‘So Are You Now, or Have You Ever Been, an Evangelical?’

By Joe Dallas Published on August 25, 2018

“Are you now, or have you ever been, a Communist?”

That dreaded question once reduced corporate heads and A-list celebrities to Jello. It happened during the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee hearings headed by Senator Joseph McCarthy back in the 1950s.

Under the guise of national security, McCarthy launched what became a reign of terror. It was so reminiscent of the Salem Witchcraft Trials, it inspired The Crucible, playwright Arthur Miller’s play dramatizing the Salem madness.

Anyone named as a suspected Communist could expect to be hauled before the committee. They’d be forced to respond to the Are you now or have you ever been a Communist? inquisition. If any connection (real or alleged) could be found between the accused and any form of Communism, they could expect financial and professional ruin. They could be blackballed. They could even face prison if they refused to name other alleged commie sympathizers.

Deju Vu All Over Again

We look at the McCarthy era with contempt. But as a cute little girl in a well-known ghost story once said, “They’re baaaaaaaack!”

Spiritual Readiness Logo - 400This time the undesirable element society must purge itself of — the Those — isn’t the Communists. It’s conservative Evangelicals. It’s the born again believers who insist that there is a Creator. That the Creator has specific intentions for His creation. That those intentions are clarified in an inspired document called the Bible. That those intentions extend themselves to our family and sexual relationships.

Just ask Kelvin Cochran. President Obama appointed him as U.S. Fire Administrator in 2009. Later he served as Atlanta’s Fire Chief. Cochran, a devout African-American Baptist, had authored a men’s Bible study guide in 2013. It included a single reference to homosexuality as one of many sins condemned in the Bible.

For this crime he was suspended without pay for a month. He was ordered to undergo sensitivity training. He was investigated, then fired by Atlanta’s mayor.

Or ask evangelist Greg Laurie. His Southern California Harvest Crusade purchased billboard space in the affluent Fashion Island shopping mall in Newport Beach. The billboard featured a photo of Laurie holding a Bible — and that simple photos photo led to multiple complaints and even a threat. These prompted the billboard company first to require Laurie to provide another type of illustration. Later, although he complied, the company decided simply to take down the billboards altogether. They also refused Harvest any further rental space.

Or ask any Christian counselor in California (this one included) who counsels Christians in conflict over their same-sex attractions. Assembly Bill 2943 has been passed by the state’s Senate and referred for a final Assembly vote. It forbids counselors from charging for services they offer that in any way assist a client in making a change in his homosexual behavior or responses.

The Big Bleak Picture

These are all specific outrages; just a few of many. But the larger issue should raise our hackles even more, and that is this: We’ve entered a season of fear. The real, tangible, gut-wrenching kind, one in which it’s costly indeed to be one of Those.

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It won’t take a Senate Committee to bring you down if you’re a Those. In this age of immediate communication and spin, one wrong sentence or association and your business can fold. A lawsuit may follow; your tax exempt status may be threatened. You can be so effectively ostracized that any credibility you’ve built over the years is demolished. All because you hold traditional beliefs about God, the Bible, sex and the family.

As my frustrated wife once wrote in a published letter to our local newspaper, complaining about their coverage bias against believers, “Are you trying to tell us we’ve been bad little Evangelicals?”

Out of Shape and Unprepared

Maybe we’ve had it too easy. Maybe America’s longstanding harmony (until recently) with Biblical beliefs left her churches ill equipped to defend the faith. There was little need for defense before now, after all. Maybe the Christian population is like someone who was raised in a comfortable neighborhood and never needed to learn self-defense. But now that person has been moved to a dangerous community where fighting skills are essential.

Regardless, there is a debate to be had, and we’re ill prepared. Now, more than ever, we need our apologists and teachers to equip us for life in 2018 and beyond. For at the risk of being labeled paranoid, my guess is that no matter how quietly and amiably you seek to live, if you hold to beliefs clearly spelled out in Scripture, you will at some point feel the discomfort of being stared at with raised eyebrows as your questioner asks,

“Are you now, or have you ever been —”

 

Originally appeared at JoeDallas.com. Reprinted with permission.

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  • Sgt Carver

    Kelvin J. Cochran was fired for using his government job to proselytize his staff.

