(Bob Shillingstad) “King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide,[a] and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do:you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
—selections from Chapter 3 of the book of Daniel
In any major conflict between two established armies, or points of view, a bloody collision will eventually occur that proves to be decisive. For Napoleon, the turning point was Waterloo. It was Stalingrad and Normandy for Hitler. It was Midway for the Japanese. Those were the bloody battlegrounds that largely determined, not only victory or defeat in a particular campaign, but the ultimate outcome of the war. It appears that we are engaged in that kind of struggle in the current Civil War of Values. The hottest and most dangerous confrontation to date and the battle that may well establish the eventual winner is being fought over child and adolescent sexuality and the policies relevant to it. Traditional teachings of the church, the truth of scripture, are contradicted daily in the classroom and libraries. The secular humanists have chosen child and adolescent sexuality as the battleground on which to press their advantage. Who is there to put on their armor and step into the fight against government indoctrination? You would think the churches and pastors would be there.
Surprisingly the Community Library Network in our area has sponsored a program with taxpayer funds called “The Rainbow Squad” for teens and allies aged 11 to 18. This has been going on for about three years. On November 20 of last year there was a group of Christians from a local church protesting with signs that said “Flee From Sexual Immorality” and “The Solution is Jesus Christ”. The chair of the library network and employee of the library responded to the protest by saying, “I think we have a very radical, conservative element in our community, and there is an element that want people to live on certain way and not allow people free choice.” No mention of that fact taxpayer dollars are funding this “choice”. The coverage of this event from the local press was decidedly one sided.
Pastor Steven Hemming, to his credit, stood up and asked the paper to print his side of the issue which they did in a column he wrote on December 4th He thanked the paper for putting the story on the front page to educate the populace about this program. He stated, “now our community is aware of the atrocities that have taken place in our libraries. In other parts of our country the exploitation and sexualization of our children has come to a place where it is a losing battle with things like ‘drag queen story hour’ and other agendas to immorality a fashion campaign for our future generations and completely destroy the family unit that God intended to thrive and prosper with His blessing.” All of his response is worth reading, it is an exceptional defense of the truth of God’s word. He also asked the question, “Why did just the people that were in opposition of the message presented by the Christians have a voice in the article?”
He ended by reminding them of God’s love for all people and offer of salvation through Christ. He thanked the paper for printing his response and that he was praying for them. Not many people attacked are willing and ready to step into the fight like this. Of course it didn’t end there. Other than a flurry of letters to the editor (almost all attacking Pastor Steve and Christians) there was one more positive article. This longer article on January11th was an interview written by one of the staff writers giving Pastor Hemming’s remarkable testimony and message of the gospel.
Not to let sleeping dogs lie, on January 15th there was another guest column from the leader of the North Idaho Pride Alliance stepping up to remind everyone about the bigotry of the churches. She reminded us that “this spiritual disease (Christianity) manifests into many troubling incidents within our community.” The vaccine is the “Rainbow Squad”! And the mainstream media to distribute the message. It was silence from other faith leaders to combat this message from the pits of hell.
It is not often you get to watch a battle for truth play out before your eyes and see who stands up as a person of courage. Who is willing to take on a government agency and the media. We watched this last fall in Loudon County, Virginia, but to me this story was just as captivating.
In a book written nearly 25 years ago called Children At Risk we are reminded of an incredible story that took place during the darkest days of WWII. In 1940, trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, France, hundreds of thousands of British and French soldiers were near of the point of surrender or certain death as Hitler’s troops tightened the noose around them. As the battle raged, one British officer was able to send a message back to London. He chose three simple words, “But if not..”. The message was instantly recognized as a quotation from the book of Daniel where Nebuchadnezzar commands Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to worship the golden image or be thrust into the fiery furnace. The three biblical heroes answer defiantly, “…..our God who we serve is able to deliver us……But if not, be it known unto thee, O King, that we will not serve thy Gods…” Would anyone receiving those three words today even know their significance? Our children are not being taught the cohesion of God’s truth or those that stood for truth. Dr. Erwin Lutzer in his book, The Church In Babylon reminds us that throughout history idolatry justified and encouraged sexual permissiveness of every sort. We are in Babylon today. Think back to Daniel and his three friends. They stand with a host of men and women and children who throughout our history have battled against cultural currents at great sacrifice. God’s people have always been an island of righteousness in a sea of paganism.
The question I asked myself was this: Where were the church leaders coming alongside Pastor Hemming? Who had the courage and conviction to say “but if not”? Were all the rest busy marching out to the Plain of Dura with the thousands crowding the road to worship the statue? Who is now the moral authority in our community? The media, libraries, schools and the courts? Now is the time for courage. (firstname.lastname@example.org)