Kahnh Huynh knows something about living in a society devoid of freedom of religion, speech and association.
He was one of millions in Communist Vietnam who fled the police state in rickety boats, got sent to re-education prison camps for the Christian faith or political views or was killed for opposing totalitarianism.
In Kahnh's case, he risked his life for a chance he and his children could live free in America.
"We could not express our freedom of religion and belief," he told WND. "We paid … to come to our country (the U.S.), that recognizes human rights of speech and religion."
Today, Kahnh is a U.S. citizen and Christian pastor whose sermons and communications about homosexuality are being subpoenaed by the lesbian mayor of Houston under the city's "non-discrimination" law Mayor Annise Parker says was all about her.
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As WND first reported, the measure, among other things, creates a special class of citizens for "gender-confused" people to use public restrooms designated for the opposite sex.
Parker is using the ordinance to intimidate those who oppose the law and specifically pastors who gathered signatures to repeal it.
They said it couldn't happen here.
But it is clearly happening today.
In the only nation founded upon a Christian creed, a country established "to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind," governments are openly, unabashedly and unashamedly harassing citizens teaching and espousing their Christian faith.
In a land founded on the principle of these "self-evident" truths – "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," that being the very purpose of the institution of government, elected and appointed officials are intimidating and, yes, persecuting those simply practicing their spiritual beliefs and convictions in the course of their lives.
It's not just happening in Houston.
A week earlier, WND exposed the nationwide pattern of dozens of government attacks on Christian bakers, photographers, caterers and others who, as a matter of religious conviction, declined to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies and celebrations.
The criminalization of Christianity in "the land of the free" is here.
While the egregious Houston case is getting nationwide attention among religious freedom activists, the Big Media, which operate under the same First Amendment protections established guard the free exercise of religion, remain virtually silent on the new wave of persecution and harassment.
Even more disturbing is the reaction of the institutional church, which is behaving more like the kind of state-approved bodies so familiar in totalitarian regimes in China, Vietnam and Cuba today and Adolf Hitler's Germany in another era.
This is how it begins.
Remember what pastor Martin Niemöller said about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis' rise to power?
"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Socialist.
"Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist.
"Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew.
"Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me."
It's time to speak up.
It's time to rise up.
It's time to prevent history from repeating itself in a nation turning against the very principles and precepts upon which it is founded, including "a decent respect for the opinions of mankind."
It's time to say, "Never again." And to mean it.
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