Theophobia & Persecution

Written by Allan Erickson on March 16, 2021

This is an excerpt from the book, The Cross and the Constitution by Allan Erickson

November 20, 2008

Not long ago I attended a presentation by high school students. They were introduced as the cream of the crop. They gave verbal presentations concerning the knowledge they had acquired studying our democratic republic.

After the formal presentations, there was a question-and-answer period. One question posed, “Do rights come from God or government?” The students agreed: Americans’ rights come from government.

We hear a lot about rights these days and not much about responsibility.

We hear various groups clamoring for their “rights,” routinely calling on government to provide these “rights.” (My teachers and my folks told me the only rights I had were to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and from there it was up to me.)

Homosexuals demand the right to marriage. Many people claim rights to abortion, healthcare, a college education, a job, secure retirement, and, according to some, everyone has a right to believe and act according to the dictates of his/her own conscience exclusively.

Indeed, one of the published humanist principles is that personal autonomy is a higher good than responsibility to your neighbor or obedience to fixed moral duties. (Translation: do your own thing so long as it’s not hurtful. The trouble with self-indulgence is it always hurtful.)

Selfishness is praised in humanism, justified with the attitude that doing one’s own thing is fine so long as others are not hurt. The trouble is selfishness and the inevitable addiction to self-indulgence always hurts others, and frequently destroys the indulgent one. Selfishness is synonymous with sin.

In our post-modern, secularized world, selfishness becomes a civil right because supposedly everyone has innumerable rights.

Except Christians.

People today actually call for diminishing the rights of Christians. Some have suggested we not be allowed to vote. Not kidding. Why? Well, that is simple if you understand that Christians are intolerant homophobes, bigots, racists, and fanatics. So naturally, we are increasingly targeted for ostracism and worse. We are a menace to society. All that love-your-neighbor stuff is very harmful, don’t you know.

We hear endlessly about homophobia. The word resounds twenty-four-seven and seems to have for years. In the interest of equal time, let’s talk about theophobia for a while!

By theophobia I do not mean the “fear of God.” Biblical “fear of God” means the due respect and reverence one appropriately feels toward the King of the universe, and such good feelings are said to be “the beginning of wisdom,” reference Proverbs 1:7 and Psalm 103:13. (Please look it up.)

However, a healthy fear of the one who has “the power to throw you into hell” is quite the motivator as well, reference Luke 12:4,5.

What I mean by theophobia here is the irrational and prejudicial fear of all things religious, particularly Christianity, and especially the conservative kind.

Considering this definition, is it right to designate theophobic people like Christopher Hitchens, Bill Maher, Michelle Goldberg, Richard Dawkins, and Chris Hedges? All tell us religious people are irrational, even deranged, especially Christians, and conservative Christians are the worst because we promote a new nationalism, which always leads to fascism. (They are quick to dismiss the argument patriotism preserves liberty, the very opposite of fascism.)

“Scholar” Juan Cole, University of Michigan professor, went so far recently to say fundamentalist Islam and traditional Christianity are the same: we are all theocrats! Now how is that for academic prowess, deep perception, and articulation of nuanced understanding?

Not long ago Cole’s kin—Rosie O’Donnell, Robert Reich, and Bill Moyers—all claimed traditional Christians (all those wild-eyed Jesus lovers opposed to gay marriage and abortion), yeah, all those anti-intellectual knuckle-draggers, well, they are no different than the Taliban, seething masses of morons hell-bent on establishing theocracy.

(And here we’ve had four hundred years to get there, and we’ve still failed!)

Who wouldn’t fear theocrats? How many of us would eagerly board a plane for an extended stay in Iran? Ironically, those attacking Christianity and Christians with the accusation we seek theocracy fail to understand, or refuse to acknowledge, that it has been Christians throughout history standing in the way of all kinds of tyrants. After all, let’s remember it was Christians who brought Rome to her knees and ended gladiators slaughtering one another in the arena, Christians who stood in the way of Islamic aggression down through the centuries, Christians who challenged the feudal system, the exclusivity of the Roman Church, the divine right of kings and the notion any man could own another. And who was responsible for defeating the Nazis, the Soviets, and Imperial Japan last century?

Furthermore, lest we forget, it was a band of Christian colonists who wrote the First Amendment, so let’s not have any more of this bilge about Christians being the agents of despotism. It’s always been a lie from the pit of hell.

Given the drumbeat about horrible Christians for years, there are growing numbers of people who actually hate Christians, content to ignore their own prejudice on the road to persecution.

So far the persecution has only amounted to a few physical assaults here and there, such as the grandmother confronted by gay activists in Palm Springs on November 13, 2008. They screamed at her, roughed her up, and knocked the cross out of her hands then stomped on it.

Kids are routinely hammered in school for any expression of Christ’s love. You don’t have to go far to find endless examples of how secular political correctness gives teachers and students permission to confront and denigrate Christian students from kindergarten through college.

As the anti-Christ sentiment escalates, one wonders how long it will be before we see in America what we’ve seen for years overseas: violent persecution, torture, and murder. Vitriol always precedes outright violence. Thugs have to work themselves up to it you see.

