Christianity is not a "faith tradition", it is a religion: the largest, most widespread religion in the world, and globally, it is growing. It is growing through conversion by freedom of choice because Christ offers hope and freedom to everyone: true liberty that fuels joy, peace, democracy, science, abundance, compassion.
Christianity is the only religion of truth and life. There is no other. To believe Jesus is the Son of God, who was born, was crucified, died, who rose to real, physical life again: to believe this requires following His final directive, the only commandment He gave after His resurrection: to "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature."
Preaching the Gospel is the central action of our faith, no matter what our denomination,and was commanded by Jesus. The word "proselytizing" is an inappropriate negative, and is not descriptive of or a synonym for,
Jesus does not attempt to force anyone to believe in Him and neither do Christians. But to follow Jesus means that we speak the Truth, that we ask our Father God to bless those who do not believe, that we tell them the Good News, so they have the opportunity to make their choice.
Recently, the Navy, following the US Army's lead in banning Bibles and forbidding Christian practice and faith by our soldiers, and following up the VA's ban on praying to God and Jesus at the Houston National Cemetery of this summer, decided to push the envelope further and ban Bibles and anything related to Christianity from being read to, used or given to wounded veterans in Walter Reed hospital. Here's a PDF of the original memo from C.W. Callahan, Chief of Staff. The ban is hidden at the very end, right after a ban on homemade cookies: "No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit."
It is persecution to compel a Christian to forego mentioning our faith in ANY task we do, whether we are at work or play, on the street or in a public building, an employee or a volunteer or a client.
Unelected bureaucrats are violating the LAW and the Constitution of the United States of America if they try to forbid, limit, or control Christian expressions or statements of faith, worship, or study are forbidden. The courts have consistently upheld our right to not only believe but to teach our beliefs.
And those of us who do what we are told, and obey such directives, are denying our Lord Jesus Christ, as surely as Peter did, out of fear.
I am guilty. I have had opportunities - in the recent as well as distant past - to stand up quietly for Christianity's place in the workplace, and I didn't. I've had chances to witness that I didn't take because I was afraid of being embarrassed or of being chastised.
I am a "by the book" kind of person, and I follow rules. Like other civilized people all over the world, I tend to do what I am told by people in authority. Fundamental Christian tenets ask us to love others in truth, to be gentle and compassionate in how we talk about our faith, how we share the Gospel. But I have used that respect for others and my need to be liked and to "be nice" as an excuse for conforming to the world instead of conforming to God.
There was a time when we could get by on just being nice, because we could trust our elected representatives, our bosses and the people who work in government to uphold our rights as Christians to believe and express our faith. But no more. More and more, we see that many of those in positions of authority are abusing their positions and giving orders that mistreat Christians, acting at the behest of the intolerant shrill to give priority to novelty cults and abusive cultures, and are trying to force Christians into the closet.
I keep a Bible at work. I always have. It isn't there for preaching, but for me to read - especially for comfort when I am anxious. There's always something in the workplace to be anxious about, no matter what our job, and reading, remembering, the Word of the Lord can help so much.
I don't know how I might react if I were ordered to remove the Bible from my desk at work. I am afraid I might meekly comply: taking my Bible home and living with greater anxiety, justifying my inaction by the perceived need to keep my job and pay my bills, and forgetting that God has promised to take care of me and all my needs, and that He always has.
I pray and hope that faith could overcome fear.
Please Father God, give me strength to put You first: to obey all laws but those that deny You. Please give me courage to be faithful in these little things. Grant that my daily life can help proclaim the Gospel of Your Son Jesus, the Christ, that others may meet Him and that Your Will be done on earth just as it is in Heaven.
UPDATE Tuesday, Dec 6th: Please see the updated post for latest information on this matter.