As the year comes to a close, many like to reflect on the significant stories that shaped the past twelve months. A number of major events affected Christians throughout 2012, from the increasing persecution of believers nationwide, to the atheistic war to eradicate God from government and society, to the fight in the courts over Obamacare and its contraceptive mandate, to talk of gun control following the string of deadly attacks that plagued the nation throughout the year, to the escalating battle over the Biblical definition of marriage.
The Rise in Christian Persecution
As previously reported, persecution has been on the rise against Christians in America throughout 2012, from general acts of hostility, to violent plots to bomb churches, to increased arrests and imprisonment of those involved in evangelistic activity.
In late May, an incident in Washington, D.C. made national headlines as a homosexual activist arrived at the offices of Family Research Counsel armed and prepared for a massive attack.
Police outlined that Floyd Corkins III entered the headquarters of Family Research Council with a 9mm Sig Sauer pistol and a backpack that contained two loaded magazines of bullets with fifteen rounds in each, as well as a number of Chick-fil-A sandwiches. Four boxes of ammunition were also found in his car.
Corkins was stopped by Leo Johnson, a maintenance worker that doubles as a security guard, who was then shot in the arm as Corkins opened fire.
Johnson and others immediately tackled Corkins and disarmed him. He was held until police arrived.
“Don’t shoot me, it was not about you; it was what this place stands for,” Corkins pled after his pistol was confiscated, according to eyewitnesses.
“The security guard here is a hero as far as I’m concerned,” said Police Chief Cathy Lanier. “He did his job. The person never made it past the front.”
In September, a pastor and six members of RAVEN Ministries in New Orleans, Louisiana were escorted to the police station for violating a law that prohibits religious, political or social speech on the infamous Bourbon Street after sunset.
“[The officer said,] “There’s an ordinance against aggressive solicitation and you are under arrest,’” Pastor Troy Bohn told Christian News Network.
Bohn and two others were charged with violating the ordinance, and as he was being held, the arresting officer stated to Bohn that he was just following orders, although he did not agree with them. Bohn said that he asked the officer what he would do if the mere mention of Christ on the streets became illegal.
“I’m a Christian and I used to be a youth minister,” he remembered the sergeant responding. “And one day, I will have to cross that line.”
Weeks later, the Christians secured an injunction against the ordinance in federal court, which is now being re-written, according to reports.
Also in September, a man in Phoenix, Arizona was jailed for holding private worship services in a building that he constructed in his back yard.
Michael Salman, father of six, stated that he was told by the City of Phoenix that he could not hold Bible studies with family and friends in his home without converting it into an official church, which at first he attempted to do. He was ultimately charged and sentenced to jail for sixty days for moving the worship services out of his living room and into a building on his 4.6 acre property without comporting it to commercial standards.
Some note that Salman was charged for violating code from the International Code Council, which was adopted by the city of Phoenix, and is in place in many municipalities nationwide. It is believed that these codes will be used to shut down many house churches throughout America.
A number of other significant events affected Christian business owners across the country this year, such as the Christian photographer who was forced to pay $700 in fines and mandated to photograph homosexual ceremonies against her convictions, to the baker who came under fire for declining to make a cake for a homosexual “wedding,” to the hotel owners who settled a lawsuit with two lesbians who were told by an employee that they could not hold their commitment service on hotel property.
Atheists Fight to Erase God from Government and Society
Many stories were also reported throughout 2012 that involved efforts to remove the acknowledgment of God from American life.
Christian congressmen in the state of Pennsylvania were sued in May for the declaring 2012 “The Year of the Bible,” but later won the battle on a technicality. Months later, Grove School District in Oklahoma passed a resolution banning the distribution of Bibles to students on school property. The same city had just made headlines for tearing down signs from a local church property that used the name of Jesus.
Atheists sued curators of a 9-11 museum in Manhattan for the presence of a cross on site left from the rubble of the Twin Towers, and a restaurant in Pennsylvania was placed under investigation for offering discounts to churchgoers on Sundays. A cheerleading squad was also sued in Texas for using Bible verses during football games, and lawsuits continued across the country in an effort to have prayer removed from city hall meetings throughout the nation.
Rape Babies, Abortion and Obamacare
The dividing line between pro-life and pro-abortion Americans became more clear, including among Republicans, when controversy arose over statements made by Missouri senatorial candidate Todd Akin regarding abortion and rape.
Calls for Akin to withdraw came from across the country when he stated that he had been informed by medical professionals that a woman’s body has the capability to prevent pregnancy in the event of a “legitimate rape,” otherwise known as forcible rape. Among the most notable voices calling for Akin’s withdrawal was presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin told television station KTVI, speaking of the chances that a woman becomes pregnant from a rape situation. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
Even after losing the race to his Democratic opponent, Claire McCaskill, Republicans continued to rail on Akin for his statements, and remarked that Republicans should not make any such statements again for fear of losing elections.
A number of businesses, colleges and religious institutions spent much of 2012 fighting against the abortion pill mandate in Obamacare. The popular craft chain Hobby Lobby has been in the news for most of the last quarter as it has been seeking an exemption. While its founder, David Green, already offers birth control coverage to his 13,000 employees, Green has been seeking a waiver from being required to cover two medications that it believes are abortifacients: the morning-after pill and the week-after pill.