As the anti-Christ rhetoric booms across the land, is it unthinkable it could ever lead to killing? Are such thoughts plain paranoid?

If theophobia is coming to our shores, what does it look like overseas, and what can we learn from observing the treatment of Christians in other countries? You have to go looking because it’s not roundly reported, is it? It has been called the most ignored news story in decades: the global persecution, torture, and killing of Christians.

Remember, it all starts with verbal violence.

This WorldNetDaily report Feb. 18, 2002, illuminates the point, as do the incidents following:

Christian persecution sounds like something from the distant past—conjuring up images of the early followers of Jesus being thrown to the lions, and various apostles being crucified or otherwise martyred for their faith. (All but John died violent deaths.) In reality, more Christians have died for their beliefs in the last century than in all other past centuries combined.

The Islamic world is a hostile place for Christians: In Saudi Arabia, for instance, Christianity is illegal, and conversion from Islam is punishable by death. In Pakistan, the death penalty is prescribed for anyone who “blasphemes” Islam—something that occurs automatically during Christian evangelism. In Egypt and elsewhere, Christian girls have acid thrown in their face by Islamic extremists if they refuse to convert to Islam, or are raped, or worse. At best, in the more enlightened Islamic societies, Christians (as well as Jews) are second-class citizens, have a special tax imposed upon them, and do not share the rights of Muslims.

The communist world is no better. According to recent reports from groups monitoring religious persecution, the Chinese government is cracking down as never before on “underground” Christians—those who do not join the “official” Chinese churches. The Committee for Investigation on Persecution of Religion in China published what it said were official documents—implicating top-level Chinese leaders—that outline a campaign that includes torture to stamp out independent worship. Researchers said that in “house churches” (those not sanctioned by the totalitarian government) in 20 provinces, 129 people had been killed recently, 23,686 arrested and 4,014 sentenced to “re-education.”

A Christian aid worker, a woman not involved in evangelism, a British citizen, was gunned down recently in Afghanistan. She was targeted for assassination by Muslim leaders solely for her Christian faith. She was there helping the disabled. “Female aid worker shot dead in Afghanistan,” The Telegraph, Oct 20, 2008.

Iraq: Two Christian Sisters Killed On Nov. 12, two sisters were killed and their mother wounded by a gang of Islamic extremists in the al-Qahira section of Mosul, Iraq, according to VOM contacts. The gunmen shot one of the sisters as she was waiting for a bus outside their home. They then stormed into the home, killed the other sister and injured their mother. A bomb placed by the assailants at the entrance of the house detonated as police arrived on the scene, injuring several officers. Voice of the Martyrs, Nov. 12, 2008.

The situation for Iraqi Christians has been intolerable for years: “Between 1991 and 2002, 300,000 of them migrated out of the country” ( Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been displaced since the 2003 invasion, and many thousands have been slaughtered by Muslim extremists.

And it all goes unreported, though there are efforts to identify and confront the atrocities.

However, thanks to the work of David Barrett and Todd Johnson, found in the report “World Christian Trends,” William Carey Library, 2001, we learn:

The persecution of Christians, especially in Islamic and communist countries, gained a much higher profile beginning in early 1996.

It is estimated more followers of Christ have died for their faith in the 20th century than in all the 19 previous centuries combined.

In his Focus on the Family Newsletter, James Dobson wrote: “More than an estimated 160,000 believers were martyred in 1996, and countless others were subjected to unimaginable horrors. And the persecution appears to be escalating exponentially.”

Other notable aspects of the Barrett/Johnson study:
Total number of Christian martyred through the year 2000: 70 million.

Those most responsible for killing Christians between 33 AD – 2000:

  • State ruling power 55,871,000
  • Atheists (overlap with above) 31,689,000
  • Muslims 9,121,000

Any wonder Christians are a little leery of government, especially atheists in charge of government?

All this comes as no surprise to serious Christians. After all, the Lord told us flat out we would be hated for loving him and for loving him, and he says the time will come when people will believe they are doing God a favor killing us ( John 16:2). In killing Jews and Christians, Muslims believe they are doing God a favor—now that’s a theocracy worthy of attention.

We don’t have government domination in the United States because Americans believe our rights come from God—at least that’s what the Declaration says. By taking God out of the arrangement, government inevitably replaces God, and then people are made subservient to government, a prescription for tyranny.

Elementary, high school, and college students throughout the country are being systematically indoctrinated, contrary to the Declaration, taught to embrace government as god.

How is this for a stunning realization: your tax dollars wasted on a massive scale used to corrupt youth leading to the destruction of America?

All of it because Christians have allowed themselves to be cowed by secular humanists, atheists, and theophobes.

Bill Ayers is grinning in the dark.

Al Qaeda doesn’t have to lift a finger.

You Might Like
Allan Erickson
Allan Erickson---Christian, husband, father, journalist, businessman, screenwriter, and author of The Cross & the Constitution in the Age of Incoherence, Tate Publishing, 2012.