A third of America’s population says they’re evangelical Christians and 93% of all Americans claim they believe in God.  That’s a staggering number.  Yet 2% of the population claims to be homosexual and some are militant about it.

Those who push for punishment of others holding opinions contrary to them often boast of their platform of tolerance when in reality it’s just the opposite, an intolerance of opposing views.  It’s reflective in the Duck Dynasty saga, the Chick-Fil-A uproar, the censorship of Christian views in public schools and a host of other examples.

Teddy Kennedy, the deceased senator from Massachusetts, was heralded as “A Liberal Lion.”  Depending on your point of view, that may or may not be a noteworthy distinction.

Daniel was thrown into the Lions’ Den, Christians were hurled into the Coliseum to be torn apart by wild beasts for Roman entertainment, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego were tossed into the fiery furnace and Jews into the gas chambers because of their opposing views.

Persecution isn’t anything new.  Christians are being executed in many parts of the world for the beliefs they hold and the opinions they cling steadfast to, but in the United States things are a little bit more civilized.  Those who hold opposing views who want to somehow punish others do so in the arena of public opinion.  We no longer buy tickets and sit in the bleachers to witness murder, but we do take in the spectacle and give it a thumb’s up or down from the cheap seats in front of our television screens, cell phones, or computers.

I can relate to what happened to the Duck Dynasty Patriarch.  I once worked for a large corporation and was approached one day by a woman in the break room.  She asked me what my personal opinion of homosexuality was.  I claimed: “If the population of planet Earth were to be all gay the human race would simply cease to exist.” I didn’t know who the woman was, but it would seem she knew me.  It turned out the woman was a militant lesbian and she saw to it that management fired me the following day.

The company even took it a step farther after that by trying to have me punished by the judicial system for hate speech.  The judge quickly dismissed their case, but before he did an executive of the company professed their policy was: “Anyone can be terminated at any time for anything deemed offensive to anyone.

Political correctness is, often times, a tool used to silence opposition and many feel, these days, it’s being used to squash freedom of speech.

Some of those political commentators on television have said the Duck Dynasty saga doesn’t have anything to do with freedom of speech because the government didn’t get involved.  On the contrary, in the matter of Chick-Fil-A, government entities around the country did indeed get involved and made the threat they would see to it Chick-Fil-A never build in their town.  The most vocal of all was an Alderman in Chicago.

Christians believe they’re sinners who have been forgiven.  Most Christians, myself included, believe we’re all sinners and although we don’t condone homosexual behavior, we don’t hate the person because we ourselves were once no better and are forgiven of our indiscretions by God.  It’s not a Christian’s place to judge, only God can do that.  However, for many Christians, if they believe they’re being forced to condone something contrary to their beliefs that’s therefore a line drawn that they cannot cross.  That’s what I see happening in the evangelical community.  The Christian community sees their fellow brothers and sisters being persecuted for their beliefs and they are standing in solidarity with them in record numbers.

I believe there’s a lesson to be learned here. We’re to love one another, not be vindictive and cram our personal beliefs down someone else’s throats.  The conversation has been indeed heated, but the perceived discrimination flows both ways.  I’m convinced the thought police are relentless, but on the other hand the Christian community has grown quite tired of turning the other cheek.

A pastor once told me, a comment I shall not forget, “Scripture says turn the other cheek, but I don’t think God ever intended for us to be doormats.”

Greg Allen’s column, Thinkin’ Out Loud, was published bi-monthly from 2009 to 2017.  He’s an author, a former nationally syndicated columnist and the founder of Builder of the Spirit Ministries in Jamestown, Indiana.  He can be reached at www.builderofthespirit.org.

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