This is the first of a series of posts related to the November 2020 elections in the United States. The first post will give an overview of what the election of a Democratic president and Congress means for the persecution of Christians in the United States. The following posts will analyze what is happening from a biblical viewpoint, answering the crucial questions of how to understand these events within the framework of biblical prophecy, and how American Christians should respond. It is my conviction that the American church has failed to understand these events and respond properly to them because it does not understand or accept biblical prophecy, which is the key to making sense of the events of our time. Too many Christians are shocked by what is happening because they do not understand what the Bible says about the world becoming dramatically worse before the return of Christ, and they do not believe that the United States—the dominant country in the world of the end times—is even mentioned in biblical prophecy. In fact, difficult days are ahead, though in the end it will all work out for good as part of God’s plan to wind up the affairs of this world and replace the kingdoms of this world with His own eternal kingdom.
The narrow and disputed election victory of the Democrats in November 2020 and January 2021 appears to be a watershed moment in the history of both the United States and of the entire world. It signifies not just a change of agenda, but a takeover of the world’s most powerful country by a party that intends to prosecute its ideological opponents for alleged political and religious “crimes.” This represents a radical departure from traditional party politics in the United States, which sought to preserve freedom of speech and the democratic system of government by allowing the free expression of opposing views. While the more “political” issues get the headlines, I would like to point out how the Democratic Party has shifted radically to the left on religious issues over the past few decades, and what the current threats to religious liberty are.
- In 1993, Congressman Chuck Schumer and Senator Ted Kennedy cosponsored the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which specified that the enforcement of government laws and regulations must allow broad latitude for religious objections, in order to prevent unintentional restrictions on religious freedom. The RFRA passed Congress nearly unanimously, and President Bill Clinton enthusiastically signed it into law.
- Now, Chuck Schumer has vowed to pass the Equality Act immediately after Democrats regain control of the Senate, and Joe Biden has promised to sign the Equality Act into law. The Equality Act essentially seeks to make sexual liberties override religious liberties. It stipulates that all people must be allowed to use the bathroom or locker room of their choice, without any exemption for Christian organizations or parental religious beliefs. In fact, it specifically states that the RFRA cannot be used to provide “any claim, defense, or basis” for challenging the requirements of the Equality Act. When the Equality Act was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019, all the Democrats voted for it, but only eight Republicans joined them. The Senate never voted on the Equality Act due to Republican opposition, and President Trump also issued an official statement opposing it.
- If the Equality Act is passed in the Senate without a successful Republican filibuster, it will create immediate legal problems for Christian institutions, resulting in a court battle. One obvious area of contention will be whether Christian organizations can expel or refuse to admit students, staff, or faculty who are active homosexuals or who undergo a “gender transition.” Probably state and federal governments will deny student loans and other financial aid to schools that refuse to comply, accreditation agencies will revoke accreditation, the IRS will revoke tax-exempt status, and some states may revoke Christian schools’ licenses to operate. Some individual school presidents or pastors may be charged with criminal offenses. The current Supreme Court would almost certainly rule in favor of Christian institutions, but some lower courts would not. Also, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court could be lost by packing the court or by deaths and retirements. More disconcertingly, the Equal Rights Amendment is very close to passage by the states and by Congress, and not even a conservative Supreme Court could overturn a constitutional amendment. (Some liberals even want to rewrite the entire Constitution.) Once the Equality Act is passed, it will be nearly impossible to overturn, as there is not enough popular support, and certainly not enough establishment support, for the protection of Christian churches and schools which have policies that exclude homosexuals.
- Another bill that has been proposed in the U.S. House, the Do No Harm Act, also specifically annuls provisions of RFRA and redefines statutory harm to include the supposed emotional harm that is inflicted on homosexuals by Christians organizations with lifestyle standards that refuse membership to practicing homosexuals.
- In 1996, President Clinton signed the Communications Decency Act in order to restrict internet pornography. This act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 414-16, and the Senate by a vote of 91-5.
- Now, mainstream opinion journalists and the big tech companies openly advocate pornography as something positive and healthy, and pornography illustrating all sorts of sexual perversion has been added to the sex ed curriculum of some public schools. (In some states sex ed is K-12, with a heavy emphasis on presenting homosexuality and transgenderism in a positive light, and warning that abstinence is harmful.) The Democrats are also mandating sexual abuse in schools by requiring schools to allow students and teachers to use the locker room or restroom of their choice, and it seems likely that they will soon pass laws that erase all legal distinctions between male and female toplessness. Even worse things are likely on the horizon. Unfortunately, a growing number of Republicans are also in favor of such indecency, although nearly all political opposition to sexual immorality is to be found within the Republican Party.
