented as Christianity.
    I would say that a warm incarnational Christian Faith firmly rooted in the Church and not a private interpretation of the Bible with the cliche ridden term of ‘bible Christianity’ which is often code for ‘we are really puritans and love it and we really wish to pretend that the historic Church is not in the room; so leave us to our fantasies and our wish to foist this on to others’.
    Well it looks like middle American is rejecting this kind of ‘Christianity’.

    Michael Webb

  • Thanks, Bill.
    Depressing, isn’t it!
    However, while not endorsing the air of resignation which some prophecy buffs adopt, I do see prophetic significance in this, for the following reasons:
    1. The end of ‘Old Europe’ and the emergence of the new European State under the Lisbon Treaty.
    2. The move to a world totalitarian state, whose programme inter alia will be a hostile, anti-Christian crusade, making war with the saints and overpowering them.
    3. Governments of the West and the East who either are, or are fast becoming profoundly anti-Christian in their stance, with the result that the Christian Church ends the era as it began in the days of ancient Rome: an alien, unwelcome, and pestilent minority, seen as bad for the family, bad for society, bad for the state, bad for the world at large, and which must be eliminated, so that man at his God-defying worst will be supreme.

    Never before has all this happened on such a world-wide scale. I may well be wrong, but many, many Christians are now thinking along these lines. And to me, there is nothing wrong with this: we are not given dates in any way, shape, or form, but we are given signs. Unfortunately, many are thinking of it in terms of “the Rapture”, a fantasy which they hope will deliver them from trouble, and from standing in evil days. We must endure tribulation, including this one (if indeed this is the last and most virulent tribulation), and endure until He returns. It is idle to argue now about whether Christians will go through ‘the Tribulation’: we have already entered it, and we are still here!!!

    What do we do? Well, the sort of thing that you Bill, are presently doing – just more of the same. Keep witnessing, pleading for rationality and Scriptural sense, pointing to Christ, warning the wicked about his sin and corruption, and that the Judgment is coming. But above all, looking up, for our redemption draws near.

    Murray Adamthwaite

  • We can also draw encouragement from the worsening situation: these alethophobes (fearers of truth) are helping to fulfill Christ’s prophecy that “ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake”.

    But we must keep on fighting the good fight and endure to the end.

    Michael Watts

  • Thanks Michael Webb

    But to be honest I really don’t have a clue as to what you are on about in your remarks, so it is pretty difficult to reply. I have no idea what you mean by “Puritanism” in this context. And just what are you implying? That persecution of Christians is OK because of “un-unionised workplaces”?

    Is there greed and a marketing mentality in some American churches? Yes. Is it good? No. But what does that have to do with your rather cavalier and dismissive attitude toward the criminalisation of Christianity?

    And I have used the phrase “biblical Christianity” quite carefully and intentionally. It refers to a Christian faith which is above all based on and guided by the Bible. Do you find that problematic?

    I know you are writing as a devout Catholic, which is fine, But to throw out dismissive anti-Protestant lines about “private interpretation” and the like is not very helpful here. After all, there are Catholics being fined and jailed in the US as well for their beliefs. So if you are just using this occasion to bash Protestantism here, you have picked the wrong website.

    I no more allow Protestant bashers to do their thing here than I do Catholic-bashers. While there are major theological differences between these two forms of Christianity, it is my intention here to see them united as much as possible against our common foes.

    So be forewarned: if you or any other commentators want to send in more comments along these lines, I will not run with them. There are zillions of websites on both sides which are used to bash each other, and it is not my intention of turning this website into a similar affair.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • It is quite Biblical for God in His loving discipline to use persecution and suffering as a means of bringing His wayward people back into fellowship. Syncretism has mutated the western Church into entertainment centres for the Biblically challenged and has been peddling a Gospel of luxury and abundance far too long. I am very ambivalent, on the one hand I don’t want to lose my comfort and safety, but on the other hand I am sick and tired of the toxic prosperity driven “Mega Churches ,”and of the apostate denominations that embrace homosexuality and a social Gospel of works without repentance. I personally believe that the growth and prominence of these type of bogus and treacherous institutions is the reason for the season of intensely personal hatred and rejection coming our way. However, persecution is an expected norm for believers in most countries on this fallen planet and has been that way since the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was quite candid when He proclaimed that: “A servant is not greater than his master; If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”
    Nino Suraci

  • Contrary to Michael Webb, the American atheopaths don’t differentiate between “puritanism” and conservative Catholicism. The latter has likewise become regardedby an official Obamov admin document as a dangerous “extremist” group because it stands up for the unborn.

