When Nava showed up at church recently for the Sunday service, she wasn't allowed in. The government had placed bouncers on the front door to stop people entering.
"At least 10 other women turned up hoping to get in, but we were told: 'You are not Christians' and turned away," recalls Nava. She lives in Iran, where it's illegal for anyone from another faith background to attend church services, and Christians face constant harassment and persecution.
"I hope for a day when the door of God's house is never closed to anyone," says Nava (her name changed for her safety).
In America, of course, the idea of being barred from church by government agents is shocking and, as we all know, unconstitutional.
But as our own nation continues to slide down a slippery slope toward increasing secularism and growing opposition to traditional Judeo-Christian values, perhaps we're not as far removed from "government bouncers at the church door" as we think?
Drag Queens Welcome, Christians Not So Much
The erosion of America's long-cherished Judeo-Christian values is accelerating at a frightening pace. One example is the rapid spread of the "drag queen story time" movement in our public libraries.
Started in San Francisco, the movement spread nationwide -- and even to other Western nations such as the United Kingdom. So-called drag queens, men often dressed in little more than women's underwear, read stories to children as young as three or four at their local public library.
Christians have pushed back in several locations, with ministers applying to their public libraries to host "pastor story time," reading kids' stories with traditional values. Incredibly, some pastors have faced opposition from the same libraries that have welcomed drag queens with open arms. One pastor in Massachusetts had to threaten legal action recently to get permission to host pastor story time at his local public library -- a library that hosts a regular drag queen event.
Efforts to squash the free speech of evangelical, Bible-believing Christians are spreading rapidly. Liberal activists are pressing to silence opposition to their warped agenda, including attempts to lower the age of sexual consent and promote sex-change surgery for minors under the guise of inclusiveness. In the U.K., speaking out publicly against transgender identity can lead to prosecution under "hate laws."
Who knows what the future holds for us in America? Government agents forbidding entry at your church's front door?
Perhaps it's not so far-fetched?
Freedom Crackdown: Coming to America?
What believers in Iran and other places are suffering right now could be America's future if our freedoms continue to come under attack and anti-Christian forces chip away unchallenged at our foundational values and constitutional rights.
It's not only in Iran where Christians are harassed, discriminated against, beaten, imprisoned or even killed for their faith in Jesus Christ and their belief in the Bible. It's happening every day across the Middle East and North Africa, a region I visit often in my role with media ministry SAT-7 USA (www.sat7usa.org).
In Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, secret believers face execution if they're caught with a Bible app on their phone or watching Christian programs streamed by SAT-7 on social media in their local Dari language.
In Algeria, North Africa, the government is shutting churches and leaving Christians out in the cold. Persecution of Christians in Türkiye (formerly Turkey) is intensifying.
Across the region, SAT-7's social media platforms and satellite television broadcasts in Arabic, Farsi and Turkish are often the only voice of hope for isolated believers. Thousands of them contact our team on social media every month to ask for prayer and support.
Time to Stand and Be Counted
Now is the hour for America's Christians to stand up and be counted. If we're apathetic now, we will live to regret it when our God-given rights are stripped away one by one.
As you stand and pray, remember those who long for the day they can freely go to church without government bouncers on the door.
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