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Spectators in the Circus Maximus

 

If you lived in Rome 1,900 years ago you might have had season tickets to the Circus Maximus. Circus Maximus is Latin for “greatest circus.” The Circo Massimo, as it would be called in Italian, was built in 326 BC and could hold 250,000 spectators. It was a mass entertainment venue located in a valley formed by the Palatine and Aventine hills.

Originally, the aristocracy of the Roman world used the Circus Maximus for non-public games and entertainment. Chariot races were of particular interest to the elite citizenry of Italy.

The charioteers raced around a dividing wall called a spina. Crowds of Romans loved watching these races and often charioteers were killed when their cart tipped over. Somehow the potential for catastrophic collisions fueled the interest of the spectators.

Perhaps it was this appetite for fast races and sensational crashes that set the stage for the Circus Maximus becoming the site of treacherous contests involving the slaughter of Christians.

No Roman was more ruthless than Nero when it came to the persecution of Christians. He did not just kill Christians; he wanted to make them suffer first. Nero enjoyed dipping the Christians in wax before impaling them on poles around his palace and lighting them on fire, yelling sarcastically, “Now, you truly are the light of the world!”

Nero used the Circus Maximus for some of his most gruesome murders. In that massive stadium he would have Christians wrapped in animal skins and thrown to lions or dogs that would then tear them apart in front of thousands of entertained spectators. At other times he would crucify them and after the crowd would get bored, set the Christians on fire.

The above description of spectators sitting in a mammoth arena and observing Christianity being dismantled one believer at a time is not vastly different from what is happening in our culture today.

Why? There is a striking similarity because many of our Christian structures and principles are being dismantled before our very eyes and many people are sitting idly by in the comfort of their own private “Circus Maximus” and watching it happen.

For example, the House of Representatives recently passed the “hate crimes” bill and it is presently (as of this writing) pending in the Senate. World Net Daily reported that the bill “would give special protections to homosexuals, essentially designating them as a ‘protected class.’ However, it could leave Christian ministers open to prosecution should their teachings be linked to any subsequent offense, by anyone, against a homosexual person.

“A renowned expert on the life and work of sex scientist Alfred Kinsey, widely considered the ‘father of the sexual revolution,’ says the ‘hate crimes’ bill pending in Congress would be just another step in the conversion of the United States into a nation without sexual limits, where polygamy, incest, and worse are common practice.

“Judith Reisman says it would be a nation in which those who hold religious views that do not approve of homosexual behavior and the myriad other sexual lifestyles would be censored and arrested.”

These atrocious decisions are made in full view of modern day church members who sit as spectators in some ecclesiastical “Circus Maximus” and watch as sexual perversion is given a protected status and Christianity is trivialized and marginalized by a 2009 culture hostile to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Then last week there was a Jihad Al Qaeda Group meeting at a Hilton Hotel in Chicago. The group that hosted “The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam,” Hizb-ut Tahrir America, was allowed to gather in America despite its activities that have been banned from other countries for having reported ties to terrorism.

Frank Gaffney, former deputy assistant secretary of defense and current president of the Center of Security Policy, stated, “The mission of [Hizb-ut Tahrir America] is to establish a Khalifate, a theocratic form of government, that will rule the world, subjecting all of us, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, to what authoritative Islam calls Sharia Law, which is a pretty repressive, brutal program.”

Hizb-ut Tahrir is one of the oldest, largest indoctrinating organizations for the ideology known as jihadism (holy war). It often says that its indoctrination “prepares the infantry” for subversive Al Qaeda operations.

Having an Al Qaeda recruitment meeting in our nation is the logical equivalent of having Jeffery Dahmer over for dinner and giving him free rein to prepare the meal.

All the while we continue to sit in our box seats in the Circus Maximus and watch the forces of evil flex muscles being developed to undermine our faith and target Christianity for extinction.

President Obama went to Georgetown University to make a speech, but insisted that the monogram “IHS” – symbolizing the name of Jesus – be covered. The White House had asked the University to cover up all Christian symbols and signs because they could potentially be an impediment to his purposes.

Then when the president went to Turkey in April he stated that we Americans, “do not consider ourselves a Christian nation, or a Muslim nation, but rather a nation of citizens who are bound by a set of values.”

Then in May Mr. Obama decided to downplay the National Day of Prayer with a paper proclamation instead of an event at the White House.

Shirley Dobson, chairwoman of the National Day of Prayer, stated, “We are disappointed in the lack of participation by the Obama administration. At this time in our country’s history, we would hope our president would recognize more fully the importance of prayer.”

Each time the president minimizes or dismisses Christianity as a tertiary matter we simply adjust our seats in the Circus Maximus and idly observe the events with mild outrage or bored disinterest, but doing little to affect any change.

According to Voice of the Martyrs, “More Christians have been killed for their faith in the 20th century than have been martyred in the total history of Christianity.”

Perhaps there are no Christians in America being slaughtered for their faith, but there are those being persecuted. For example, Christians who stood for Proposition 8, banning gay marriage in California, have been ridiculed, warned, and threatened. One writer stated, “Burn their [expletive]churches and then tax the charred timbers.”

Rick Scarborough of Vision America, in summarizing the backlash from the Prop 8 vote, remarked, “Shame on anyone who would dare to say that the persecution of Christians has not begun in America! And if we refuse to speak out about it now, while we still have the right to speak, we will see the day when we cannot speak out without experiencing real persecution. Mark my word.”

We have done little to thwart the subversive attacks on Christianity. In fact, we have seemingly been content to observe the dismantling of our faith from the grandstand, the sidelines, the Circus Maximux, even occasionally drifting into some kind of idyllic daydream that gives us the false assurance that it will never come close to us.