A Crusade of Intolerance

An evening gathering at Trinity Evangelical Fellowship was not the quiet event parishioners had expected. As the speaker began, hundreds of gay activists swarmed through the church doors. They shouted taunts and obscenities, and urinated on the restroom floors. The mob chanted, “Crush the Christians! Bring back the lions!” Police arrived but refused to intervene. One church visitor remarked that the scene was like a flashback to 1930s Germany. What stirred up this angry mob? A pastor at Trinity—Ron Greer—had dared to call homosexuality sinful. Besides being a pastor, Greer is also a firefighter, and his troubles began last year when he passed out pamphlets at the firehouse in Madison, Wisconsin, where he works. The pamphlets explained that active homosexuality contradicts Scripture. When news of Greer’s action reached the fire chief, she suspended him for two months without pay and ordered him to attend diversity training. Never mind that all kinds of literature were passed around the city’s firehouses—including pornographic magazines and publications promoting the gay lifestyle. It seems freedom of expression applied to everyone except Greer. And the persecution didn’t stop at work. Ron Greer and his family woke up one Sunday to find their house and yard plastered with lavender triangles, many with graphic sexual and vulgar messages. Signs with slogans like “Welcome to Fag City, USA” were nailed to their front porch. Can you imagine what would happen if anyone other than a Christian were victimized like this? Imagine what would happen if activists burned a cross in the yard of a black family, or if someone shouted “Bring back the Nazis” at a synagogue. There would be a national uproar. But Ron Greer is less concerned about his rights than he is about modeling Christian love. He told World magazine: “When I’m attacked like this, I know it’s not me they’re attacking, it’s God.” And he adds: “I can no more get angry with them than I could get angry with a blind man who steps on my foot.” Twenty years ago Ron Greer would have been an unlikely Christian apologist. As a young man Greer joined the marines. But his military career didn’t last long. He was—in his own words—“an angry, racist black man.” He punched an officer and ended up behind bars. It was in prison that God got hold of Greer—and his life was dramatically transformed. Christian brothers helped disciple him, and Greer is now one of our outstanding Prison Fellowship seminar instructors. Greer is also instructing people outside prison how to respond to persecution. In the post-Christian era, believers will increasingly need to learn how to react to attacks from those who hate the teachings of Scripture. Pray for Ron Greer as he continues his battle for freedom of speech. Pray, too, that if we are persecuted for our faith, we—like Ron Greer—will have the strength and the courage to return hatred with love. We’d better be ready to follow Jesus’ command to love our enemies—even when angry activists call for “bringing back the lions.”


Chuck Colson


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