In January of 1999, I had the privilege of jogging a lap around the inner rim half way up the remains of the Roman Colosseum. I gazed downward from where spectators viewed into the maze-like ruins that were left of the arena floor, and saw where countless early-century Christians lost their lives to the cheers of the Roman emperors of that time.
All of my life, I have enjoyed the protection of my Christian values and the freedoms our country was founded upon, but now that time seems to be over, causing me to wonder about my fate, I who am a Christian.
One such threat to our religious freedoms is from the Department of Health and Human Services (the HHS Mandate) or (Obamacare) - a law that forces countless employers and religious institutions such as Catholic hospitals, schools and other religious organizations and businesses "to carry health insurance plans that provides free contraception services, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs regardless of their moral and religious objections."(1) Nearly all employers and employees not in compliance with Obamacare may face fines and lawsuits in the near future.
Now with the HHS Mandate looming ever closer like a rising shadow, then possibly that day so many early-century Christians faced will face me too. A day in which it will be my turn standing in that arena, and challenged to either bow to Caesar, deny my faith and accept the mandate, or else pay the consequences.
My hope is like that of all the early Christian martyrs who were decapitated, fed to lions, torn apart by beasts, and burned at the stake. They paid the ultimate price for remaining steadfast in their religious beliefs. I hope I will share the same courage they had in obeying God's commands to the end.
There can be no compromise with God's commandments. It is all or nothing. If politicians and judges continue to enforce the mandate, then I hope I'm strong for you.
I hope I don't falter. I hope to show the witness of what my faith really means to me. I hope I am brave for you.
Will there be new martyrs in 2013? Will colosseums be drenched in blood again? One way or the other, it will be time for Christians to show what they truly believe, to turn the other cheek and shed their blood once again for a new harvest.
None of us face this challenge alone, for our hope is in our Captain Martyr who is with us until the end of the age.
The church will never be defeated, because it is his power and grace that will free us from fear, and fuel us with courage in laying down our lives for him; the Christ, who did so for us first, for our example!
Courageous Americans need to stand up, even if our government takes our religious freedoms from us, kills our babies, and spills our blood for what we believe; we still must love these modern-day Romans the same way our early Christian brothers and sisters did, with prayer and fasting, peaceful protest of the mandate, and with the shedding of our blood if need be.
For more information about the rising HHS Mandate check out: www.standupforreligiousfreedom.com
(1) Information taken from the website: www.standupforreligiousfreedom.com/docs/HHSMandateFactSheet.pdf