- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 28, 2008

Turning the other cheek has made Christians prone to threats, slurs and violence that other religions and ethnic groups do not face, the Rev. Gary Cass notes in his book “Christian Bashing and the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.”

Other religions are protected by anti-defamation leagues and civil rights organizations, said Mr. Cass, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America.

Christian bashing — and portraying Christians as simple, ignorant, narrow-minded, hypocritical and even violent — has become the last acceptable form of bigotry left in American culture, said Mr. Cass, chairman and chief executive officer of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission (CADC), a nonprofit organization founded in 1999 to defend the rights of Christians and to protect them from bigotry, defamation and discrimination.

Though the majority of Americans, or 85 percent, are professed Christians, those who choose to express their faith are routinely mocked and trivialized, Mr. Cass said. They are part of a marginalized group, and as a result can be subjected to discriminatory kinds of treatment, he said.

“We want to establish the case for what we’re attempting to accomplish and to show that there is a systemic problem of anti-Christian bigotry in the culture in general, and in the media and government in particular. We’re hoping to educate Christians to their duty to stand for truth and to defend their faith,” Mr. Cass said. He lives in San Diego with his wife, Sandy.

The CADC has two main purposes: to respond to incidents of Christian bashing and counter threats to the First Amendment rights of Christians, and to educate the church and general public about the harmful consequences of Christian bashing. The CADC’s mission is to raise the public’s awareness of the importance of being tolerant of Christians and of their values and beliefs, aiming to create a culture where anti-Christian bigotry is just as unacceptable as anti-Semitism and racism.

“We’re hoping, in the future, to have the levers available to us to respond appropriately to whatever types of Christian bashing present themselves,” Mr. Cass said.

Mr. Cass’ 151-page book, published in 2007, defines the problem of Christian bashing, providing specific examples of religious bigotry from secularists, media, industry leaders and cultural elites. He explains how Christians can defend their faith in the right way, with honesty, civility and trust in God, and provides them with a plan for upholding their beliefs and advancing religious liberty. He asks Christians to call bigotry by its rightful name and to fight back when defamed in order to preserve their religion and values and to protect their fellow Christians.

“He tells it like it is. He is specific in naming the names of the principal Christian bashers, both institutions and individuals,” said retired Brig. Gen. William S. Hollis, founding trustee of the CADC. He “describes their serpentine strategies and tactics, alerts our families to them, and provides guidance, direction and leadership in showing the way to overcome their insidious falsifications and actions.”

The book resounds with “mini-biographies of well-known Christian leaders, historical facts of the methods of those who would unwind the moral fibers of our families’ future well-being, and it weaves in the principles of our U.S. Constitution,” said Mr. Hollis, a Southern Baptist and author of two books, including “The Character of Christ.” He holds a law degree, along with doctorates in finance, economics, management and statistics.

Secularists, the media and industry leaders stereotype and marginalize conservative Christians in an effort to diminish their influence on American culture, Mr. Cass said. Joining them are radical feminists, liberals, educators and gays, who are dismissive of the ideas and values of the Christian faith, he said. Instead, they expect not just tolerance but affirmation of their own beliefs, he said.

“They delight to point out the foibles of the Church, because, in some way, it gets them off the hook,” Mr. Cass said. “If they can point out that the church did this or that wrong, they can exempt themselves. … They can absolve themselves of their moral responsibilities.”

The media, for example, cover anything that harms the reputation of the Christian Church in excruciating detail, Mr. Cass said.

The Bible also is prone to attack, since destroying its credibility helps advance the secular cause and implements a humanistic worldview that denies there is any truth, Mr. Cass said. Morality becomes relative, allowing polite, civilized Christian society to be “replaced with a popular secular culture that is openly coarse, vulgar, licentious and violent,” he said.

“Christian bashing has become popular because Christians don’t respond to the intolerance they’re experiencing,” said Hector Padron, CADC board member and information-technology director for Coral Ridge Ministries, a television, radio and print outreach operation based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “We ought to receive the same level of respect as other faiths.”

The Bible says to turn the other cheek twice, then respond, Mr. Hollis said.

“That is to say, follow stand-up Christian leaders and institutions, like Dr. Cass and his Christian Anti-Defamation Commission,” he said.

Another problem is that the meanings of the words “tolerance” and “political correctness” are slippery, and usually redound to the disadvantage of Christians.

“Today’s edict of ‘tolerance’ allows individuals to say the most outrageous and vulgar things and act in the most immoral ways,” Mr. Cass notes in his book. “On the other hand, political correctness imposes a zero-tolerance rule on the criticism of certain ideas and classes of people, no matter how outrageous they are.”

People have the right to debate and discuss issues, but should do so with respect, Mr. Cass said.

“We believe they have every right to their positions, but we have an equal right to our own,” he said.

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