Hobby Lobby filed a federal lawsuit in September through the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty, and last month, the court denied the company’s request for an injunction, stating that businesses are not religious entities. Its attempts to obtain an injunction before the January 1st deadline escalated all the way to the Supreme Court, but were all unsuccessful. Green states that the company will defy the mandate in the new year while his case moves forward in the courts.
The Re-Election of Barack Obama
Mitt Romney’s selection as Republican Party’s presidential candidate caused much discussion and dilemma among Christians this year.
A number of Christians stated that they could not vote for a Mormon candidate, and others also noted that Romney approved of homosexual adoption, as well homosexual leaders and members in the Boy Scouts. Additionally, Romney outlined that he did not oppose abortion in the instances of rape, incest and the life of the mother.
Much controversy also erupted over Billy Graham’s endorsement of Mitt Romney, whose son, Franklin, later instructed his staff to remove a page from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website that listed cult groups, among which included Mormonism. Franklin Graham later admitted to reporters that he had the page removed because he did not wish to “call people names.”
As the race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney continued, a number of identical slogans were used by voters on both sides in outlining their reasoning for supporting either candidate, such as, “We’re electing a president, not a pastor,” “He’s the lesser of two evils” and “Jesus is not running for president.”
After three presidential debates on a variety of issues, which were all covered by Christian News Network, election night saw incumbent Barack Obama re-elected for another eight years in office. In addition to his win, three states voted on Election Day to recognize homosexual relationships, and two legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
In protest of Obama’s continued leadership, individuals from across the nation submitted secession petitions to the White House to request that they be allowed to leave the union.
A String of Deadly Rampages
In 2012, the nation saw a string of deadly rampages like no year before. The nation’s eyes turned to Aurora, Colorado in July when a number of attendees of a midnight showing of the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises were gunned down in a local movie theater.
In what appeared to be a premeditated attack, 24-year-old James Holmes launched an armed assault upon the scores of attendees, leaving 12 dead and 58 injured. Due to the massive amount of phone calls that were placed to 911, over 200 police officers, ambulances and emergency personnel arrived at the theater within minutes, and Holmes was arrested without incident. He had also booby-trapped his apartment with explosives.
In August, one Sunday morning while services were underway, a man walked into a Shikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and began gunning down attendees. Upon arrival, police exchanged fire with the gunman, Wade Page, in the parking lot of the facility. Page later shot himself in the head, ending the confrontation with police.
August and September also saw incidents of angry employees gunning down their managers and co-workers, and in October, a man entered a spa where his wife worked and shot her to death, while also turning the gun on others inside, and ultimately taking his own life.
December also was violent month as 22-year-old Jacob Roberts launched an armed assault against shoppers at a mall in Portland, Oregon, and the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut brought matters to a climax, as 20-year-old Adam Lanza systematically gunned down twenty children and six adults after taking the life of his mother at home.
A number of other tragic incidents across the nation followed the attack, and some lawmakers began to turn to gun control as a solution to the problem.
The Battle Heats Up Over Homosexual ‘Marriage’
In May 2012, Barack Obama announced his support for homosexual “marriage.” During a national interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts, he explained, “[W]hen I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”
His announcement was met with much disappointment from evangelicals, and much applause from homosexual groups. Prior to his re-election, Democrats added homosexual “marriage” to their official party platform, and the Pentagon hosted its first homosexual pride event due to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Military bases such as West Point also began hosting homosexual “weddings.”
Chick-fil-A became of the most talked about businesses of 2012 due to comments made by company president Dan Cathy, outlining that he is “very much supporting of the family — the Biblical definition of the family unit.”
According to the Washington Post, Cathy had also stated on a radio broadcast in June that he believed that the promotion of homosexuality was evoking the wrath of God upon America.
“As it relates to society in general, I think we’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’” he opined. “And I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about.”
Homosexual groups lashed out at the company due to Cathy’s statements, and others accused Chick-fil-A of giving to anti-homosexual organizations. Chick-fil-A later clarified via a news release and said that it has a non-discrimination policy that includes homosexuals, and that its charitable giving has never been about homosexuality, but rather general positive family issues as the company tries to stay away from “political debate.”
Because of the opposition being expressed against the company, former Arkansas governor and talk show host Mike Huckabee arranged “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” on August 1st, which generated one of the largest turnouts ever in American history.
During the election, three states voted to legalize same-sex unions: Maine, Maryland and Washington. Washington began issuing marriage licenses weeks after the election, and Maine’s law went into effect this weekend. Maryland plans to issue the documents on January 1st.
Earlier this month, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases that will determine the destiny of same-sex “marriage” across America. Out of the ten cases presented to the court, the nine justices on the bench accepted California’s Proposition 8 case, as well as a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Gone, But Not Forgotten
In addition to these stories, a number of well-known Christians passed into eternity this year, including Gwen Wilkerson, wife of the late David Wilkerson, who died in a car accident in 2011, Chinese Christian leader Freddie Sun, motivational speaker Zig Ziglar and former Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher and talk show host Frank Pastore.