Prepare for persecution. That’s the message Frank Page has for evangelical Christians living in the United States. Page is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, the nation’s largest non-Catholic denomination.
“I’m not a conspiracy theorist,” Page said. ‘But I do believe the day is coming when churches will see outright persecution, as well as harassment and marginalization in this culture.”
Frank Page has earned a reputation as an even-keel religious leader not prone to hyperbole. But in recent days he’s begun sounding a clarion call to his fellow Christians in the U.S. that persecution is on the horizon.
“There will be active and open persecution because of the biblical worldview of churches,” Page said. “Our culture is with increased rapidity moving towards an intolerance towards anyone who has a biblical worldview. Churches better gear up and realize the days are coming.”
And there is mounting evidence to suggest Page may be correct. In 2009, a Department of Homeland Security memorandum identified future threats to national security coming from Evangelicals and pro-life groups.
A recent Army briefing listed Evangelical Christianity and Catholicism as examples of religious extremism. Another military officer sent a letter to subordinates warning them to be on the lookout for soldiers who support the Family Research Council and the American Family Association. The officer labeled both organizations as hate groups.
“When you have national leaders who say Baptists and other evangelicals are guilty of hate speech because of our recitation of simple scripture, then you are going to see the alienation and active persecution of churches in the United States,” Page said.
Under the Obama Administration, the Pentagon launched a crackdown on Christian activity in the military. And in some cases, chaplains and Christian service members have been punished for expressing their faith.
“As one general so aptly put it, ”they expect us to check our religion in at the door, ”don’t bring that here,” Lee said. “Your armed forces, the sons and daughters of the men and women like you,are being told to hide that light under a basket.”
Among some of the high-profile attacks on religious liberty within the military were the following:
- Christian prayers were banned at graveside services at National Cemetery in Houston, unless family members signed off on the prayers in advance.
- Bibles and other religious materials were at one point banned from Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
- A chaplain was relieved of his command over a military chapel because he would not allow same-sex weddings to take place in the chapel.
- The Air Force censored a video created by a chaplain because it included the word “God.” The Air Force feared the word might offend Muslims and atheists.