Dr. Ben Carson, neurosurgeon and presidential candidate, launched a media blitz Friday and over the weekend following the massacre on the Oregon college campus.
In response to the avalanche of questions from reporters, he first held up a sign from the back seat of his SUV which said "I Am A Christian" with the fish or ichthys sign.
Later in the day Friday, he asked all 4 million of his followers on Twitter to post "#IamAChristian" as their personal ID.
Millions did and are continuing to do so.
Over the last several days we have learned more of the details from this horrific ordeal.
One thing has been affirmed and re-affirmed. In the words of one student in the room who survived, "He was definitely on the hunt for Christians."
Standing up as a Christian in our current American culture is coming to mean something different than in preceding generations.
Dr. Carson explained the thought process behind the hashtag on Twitter:
"Today many of your questions were in regards to the sorrowful event that took so many precious lives in Oregon yesterday. We don't have all the details yet, but as time passes more are coming out. Millions of people are posting pictures of themselves declaring they are Christians in support of the victims and their families. I did so on Facebook this afternoon. If you have a moment, please consider doing so as well."
Then Carson wrote under the picture of himself holding the sign and the hashtag "#I amAChristian", noting that our great nation needs healing. The hashtag has gone viral around the world.
I'll come back to Carson and the fish sign in a minute.
President Obama predictably seized the moment---"Never let a crises or tragedy go without exploiting it" is a core belief of the president---and a fundamental in the teaching of radical Saul Alinsky.
But this time the president seems to be going further with his call for more gun control, suggesting instead that America follow Great Britain and Australia in "confiscating" guns.
The link above is a very interesting read. It quotes "Slate," a homosexual advocacy newspaper, Vox, a far left voice and Seattle's own homosexual activist Dan Savage, the most vile, strident homosexual voice in America today. I won't even publish what Savage called the NRA, those who own guns and the Second Amendment.
He has also labeled biblical Christians with the same narrative.
All three of these voices support the president and want guns confiscated in America.
While the gun debate rages on, and will continue to do so, this event in Roseburg, Oregon has raised an even more far reaching issue:
Christianity in America.
1 . The safety of Christians in our present culture.
Generally Christians are not targeted to be killed in our country because of their Christian faith. That, as we know, only happens in "other" countries on the other side of the globe. Right?
This episode in Roseburg is an eye opener that a mass murderer can, and now has, targeted Christians simply because they were Christians. And that's here---not "over there"---somewhere else.
Neither have we forgotten the shooting at the church Bible study in Charleston not long ago. While participating in a Bible study in their own church, 9 Christians were shot and killed by a stranger who had "joined them" in Bible study.
Tennessee Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey is calling on Christians in his state to obtain a handgun permit and be "prepared for future incidents."
He told the state, while it is not time to panic, "It is a time to be prepared."
"I would encourage my fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to think about getting a handgun carry permit," Ramsey said.
"I have always believed that it is better to have a gun and not need to use it than to need a gun and not have it," he said,--- "Our enemies are armed. We must do likewise."
There is yet another, more important layer to this.
2. Christianity in America.
A couple of centuries of religious freedom has given us a sense of inevitability about our freedom.
Our Founders laid down their lives and fortunes for the freedom and liberties we have enjoyed.
Our sons and daughters have fought and won wars to protect those freedoms.
But while they fought on foreign soil to protect our freedom, the enemy within began to tear the very cultural fabric of this nation's freedom as they, armed with socialist, anti-American and anti-God Cultural Marxism, have marched through our institutions---our public schools, entertainment, politics, our legal system and even our churches.
Political Correctness is their battering ram used to silence or destroy biblical Christians.
Christian Church denominations are committing suicide in their desperate attempts to "relate" to the culture.
You know the endless list of attacks on Christians who refuse to celebrate homosexual behavior, or try to practice their right of conscience in their business regarding the sanctity of life. We now know many of them by name---Barronnel, Kim, Aaron and Melisa, Dan (Cathy), the Green family, the Stormans, etc.
You know the names of church denominations who are revising Scripture to accommodate the "evolving truths" of our times.
Last week a lesbian bishop---first in the world, with the Lutheran Church in Sweden, called for crosses to be removed from Christian churches because they are offensive to Muslims. Is that coming to America as well?
Our greatest enemy is within---not without.
Culturally, what ails our current American culture was rampant in Rome at the time of the fall of the Roman Empire.
The words of Roman philosopher, politician and orator, Marcus Tullius Cicero two thousand years ago were never more true than today.
“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.”
–Marcus Tullius Cicero
By displaying the fish, or "Ichthys" as it is in Greek, Dr. Carson reminds us that while the fish symbol has some roots in heathen culture, the early Christians used it as a symbol of their commitment to Jesus Christ.
When threatened by Romans in the first century after Christ, Christians used the fish mark to identify meeting places and tombs, or to distinguish friends from foes.
It is said that often when a Christian would meet a stranger in the road, the Christian sometimes drew an arc of the simple fish outline in the dirt. If the stranger drew the other arc, both believers knew they were in safe company.
This is a time for true believers to take their stand, and in doing so, know it may cost something, personally, for the first time in American history.
But be of good cheer. Jesus said, "I have overcome the world." We will win. But we must stand.
And before there was a Roman Empire or United States of America, there was a man named Isaiah.
Under the inspiration of God, who created all things, Isaiah wrote to all believers including those in 2015:
"Fear not, I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you, When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you, For I am the Lord your God" (43:1-2-3).
Be Strong. Be Bold. Be Prayerful. Be Discerning.