Maher and Persecution

Bill Maher recently said: “I’d like to tip off law enforcement to an even larger child-abusing religious cult. Its leader also has a compound, and this guy not only operates outside the bounds of the law, but he used to be a Nazi and he wears funny hats.”

Of course the Catholic church is protesting these comments, and they probably should, just not too strongly or vehemently. I’ve heard and read several comments that we should imagine if he had said such derogatory things about a particular race or another religion, like Muslims. Many of them noted that Christians are the only targets left that it’s OK to attack.

That may be true, but we’re also the only group of people whose Leader told us not only to expected it but that we were blessed when it happens, and He also told us how to handle it.

Matthew 5:11-12, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

John 15:20, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”

First Corinthians 4: 12-13, “When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly . Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.”

Second Corinthians 4:8-10, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”

Second Timothy 3: 12-14, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil man and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and what you have become convinced, because you know those from whom you learned it.”

In Second Thessalonians, Paul says that he boast to all the other churches about the perseverance and faith of the Thessalonians in all the persecutions and trials they had been enduring. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus explains that the seed that fell on rocky places represents the one who hears the word and receives it with joy, but lacking root, when trouble or persecution comes he quickly falls away.

Persecution is to be expected. People know they can get away with it with Christians, not just because we are acceptable targets, but they also know we’re not going to threaten to kill the person saying it. In fact, we’re not going to put up much protest at all. It’s really only when they try to keep us from the public square that we protest. As long as you don’t try to hinder our voice proclaiming the Word, for the most part, with some exceptions, we’ll take all the insults you throw at us and bless you.

I hope the Catholic church doesn’t overreact.

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