- In 1996, President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman, prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriages, and declared that states do not have to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. This act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 342-67, and the Senate by a vote of 85-14. In 2000 and 2008, the people of California voted in favor of propositions that banned gay marriage. In his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama stated repeatedly that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, and that he is opposed to gay marriage.
- In 2012, Obama completely reversed his position, violating his oath of office by refusing to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act without the law being repealed by Congress. (This began a trend; Democratic executives at all levels of government have since stopped enforcing laws which they dislike, usurping legislative power.) Pressure from Obama and the federal government led to the 2015 Obergefell decision by the Supreme Court that made same-sex “marriage” the law of the land, as liberal justices usurped the power of Congress and read into the Constitution a right that was clearly never intended by those who passed the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868. Immediately afterward, the Obama administration launched a global campaign of persecution against all those who advocate the very position that Obama himself advocated only a few years earlier. There was great celebration by Leftists and the mainstream media when Kim Davis, a Christian county clerk in Kentucky who declined to place her signature on marriage licenses for same-sex couples, was imprisoned. The depth of hatred that Democrats have for those who hold a different ideology—especially those who espouse biblical Christian values—seems to know no bounds.
- In the 1990s, liberal Democrats led an anti-smoking crusade, winning class-action lawsuits against the big tobacco companies, increasing cigarette taxes, banning smoking indoors, and educating people about the dangers of cigarette smoking. Senator Joe Biden coined the term “drug czar” in 1982 and led the effort to establish the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in 1988. Senator Biden and President Clinton supported the reauthorization of the ONDCP in 1996 as part of the “War on Drugs.” The 1996 reauthorization bill specifically prohibited the use of federal funds for research related to the medical use or legalization of marijuana.
- Today, Biden and the Democrats have pledged to legalize marijuana nationwide. Several liberal states and municipalities have already legalized (decriminalized) hard drugs, and the Democrats will legalize these nationally sooner or later. It is unfortunate that some Republicans also favor the legalization of marijuana, although there is far more opposition to drug legalization within the Republican Party than within the Democratic Party.
- While at this point Christians are not being punished for opposing drugs, it is possible that such persecution could come. Simply living in a society where drugs are openly sold and consumed is spiritually and physically oppressive.
The following is a list of other assaults on Christian religious liberty that are likely to come in the United States soon.
- An expansion of “hate speech” laws that will require the recognition of the legitimacy of transgenderism by punishing those who refer to transgender persons using the pronoun of their birth (physical) gender. This has already begun as a workplace rule and a requirement by media companies, but will expand to include fines or imprisonment for all violators in all contexts.
- It is possible that an anti-Christian “doctrinal statement” may be introduced into workplaces and/or made a requirement for holding public office, which would require people to recognize the legitimacy of homosexuality, homosexual “marriage,” transgenderism, and so forth. In authoritarian countries that have a façade of democracy, it is common for only those candidates approved by the ruling class to be allowed to run in elections. This removes all possibility of a future change in the ruling party’s core policies. Already it seems likely that conservative Congressmen who anger the left-wing establishment will be expelled from Congress by Democratic Congressional leaders, overturning elections.
- There will be a continuing expansion of the types of sexual perversion that are not merely recognized as legitimate, but that are celebrated, protected, and aggressively advocated. “Homosexual” became “LGBT,” which has become “LGBTIQ+”, and this will likely be expanded to include pedophilia, incest, bestiality, and who knows what else.
- There may be some sort of regulations imposed on Christian schools and homeschools that will require all students to be indoctrinated with the leftist worldview, especially on the homosexual issue.
- There will be a continuation and acceleration of the purge of cultural symbols of the past from museums, parks, government buildings, and history books.
- Big tech, publishers, and the rest of corporate America have already begun aggressive ideological purges of books, articles, videos, websites, merchandise, and advertising that are deemed “offensive” or “contaminated” due to association with a conservative “sinner.” Some sort of ideological purges will likely be made official U.S. government policy at some point, as in many other countries. I fully expect that the day will come when Amazon removes my books and WordPress removes my blog, if I do not first migrate elsewhere.
