On the occasions that I have enjoyed the great privilege to address young people about the persecution of Christians in other countries, I will ask those in attendance two questions: How many of you have suffered persecution for your Christian faith? Second, if you were charged with the crime of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? This has always led to interesting discussions and, I pray, some thoughtful reflection on the depth of their Christian faith. Jesus taught us that the natural order for Christians is persecution, and the American experience, for the most part, has been an historical anomaly. In the Gospel of St. Matthew 5:11, Jesus teaches us, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” In the Gospel of St. John 15: 19-21, our Lord declares, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first . . . If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also . . . They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent Me.” St. Paul, who suffered great persecution and was martyred for his Lord Jesus, warned in II Timothy 3:12, “And all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
In Cherokee County, Texas, a high school teacher recently removed a poster showing a Bible verse from a classroom after a student took offense. The offended student sent a photo of the poster to the Freedom from Religion Foundation (“FFRF”). I have often written on these pages about the extremism and bullying tactics of the FFRF. The FFRF sent one of those infamous lawyer letters to Rusk Independent School District superintendent Scott Davis, who then ordered the teacher to remove the offending poster. Superintendent Davis said that the poster had to be removed because “a teacher acting in that manner is in violation of the establishment clause” of the Constitution’s first amendment.
Rusk High School senior Cameron Franks disagreed with the removal of that poster. He decided to hang the offensive poster at his home to remind him of his mission to take a bold stand for Jesus Christ. Cameron told Houston television station KTRE, “We’ve walked our halls for four years and we’ve been persecuted, and called hypocrites. Everybody who is a Christian, I’m sure, they have had that time in their life when they’ve been persecuted, and I knew it was time to take a stand.” Since FFRF stated that first amendment rights were being violated at Rusk, Cameron decided to exercise his own first amendment free speech rights. So he designed a t-shirt. Cameron stated:
I didn’t think this was such a good idea at first, but then I was like you know what I don’t care anymore. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of hiding in the corner, and so I was like I’m going to do it, and I’m going to see how the reactions are, and if they’re negative, so-be it, and if they’re positive, so-be it. It’s not about me. It’s about God. This is for the school. This is the Lord’s will, and this is what needed to be done a long time ago.
Cameron’s red t-shirts have quickly gained community, church, and business support across Cherokee County, and from across the country, with thousands of orders for the t-shirts. In my brazen act of commercialism, you can see their Facebook page “Take a Stand for Jesus, We Won’t Be Shaken” available here. The t-shirts are sold for the low price of only $5, but Cameron is also receiving donations and sponsorships from his community, so that anyone who wants a shirt and cannot afford one can receive one for free. (Just be careful, Cameron, that Mr. Obama’s petty and vindictive IRS doesn’t find out because under 26 USC Section 61, you can be taxed on giving away free stuff.) The beautiful red t-shirts say “Let GOD RULE your world, if you want GOD TO ROCK your world!” The t-shirt also displays a cross. So if you, or the youth group at your local high school, church, or parish, want to obtain some of these t-shirts, the order form is available on the Facebook page. God bless you, Cameron, for taking a bold stand for the Lord Jesus. You serve as a role model for older Christian believers, and your t-shirts send an important message to Christians about standing up for what we believe. You remind us to declare God’s salvation through the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ. For as St. Paul teaches us in Romans 1:16, we should never be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.