In his new book Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christian America, New York Times best-selling author David Horowitz wrote that the liberal establishment and their radical allies envision a “godless, heathen American society” in which Christianity is banished.
Their success, he argues, could destroy the very fabric of America’s political order and culture. He warns that the rising attacks on Christians and their beliefs threaten all Americans — including Jews such as himself — because these are attacks on the founding principles of America.
“Since its birth in the fires of the French Revolution, the political left has been at war with religion, and with the Christian religion in particular,” wrote Horowitz, a former 1960s radical-turned-conservative and president of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
“In a symbolic, revolutionary act, the Jacobin leaders of the French Revolution changed the name of the Cathedral of Notre Dame to the ‘Temple of Reason.’ Then, in the name of ‘reason,’ they proceeded to massacre the inhabitants of the Vendee region of west central France because its citizens were Catholics.”
Considered the first modern genocide, it was far from the last. Inspired by this hatred, revolutionaries have regarded religion as the “enemy of progress and the mask of oppression” ever since, Horowitz wrote.
In Russia, socialist revolutionary Karl Marx’s followers scrubbed religious teaching from the schools, forbade criticism of atheism, and burned over 10,000 churches. When priests demanded freedom of religion, they were executed. Between 1917 and 1935, 130,000 Russian Orthodox priests were arrested, 95,000 of whom were shot by firing squads.
“Radicals in America today don’t have the political power to execute religious people and destroy their houses of worship,” Horowitz wrote. “Yet they openly declare their desire to obliterate religion. In their own minds, their intentions are noble — they want to save the human race from the social injustice and oppression that religion allegedly inflicts on humanity. ‘Religion must die in order for mankind to live,’ proclaimed left-wing commentator and comedian Bill Maher in Religulous, the most-watched documentary feature of 2008.”
Frank Gaffney, president and chief executive officer of Save the Persecuted Christians coalition, told The New American that the coalition has been making the case since it was formed in January 2018 that the persecution of Christians in other parts of the world is a “precursor to what can happen closer to home if we’re not careful, and if we don’t do a better job than we have to date in trying to stop” persecution around the world.
“That said, obviously what’s happening in the United States at the moment is nowhere near what is taking place in Nigeria or China or parts of the Middle East where people are being routinely brutalized, tortured, raped, sold into slavery, murdered, even on a genocidal scale,” Gaffney says.
“But I’ve been in any number of meetings where public interest law firms have described what is happening in case after case after case after case that is clearly on the leading edge of kind of a targeted effort to make the lives difficult of people who are practicing Christianity. They are doing things that their faith calls them to do but are not approved of by whoever it is that is suing them or getting the government to prosecute them.”
Is Persecution Coming to America?
At a time when experts say 245 million Christians worldwide are experiencing severe persecution, Christian communicators at the recent National Religious Broadcasters “Proclaim 19” convention in Anaheim, California, said Christians in America are facing increasing “soft” persecution and restrictions on religious freedom.
“It’s gotten a lot worse,” Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, told The New American. “I think it’s part of a change of attitude in our society, which is one of hostility toward the gospel. In the past, our society was either accepting toward the gospel or complacent with the gospel culturally.”
“But now we have large parts of America where people openly despise the gospel and see church people as symbols of hatred. They feel they are doing a good and righteous thing by attacking and silencing people preaching the gospel. To me it’s not just uncomfortable, but they see it as an affront to their lifestyles and their very self-identity.”
One of the most egregious examples involves multiple arrests of ministers preaching the gospel in public places.
The Apostle Paul would have had a difficult time in the United States preaching the “good news” because so many ministers have been arrested in recent years for preaching in public places, Dacus says.
“In the past, if someone would preach the gospel on a public sidewalk, some people may not like their particular style, but they were never arrested,” Dacus says. “But now criminal arrests for public preaching have become very common.”
Over the last few years, the Pacific Justice Institute has successfully defended 12 individuals who were criminally prosecuted for public preaching. In two other cases, the legal defense organization did not prevail and has filed appeals.
“In one case out of San Diego the man was preaching, and he mentioned a whole bunch of sins,” Dacus says. “Well, because one of the [Bible] verses mentioned was homosexual conduct, the police were called, and he had criminal charges brought against him for attempting to incite violence and hate speech.”
Initially, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office would drop the charges only if Dacus’ client was willing to go to an LGBT reorientation program, Dacus says.
“I mean that’s the way George Orwell’s 1984 book ends — the exact same way,” he says. “And our client said, ‘No.’ We were prepared for trial. The day before the trial the DA dropped the charges. That’s their tactic. These aren’t accidental. These criminal cases are dragged on — usually until the day of or the day before the actual trial.”
Dacus’ remarks come as a new report by the Pew Research Center finds 50 percent of Americans say evangelical Christians are discriminated against in the United States, up from 42 percent in 2016. Nearly one in five — 18 percent — say evangelicals, who constitute about a quarter of America’s population, face “a lot” of discrimination.
Religious Freedom Under Fire
This discrimination is taking many forms.
Across the “land of the free,” according to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), religious freedom is under fire. Some recent cases, according to the ADF, include:
In Idaho, ordained ministers Don and Lynn Knapp, who were threatened by the City of Coeur d’Alene with fines and jail time for declining to officiate same-sex weddings at their wedding chapel.
