Wednesday, September 26, 2012

American Culture: Christianity, Brad Pitt, and Freedom of Speech

Kneel or Perish
Secularists steamroll over cultural landscape, threaten Christian dissent 
By Ed Vitagliano
(American Family Association Journal)
In a letter to the editor of the News-Leader newspaper in Springfield, Missouri, Jane Pitt wrote that she was a Christian and planned to vote for Mitt Romney in November. They were comments that initially attracted very little attention. 

Pitt cited Romney's pro-life views and said he shares her "conviction concerning homosexuality." The letter stated that President Barack Obama "is a liberal who supports the killing of unborn babies and same sex marriage." 

That's when the roof blew off the house. It was made public that Jane Pitt is the mother of popular actor Brad Pitt, and a storm struck with all the angry contempt that has come to identify the intolerant left.

There were the usual news media stories accusing Jane Pitt of being "anti-gay," but the worst sort of vitriol assaulted her via Twitter. Crude sexual epithets were used to describe Pitt, she was told to partake in sexual acts in the most vulgar of ways, and outright death threats were hurled at her. 

Jane Pitt has since refused to comment any further on the episode, becoming yet another voice silenced by those on the secular left who hate Christianity. Mission accomplished.  

Cultural totalitarianism

All in a day's work, as the old expression goes. But what happened to Jane Pitt is not the result of recent work but that of a decades-long assault against the Christian foundations of our nation. 

It is not simply an effort to carve out a niche for atheists and other secular rebels who exist within the otherwise religious landscape, according to Peter Hitchens, conservative author of The Rage Against God  and the brother of the late, outspoken atheist Christopher Hitchens.  

Instead, he said, this secular offensive is "a dogmatic tyranny in the making."  
Peter Hitchens is British, and since the U.K. and the rest of Europe are down the secular road just ahead of the U.S., it is worth heeding the warnings of Christians who are already experiencing the beginning stages of this tyranny.
Elizabeth Kendal, an international religious liberty analyst and advocate in the U.K., said in a recent blog that Christians in the U.K. and the U.S. are on the verge of seeing the triumph of a cultural totalitarianism that will drive believers to the fringes of a once free society. Already, she said, Christians are being vilified, fired and "dragged through the courts" for resisting the new ideology. 

"These British and American Christians are not being dismissed, expelled, sued, fined, struck off and closed down because of anything they have done," Kendal insisted. "Rather, it is because of what they could not do: generally they could not affirm that all cultures, beliefs or lifestyle choices are equally good." (Emphasis in original.

It is an all-hands-on-deck rebellion against Almighty God in an attempt to replace His laws with a man-centered, morally relativistic ideology that demands that all rivals kneel or perish. 

Hostility toward faith

Hitchens and Kendal are not "the-sky-is-falling" alarmists. Christians are under fire in the U.S., although legal battles are still being fought and all is not lost.

For example, in 2010 Jennifer Keeton, a Christian enrolled in a graduate counseling program at Augusta State University in Georgia, objected to counseling gay and lesbian clients in a manner that affirmed the homosexual lifestyle. 

School officials threatened her with expulsion if she didn't change her views. In order to remain in the graduate program, Keeton was told she could go on probation and embark on a "remediation" plan that included attending gay pride events and sensitivity training.  

When she refused, Keeton was expelled. She sued ASU, but this summer a federal district judge ruled in favor of the university.

A similar case involving Eastern Michigan University also wound up in court. Julea Ward, a graduate student in that school's counseling program, encountered problems when she was assigned a potential client who wanted help regarding a same sex relationship.  

Ward, a Christian, said her religious convictions would not allow her to affirm such relationships, but that she was willing to refer the client to a counselor who could.

The client complained, and EMU officials gave Ward an ultimatum: She could remain in the graduate program only if she changed her religious beliefs.  

Ward sued, and initially a federal district judge ruled in favor of EMU. However, in January the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals reversed that ruling and ordered a trial to commence. 

The appellate court stated, "A reasonable jury could conclude that Ward‚' professors ejected her from the counseling program because of hostility toward her speech and faith."  

Government interests

Even those Christians who own their own businesses are finding themselves squeezed by an oppressive ideology that permits no dissent.

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