- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 18, 2014

America’s religious believers are facing a growing government push to censor expressions of faith and should prepare to put up a fight, a prominent Christian leader and author told the Family Research Council Tuesday.

Too often, religious beliefs are now regarded as “toxic waste” — something to be contained and kept at bay or underground by official policy, Dr. James Tonkowich, former president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, told the District-based traditional-values organization.

Recent examples include: Houston city officials seeking subpoenas for pastors’ sermons to scrutinize their stands on sexuality; colleges harassing or ejecting Christian ministries from campus for their faith; and courts and officials forcing Christian business owners to participate in same-sex weddings.

Christians and other believers should “recognize that the world is sinful,” expect problems, and prepare to respond with “holiness, virtue and heroism,” said Mr. Tonkowich, author of “The Liberty Threat: The Assault on Religious Freedom in America Today,” from St. Benedict Press.

Don’t allow “people around us to blow us off as haters or behind the times,” he advised.

But instead be prepared to suffer, even while “taking heart” that God has taken over the world, said Mr. Tonkowich, who worked with the late Chuck Colson and his BreakPoint Radio and leadership-building Centurions Program. 

Remember that religious liberty is the gift of God, which precedes and takes precedence over the state, Mr. Tonkowich added. So evangelize and befriend people in Jesus’ name, and “don’t forget to pray” for both friends and enemies, he said.


• Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at cwetzstein@washingtontimes.com.

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