It is well documented that during the early Christian era, the Romans did a big business in mass slaughter by and of animals.
It is also well documented that the Romans executed prisoners using animals, sentencing prisoners--ad bestias, "to the beasts."
The beasts included dogs, bears, boars and yes, lions.
During that time, thousands of Christians were executed because of their Christian beliefs. While it has been argued that Christians were not fed to the lions, there is a memorial at the Roman Coliseum in honor of those Christians who were killed by lions.
And Ignatius, the bishop of Antioch, wrote letters back to the Christians en route to his own execution, saying once he reached Rome he expected to be "thrown to the beasts." As it turned out, they killed him with a sword.
But how the Christians were actually killed is not my point. My point is that they were killed. And they were killed because of what they believed---they had identified with Christ and biblical truth.
A couple of thousand years later, the killing continues. In third world countries, Christians regularly give up their lives for their faith. I've been with those who have lost family members for the cause of Christ, in Africa and elsewhere.
Here in America we are more sophisticated. The killing events have moved from the Coliseum to the courtroom. And it is becoming a cultural event, replete with spectators and cheerleaders.
This killing is conducted with a sense of self righteousness and social justice. While there is an air of sport about it, there is equally an air of administering justice. Of righting wrongs. Of redefining what is right and wrong.
And the secular press is giving the spectators the play-by-play from the 'home team" point of view.
Here's how it works:
Phyliss Young owns an in-home bed and breakfast in Hawaii. Back in 2007, Diane Cerville and her partner from Long Beach, Ca. sued Young for denying them a room in her home because of their homosexual relationship.
She explained to them that her religious beliefs did not allow her to rent rooms in her home to people in a homosexual relationship. She said it would be a violation of her conscience.
This month, a Hawaii judge has ruled that the Christian woman broke the law when she declined to rent a bed to the lesbians.
The Hawaii Civil Rights Commission is applauding the court's ruling saying, "When visitors or residents are subjected to discrimination, they suffer the sting of indignity, humiliation and outrage."
The amount of the fine has not yet been assessed.
There's a similar case in Vermont. A Catholic couple was forced to pay $30,000 in damages to two homosexual women after refusing to host their "wedding" reception at their Inn.
The State of Maine, which legalized same-sex "marriage" last November, recently informed its 25,000 registered notaries public that refusal to perform same-sex "marriage" ceremonies will result in being charged with "human rights violations."
A husband and wife team who own "Elane Photography" in New Mexico have been found guilty of refusing to shoot a same-sex "wedding". They declined because of their personal religious beliefs and said it would be in violation of their conscience.
The court dismissed the argument that compelling the owners of the company to photograph same-sex "weddings" would constitute a violation of freedom of religion. The state said the "burden on freedom of religion experienced by Elane Photography was unclear."
ADF Counsel Jordon Lorence raises an excellent point on this case. He says, "Americans in the marketplace should not be subjected to legal attacks for simply abiding by their beliefs."
Then he asks, "Should the government force a videographer who is an animal rights activist to create a video promoting hunting and taxidermy?"
The government, it seems, views the Christian conscience differently than that of an animal rights activist.
And why does the government always rise to the offense of a single person who is offended by some religious expression when their action denies the rights of those who may hold those views?
The government has issued a judgement against the owners of Elane Photography for discrimination. They are charging them $6,637.94. And New Mexico doesn't even have legalized same-sex "marriage."
A New Jersey high school teacher, Vikki Knox, came under investigation two years ago after she posted a message on her private Facebook page that she opposed homosexuality because of her Christian faith.
She said based on her biblical beliefs, homosexuality is "sin" and is "perverted." Although this is very basic biblical teaching, the lions have pounced.
Her husband, Gene Knox, told WCBS TV at that time, "They can persecute her, but they can't prosecute her," saying everyone is entitled to an opinion.
You would think that would be true in the most free country on earth. One founded by Christians upon the Christian beliefs.
At another time that was true, however, that is not necessarily true today in regard to Christian beliefs.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christy weighed in on the issue saying he found Knox's comments "disturbing."
"I'm really concerned about those kinds of statements being made," said the Republican Governor.
In the end, Knox was forced to resign after a lifetime of teaching.
The current list of specific attacks on Christians in regard to their right to act on their conscience and religious beliefs is much longer, but you get the point.
A local story in Richland, Washington continues to create more and more press coverage.
I wrote a blog about this last Wednesday, April 17. In the last week, the story has become a national story.
There are those who are soliciting funds on behalf of Arlene's Flowers and Gifts. Given the history of some who are doing so, I strongly recommend you send the money directly to Barronnelle Stutzman, the owner of the store.
I spoke with her personally and she told me she has set up a fund and would much prefer the funds coming directly to her. You may send money to Arlene's Defense Fund, 1177 Lee Blvd., Richland Washington, 99352 or make a donation at any Key Bank branch.
The Seattle Times has now published a story on the matter titled, "How Plan For Simple Gay Wedding Is Shaking Up Lives."
The story establishes that the two homosexual men were long time customers of the store, they have apparently "spent thousands of dollars over the years" on flowers, etc.
Josh Friedes with Equal Rights Washington says these kinds of incidences have happened very rarely over the past decade since same-sex unions have been legalized.
That may be true early in the past decade, but as we have documented, in the past few years it is becoming a trend. A sport of sorts.
This story also casts the two homosexual men as nearly uninvolved---innocent by-standers to the attack on Arlene's Flowers.
The Washington State Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, has filed suit against her and the ACLU is threatening to sue her unless she publicly apologizes and makes a $5000 donation to a local homosexual advocacy group---Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender (LGBT).
What are the charges against her?
Stutzman has said publicly and she told me personally that she doesn't hate homosexuals. She says her relationship with Jesus Christ does not allow her to participate in the event.
She posted on her Facebook page: "I believe, biblically, that marriage is between a man and a woman. That is my conviction. Yours may be different."
And a culture driven by some of the same motivations that drove the Roman Empire are throwing her to the beasts.
This is a time when Christians must come together. We are at a dangerous intersection where political correctness, so-called tolerance, equality and fairness are being used to undermine the freedoms we have come to take for granted---particularly freedoms that relate to the practice of biblical Christianity.
We have crossed the threshold were a person can be both "persecuted" and "prosecuted" for their biblical beliefs.
Its time to awaken from the slumber of denial.
Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Active. Be Blessed.