David L. Goetsch
Why Do They Hate Us?
Updated: Jan 5, 2020
INCREASING ANIMOSITY TOWARD CHRISTIANS
When Richard approached me for counseling, he was dealing with a faith-related problem at work, but the conversation quickly broadened into a discussion of a larger issue when he asked, “Why do they hate us?” Richard went on to relate how he and several other members of his church had been attacked recently when they held a silent prayer vigil outside of an abortion clinic. They carried no signs or banners and shouted no anti-abortion slogans. They simply kneeled across the street from the clinic and prayed for the mothers and their unborn children.
As they prayed, a group of “pro-choice” advocates materialized and began yelling profane epithets at them. When this generated no response, the pro-choice group began throwing rocks at the praying Christians. Several of Richard’s church members sustained superficial injuries, but what concerned him even more was what happened next. The abortion advocates got themselves whipped into a frenzy that soon got out of control. They went from yelling and throwing rocks to kicking, hitting, and spitting. The faces of the abortion advocates were filled with rage and the words they shouted expressed hatred. Richard felt like his group was being attacked by a pack of snarling wolves.
What Richard and his fellow church members experienced was just one act in a larger drama that is played out across the country as opponents of Christianity become more vocal, vitriolic, and aggressive in their attacks on people of faith. People whose values differ from theirs are no longer viewed as opponents; they are the enemy. What makes this turn of events especially disturbing is people don’t usually debate with their enemies; they try to destroy them. Those who oppose Christianity are confident and self-assured. They believe eliminating Christian values from the public square is a just cause. Consequently, they believe the ends justify the means, even if those means include intimidation, persecution, and violence.
The attack on Richard and his church members was unfortunate, but what it represented in the broader sense is even more disturbing. There is no bigger threat to those who reject the Word of God than a faithful Christian. Simply stated, if Christians are right, unbelievers are wrong. Not surprisingly, they do not like to be wrong. Consequently, they tolerate no one who claims they are. Increasingly they have shifted tactics from debating with Christians to attacking them, not just verbally but, as was the case with Richard and his friends, physically. Incidents of intimidation, persecution, and violence against Christians are on the rise.
Examples of this phenomenon abound. Protestors marching in front of a photography studio that refused to participate in a gay marriage ceremony carried signs that read “Burn it down.” The business owner had to call the police to save his business from arson. Special interest groups lobby Congress continually to abolish religious holidays, and communities nationwide have stopped displaying crèches at Christmas out of fear of expensive lawsuits. Even using the term “Merry Christmas” is becoming taboo. Businesses wary of an anti-Christian backlash have taken to substituting the term “happy holidays.” How long will it be before unbelievers insist that the name “Christmas” be changed to something more palatable to them, something that doesn’t include the word “Christ.”
A Christian professor was denied the opportunity to teach a Humanities Religion course at his college because his department chair feared he would be biased toward Christianity. As a result, the course was taught by an atheist professor who was biased against Christianity. The percentage of college professors who claim to be Christians versus those who hold worldviews opposed to Christianity is heavily weighted on the side of unbelievers; more than 80 percent. In spite of this, institutions of higher education claim to be dedicated to exposing students to a broad range of views. College and university administrators would severely discipline or even fire a professor who made derogatory remarks about minority students—and rightly so—but they look the other way when Christian students are called “bible thumpers” and other pejoratives.
Businesses have required employees to remove bibles from their desks and framed bible verses from the walls of their offices. One employee was told he could not drive his car to work because the license plate on it said “Choose Life.” A public-school teacher was disciplined for using what his principal called “hate speech” when he said “God bless you” to a colleague. When the teacher challenged the disciplinary measures, he was accosted in his driveway by a mob yelling anti-Christian epithets as he attempted to drive to work.
These are just a few examples of a disturbing trend: increasing incidents of anger, vitriol, and rancor against Christians in the public square. Clearly those who oppose Christianity are turning up the volume of their rhetoric and increasing the aggressiveness of their tactics. As a result, many Christians want to fight back, and that is exactly what we should do. Christ used the parable of the Ten Minas (Luke 19:11-27) to make the point we are to be good stewards of the world He has left in our care until His return. Good stewards of what belongs to God do not sit back and passively cede the world to those who hate Him. On the other hand, Christians must avoid falling into the trap of responding in kind. We don’t win if we become like those who persecute us.
America has been a divided nation before. There was, of course, the Civil War era when our nation divided over slavery. In the 1960s, the nation divided again over civil rights and the Viet Nam War. Property damage from race riots and anti-war protests in that era ran into the millions. People on both sides of these issues lost their lives. The issue that divides us now grows out of a simple question: Whose values are to prevail in America—God’s or man? With the increase in animosity toward Christians, one might reasonably ask if this question must be resolved with the kind rancor and destruction seen in the 1960s? My answer to this question is simple: No, it doesn’t.
There is a better way, and it’s not the politics of division we currently see in America. Politicians cannot heal the wounds that divide our nation. The central concern of any politician is power, and gaining or maintaining power depends on attracting a majority of voters. To ensure the largest possible turnout of followers in the short term, politicians often say and do things that divide our nation in the long term or they compromise where there should be no compromise. This is how it has always been with politicians and how it will always be. But what politicians can’t do God can, and you can be His instrument. Working through individual Christians like you and me, God can heal the wounds that divide our nation and bring us together in a community that transcends politics: the community of God. The anti-dote for anti-Christian hatred is Christian love. Stand your ground for Christ, but do it in a way he approves of. If you become discouraged with the slowness of results, remember the message in Matthew 19:26: With God on your side, all things are possible. The battle is already won but the timing is in the Lord’s hands.
Dr. Goetsch is the author of Christian Women on the Job: Excelling at Work without Compromising Your Faith, Fidelis Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press and Christians on the Job: Winning at Work Without Compromising Your Faith, Salem Books, an imprint of Regnery Publishing, 2019: www.david-goetsch.com