The torture of Christians and repression of Christianity around the world is common knowledge, from the prison camps in North Korea and the extermination campaigns in the Sudan to the government attacks in China and in large portions of what used to be the Soviet Union.
Then there are the vast Arab lands where converting to Christianity is a capital offense and just being a Christian can land you in jail, or worse.
But now, the mass shooting that left nine people dead at an Oregon community college has brought with it the chilling reminder that Christians are targets in America, too.
“One of the things that I address in my book is this horrendous increase in the targeting of Christians in America,” said Carl Gallups, referring to his new book “Be Thou Prepared.” “Now, that’s unthinkable when you consider why our nation was founded, how it was founded, the First Amendment, the faith of most of our Founding Fathers, Christianity, Judeo-Christian understanding, and now we are at a place in America where Christians are being targeted.”
Various media outlets have reported that Christopher Harper-Mercer, the 26-year-old Oregon shooter, targeted Christians. Stacy Boylan, the father of 18-year-old shooting victim Anastasia Boylan, relayed to CNN his daughter’s account of events. He said the killer asked each student to stand up if he or she was a Christian, and if the student stood, the killer said, “Good, because you’re a Christian you’re going to see God in just about one second.” He then fired a fatal shot.
Some reports suggest that the killer’s focus was “religion” instead of Christianity. But Michael Brown, talk radio host, WND columnist and author of “Outlasting the Gay Revolution,” says the question of whether or not Harper-Mercer asked students if they were Christian misses the larger point.
“This much we do know: There has been an increasing demonization of Christianity in our culture,” Brown said.
Gallups, a pastor, radio host, author and former law enforcement officer, agreed with Brown. He pointed out demonization encompasses more than mass shootings and violence. Oregon bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein were demonized and penalized by the state for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual couple. Ditto for baker Jack Phillips in Colorado. Washington state florist Barronelle Stutzman was sued and fined for refusing to provide floral arrangements for a “gay” wedding.
The mayor of Houston in 2014 issued subpoenas to five Houston pastors, demanding to see their sermons and other correspondence dealing with homosexuality and “gender identity.” And most recently, Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis was jailed by U.S. District Judge David Bunning for her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Brown noted the Oregon shooting was not the first time American Christians have been hit by mass violence. Floyd Corkins, inspired by a Southern Poverty Law Center “hate map,” attempted to shoot up the Family Research Council in 2012 because he didn’t like the conservative Christian values for which the organization stands.
And Gallups pointed to the June shooting at a Charleston church as evidence Christians cannot take their safety for granted, even at a Wednesday night Bible study. The pastor believes the danger will only increase now that ISIS fighters are reportedly in America.
Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey is drawing similar lessons from the Oregon shooting. In a Facebook post last week, he wrote, “I would encourage my fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to think about getting a handgun carry permit.”
Gallups applauded Ramsey’s stance.
“He gets it,” Gallups said. “He understands what we’re talking about and what one of the topics of my book is about, and that is we are being targeted.
“The left doesn’t want to hear us say that. They think we’re overreacting, but we are being targeted. Truly we are at the beginning stages of it, and I pray it doesn’t get any worse, but historically we’re at the beginning stages of this kind of targeting.”
In “Be Thou Prepared,” Gallups urges Christians to arm themselves, their families and their churches from potential attack. But in an interview with WND, he noted ominously that gun control is a major Obama administration agenda item. He believes the ultimate goal of taking away Americans’ Second Amendment rights is to make it easier to take away their First Amendment rights, which include freedom of religion. That, he said, should alarm Christians.
In fact, the Obama administration for years has talked about “freedom of worship” instead of the constitutional “freedom of religion.”
“Most Christians in America would not define themselves as being heavily persecuted every day, not when we consider what’s happening in the Middle East, China, North Korea, Sudan,” Gallups said. “But what we’re watching is this downward degradation of our culture. It’s aimed at Christianity, taking away the First Amendment rights of all citizens, and Christianity stands in the way of that.”
But the mainstream media do not seem to be concerned about that. Gallups and Brown both noted that major media outlets did not discuss the possible anti-Christian nature of the shooting at first. Brown said his wife was watching coverage on CNN, and it wasn’t until about midnight that the network began talking about the Christian angle of the killing.
Brown urged people to imagine the media reaction if the killer had targeted Muslims instead of Christians.
“What would have happened if the first reports were that he went in there and lined up students in a world religion class and said, ‘What’s your religion?’ and if they said Muslim, shot them in the head?” Brown asked. “The moment that report got out, the secular media would have been all over it. ‘Islamophobia,’ and ‘we need to do a better job of talking about Islam in America,’ and ‘look at this.'”
Gallups agreed the media would have reacted differently if Muslims were targeted. He said the media and progressives don’t understand that America’s Christian foundation is essential to the other fundamental freedoms that exist.
“If it were not for the Judeo-Christian heritage, we wouldn’t have a First Amendment,” he said. “The reason people of all faith groups are free to worship in America, free to express their faith or no faith at all without losing your job or going to jail or having your head cut off is because of our Judeo-Christian heritage. You certainly can’t go into the Middle East and openly practice Christianity.”
Brown claimed it is “open season on Christians today.” This means Christians must tread carefully.
“What that means is this: Those making public statements need to be more responsible and tone down their rhetoric, whether on social media or other places, be responsible with your communication, because all of these death wishes and hate wishes and ugly things will provoke unstable people who do unstable things.”
But Brown offered words of assurance to concerned Christians:
“Be strong. The opposition is going to increase. I believe the tide will turn, but it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Be strong, be determined not to compromise your convictions, and don’t be ashamed of the name of Jesus. He said, ‘If you confess me before men, I will confess you before my Father in Heaven.'”