    Cochran was suspended for 30 days without pay starting November 24, 2014 for distributing to employees a book he had written, Who Told You That You Were Naked?, which expressed Cochran’s religious views which included calling homosexuality and lesbianism a perversion and which mayor Kasim Reed considered to be discriminatory against LGBT people. On January 6, 2015, after returning from the suspension, he was informed that he would have to resign or be terminated.

    Also

    On December 20th, 2017, United States District Court Judge Leigh Martin May upheld his firing, ruling that, given his position, it was “not unreasonable for the city to fear” his views might cause “public erosion of trust in the fire department.” The judge also ruled that as an “at-will” employee, his firing was legal. The City’s pre-clearance rules were, however, ruled unconstitutional.

    • Nick Stuart

      Uppity Evangelical. Clearly doesn’t know his place. The nerve of him giving out copies of a book he wrote.

      • NeverMueller

        Are we not commanded to obey the law?

        • Nick Stuart

          What law did he violate?

      • Sgt Carver

        He distributed a copy to every employee so he could proselytize.. which was an abuse of his power.

        If he was an atheist who did the same with a booklet saying all Christians are stupid would you support him?

        Or what if he was a Muslim giving his view on Quranic texts?

        You still missed the point that this OP was dishonest in the way it represented why he was fired.

        • Bryan

          “He distributed a copy to every employee so he could proselytize.. which was an abuse of his power.”
          That’s a very wide definition of proselytize. It’s also very subjective. What’s wrong with saying “Thank you” and throwing it away later? It doesn’t seem like he demanded that they read it or write a memo about it. If it had been a book he had written on any other subject but his personal beliefs, would there have been a problem? Probably not.
          By the way, the article’s version of what happened in no way contradicts what you’re news article claims. So it’s no more dishonest than the news article you cited.

    • Kevin Carr

      Before he wrote it he received prior approval from his superiors, they had no problem with it. When a homosexual in the department got wind of it, then it became a “problem”. He force it on no one. The mayor kowtowed to political correctness.

      • Sgt Carver

        There is no evidence I have seen that that is so but I will accept your honesty. His boss who gave permission should also have been fired and the OP should have been honest & explained those facts.

        Still not addressing the fact that this article is blatantly dishonest by not putting forward the actual defense you have offered.

  • Nick Stuart

    JD: “Now, more than ever, we need our apologists and teachers to equip us for life in 2018 and beyond.”

    And where is this teaching going to take place?

    The extent to which pastors and other church leadership support private Christian education and homeschooling is a key indicator of how serious they are about equipping the people in their care for the challenges the future holds.

    Rather than relitigate the arguments pro-and-con Christian children in the public schools, I’m going to categorically state a proposition:

    You cannot place children for 13 years under the tutelage of a system whose foundational worldview is atheistic materialism, whose creation myth is mechanistic Darwinian evolution, whose sacraments are safe sex and abortion on demand, where marriage and family are whatever combination of people seems right to the people involved, where basic biological differences between male and female are denied, and expect that those children’s spiritual condition will not be adversely affected.

    This proposition doesn’t even address the fact that in many cases the public school system fails in even its basic mission of graduating minimally literate, numerate young adults.

    Families will have to either make a lot of money to afford to send their children to a private school, assuming a suitable one is available. Or, one parent will have to stay at home to homeschool the children.

    Churches will have to unlock that building that sits empty for six days a week, get involved in supporting Christian schools, and pass up buying that new espresso machine for the coffee bar to help moderate the cost of tuition. Churches will have to stop treating homeschooling like some kind of bizarre hobby for a few weird families who can afford for one parent to stay at home and not work outside the home.

    Christians who do not have school age children will have to dig in and help families who do with the financial end of their child’s education either directly gifting the parents, or by contributing to the school [OUCH! Just left off preaching and got started meddling].

    Educating children in a private school or at home is of course not a guarantee that they will grow up to be Christians. You can only do what you can do, at some point it is up to them. God calls us to do what he’s called us to do, the results are in his hands. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide if God is really calling you to get your children out of the public schools. Just like it was up to Lot to decide if God was really calling him to get his family out of Sodom. Pro-tip: don’t look back.

