It is quite apparent that the culture and the values of this nation (and arguably, the world) have changed dramatically. More people live a life of "entitlement" than ever before; the latest available data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows that a record number 23 million households in the United States are now on food stamps. Our educational system is going down the tubes, our incomes are declining, and quality health care will soon be a privilege enjoyed only by the Elite. What's more, if you stand by time-honored Christian tenets, you are labeled a bigot, racist, homophobic, islamophobic, or worse; usually involving four-letter words.
But just take a look at some of the headlines I ran across today .... Transgender Teen Voted Prom Queen .... Man Who Named Son After Adolph Hitler Shows Up at Custody Hearing in Nazi Uniform .... Atheists Launch Hotline for Christians Wanting To Flee Their Faith .... Anti-Muslim Speech Could Be a Civil Rights Violation .... These would have been unthinkable when I was a child.
But today, our children live far different lives in this modern culture. For starters, they no longer run and play in the sunshine. Instead, they are mesmerized by a tiny computer screen that is perpetually attached to their thumbs; the movement of which is the only exercise some of them get! They do everything based on a computer and the internet; communicate with each other, get information about the world, play games, and receive their self-esteem by how many friends they have on Facebook.
Parents compete with the entertainment world in influencing their children. Anything goes ... from singers who promote satanic worship, to actors who tell your children how to vote, to movies and books that espouse the virtues of vampires, families with two daddies, and multiple sex partners outside your marriage.
So just how do you respond when confronted with something that offends your faith or your principles? How do you prepare your children to wade through the moral dilemmas that they will definitely face in their future, if they haven't already?
If you're like the Boy Scouts, you bow to the pressure and sacrifice long-held standards for the sake of financial survival. You somehow convince yourself that it is OK to bend the rules and that God will understand. You surrender and you give in.
For nearly four months now, the Kleins have been harassed with threatening emails and phone calls. Some have even gone as far as stating that Aaron should be shot; and they received an apparent threat that he be raped. Other remarks included a wish for the couple’s five children to be stricken with illness. If you want a feel for just how sick the emails have been, read these:
“You stupid bible thumping, hypocritical b**ch. I hope your kids get really, really, sick and you go out of business,” reads one e-mail.
“Here’s hoping you go out of business, you bigot. Enjoy hell,” reads another.
It saddens me that maintaining one's faith should result in such hateful discourse. I'm pretty sure if they were standing by any other faith but Christianity, there would have been more tolerance from the public. And what makes me even sadder is that fellow Christians have even failed to stand behind them. Initially, the faithful supported their decision and rallied around them. But when they, themselves -- or their businesses -- were threatened, that support began to disappear. Vendors have even been compromised, as they are harrassed for doing business with the Kleins.
And to let you know how virulent the hate is against these Christian business-owners, the cultural opposition has tried to entrap them into baking for other events that would go against their Christian principles, such as parties for divorces, unmarried parents, or pagan solstice parties. The Kleins have stood steadfast in their faith. Aaron Klein has been quoted as saying that he and his wife will stick by their convictions and that their religious freedom is protected under both Oregon and federal constitutions. “I can say I don’t want to take part in something that violates my religious beliefs. If they want to shut me down because of it, then they could shut me down.” And that is a very real possibility, as the Kleins have suffered economically, and closing the doors may become a reality.
So my question to you is this ..... how far are you willing to go to stand up for your beliefs? Because I think this is just the tip of the iceberg. Today it is how you operate your business; tomorrow it could be how you choose to raise or educate your children (as in the case of the German home-schooling family). But make no mistake. The Bible tells that we will suffer for our faith in the End Times. The Enemy is going to do everything in his power to trip us up; make it difficult to support our families; cause us to compromise our safety, our livelihood, our very lives and those of our loved ones.
Will you throw in the towel like the Boy Scouts .... or will you stand firm like Aaron and Melissa Klein? Don't fool yourself into thinking it doesn't matter; that it won't happen to you; or that it's OK to do anything to survive. If you are a Christian, then you know those thoughts are lies. Strengthen yourself now; your mind, your heart and your soul. Because we may not know exactly what is coming, but God has told us that difficult and dark days are ahead of us -- and He is watching how we respond.
James 1:12 "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him."