They’re marked for extermination in the Middle East. They’re banned from practicing their faith in many nations around the world. They’ve been subjected to violence, intimidation and hatred from the very beginnings of the faith until the present day.
Christians are no strangers to persecution. But such treatment largely hasn’t erupted in the United States of America. Until now.
“American Christians need to prepare for persecution,” Carl Gallups told WND TV. The former law enforcement professional and pastor of Hickory Hammock Baptist Church argued Christians are increasing being “targeted” for both political harassment and outright violence.
And he’s written a new book, “Be Thou Prepared: Equipping the Church for Persecution And Times of Trouble,” designed to prepare believers for the dark times ahead.
Gallups cited several disturbing trends he believes will prove a threat to American Christians.
“We’ve got a huge Islamic influx and we’ve got radical agendas including the radical abortion movement. That movement has just been exposed in videos and they’re angry. We’ve also got the radical homosexual movement and now the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage.”
Gallups argues political and cultural opposition to Christianity is likely to intensify in coming years. He warns individual believers may find their businesses targeted for destruction by politically motivated activists, especially homosexual rights protesters.
“They have a practice of targeting,” Gallups said. “They’re ready to roll and they’ve already said that Supreme Court ruling is just the foundation of what we want to do. That’s not the end of it, it’s not like, ‘oh, now we can get married, we’re happy.’ Oh no. That was the platform for them to launch off of in order to bring the whole culture down.”
However, political persecution may be the least of Christians’ concerns. Gallups believes Christians are being specifically targeted for violence, citing this month’s shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.
According to witnesses, the shooter, Chris Harper Mercer, asked victims if they were Christian. If they responded in the affirmative, the murderer taunted, “You are going to see God in just about one second.” He then shot them in the head.
Gallups complained the anti-Christian motive of the attack was largely ignored by what he sees as a liberal media eager to shift the blame to guns. He argued if the victims had been adherents to a different faith, it would have been a much bigger story and the motivation would have been more widely discussed.
“You know what it would have been,” Gallups charged. “And I know what it would have been and our viewers know. The hypocrisy of this seems to know no boundaries. And of course we know what the Left is going to say, of course we know the hypocrisies that will come forward, it’s on display right now before the eyes of the world.”
Indeed, Gallups believes the Obama administration consciously ignored the way Christians were targeted.
“There’s not really a concern by the current administration for the victims, the deepest concern is for the agenda,” Gallups argued. And the Obama administration’s agenda, Gallups intoned, was to attack the Second Amendment Rights of law abiding citizens.
“It was politicized out of Obama’s mouth within two hours,” Gallups stated. “They were even saying, ‘of course we’re going to politicize this.” President Obama, given his office, should be more of a uniter and a father figure. Instead he came and constantly talked about himself.”
The situation is especially dire, Gallups argues, because of an increasing terrorist threat against churches and Christians in particular.
“We have an ISIS presence in all fifty states according to the FBI,” Gallups warned. Thus, Christians are right to fear “direct persecution, or, in some cases, death.”
Gallups said political persecution and violent attacks are simply part of a larger, united effort to undermine Christianity and attack believers.
“America, and particularly Christian America, is increasingly understanding one of the premises of my book is that there is an increase in the targeting of Christians in America and it’s a part of this long process of degradation,” Gallups said. “You lampoon them first, and then you get to the point where eventually it’s outlawed. People see this slide and they see where we are.”
The pastor gave several examples.
“There’s Kim Davis, there’s the actions of the city council in Houston, [the shooting at] UCC, the church shooting in South Carolina. And the government, rather than making peace, rather than speaking words of wisdom, words of balance, it’s this radical agenda of, ‘we’ve just gotta take the guns, we’ve just gotta take the guns.'”
Gallups finds this climate surrounding attacks on Christians outrageous and evidence of America’s spiritual and cultural decline.
“I think there was a time in America not too many decades ago when government officials, law enforcement officials, even media would have addressed that specifically and would have said this is an outrage. In America, we don’t want to target any group of people for death, particularly for practicing their faith.”
Such silence is especially outrageous, Gallups alleged, because he thinks America would not have religious freedom were it not for the country’s Judeo-Christian heritage.
“The reason people of all faiths are free to worship in America without losing a job or going to jail or having your head cut off is because of our Judeo-Christian heritage,” said Gallups. “You certainly can’t go into the Middle East and openly practice Christianity.”
Now, the pastor believes, that proud tradition of freedom is being abandoned.
Gallups says Christians can take comfort in the church’s long experience with persecution and look to history for lessons to apply today.
“What I’ve tried to do with God’s help in this book is to see what’s coming,” Gallups told WND TV. “I can look at history. I go all the way back to the early church and deal with what they dealt with and deal with the biblical principles that bring us up to today.”
Gallups admits many Christians may be uncomfortable with the idea of preparing to defend themselves, especially if it means acquiring weapons and training. Having worked for years in law enforcement before joining the ministry, Gallups noted he’s carried a weapon since he was a very young man – and through his concealed carry permit, still does.
“I don’t have a problem with it – to me it’s like remembering to bring my wallet, because I’ve been doing it for so long.”
Gallups accepts carrying a weapon may not be for everybody. Nonetheless, he endorses Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s call for “fellow Christians” to arm themselves in self-defense, particularly since Ramsey identified “Christians” in particular as targets.
“He gets it. He understands what we’re talking about. We are being targeted. Whether or not the Left doesn’t want to let us say that, they think we’re overreacting, but we are being targeted. True, we’re in the opening stages of that and I pray it doesn’t get any worse, but historically, we’re in the beginning stages of this kind of targeting.”
Given everything that’s happening, Gallups warns, “I think it would behoove Christians to prepare.
“I think it makes biblical sense, I think it makes common sense, I think it makes logical sense,” Gallups said. “The Left hates it, but I deal in reality.”
And besides, the pastor said, he has a larger responsibility.
“The Bible makes it clear – if a person doesn’t provide for his own family, he’s worse than an unbeliever.”