    • Anne Fernandes

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading this response, Nick. We were asleep at the wheel for decades. Home is where our evangelism begins, and I support either Christian schooling or home schooling. Although, as you said, ultimately following Jesus is/will be a youngster’s choice, we have no minutes to expend otherwise. As He said, Proverbs 22:6 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Let’s go!!!

    • Paul

      Homeschooling as well will be under attack, actually already is. It may be a refuge today but make no mistake about it, the world wants access to your kids education and will get it whether you like it or not.

      • Nick Stuart

        Occasionally they try. Someday they may succeed. But whenever they try they are astonished by the battle they face (look up “HR 6”).

        Ultimately it will come down to how serious local churches are about withstanding in the evil day.

      • Jacob Miller

        >> Homeschooling as well will be under attack, actually already is.

        I’m a public school teacher and I’m a supporter of homeschooling. I think some, especially younger, kids are better suited for it. But, obviously it’s not for many working people. Homeschooling assumes an educational level of the parents and the ability to live on one income.

        But, I do have one serious concern — and that’s abusive parents using the home school movement as cover.

        There have been horrific stories of parents abusing their children for years — and it went undetected because the parents claimed they were homeschooling their kids.

        I believe that homeschooling parents must agree to welfare checks.

        Yes, it’s a minor inconvenience but good parents care for children besides their own.

        And, its in the best interest of the homeschooling movement to add a little transparency so that it is not associated with child abuse.

        • Paul

          Camels nose in the tent as far as I’m concerned. By that reasoning, since there are parents who abuse their kids among the general population then all homes with kids should have welfare checks. Good luck with that.

          And who is going to pay for these home inspections that no other parent is subject to? I smell a homeschooling tax coming next to pay for the bureaucrat inspectors and their lifelong pensions. No thanks…rather heck no! Talk about a 4th Amendment violation. Here in Cali they would pair that with their gun registry and add a full firearms inspection to the checklist as well. Never mind that pesky Constitution, anything goes as long as we can say we are trying to help the children.

          As Reagan famously stated; The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.

          • Nick Stuart

            Good answer. Besides, homeschool (and private school) parents already pay a huge tax to support the public school system that they receive no benefit from.

        • Nick Stuart

          The public school combine simply cannot abide the idea that there may be a child anywhere that is outside of their control.

          Attempts have been and will be made to use the red herring of “child abuse” to bring homeschooling, and private education, under the control of the public school bureaucracy, which will arrogate to itself the prerogative of defining child abuse.

          Teach the child biblical morality? CHILD ABUSE!

          Teach the child that God is the creator of the universe? CHILD ABUSE!!

          Teach the child that God has established objective standards of morality? CHILD ABUSE!!!

          Sorry, your argument is not persuasive.

        • You mean you want the government to regulate it and therefore ensure what is being taught is ideologically consistent with the “revolution” you aspire to?

  • Blue J

    Poor Mike Pence is hated by liberals, and for no reason at all other than his being identified as an evangelical. Like most vice-presidents, his “job” mostly consists of making an occasional speech (he has absolutely no political power at all, other than being able to break a tie vote in the Senate), yet progressives make him sound like Hitler. Hatred of the Jews in 1940s Germay was irrational. Hatred of evangelicals in America today is irrational. Why do people hate? Because they enjoy hating. It makes them feel better about themselves.

  • v0xCAB

    Mr. Dallas,
    First, while I agree that Christianity is becoming the new bugaboo villain and wrongly so, you characterize McCarthy and the Salem Witch Trials poorly. There is more than one side to those stories but only one side is portrayed. There was a problem with communist infiltration in the 50’s which was brought out by finding actual communist sympathizers and there may well have been a real problem with spiritual declension, even of the worst kind of demonic practices, in Salem. And in both cases, good men tried to intervene. Both forays DID also get out of hand, but that doesn’t blight the original intent or the men who were catalysts. It blights the Johnny on the Fence who decided they wanted in and derailed what had the potential to be a useful excision of a cancer to becoming the wholesale destruction of healthy, or at least not pathological, tissue (i.e. those who shouldn’t have been implicated). So, the first thing we ALL have to do is know our history and stop over simplifying issues.

    As for the central point of your article, the great bias against Christians and especially ANYTHING Christian in the public space, well first, we started it when we were the majority and second, too many people have called themselves Christian who aren’t and this persecution provides some excision of the cancer of nominalism. Yes, it too goes to far, and, unlike McCarthy and the Mather brothers, et al., there is no good intent behind it.

