The Time to Fight Is Now November 13, 2018 | Richard Harris Throughout our history, Americans have revered the Bill of Rights. It consists of the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights protects five rights: religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.The First AmendmentIt’s no accident that freedom of religion and freedom of speech are the first rights in the First Amendment. They are the first of the first of the first. They are the most important because they are the most fundamental. Without the freedom to believe—and the freedom to act and speak from one’s beliefs—no other right can long exist. The freedom to live according to our beliefs is an essential condition to fulfillment as human beings made in the image of God. To deny a person the freedom to believe and to speak is to treat him like an animal. Such tyranny deprives us of the core ingredients of our human identity.Today these precious freedoms are in grave jeopardy. A recent survey found that over one-third of college students believe that violence is an acceptable way to stop “offensive” speech. The Family Research Council (FRC) publishes a booklet titled, “Hostility to Religion: The Growing Threat to Religious Liberty in the United States.” The report is a compilation of documented cases of oppression of religious expression in America. In its first edition in 2014, the report identified 90 incidents over the last decade. By 2017, the report documented 117 new cases over those intervening three years. That’s an increase of more than 100 percent in just three years!Oppression of Religious FreedomsExamples of the oppression of religious freedom in the last fourteen years include the following:Banning seniors from singing Christmas carols in their homesForbidding military chaplains from praying in the name of JesusBanning a stamp honoring Mother TeresaFiring a high school coach for silently praying on a football field after gamesFining bakers, florists, event facility owners, and dressmakers for refusing to provide services for same-sex weddings because of their consciencesFiring and suspending teachers for speaking against homosexualityForcing students to approve homosexuality to get good grades, advance, or graduateThis sampling is the tip of the iceberg. The “Hostility to Religion” report has sixty-six pages of other cases. Anyone who reads or watches the news can see that those who believe in biblical values are now regularly ridiculed, maligned, and accused of bigotry by the media and leftist politicians.As Christians, It Is Time To Fight Back.We must speak the truth in love and stand up for freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Let us make no mistake. The end goal of the “progressive” agenda is to silence the church. The Apostle John wrote that there is a “spirit of antichrist” that is at work in the world (1 John 4:3). Jesus said in the parable of the sower that the devil comes to steal the Word (Mark 4:15 and 17). Jesus Himself was put to death because of what He said. That same spirit of antichrist seeks to silence believers today.Step by step, progressives have systematically restricted freedom of speech and religion. Concerning homosexuality and gender, for example, they started by saying our speech was not “politically correct.” Then, they passed laws forcing us to recognize “civil unions.” Next, they outlawed “hate speech” and then banned so-called “discrimination” by private businesses. They forced the Boy Scouts to allow gay members and even homosexual leaders. Next, they got the Supreme Court to invent a constitutional right for homosexuals to marry (i.e, the Court required all state governments to legally approve what God calls an abomination). Now they are getting state governments to outlaw any effort to counsel or teach someone how to get free from the bondage of homosexuality.Abortion Is Another Example.We saw what they did to Justice Brett Kavanaugh. They have already tried to force private businesses to furnish insurance to pay for employees to kill their preborn babies. They’ve tried to force pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to tell their clients where they can get free abortions.What Is Next For The Radical Left?Is there any measure they would consider out of reach? Will they prohibit pastors from teaching what the Bible says about homosexuality? About abortion? Will they force churches to admit homosexuals into the church membership? Will they force the church to hire gay ministers? Will they remove children from Christian homes where the Bible is taught? In my opinion, it’s naïve to think such measures are not on their agenda.If we want to know what’s in store for us here (that is, if the church does not rise up), we need only look to Europe. In England, a preacher was imprisoned for reading the Bible aloud on the sidewalk. In Scotland, the government distributed posters warning Christians against “bigotry” and illegal “hate speech” in “sermons” against homosexuality. The European Union’s highest court recently upheld the conviction of a woman for “defamation” because she said Muhammad was a pedophile. She merely used an accurate word to describe the historical fact that Muhammad married a six-year-old girl and consummated the marriage when the girl was nine. The court found that the woman’s right to speak such truth is outweighed by the need for Muslims to not be “offended.”The Time To Take A Stand Is Now.Let us not be like the church in prewar Germany that turned a blind eye to the Nazi agenda, which led to the Holocaust. We have a responsibility to fight back against oppression, to fight against the spirit of antichrist that seeks to muzzle the Word of God. If we don’t fight back now, then like the German church, it is very likely that we will not be able to fight back later.