If you read far right media (which I do, just as much as left-wing media), you’ve probably been hearing some very dire predictions of religious persecution in the U.S. It has only intensified with the arrest of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis. It would seem that the sky is falling.
Don’t believe me? Here is a selection of the panic being circulated among the far right:
Trunews’ Rick Wiles:
“Kim Davis’ imprisonment is only the beginning of the reign of terror by the Obamanista communist regime’s gaystapo. If I am right about America being Mystery Babylon, eventually the blood of the saints must be spilled in the streets, martyrdom of Christian saints is one of the attributes of Mystery Babylon in the Last Days. When Babylon’s economy collapses, so too will its old constitutional republic framework. What will ensue in the aftermath of a massive economic collapse will be bloody and brutal tyrannical repression of Christianity by the Jesus-hating homosexual gaystapo. Just like the militant homosexuals who terrorized Germany in the 1930s through the Nazis, the National Socialist Party, the Democratic Party is the new National Socialist Party, the Nazis.”
Mat Staver, Kim Davis’ lawyer at Liberty Counsel:
Staver then accused Davis’ critics of turning America into Nazi Germany: “Back in the 1930s, it began with the Jews, where they were evicted from public employment, then boycotted in their private employment, then stigmatized and that led to the gas chambers. This is the new persecution of Christians here in this country.”
Promoting his Tuesday rally in Kentucky defending county clerk Kim Davis, Mike Huckabee told Fox News that the government has been more accommodating to detainees in Guantanamo Bay than to Davis, who was jailed for contempt after violating court orders to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
So this whole thing is — putting her in jail and so forth — is nonsense. But it will happen and it’s just the beginning, it’s the warmup of this battle. And I want you to know right now, you’ve heard it here, the gays do not just want to be recognized, they do not want to be accepted, they do not want to have just freedom, they want everybody to agree with them and everybody who doesn’t agree with them and does not comport with their way of thinking, they want to be punished, put in jail, or fined. That’s the way they want it and you might as well get used to it.
Barb Wire contributor Gina Miller:
I have repeated myself over and over again for years now. The homosexual movement, including its related perversions like “transgenderism,” has nothing to do with “equality” or marriage (other than to destroy it). It’s about the destruction of freedom, and specifically, the destruction of Christian freedom. Truth does not change, and the truth about homosexuality does not change. Homosexual behavior is sin. It’s destructive and dangerous. It’s unnatural. It’s immoral. It’s a gross perversion of God’s design for human sexuality. It’s naturally repulsive to those who retain a functioning moral compass. The same goes for “transgenderism.” People who imagine or pretend that they are members of the opposite sex are in open, degenerate rebellion against God, reality and nature. Whether this is due to mental illness or not, it’s still dead wrong.
The God-haters in this movement and their fellow travelers in positions of power will not stop until Christianity is criminalized. At its heart, this is a manifestation of the battle Satan has waged against God and His people. It is demonic influence that drives these homosexuals to target Christians, in order to crush their freedoms. This county clerk in Kentucky is a target because she is a Christian. These Godless degenerates now have the force of bad law on their side. Bad law—immoral law—is tyranny. Tyranny is what Satan desires over humanity, and he will get it, as the Bible has forewarned us.
End-times author and pastor Carl Gallups (via RightWingWatch):
“We can see the beginning signs,” he said. “Where we are now is where persecution always begins. It begins in the small stages, it begins with lampooning and lambasting and making fun of, and it begins with historical revisionism, and it begins with political correctness, and it begins with gun control. All of these things, Nazi Germany did it, North Korea did it, China did it, the Middle East has done it, and now we’re seeing the beginning stages of this in America.”
Focus on the Family founder James Dobson:
“As you probably know, certain groups and organizations hate us. It is about weakening the church of Jesus Christ and limiting what pastors and ministers can say and do publicly,” he said. “It is about undermining the religious liberties of Christians that are guaranteed by the Constitution. It is about attacking Christian schools, Christian non-profit organizations such as Family Talk, and Christian businesses, hospitals, charities, and seminaries. It is about Christian colleges and universities, and about whom their leaders choose as professors and what their students will be taught. It’s about government funding and accreditation.
“It is all at risk. You’ll see.”
The “Equality Act” should be called the “Gaystapo Empowerment Act” because if passed it will give homosexual activists and their allies the legal power to attack and punish Christians and other pro-family advocates in virtually every sphere of American life. The trampling of Christian bakers, florists, bed and breakfast hotel owners etc that we’re seen this far will instantly transform from a few disturbing anomalies to the “new normal” for nearly everyone who wants to live according to God’s law and values. This handful of examples of anti-Christian homo-fascism we have watched with dismay would quickly explode into thousands.
