Dateline Ireland: A Roman Catholic priest is being accused of committing a hate crime by a Humanist who was offended by the priest’s references to secularism in a sermon. The priest said, in his homily, that Ireland’s Roman Catholic Church was being “attacked from outside by the arrows of a secular and godless culture.” It seems that Ireland recently amended its hate crime laws to include “inciting violence” as part of the offense – and the complainant is interpreting what was said from the pulpit as something which would incite violence. The complaint has been forwarded to prosecutors to deal with.
Regardless of the truth or falsity of the priest’s statement (which is actually true), the idea that an observation in a sermon about the state of society as it relates to the church could be dealt with as a hate crime to totally absurd. But that fact doesn’t stop these kinds of things from happening. The worldview which informs this kind of thinking allows it.
What we are dealing with is a religious point of view which has no objective frame of reference. Humanism is an expression of Naturalism which does not recognize the existence of any kind of supernatural reality – no God. So, the only place morality can come from is the opinions of individuals. So, if this Humanist finds himself offended, his own opinion is all he needs to file a complaint to try and have the priest sent to jail.
“But that’s over there,” you say. “That could never happen here.”
Oh, really? This kind of thing is already happening here. Vanderbilt University just issued a decree late last year to ban Christian campus organizations from excluding non-Christians in their leadership. Just last week, they doubled down on this. Recently, a young lady studying counseling at Eastern Michigan University wanted to refer a homosexual client to another counselor (a common practice in that profession). She didn’t feel she could effectively help this person because of her religious beliefs. She was kicked out of school because she refused to change her stand. The new Obama healthcare plan has decreed that religious institutions which serve people outside of their faith (ex. hospitals, adoption agencies, etc.) must offer contraceptive and abortion services as a part of their health insurance program even if that is against the tenets of their faith. Those not in compliance can be fined or shut down. The list of examples could go on and on. If things do not turn around soon, you will begin to see Christians put in jail simply because they say and do the politically incorrect.
The solution to this problem is not merely to become politically active. There is, certainly, a place for political activism. But the long term solution is not political – it is spiritual. The problem exists because a large number of people follow a non-Christian belief system which allows for these kind of rules and laws. The solution is to lead them to a worldview belief which takes them down a different path.
People who are like this need Jesus Christ. The only way we, as Christians, are going to make an impact in this arena is to become proficient at sharing our faith. MarketFaith Ministries has lots of resources to give you help in this area. Spend some time on the website and grab the ones that will strengthen your faith.