- Services may be denied to individuals who are known to be part of a hated class of people (i.e., conservative Christians) by companies that fear even the slightest association with ideological opponents of the Left. Eventually this will likely mean exclusion from basic services, such as air travel, hotel, cell phone, banking, internet shopping, and even insurance. This is a more radical form of the discriminatory policies that were once imposed on blacks in parts of the U.S., which is now being done under the false pretense of “inclusion” and “anti-discrimination.”
- Joe Biden has stated that he may ask Congress to pass a “domestic terrorism” law and to create a special office in the White House to fight “ideological extremists.” Such a law would likely allow the president to suspend the civil liberties of conservative groups or individuals that he deems “ideological extremists” and would allow Biden to use federal funds to promulgate propaganda for liberal “values” in the media and schools.
- In spite of this past summer’s “cancel culture” assault on Senator Tom Cotton and President Trump for proposing the use of the military to control leftist rioters, and Trump’s toleration of the vast left-wing protests at his own inauguration, the military is already being deployed to deter conservatives from protesting the Leftist ascent to power. This shows that the Democrats are willing to use military force to crush opposition to their agenda. Any resistance to the crackdown will provide an excuse for stronger measures.
- The homosexual agenda will be imposed on other countries through strongarm tactics by corporate America and as part of the official foreign policy of the United States. Foreign companies, political leaders, and governments that oppose homosexual “marriages” or other aspects of the liberal agenda will face a devastating boycott.
How did we get to this place? The United States has been decaying spiritually for quite some time. By the late 1990s, it had became clear that the homosexual rights movement, which was an outgrowth of the feminist movement, was a polarizing “wedge” issue because it forced everyone to take a stance on one side or the other, with no middle ground (in spite of the talk at the time of moral relativism, tolerance, and multiculturalism). Further, militant homosexuals made clear that they were not just seeking toleration, but also a ban on all criticism of homosexuality and the opportunity to “proselytize” children and teenagers by presenting the homosexual lifestyle as normal, healthy, and even superior. Throughout the 1990s and the early 2000s, homosexual rights continued to be expanded at all levels of government in the United States, and the movement even began to make inroads in the church. However, it was the Obama presidency that radicalized and hardened the Left—and not just on the homosexual issue—making Leftists unwilling to compromise or take a conciliatory posture towards conservatives. Beginning towards the end of the George W. Bush presidency, but accelerating at a feverish pace since the end of the Obama presidency, left-wing Democrats have waged an unrelenting war on conservatives, with no desire to “turn down the temperature,” compromise, or be amicable.
Too many Christians and pastors view the conflict in America as purely political, rather than spiritual. In fact, Daniel 10–12 teaches that visible political conflicts are merely a manifestation of an invisible spiritual conflict between God and His agents and Satan and his agents. The real conflict is spiritual, and the spiritual drives the political (see this post). This does not imply that political activism is the best way to fight the spiritual battle, or that the Republican Party is always right. But it does mean that political events are not without spiritual significance, and are not always secondary issues or matters on which pastors and churches should remain silent or refuse to take sides. In the United States today, it is clear that the Democratic Party has a thoroughly satanic agenda and attitude. While I recognize that there are many problems in the Republican Party, only the Republican Party still has many advocates for biblical morality on key issues, and President Trump was a very strong defender of Christian religious liberty. Political activism will not save America, but it sure is important not to be supporting the side that is persecuting God’s people. One’s Christian faith should not be separated from any area of one’s life, and certainly not from contemporary politics, where Americans are literally voting on whether to persecute Christians. Shame on evangelical Christians who voted Democratic in the last election. Shame on Christian leaders who steered people away from voting Republican.
American political “Leftism” is looking increasingly like a religious system. Leftism holds to a dogmatic system of beliefs, seeks to impose them on others, and seeks to identify and eliminate heretics. Leftism is in many ways a political religion, because it uses politics as a means of spreading its values and forcing conversions. Homosexual rights is one of its core tenets; some others currently include more general sexual openness, abortion, assisted suicide/euthanasia, legalized drugs, Darwinian evolution, global warming, and economic socialism. Christianity, in its traditional and biblical form, is viewed as the greatest threat to the religion of Leftism and its ideological opposite. The fervor of Leftists in America is also characteristic religious fervor, which can be seen in Leftists from top to bottom—from the corporate executives who eagerly cut all ties with anyone who is deemed a “sinner,” to the opinion journalists who ceaselessly rail against conservatives without any attempt to be nice or fair or unhypocritical, to the many people in my own neighborhood who aggressively post atheistic and Democratic Party signs in their front yards year-round. It is clear that there is a satanic energy behind the religious fervor of Leftism, as Satan makes a final great push to wipe out Christians and Jews before Jesus returns.