The Equality Act is a federal version of the same sexual orientation anti-discrimination policies that now operate in 14 states and hundreds of municipalities as tools of LGBT social engineering. I have written that these sexual orientation regulations (SORs) are the seed that contains the entire tree of the homosexual agenda with all of its poisonous fruit. Once implanted, the rest of the LGBT agenda follows like clockwork.
SORs are far more dangerous than “gay marriage” because they define disapproval of homosexuality as immoral and illegal — effectively criminalizing Christian actions in conformity with the Bible. These SORs are always sold initially as protections for homosexuals in housing and employment — appealing to Americans’ sense of fairness and tolerance. Like all “gay” arguments this one is designed to deceive. First there is no evidence of any such discrimination in America and hasn’t been for at least 20 years (except in churches and Christian schools, where it is appropriate and necessary). But second and more importantly, once enacted these SORs are NOT limited to housing and employment but are enforced as a blanket prohibition on ALL dissent from the LGBT agenda.
“Almost everyone I speak with is distraught over the direction our nation is taking. Christianity and our religious freedoms are under siege. Progressives and secularists want to see God removed from everything and to burn every gate of protection.
“… I want to urge Christians not only to vote but also to engage by running for political office at all levels—local, state, and federal. We need Christian judges, Christian assembly members, and Christian mayors. We need Christian clerks of court, school board members, governors, and, of course, senators and representatives…”
Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins (via RightWingWatch):
Perkins reacted to the discrimination case by offering a comparison to the Holocaust: “I’m beginning to think, are re-education camps next? When are they going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians?”
I could go on. And on. At length. There are volumes of this sort of thing.
Which doesn’t make it true. In my discussion of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, I pointed out that there are certainly middle-ground options that can be considered (and have been enacted in other places, like Canada) to accommodate LGBT peoples’ rights and still protect freedom of religious belief and conscience… or at least there could be if there was a genuine desire to make an effort to accommodate everyone as fairly as possible.
All of the above fearmongering assumes that there is no possible middle-ground: that there is only a choice between LGBT supremacy or Fundamentalist Christian supremacy.
But there is a point to it all. The obvious point is to generate fear and panic among congregants, so that they will cleave more strongly to their religion and to the media outlets that are in sync with their beliefs. But there is also more to it than that.
Having grown up in a radically Fundamentalist denomination (the church I attended was so radical it was kicked out of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada in the 1980s), I’m very familiar with end-times religion. Hal Lindsey’s 1970 book, The Late, Great Planet Earth, touched off a renewed religious energy about end-times prophecy, which was simply reinforced by the Left Behind series of novels. End-times prophecy is famous for a number of prophecies, including:
- That Jesus would return;
- That the world will be destroyed at the war of Armageddon;
- That true believers would be raptured away (i.e. be taken to Heaven, without dying);
- That an Antichrist would come and deceive most of the world’s population;
- That the world would be overtaken with all sorts of wickedness
The order this all happens varies depending on the theologian.
In addition to those, there’s a key prophecy that’s not as well-known: the seven years of the Great Tribulation. This also varies with the timeline: sometimes the rapture rescues all believers from the tribulation, sometimes the whole point of the tribulation is to try believers’ faith and they’re raptured afterward, and (most commonly) sometimes the rapture happens mid-tribulation.
But there’s a problem when prophecies don’t happen. People lose faith; leaders are eventually not taken seriously. This has happened many times with Armageddon and Rapture predictions (for example, I live-tweeted one such predicted rapture date). The same thing can be said about the Great Tribulation.
So in order to validate end-times prophecy, and instill a sense of urgency that the world really is in its last days, the Great Tribulation has to be invented.
And that is a significant part of what is feeding the fearmongering about religious freedom and religious conscience. If there is no actual anti-Christian persecution and genocide, then the concept of “conscience” needs to be widened beyond the simple act of belief and practice of religion so that it also encompasses active efforts to inhibit others’ human rights. In this way, the appearance of persecution can be made, and shades of genocide can be intimated.
Update: And the predictions have begun:
“Biltz, author of “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs,” is not predicting that the Tribulation will start with the beginning of a new seven-year cycle at sundown on Sunday, Sept. 13. But if it doesn’t start, then he says it likely won’t for at least another seven years.
“That’s because God operates according to seasons that follow the biblical Old Testament feast days, he said.”