Last week a court in Saudi Arabia sentenced a man to 10 years in prison, 2000 lashes and a fine for not believing in god. (Allah) The man claims to be an atheist.
He was fortunate. Many Christians are beheaded if they refuse to convert.
In today's America, the courts regularly punish those who do believe in God if their belief is expressed publicly---florists, photographers, bakers, military personal, NASA scientists and students have been punished in relation to publicly expressing their belief in God, His Son and His Word.
Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis was thrown in jail because of her biblical belief regarding marriage.
A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a man to 10 years in prison, 2000 lashes and a fine of 20,000 riyals---about $5,300.
Associated Press is reporting, "The 28 year old man admitted to being an atheist and refused to repent." Or convert.
While AP did not report the man's name, they said he was publicizing his personal beliefs---or lack of them on social media and other public forums. AP did say, "He was denying the existence of god (Allah), ridiculing Quranic verses, accusing all prophets of lies and saying their teachings fueled hostilities."
In today's secular progressive America, the rights of those who claim to be atheists are honored, and their actions against Christians are celebrated.
While the Arabian Peninsula originally had several religious beliefs---Judaism, and later Christianity, several polytheistic religions and Zoroastrianism, Islam began to dominate the Arabian Peninsula in the 630s AD.
Today, Saudi Arabia officially claims to be 100% Muslim. However, a number of unofficial sources who monitor demographics say it is about 3.5% Christian and 0.6% Hindu---the rest Muslim.
We have written and spoken on the radio about the florists, the photographers, the bakers, military personnel, NASA scientists and students who have dared give public expression to their Christian faith---their personal commitment to Jesus Christ, who have been censored and often punished.
We also wrote and spoke about Kim Davis, the elected County Clerk in Kentucky who was thrown in jail because she could not sign "marriage" licenses for same-sex couples because of her deeply held biblical belief about marriage.
Most recently, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor---yes, favor of the high school cheerleaders from Kountze, Texas (population 2,123). We also spoke and wrote about this case at the time.
Last year, the atheist organization Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a formal complaint because the cheerleaders were displaying banners at football games that contained "biblical content."
Except this banner said, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. Philippians 4:13. "
That too, is fairly common in certain parts of the country. But government appointed courts most often rule against any public expression of Christianity if it is related to the "state."
The atheists acted, the government run school reacted and the parents and citizens became pro-active.
Last month, January 29, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of the cheerleaders, 8-0.
The Court reasoned that the cheerleaders at Kountze are a "private student club." They buy their own uniforms and materials. With their money, they pay for the banners and the paint to put the message on the banners, including inspirational verses from the Bible.
This case is unique in the flow of objections to religious expression being filed and the various court decisions. However, this could be an indication of a turning point in the culture. As Christian people become more informed, they become more emboldened---particularly in matters of their faith and religious freedom.
Similar cases have not, as most of us know, found a favorable ruling for Christian expression.
The Kliens, a Christian couple from Gresham, Oregon who declined to bake a "wedding" cake for a lesbian couple, have, to date, paid over $100,000 in fines, their bakery has been forced out of business and their case is now headed to a higher court.
Barronnel Stutzman, a florist in Richland, Washington has been and is being dragged through court because she expressed and acted on her personal Christian beliefs.
Another bakery in Texas is being deluged this weekend with threats and hate mail, because they too have strong religious beliefs about marriage, and have refused to bake a cake for a same-sex "marriage."
Franklin Graham Tweeted over the weekend, "Here we go again..." Without doubt this case will be headed to court before the flowers of summer bloom.
The way in which the Saudi government punished the atheist for not believing what he is supposed to believe is the antithesis of what America was intended to be in the minds of our Founders.
Our Founders took great pain to establish a Republic that protected religious freedom---that's why the folks from Europe came here in the first place---religious freedom. And that freedom also extended to those who believe there is no God.
Our Founders declared first and foremost that the rights we claim are given by God, the Creator--- not government
Government is charged to protect those rights and freedoms.
In secularized America there is a myth that the Founders intended to banish God from the public square. These claims are ironic since the Founders said repeatedly that our freedoms come from the Creator.
In fact, Samuel Adams reflected the common notion that "the laws of nature and nature's God" were in harmony when he said, "'Thou shall do no injury to thy neighbor,' is the voice of nature and reason, and it is confirmed by written revelation."
Adams saw no reason that faith and government be at war. In fact they are linked in our Founder's America.
John Quincy Adams, our 6th president, said the principles of Christianity and civil government were linked in an indissoluble bond by the American Revolution.
In 1793, President George Washington wrote to a church in Baltimore: "We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition, and that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart."
No conflict in his mind.
The punishment of the atheist in Saudi courts, at first glance, stands in stark contrast to the freedoms---particularly religious freedom defined by our American Founders.
Yet at closer look, while in reverse, it mirrors the actions in our own country against those who refuse to believe the politically correct, secularized version rather than the biblical version of Christianity.
The Saudis punish those who will not believe or convert to Islam, while too many American courts are punishing those who do believe and share (proselytize) their faith in Christ.
While this may encourage those globalists who seek a one world government and one world religion, it should be very troubling to the rest of us.
It should be very troubling that the actions of two diametrically different religions---and governments, have become so similar.
There is a profound difference between Islam and Christianity. And that difference should be easily seen in government policies.
Following 9-11, Attorney General John Ashcroft, a committed Christian, said this:
"Islam is a religion in which god requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends His Son to die for you."
Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Free.