US Evangelicals face European-style persecution, says professor

(Photo: Reuters / Eduardo Munoz)Frank Simmonds, of the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn, carries a cross on the Brooklyn Bridge during the 18th annual 'Way of the Cross Over the Brooklyn Bridge Ceremony' in New York City March 29, 2013. The ceremony, hosted yearly on the Christian holy day of Good Friday, includes walking from St. James Cathedral, over the Brooklyn Bridge to St. Peter's Church, in Manhattan. The event attracts approximately 2,000 people each year.

A professor at an American evangelical university says that European public opinion, which he says views fundamentalism as the source of terrorism and sees evangelical opposition to homosexuality as bigotry, will take hold in the United States.

The will marginalize and stereotype Christians, said Dr. David Cashin, a professor of intercultural studies at Columbia International University (CIU) in South Carolina.

He said that "in the area of social trends, the United States tends to follow Europe's lead, with perhaps a 10 to 20 year delay."

He called terrorism "the Hammer" and homosexuality "the Anvil" and said Christians in America will be caught between them, as they are now in Europe.

(Columbia International University)Dr. David Cashin, a professor of intercultural studies at Columbia International University in South Carolina, says negative European attitudes toward evangelical Christians are on their way to the United States.

Cashin wrote his opinion in the spring issue of the CIU publication Connection.

"What I call the Hammer and the Anvil, identify two social trends that have strongly marginalized and stereotyped Christianity in European public opinion and are likely to do the same in America," he said.

"In European media, evangelicals (fundamentalists) are considered potentially no different than terrorists," Cashin said. "This explains the assiduous search of journalists for 'Christian' terrorists."

He said that there have been numerous articles in Europe which identified Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer, as a Christian, despite evidence to the contrary.

"One might even say that Christianity is blamed for Islamic terrorism, not as causing it, but because the belief structures are superficially similar, thus, they might be capable of the same things," he said.

Cashin quoted Christian thinker Donald Hank in describing European public opinion in regards to faith. Hanks wrote, "The clear implication is that deeply held faith is dangerous."

Christians are also thought of as intolerant in Europe if they express misgivings about homosexuality, said Cashin.

"A self-identified Christian in Europe will be asked first,' What do you think of homosexuality?'. If the Christian says anything other than total acceptance and 'celebration' of the lifestyle, he or she is immediately branded a bigot," he said.

Cashin believes that the increasingly negative views in Europe toward Christianity, as noted by a Pew Foundation public opinion poll, are the results of the two trends.

"Spain, for instance went from a10 percent negative view of Christians to a 25 percent rate in three years," he said. "The rise seems to have corresponded to the introduction of homosexual marriage in Spain."

In response to what he sees as the coming marginalization and stereotyping of evangelicals in the U.S., Cashin said that biblically-minded Christians should keep their focus on Jesus.

"The main thing is Jesus," he said.

Cashin also advised Christians, when called upon to answer questions about homosexuality and terrorism, to speak the truth "as it is stated in Scripture."

"We don't demonize, nor do we stereotype, but we speak the truth," he said.

His final piece of advice was for believers to recognize and submit to the sovereignty of God.

"We are not in control of this culture; we never were and we never will be," said Cashin.

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