Who do you remember from 2015?
When faces come to mind, it’s hard not to think about the current field of presidential candidates and the bravery many have displayed at pivotal points in their political careers. Others have not shown such stellar qualities, and discerning voters hopefully will sort this out.
But when I look back at 2015, I remember ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances, and both wisely and sometimes creatively devising solutions. Many still walk a hazardous path where the foes are financial ruin, court drama or much worse: acts of terror from evil enemies. They need our fervent prayers and tangible support.
Here’s my list of the top ten acts of Christian courage in 2015:
10. Dedicated pro-life advocates gather daily outside Planned Parenthood clinics coast to coast to provide sidewalk counseling, to protest the actions of the abortion giant and encourage prospective patients to choose life instead. The week before Christmas, many local groups held “empty manger” protests while singing Christmas carols. A nationwide effort this summer was called #ProtestPP.
9. Crystal O’Connor told an Indiana TV reporter her family-owned pizza shop, Memories Pizza, would not cater a same-sex “wedding” if asked. Deluged with vicious calls and emails from “gay” sympathizers, including one tweet advocating arson, Memories closed. Good news: A crowd-funding effort yielded over $800,000, and the restaurant re-opened.
8. Cake designer Jack Phillips of Lakewood, Colorado, filed an appeal in October to the Colorado Supreme Court following two unconstitutional lower court rulings finding him guilty of “discrimination” for denying two men a “wedding” cake because of his Christian faith, in a state where such ceremonies had not yet been legalized. Phillips perseveres in his fight against an egregious denial of his religious freedom.
7. A grandmother and florist in Washington state, Barronelle Stutzman, has appealed a lower court ruling that she violated state “sexual orientation” discrimination law when she turned down a wedding floral order for two men in 2013. She did so because of her faith in Jesus Christ. She has also filed a counter suit against the state of Washington in a U.S. District Court. The expected legal fees and fines could ruin Stutzman financially.
6. Because he spoke out about the health risks of homosexual behavior, and a hospital’s inappropriate promotion of “LGBT” activities, Dr. Paul Church has been expelled from the medical staff of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston where he has practiced for 28 years. It’s a tragic triumph of the “LGBT” agenda prevailing over fact and sound science. Despite the 10-year battle, Dr. Church did not back down from the truth. A urologist with a stellar medical background, Dr. Church has served on the Harvard Medical School faculty for many years.
5. Former owners of the bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Aaron and Melissa Klein, this week paid a fine of $135,000 ordered by the state of Oregon Department of Labor, owed to two women who requested a cake for their “wedding.” Aaron declined because of his Christian faith. After a vicious media campaign, months of protests and harassing calls and emails, the business was forced to close. The Kleins have five children. The Daily Signal found a pattern of possible collusion between Oregon state officials and a large homosexual group, Basic Rights Oregon. A state official put a gag order on the couple, yet the Kleins have declared they will not be silenced, thereby losing not just religious freedom but freedom of speech.
4. The voters of Houston had the last say on special rights based on “LGBT” behaviors when they turned down the so-called “equal rights ordinance” in November, 61 to 39 percent. A broad coalition of churches, including many Hispanic and black congregations, joined to advocate against the measure, which would have allowed men in women’s restrooms.
3. The Center for Medical Progress launched possibly the most daring and effective pro-life campaign ever by releasing a series of undercover videos showing the grisly truth about Planned Parenthood: These clinics are apparently proudly trafficking in human baby body parts. It’s not obscene enough that unborn humans die in these clinics, but their remains are then dissected and sold for “research.” Planned Parenthood issued a series of usual denials, along with “the sky is not blue” and “the pope is not Catholic.” They will not ultimately be able to lie their way out of this one. CMP and its leader David Daleiden are being sued by abortion supporters and subjected to a trumped-up investigation by HHS. This important effort needs our prayers.
2. Even after the U.S Supreme Court spoke the “last word” on marriage in June – that Jesus Christ misunderstood and two men really can nuptialize sodomy – millions of Americans are not buying it. One of those is County Clerk Kim Davis, who bravely went to jail just for wanting her name to be omitted from same-sex licenses. A Democratic Kentucky governor was just not progressive enough to allow that, but the new conservative, Republican governor is – and he promised Kim Davis’ name will not appear on those licenses.
1. Even as Americans are being fined, losing jobs, losing businesses and getting harassing emails and phone calls, these situations pale beside incidents of Christian persecution throughout the globe, increasing in severity in the Middle East. As we hear about torture and rape, and learn about a video proudly launched by ISIS where Christian men kneel on a beach before being beheaded, our hearts should be heavy and our prayers desperate for these saints of the faith. God’s loving arms surely wait to receive them in heaven.
Their valor sets the example as we enter 2016. If Americans cannot retain religious liberty and freedom of speech, under daily threat by the “progressive” left, we face physical persecution in the not-distant future.
It’s time to rise, put on the full armor of God and contend earnestly for our faith, our families and our country.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.