    As for the “greed is good” caricature, see what Milton Friedman really taught about greed in this 2½-minute clip.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Thanks guys

    The US House of Representatives has just recently voted though a “hate crimes” law. As I was mentioned in my article, this will be a major means by which Christians will be officially silenced. What is worse, “Democrats voted down an amendment to the bill that would have excluded pedophilia from the definition of ‘sexual orientation’.” So pedophilia may be protected under such legislation:

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill, this is a great article you’ve written here and I look forward to checking out the book myself. It is amazing the things going on in this day and age, and I agree with above comments in relation to this being the end times (whatever specifics are irrelevant here, but Jesus is coming soon I think all scholars would agree). I would like to know Bill, if you (or others reading this) have noticed this (can we call it discrimination against Christians?) so much at a grass-roots level or if you think this is mainly in governement and between religious leaders, etc. I only ask because yesterday I discussed some things with people at work (none are Christians) and they were so surprised to hear about the disputes, the laws changing in relation to Christian rights (to put it in lay-mens terms)… and being around mainly non-Christians who are of other religions (such as muslims and hindu’s, etc) all of them seem to respect the beliefs I put forward and they all know where I stand on such issues, I speak openly. Has it not yet infiltrated to the general public (ie. only Pastors being locked up, etc) or is it just that I move in circles of people who are perhaps not offended by Christianity?

    Also just a little note for Murray Adamthwaite:
    I dont know you and my personal theological stance in relation to the end times is irrelevant in relation to the article that Bill is writing here, but I just wanted to make a note that those Christians living in a “fantasy” as you so boldly put it, do make a good Sciptural case to support such a doctrine (of the rapture). Also, its not that new a doctrine (and many many heartfelt believers – even theologians – still hold to this), perhaps we should be more careful in judging each others theology and palming it off as “fantasy”? Especially when we are all being attacked and slandered in more foundational doctrines. Lets fight together for the main foundations of our faith and be careful not to offend each other 🙂

    Catherine Pym

  • Dear Bill,
    Whislt I am concerned about loss of freedoms, I cannot help but think that in human terms, freedom for Christians has been a bit of a misnomer anyway. It was not so long ago that the so called christian church was doing the persecuting themselves ie crusades and inquisitions etc. In fact sometomes one part of the church has been responsible for the killing of other Christians! And the muslims simply follow their lead. Approximately 1 million Christians are currently martyred each year. Who is standing up for their freedom just to exist? When it comes right down to it, we are set free IN CHRIST, He being the TRUTH that sets us free. Telling the truth about who we are in Christ is the greatest defence against secularism, as they are not really rebelling against Jesus. Just the false ideas that the church generally pumps out, which I as a follower of Jesus Christ, Son of the Father in and through the Holy Spirit also reject.
    May you just be IN THEM,
    Blessings, Lou d’Alpuget

  • Lou d’Alpuget said “… not really rebelling against Jesus. Just the false ideas that the church generally pumps out …” – yes they are rebelling against Jesus. He made a moral standard against …

    1 – explicitly, adultery though offering forgiveness to the adulterer and commanding to sin no more
    2 – implicitly, homosexuality – “the scripture cannot be broken”

    and many other aspects of personal and corporate morality.

    The examples Mr. Muehlenberg has used are exactly the things that Jesus spoke against, explicitly or implicitly.

    Graeme Cumming

    The false ideas that “the church generally pumps out.” Could you explain just what these false ideas are to which you are referring.

  • Bill,

    this book is really shocking. I only saw it browsing this morning, but it is really surprising.

    One point that nobody but me it seems thinks of asking, but which is very relevant here, is this:

    “Will Australia become a refuge for traditional Christians forced to migrate from Europe and North America by such laws?”

    My own suspicion is that Australia is likely to resist these kinds of laws even if implemented throughout Europe and North America. If this is so, conservative Christians from North America and Europe may be faced with no choice but to call Australia home. Do you agree, Bill, and if not why not?

    Julien Peter Benney

  • Thanks Julien

    Unfortunately Australia is not resisting such laws at all. As I have documented in numerous articles on this site, both on a State and National level, a whole range of vilification laws, equal opportunity laws, anti-discrimination legislation, and so on, have been, and are being, passed. All these laws tend to result in the silencing of the Christian gospel and the persecution of those who would seek to publically live out their biblical faith.

    So sadly we too may have to flee. Where to is a good question. All over the West such laws are being passed, and anti-Christian bigotry and persecution is rising throughout the Western world.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

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