Even before the Democratic Party takeover of Congress and the White House, the Left found a way to exercise political control over American institutions without formally being invested with political power, by a near-total takeover of the elite establishment. If a corporate executive is heard saying something as innocuous as, “I do not believe a man should marry another man”—a moral principle so fundamental to human civilization that it has been taken for granted by virtually everyone in world history before just the last few decades—that executive will be fired and will not be able to find another job. Teachers, government workers, and even many private employees could also be fired for making such a statement. As for big tech companies, they have shown that they do not just have the power to censor content on their own platforms—they also have the power to censor competitors’ platforms. Essentially they have considerable power to control content across the entire internet, at least in the United States. Virtually any website or cell phone app can be censored by leftist American tech giants. Without passing a constitutional amendment to annul freedom of speech, the Left now strictly controls what may and may not be said. When the leftist establishment acts in concert to censor and purge conservatives, they are carrying out extrajudicial punishments without legal due process or legislative action. Without respect for the Constitution, for due process, and for free exchange of ideas, true democracy cannot exist, since debates, campaigns, and elections cannot be truly free. There can be no effective political opposition to leftist ideology, particularly on the all-important moral and spiritual issues.
There is some uncertainty at present as to what the Democrats might do in the short term to attack Christian individuals and institutions that oppose homosexuality and that in general espouse a biblical worldview. It is clear that strong repressive measures are coming, including not just restrictions on Christians but also the legalization of more sinful practices. Some of the coming measures are doubtless ones that very few people are currently talking about. I do not personally know exactly when or how all of these measures will come. Perhaps the worst will not come until the Republican Party also shifts more fully to the left on moral and spiritual issues. However, I can say with confidence that the day will come when not only will Bible-believing institutions and churches in America be closed, but the United States will actually lead a worldwide campaign to persecute and kill Christians wherever they may be found. The United States will never be turned around spiritually and politically, and efforts to save America are futile. Ultimately, American Christians will need to follow the steps of their forebears and peacefully leave their country in search of religious freedom elsewhere. How do I know these things? From biblical prophecy, which will be the subject of my next post.
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Trent McKee said:
Thank you, Dr. Anderson for well researched concise articles.
I am trying to understand dispensation as it applies to the church age. I find it difficult to reconcile Christian freedom from the law with
1) the idea that believers are grafted into the natural branches of Isreal
2) the 7 th day Sabbath is one of the 10 commandments yet seems to be the only one that is either not needed- or is changed to first day of the week. It was also to be a sign to Isreal throughout their generations that God is the Lord that sanctifies them.
3) Paul (apostle to the gentiles) taught on the Sabbath and gave instruction about the Passover.
4) Jesus said to pray that the end time flight from Jerusalem does not occur on the Sabbath.
5) Jesus and some of the apostles admonished believers to obey the commandments of God.
6) It appears that the Sabbath and holy days of Isreal will be observed in the millennial kingdom.
I understand that circumcision and requirements of the ceremonial law are replaced by faith…it is just harder to understand the abolition of the 4 th commandment and the absence of the holy days in favour of Christmas and Easter (pagan origins).
Steven Anderson said:
Symbolic and ceremonial aspects of the Mosaic Law were fulfilled in Christ, and therefore don’t apply in the present age. However, the promises of a future restoration of Israel are still valid. The church only temporarily functions as the spiritual people of God in the present age, until the church is taken away at the rapture and the Israelites accept Jesus as their Messiah.
The principle of resting one day out of seven is still valid, although it is not an absolute command. Christians switched their day of worship from the seventh day to the first day because of the resurrection of Christ. (See this article with regard to Adventism: https://www.gospeloutreach.net/sdaerr.html)
The flight of the Jews to the place of refuge at the midpoint of the tribulation period would be much more difficult on a Sabbath, because many modes of transportation are closed on the Sabbath in Israel today.
The laws given in Ezekiel 40-48 are similar in some ways to the Mosaic Law and different in others. In general, they are retrospective of Christ’s sacrifice, rather than prospective.
The New Testament never commands believers to celebrate holy days, although it does provide a pattern of meeting for corporate worship on the first day of the week.