LAKEWOOD, Colo. — A U.S. missionary to Turkey who had been imprisoned in the country for two years after being falsely accused of using “Christianization” to overthrow the government says that he sees American culture becoming increasingly hostile toward Christianity. He believes that there is a movement to silence and shame Christians who don’t keep their faith within the four walls of the church.
“I think it’s coming to the U.S. There will be persecution,” Andrew Brunson said during an interview at the Western Conservative Summit, held at Colorado Christian University on Friday.
After being held in prison for two years in isolation, and then returning to the United States, Brunson said that — in some aspects — it was like returning to a “different country.”
“I’m really astounded at the speed with which I think the U.S. is imploding,” he stated. “There are any number of issues where it seems that it’s no longer enough for a person of faith to get along with, or to serve, or to treat well someone they disagree with.”
“I think that [within] the political business, media, celebrity class, and also academia, it seems that there’s much more of a demand that people of faith approve of, that they validate, that they celebrate things that they actually disagree with,” Brunson lamented.
He sees the matter mostly playing out in society with activist groups.
“Activists are demanding that businesses and schools punish those who don’t agree with them. I think it’s especially Christians who are in the crosshairs with these things. They’re the target,” Brunson said. “And as long as you stay in the church and are quiet, then they’ll leave you alone — although I also think this is beginning to change.”
Expressing one’s faith outside of the church — especially views that are based on the Bible — is becoming more verboten, he noted.
“So, it seems there’s an effort to marginalize and silence and shame Christians,” he said.
Brunson outlined that you don’t see pushback in regard to other religions, citing, for example, that Muslim bakeries aren’t being asked create something that violates their beliefs.
“[Y]ou don’t get an LGBTQ activist going to a Muslim bakery in Dearborn, Michigan, demanding that this Muslim create a cake celebrating a wedding that he disagrees with, according to his belief in the Koran,” he explained. “I don’t think that Muslim should be pressured. I want them to have freedom of religion here. But the Christian is being pressured. So, I think that there is some hostility, especially toward Christians.”
Brunson said that he is concerned about the “growing hostility … to the Judeo Christian values that have shaped our culture” and believes that Christians need to be ready to take a stand to righteousness.
“It used to be more on the elitist fringe, but now it’s become much more mainstream,” he stated. “We need to prepare for that and have the mentality [of] ‘Are we going to stand for truth? Are we going to stand without shame or without apology for me as a Christian for my beliefs?’ I think it’s going to become increasingly difficult to do so.”
When asked if he believes pastors need to take a stand for religious liberty in the here and now, the longtime pastor answered in the affirmative, stating, “If they do stand, there will consequences [and] there will be opposition, but if they don’t stand, there will be much more serious consequences.”
Brunson also noted during his interview that if one looks at the history of the Church, religious liberty is rare. Christ’s followers have often been persecuted. And what Americans currently have is “so exceptional; it’s very unusual.”
2 Timothy 3:12 states, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”