USA (MNN) — The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Equality Act, which seeks to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. However, the bill seems unlikely to pass the evenly divided Senate.
Some American Christians worry the bill could interfere with the operation of non-profits and parachurch organizations. Others grieve the loss of cultural norms perhaps more closely aligned with a Christian ethic. The discussion has brought many fears of persecution to the forefront.
However, given the rich history of religious freedom in America, Todd Nettleton of The Voice of the Martyrs USA reminds us, “The call to Biblical discipleship is not dependent on government regulation or government permission. The disciples, even in the immediate aftermath of Christ ascending into heaven, were not in a position of government approval, or government power. The church has always been independent of what the government says. Our call is to follow Christ. Our call is to be disciples.”
Expectations of following Jesus
There are lessons Americans can learn from the Global Church on withstanding persecution, working in oppression and dealing with religious discrimination and harassment. Nettleton says many Christians in the U.S. expect life to get easier while following Christ. But that’s not the expectation in most of the world.
By comparison, he talks about conditions in countries like Syria, Iran, and China. These followers of Christ have gone before and left a rich heritage of growth, in spite of the efforts to silence the hope of the Gospel. What’s the takeaway? “People are going to be against you. Your own family may turn against you. You may end up in prison, you may end up in jail, you may end up being beaten or even being killed. But Jesus will be with you throughout that experience, throughout that trial. And you have the promise of eternity with Him.”
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