The Bible tells us that there is never anything new under the Sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). And with that thought, we have reached a pivotal moment in American history that needs to be understood and discerned by everyone, whatever our political views as we face the future. This current moment in American history has already happened before, but few ever believed it would emerge in America. You see right now we are watching the slow but steady growth of sanctioned violence that is beginning to surround our political disagreements. It started small, but it is growing each day. Do you see it? If this trend continues to grow, and is left unchallenged, it will ultimately lead us to an America none of us recognizes.
This movement toward sanctioned political violence started small like these things always do. It mainly started when people started telling us that we just couldn't say certain things. It was called "Political Correctness" and people were told there were just things we shouldn't and/or couldn't say. People were told they couldn't say certain things about marriage, sexuality, the family, gender, history, science, Israel, police, immigration, patriotism.... the list goes on. Every topic is on this list, by the way. The reason these topics were "off limits" was because they made some people feel bad. Some even felt hurt or hated by some of this speech. As a result, a new term began to grow in America called "hate speech" and it seems to be gaining influence and power by the day. You see its influence and control in our media, on our college campuses, in our tech companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook and in public discourse. Most people used to turn to the 1st Amendment of our Constitution to protect our speech and differences of opinion, but more and more people seem to be intimidated by the growing cultural pressure to say nothing. Increasing numbers of Americas are afraid of speaking out at work or in their communities about anything. Many people now believe that if they speak out they may not only face public scorn but violence. That is true because for a vocal minority of Americans freedom of speech is never seen as a right that justifies "hate speech" on any level. Sadly, no one really seems to ever know what "hate speech" really is, but that is not even a discussion point for public discourse for those exact reasons. By eliminating needed healthy, public debate on issues, we have forced our society into a bunker of political correctness to hide...and the worst is yet to come.
The catalyst for this rapid growth of sanctioned, political violence has been the election the President Trump to office. It didn't start with President Trump, but he has become the lighting rod of it. As the presidential election unfolded in 2016, numerous acts of violence began to unfold at political rallies and on college campuses against candidate Trump's supporters and other conservative thinkers. Following Trump's election these cases have accelerated. Many blame President Trump's rhetoric as inciting the violence. And yet, there is no clear case of President Trump or his supporters, whatever their rhetoric, ever calling for violence or supporting violence anywhere. That cannot be said about the opposition. When President Trump was elected to the Presidency, pop star Madonna told a large crowd that she wanted to "blow up the White House'. Comedians and actors performed mock executions of President Trump and one even carried around his severed head. President Trump's press secretary has received numerous death threats and now requires Secret Service protection, the first such case in American history. Numerous Trump cabinet officials have been harassed at their homes and in public. Outlandish speeches from numerous members of Congress such as California Rep. Maxine Waters have incited, sanctioned and legitimized aggressive behavior toward members of the Trump Administration and his supporters. Numerous cases have even been reported of vandalism and assault for just wearing a Trump hat or identifying with his views. This constant barrage of political hatred, invective and demonization of President Trump and his supporters is having the most chilling effect on speech and political participation in American history. To be quite blunt, people are becoming afraid of what might happen to them should they say anything.
Now anytime you begin to see the restriction of speech, followed by a growing fear of violence for that speech, you are dealing with a deep spiritual battle that reveals a coming attempt to overturn a society from within. That is exactly what is happening to America today. When a society loses its ability to check its sin and excesses, evil will concentrate and enter into some form of lawlessness against its citizens. America has been watching attempts by unelected bureaucrats in the FBI, Justice Department and other areas trying to escape the oversight of the Constitution and democratic elections. These individuals want to choose their own laws and leaders, irrespective of the Constitution. Once human sin is no longer accountable to any law, check and balance it grows and creates tyranny. This process is the entire reason why the Constitution was written by the Founding Fathers in the first place.
Several years ago, I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing Holocaust survivor Diet Eman here in Grand Rapids. Diet is a Dutch Christian that helped to hide and save many Jews from being murdered during the war by the Nazis. Her amazing life was honored by the State of Israel as one of a select group of people who were considered the "Righteous among the Nations". Diet wrote a book of her experiences entitled, "Things We Couldn't Say". It is book about what happened in Holland during World War II and how the Nazis got control of things. The Nazis came up with a politically correct code of speech and behavior and began to control the public by dividing the Dutch against themselves. Some Dutch were pro-Nazi and they would turn in fellow citizens around them that were not. This had a chilling effect on anything they tried to say. The Nazis were able to divide and conquer the Dutch from within. If people didn't fall in line with their politically correct orthodoxy they might be arrested, imprisoned or become the target of surveillance, persecution and violence.
Today, World War II is a distant memory for the world. Most people do not even recognize or know anything about the person pictured in this article. It is a picture of Ernst Rohm. Rohm was the head of what was called the "Brownshirts". They wore brown shirts as part of their uniform and they were greatly feared in Germany. Their goal was to stop any opposition to Hitler and the Nazis. If anyone or any group raised a voice against their cause they would quickly deal with it through violence and intimidation. Once their voices were silenced Hitler rose to power and took control of Germany.
In a shocking turn of events, there has been a lot of recent political hatred and rhetoric referencing the Nazi period as a way to demonize and destroy the Trump presidency. And yet, if there are any parallels with that period, they can easily be found by watching what groups are trying to control what people say. Sadly, few seem to see that the political correctness, growing violence and manipulation of our media, schools and elections is an unmistakable sign of the rise of a form of totalitarianism that has historical roots in Germany and elsewhere. This obvious and clear connection with the past is totally ignored and the public is largely clueless.
As Americans we tend to think we are somehow "safe" over here. Whatever happened in Europe or elsewhere won't really affect us. And yet, our Founding Fathers never thought that way. They saw liberty as a precious and fragile thing to be guarded and fought for in life. If historical patterns are to be considered at all in this current hour, America is in a fight for our Nation. We won't end up like Nazi Germany; it will be different. But we may lose the freedoms of our Constitution and some may not even miss them or know it happened. The great mistake we often make in life is to carry the belief or assumption that things will never change. History is telling us tonight that everything America has stood for is on the line right now. We are only one leader away from an America we won't recognize. Everyone must take a look at what is happening and decide IF we are going to speak up, vote and take some action, or just sit back and let it happen. Apathy has destroyed more societies than bullets.
As Christians, each of us must decide what we are going to do in this hour. How can we miss the prophetic signs all around us that are spoken of in Bible? Can we sit back and say and do nothing? If our public discourse is silenced, we will have lost our freedoms to preach and share the Gospel. We will have lost the religious freedoms that were the basis of even why the Nation was founded. It is surely a time to be salt and light to those around us and let the redeemed of the Lord say so. May our Lord Jesus Christ use each of us well in this dramatic hour. Pass this on.