Last year when we were fired by HGTV for expressing our Christian beliefs (the same beliefs held by millions of people for thousands of years), we chose not to condemn HGTV, but instead to expose the militant agenda that pressured them into firing us. We chalked it up to “religious pressure” rather than “religious persecution” of Christians.
But after watching the news over the last few days, we’re beginning to think that pressure is turning into all out persecution – and fast! What’s interesting to us, however, is that the persecution is not just of the Christian religion – it’s of the timeless freedoms that are necessary for nations to flourish. (We would add that in our opinion the Christian religion is the basis of these, but that’s another article.)
In Paris, journalists with the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo were murdered for exercising their freedom of expression (we do not condone their work), while in Atlanta, Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was fired for exercising his freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Of course, the loss of life is by no means equal to the loss of a job, but let this sink in for a second – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of expression – these are all bedrock freedoms that we’ve enjoyed for centuries, and now they are under attack.
It was one thing for us to lose a reality show on prime-time television for exercising our freedom of speech/expression/religion, but it’s a whole new ballgame when people are suspended without pay and then fired because of their beliefs – let alone murdered! This is terrorism at its core – stealing the life and livelihood of another person. I know we’re not supposed to use the word “terrorism,” but it’s high time we begin calling it what it truly is.
So the question is what are we going to do about it? If you’re anything like us, you’re sick and tired of this garbage – here, at home, and abroad. The weapon of choice to persecute freedom overseas is swords and guns, yet the weapon of choice here in America is to silence our speech. Regardless of the means of persecution, freedom is under attack. We believe it’s time to take a stand – whatever the cost. Although we can’t control the attacks, we can control how we react to them. And to be silent now is simply giving hearty approval to those that seek to take our freedoms away.
Here are a few simple things we can do right now to stand up and fight:
- Get informed. We can’t have the ostrich syndrome, burying our head in the sand, anymore. The attack on our freedom is real.
- Join the conversation. Today more than ever technology has allowed all of us to join the conversation right from the comfort of our own living room.
- Speak up, because silence is approval. Throughout history the silent majority has always been irrelevant when it simply remains silent.
- Despise the shame. Be willing to take a stand despite what others may say about you. You will be despised by a very vocal minority when you stand up and speak.
- Resist bad leaders and support good ones. If your elected officials attack or allow attacks on any of our freedoms, then expose them and vote them out. And support those that defend our freedoms.
- Pray. Join countless Americans throughout history and pray for God’s favor and protection once again (and don’t forget to ask His pardon whenever we’ve rejected Him).
- Think generationally. Like our forefathers, be willing to take a stand with your children’s children in mind.
There’s hope today. People around the world, of all faiths, are beginning stand up for what is right. And even more, Christians in America are beginning to realize that we need to take a leadership role in helping our nation survive the attack on our fundamental freedoms.
Although 2015 may be a year of great persecution for those exercising their freedoms — the God-given freedoms of expression, religion and speech recognized by most around the world — it will also be a year for those who are willing to stand up and fight, whatever the cost. We were born for such a time as this.
David and Jason Benham are twin brothers, nationally acclaimed real estate entrepreneurs, and the authors of the forthcoming book, Whatever the Cost: Facing Your Fears, Dying to Your Dreams, and Living Powerfully(Thomas Nelson, February 2015).