Second Class Victims?

    I'm still in shock over the terrible massacre at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, Texas, in which seven young Christians died. But almost as shocking to me as the murders themselves is the refusal of our leaders to recognize that Christians have become targets of choice for America's gun-toting fanatics. At Wedgwood, gunman Larry Ashbrook shouted profane epithets that mocked the beliefs of Christians. Yet reporters insisted on describing Ashbrook's motives as a "mystery." Incredibly, they suggested that his choice of a Baptist church as the setting for his bloody rampage was a random one. Attorney General Janet Reno, who swiftly labeled recent acts of violence against blacks and Jews as "hate crimes," can't seem to drum up the same passion for murdered Christians. Instead of labeling Wedgwood a "hate crime," as it clearly was, Reno called the massacre "inconceivable," and used the tragedy to call for tougher gun laws. Now, does anyone seriously doubt that, if Ashbrook had shot up a gay bar or an abortion clinic, his motives would have been described as "mysterious" and his cold-blooded killings explained away as the actions of a madman? Of course not. This is no minor oversight. As "New York Post" columnist Rod Dreher put it, "The number of Christians killed this year alone by fanatic gunmen greatly exceeds the number of abortionists or gays murdered by right-wing haters." But don't count on the media to expose this fact. Why? Part of the answer is that our elites view Christians as oppressors—of gays, of women, of anyone who rejects Judeo-Christian morality. The idea that Christians themselves are oppressed seems to be of no real concern. Some may even privately think a little oppression for Christians is a good thing. Even more ominously, our elites are actually contributing to the animus towards Christians. For example, we recently saw NBC's Katie Couric blaming James Dobson for the murder of homosexual Matthew Shepard because Dobson openly articulates the biblical teaching that homosexual acts are sinful. Movies like "Stigmata," with its lurid plot about a murderous Catholic conspiracy, also teaches that Christians are the enemy of humanity. And media mogul Ted Turner is famous for calling Christians "idiots" and "bozos," and blaming us for many of the world's problems. Is it any wonder, then, that fanatics would shoot up a Baptist prayer meeting—or target Christian kids at Columbine and Paducah? What can we do about it? What Christians have always done. The Church has historically fought for religious freedom, including the freedom of non-Christians. We know that if one group can be singled out without consequences, then none of us is safe. In his classic, "The City of God," Augustine urged Christians to avail themselves of the protection offered by the law of the land. Modern Christians should do the same. After all, that's what non-Christians do. For example, when fanatics began shooting abortionists and bombing clinics, the abortion industry demanded—and got—government protection. The FBI was sent to guard their gates, and laws were passed to keep even peaceful prolifers from picketing on their sidewalks. Well, our government—charged by God to uphold justice—should be equally concerned when it is Christians who are targeted. The Wedgwood shootings have exposed a dreadful double-standard. It's time we lovingly educate our government—and our elites—to understood that this principle should protect the rights of those they disagree with as well as with those with whom they do agree. Because if justice is meted out only to those currently in favor with the governing elite, none of us is truly safe.


Chuck Colson



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