    Please let someone ask me that question about having been, or currently being, an evangelical and I will be embarrassed that you had to ask. It should be obvious. I will answer that question with a recitation of the Nicene Creed so they have all the ammunition in the world (Matthew 10:28). The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted. (Proverbs 29:25)

  • Up_Words

    “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” –Jesus Christ (John 16:33)

    “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:12-13)

    Thanks for the good news that Assembly Bill AB2943 only applies to paid counseling (so far)!

    Quite honestly, how does one address this issue, although sadly it is obviously needed. An EVANGELICAL is one who is supposed to be heralding the message of Jesus Christ (an “evangel”)—as such, Jesus clearly stated that we will have to pay a price for this privilege (see Matt. 16:24-27). We need not be obnoxious, there is a real devil out there. In one instance, I was written up at work because I was impressed with the need to inform a young woman that Jesus loves her (exact words, said softly). If we haven’t bumped into the devil, perhaps the both of we are both traveling in the same direction??

    Yes, I am one of “Them” and not ashamed of it either, because real Christians serve the real God, who gave us a sure word of prophecy that warns us of these things. Someday I will stand before this Great God, with the expectation that He will not be ashamed of me (Mk. 8:38). Terrorized of being labeled for Christ? There’s a great solution, within that Book: pray until you find peace (Phil. 4:6,7). If you still don’t have peace: add fasting to the mix, and the Holy Spirit will give you a Word (Matt. 17:11, Lk. 5:35, 12:11,12, Matt. 11:12, Matt. 5:10,11 . . .)

  • Dena

    I have been more concerned about the Senate Hearings on Trump nominees. When Bearnie Sanders questioned Russell Vought stance on Salvation. The core belief of Christianity is that Jesus is the only way to heaven.

    Bearnie asked Vought, “I don’t know how many Muslims there are in America. I really don’t know, probably a couple million. Are you suggesting that all of those people stand condemned? What about Jews? Do they stand condemned too? I understand that Christianity is the majority religion. But there are other people who have different religions in this country and around the world. In your judgment, do you think that people who are not Christians are going to be condemned?”

    As Christians, if we truly believed that Jesus is the only path to Salvation and everyone around us who doesn’t believe in Jesus is condemned to hell —- wouldn’t we be shouting from the roof tops and warning our friends and family of this truth? Why are we so silent?

    It shouldn’t come to no surprise that the world thinks Christians who hold up to this view are bigots. We have been silent for so long.

    Compromise has crept in the church that some believe that God is a good God and would never send anyone to hell. Some believe they still can make it to heaven and live a life of sin because of grace. These lies make Jesus sacrifice on the cross meaningless. Sin is what is sending people to hell. Jesus didn’t die so we can sin all we want too. When we put our trust in Jesus and ask him to forgive us of our sins he will save us.

  • Jacob Miller

    While I affirm any conservative’s renunciation of red baiting, that’s not happening to Evangelicals.

    (I’m an Evangelical, BTW).

    Unless, of course, one insists that Evangelicals must practice a dangerous and discredited form of sex therapy.

    Needless to say, a lot of informed and compassionate Evangelicals don’t.

    • Stinger

      Just one more Q troll.

    • It is telling how little the term Evangelical means here when you (a communist supporter of abortion, sodomy, and blasphemy) claim that title for yourself as a cover.

  • Nick Stuart

    After scrupulously reviewing the commenting rules and taking great pains to ensure I didn’t violate any of them (or at least I don’t think I did) I note that my fairly anodyne comment about Christian students and public/private/homeschooling posted two days ago is still awaiting moderation. What’s up with that?

    I know the view I expressed is very unpopular with large segments of the Evangelical community. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a view that the Evangelical community needs to seriously consider. I wonder what line it crosses to require moderation, or even be deleted (as similar comments have been in the past)?

  • gladys1071

    I have a question, what education do you all think Moses had in Egypt? Do you think he was not taught about the egyptian Gods?

    Was that a hindrance to God in using Moses? i mean his life was saved and was raised in a household that worshipped false Gods.

    I think we make God out to be too small.

    • Bryan

      Thank you for that reminder! I agree with the gist of the article but at the same time we still have to trust God in our situations. God can always do amazing things!

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