Opinion: Columnists

Federal government marginalizing Christians

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America's political and cultural left is, step by step, demonizing and marginalizing Christians and Christian values, to the point that even the congenitally apathetic should be concerned.

Fox News' Todd Starnes reports that the U.S. military has blocked access to the Southern Baptist Convention's website on an undetermined number of military bases because it supposedly includes "hostile content." Just a few weeks before, as noted in this space, an Army briefing labeled evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics as religious extremists.

The information about the Southern Baptist Convention's website surfaced when an Air Force officer reported that he was unable to log on to SBC.net and that he had received a message that his Internet usage was being monitored and logged because he had tried to visit a blocked website.

The notice, from an organization that guards the Department of Defense's computer network, said, "The site you have requested has been blocked by Team CONUS (C-TNOSC/RCERT-CONUS) due to hostile content."

SBC spokesman Sing Oldham said he found this "deeply disturbing" and was not completely satisfied with the Army's response. "While the deputy chief of operation of the U.S. Army has assured us this is a random event with no malicious intent," said Oldham, "the Army must run this to the ground to assure that this is the case."

Random event? Isn't that the same excuse we heard when complaints were made about the Army briefing that labeled Christians as extremists? "Nothing to see here. Just an isolated incident. Move along."

Well, how do these similar "isolated" incidents keep occurring? What makes these alleged lone wolves think they can get away with such revolting behavior? Is there not a growing tendency in this culture, which has now obviously permeated the Army, to make it fair game to paint Christians as fringe misfits with dangerous ideas?

Even if some anti-Christians in the military believe Christianity is offensive, what in God's name would make them believe they have the right to become thought police and selectively suppress First Amendment freedoms (speech, expression, religion, association) -- freedoms our armed forces are charged to protect?

This is further evidence of the intolerance and totalitarianism of the political left, whose "isolated" miscreants continue to trample the very principles they profess to hold sacred.

Some are speculating that it's the SBC's positions on same-sex marriage and abortion that are causing these "isolated" assaults against Christians and religious liberty. Apart from the outrageousness of these recurring attacks on Christianity under color of federal law and military authority, what, in God's name, is hostile about Christian views? Are those who believe in protecting innocent, unborn life hostile? Are those who support traditional marriage hostile to homosexuals? No and no, but those trying to pervert the English language to redefine disagreement as "hate" and "hostility" are themselves objectively guilty of both, not to mention warped and tyrannical thinking.

Starnes lists a number of other relatively recent assaults on Christian liberty involving the military or Defense Department.

Christian groups were identified as potential threats in a war games scenario at Fort Leavenworth. A 2009 Department of Homeland Security memo listed evangelicals and pro-life groups as possible national security threats. A West Point study of the U.S. Military Academy's Combating Terrorism Center linked pro-life advocates to terrorism. Evangelist Franklin Graham's invitation to speak at the Pentagon's National Day of Prayer service was revoked because of his comments on Islam. Houston National Cemetery banned Christian prayers from its funeral services for veterans. Walter Reed National Military Medical Center banned Bibles -- and then later reversed itself. The military removed Christian crosses and a steeple from a chapel in Afghanistan because Christian icons supposedly disrespect other religions. The secretary of the Army forbade Catholic chaplains from reading a letter to parishioners from their archbishop relating to Obamacare mandates and their incursion on religious liberties, because the letter could be interpreted as calling for civil disobedience.

I filled 400 pages of my book "Persecution" with examples of such assaults on Christians and Christian liberty in the United States, examples that extend to all areas of our society, not just the military. Perhaps it's time for a sequel.

It is truly breathtaking to reflect on the left's contrasting attitude toward innocuous Christians and radical Islamic jihadis. Many view Christians, who threaten no one and defend everyone's liberty, as menaces but go out of their way to coddle actual Islamic terrorists, bending over backward to apologize for their acts of savagery and brutality.

Does this make the slightest bit of sense to you? Many Americans rightly complain that moderate Muslims rarely denounce the violence of Muslim extremists. Well, how about liberals who profess to be Christians? Isn't it time you joined us other Christians in roundly condemning these targeted assaults on Christians and Christian liberty? We're waiting.

Washington Examiner columnist David Limbaugh is nationally syndicated by Creators Syndicate (www.creatorsyndicate.com).

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