After cake artist Jack Phillips politely declined a same-sex couple’s request to design a cake to celebrate their wedding, a Colorado civil rights commissioner stated at a hearing that religious freedom is a ‘despicable piece of rhetoric’ that slave owners, Nazis, and Jack used ‘to hurt others.’ He was also ordered to stop ‘discriminating,’ ‘reeducate’ his staff, and file quarterly compliance reports.
Five pastors in Houston, Texas, had their sermons and personal communications with churchgoers subpoenaed as part of a campaign by the mayor to silence them on important moral issues.
In California, Dacus says, a “new education framework, which states across the country are considering adopting, is hostile to children from Christian families.”
In the past, parents could opt their children out of sex-education courses in schools, Dacus says. But California lawmakers recently approved the California Healthy Youth Act, requiring a “pro-LGBT indoctrination curriculum that on its face parents cannot opt out of,” Dacus says.
“It’s totally divergent from a biblical, Christian worldview,” he says. “The spiritual casualties from this kind of indoctrination are horrific, but it gets worse. The new education framework will have children from kindergarten through third grade taught story books like Princess Boy where it teaches children it’s okay for them to be a boy on the inside but be a girl on the outside. Transgender persons putting on presentations to these young children with a worldview totally divergent from the Christian worldview is already in process and becoming commonplace with this new framework.”
Further, the California Department of Education is proposing a curriculum that recommends using Planned Parenthood personnel to teach students about sexual health. As part of this curriculum, students would be taught to view religious boundaries of sexual activity as “spiritual abuse,” Dacus says.
“It would authorize the removal of a child from a family, a religious family, that constrained the sexual relationships that their children wish to have,” Dacus says. “This is curriculum [that] is in [the] process of being adopted and proposed in other states as well, but California is leading the way.”
Meanwhile, Dacus says, he’s seen a purging of college professors with Christian worldviews in recent years.
College campuses used to be the marketplace of ideas. Now, public colleges and universities are becoming the “most repressive places in the country” when it comes to sharing and living the Christian faith, Dacus says.
“An example of that are universities setting up little, six-by-six-foot free speech zones to attempt to limit where students can share their faith,” he says.
Christians have also faced discrimination on social media, Dacus says.
“The Big Tech companies have been blatant in their hostility and silencing of Christian biblical worldviews and have limited organizations and ministries,” Dacus says. “We’ve seen a number of cases of organizations, including our own, that at times have suffered from such blatant, hostile discrimination against those customers with religious messaging and biblical worldviews.”
One of the primary drivers behind this larger phenomenon of discrimination against Christians is the “LGBT agenda,” Dacus says.
“The LGBT agenda has become very hostile to traditional Christianity and those who believe in the teachings of the Bible,” Dacus says. “Christians and the biblical worldview are what stand in the way of total sexual transformation in the United States.”
Recently, the ADF and others have expressed concerns about the proposed “Equality Act.” H.R. 5, if passed, would amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, and public education. The ADF says it “poses a devastating and unprecedented threat to religious freedom.”
The act adds “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes to existing nondiscrimination laws, the ADF’s Sarah Kramer wrote.
This would prohibit employers, individuals who rent out apartments in their homes, preschools, and even religious schools and organizations from making choices based on biology, bodily privacy, and their beliefs about the nature of marriage.
The act would force women to share private spaces with men, Kramer wrote. The act would also open shower facilities, restrooms, and locker rooms to members of the opposite sex in schools and churches.
“Essentially, the ‘Equality Act’ gives people of faith an ultimatum: Change your faith-based practices or face government punishment,” Kramer wrote.
Stephen Black, executive director of First Stone Ministries in Oklahoma City, told The New American that the Equality Act would put “LGBT on the same level equal to race and gender.”
“As an ordained Christian minister this is intolerable in being able to preach the Bible because what H.R. 5 would do is it would — bottom line — make Christian speech and proclaiming the truth about homosexuality, or any form of sexual sin and brokenness, criminalized,” Black says. “You wouldn’t be able to preach against it because it would be considered hate speech.”
In Dark Agenda, Horowitz explains that the Left likes to label its political opponents as “phobic” and divides America into two kinds of people — those who care about gay rights, minorities, and other victim groups and “un-American ‘deplorables’ who hate and oppress society’s victims.”
“Stigmatizing one’s opponents is a classical radical tactic,” Horowitz wrote. “That is why radicals paint their political opponents as homophobes, xenophobes, and Islamophobes.”
“According to the Left, in other words, people who oppose abortion and same-sex ‘marriage’ have a kind of mental illness…. Calling critics ‘phobic’ is a rationale for denying their First Amendment rights. Shouts of ‘No free speech for homophobes or Islamophobes’ are already heard from leftists on college campuses. Or, to put them all in one fearful basket: ‘No free speech for fascists.’”
Ironically, by suppressing the First Amendment rights of Christians and labeling them as “fascists,” the Left are themselves becoming fascists and following the example of their Jacobin predecessors in the French Revolution.
Photo credit: 200mm/iStock/GettyImagesPlus
This article originally appeared in the June 3, 2019 print edition of The New American. The New American publishes a print magazine twice a month, covering issues such as politics, money, foreign policy, environment, culture, and technology. To subscribe, click here.