As we are noticing in our ever-changing world, when one person is offended over something, the new social acceptance solution is to stop what we are planning and allow that individual to change or prevent the desires of many. It now appears that new rules of order are being established with the supposed intention of not offending anyone. I understand the idea to try to accommodate everyone with whatever they believe, but since we are trending toward a puzzling destination, I'm troubled that our culture is losing an understanding of right and wrong.
I was raised with the idea that it takes a voting majority to make decisions, and this seems simple enough. However, our world is now becoming more complicated and focused in the quest to be socially and politically correct. Some will say this way of thinking is not what it appears and is actually based on a one-sided agenda to muzzle certain views while promoting others. Whatever the case, our lives are being impacted.
I am a certified fire chaplain and a faith-based member of our state emergency crisis response team. This is a government agency and, even though I am recognized as clergy, there are boundaries given to me such as not being allowed to randomly pray for those who are traumatized and especially if I intend on acknowledging the name of Jesus.
I am also a volunteer chaplain for a veterans health-care facility and, again, I am limited with my intervention and continually reminded to restrain from using the name of Jesus because of the diversity in the resident population.
The laws of correctness have developed to the place where I would not be surprised if all prayer will eventually be banned in the public domain. We have already seen prayer and the Bible removed from our education system, and there has even been a strong attempt to remove "one nation under God" from our Pledge of Allegiance. Based on what we have witnessed in the last 50 years, we know this agenda to eliminate public displays of religious expression will continue.
As Christians, we are called to follow the example of Christ in all that we do, and we notice he was never intimidated by what people thought of him. He continually declared that his purpose was to obey what his father wanted, and that was exactly what he did. How was he treated? People wanted his blessings, but the government and even the religious world did not care for his dogmatic messages.
Recently, I was asked to open in prayer at a horse-racing track as a part of an honor presentation for veterans. There was a color guard with various members of the armed forces, the national anthem, a live bugle rendition of "Taps," and all the activities were to be simulcast around the world.
When the opening ceremony was posted on the website, a horse-racing family who lives in another country called and said they were offended because it mentioned the day would open in prayer. So, in order to appease this family, the owners of the track called and told us there would be no prayer. After a week of conversations, the organization did agree to allow a prayer but only if I would promise to not mention the name of Jesus.
Everything worked out fine, and we were still able to effectively represent God and honor the veterans. Yes, of course it's disturbing to know that our freedom of speech was stepped on, but even more important is the concern of where our religious liberties are heading.
I realize it would be impossible for everyone to agree on everything, but do you believe crucial decisions should be changed or canceled whenever one person disagrees? It's true we all have the right to protest, but since arguing accomplishes nothing except stirring and increasing more strife, should any group of people who want to express their convictions be stopped because someone objects? Should we as Christians fight against the world for our right to be heard, and are we called to protest against others who do not believe like we do?
I don't think so. Number one: Political and religious decisions will be controlled by the government and decided by the masses. Number two: We should love and respect everyone, but our personal dedication and ultimate mission is to obey God.
William F. Holland Jr. is a minister and chaplain based in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Read more at billyhollandministries.com.