Pastor stands up against defamation of Christians in media, world events - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Pastor stands up against defamation of Christians in media, world events

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Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2008 11:24 pm | Updated: 9:07 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

“We have not been called by Christ to be a doormat,” said Cass, executor director of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission and author of “Christian Bashing: The Last Acceptable Bigotry.”

Last summer, Cass took charge of the organization that had largely languished after its founding in 1999, and now he serves as an outspoken watchdog for incidents in which Christianity is marginalized or belittled, especially in TV and films.

One of Cass’ latest complaints was filed with NBC for a recent “Law & Order” episode in which a police detective labeled Christians “Bible thumpers” while he investigated an incident in which a college minister had made death threats against a professor after the minister spoke out against homosexuality. “To allow their protagonists to derisively portray Christians as unenlightened, violent and out of step is galling,” said Cass, who argues the episode is part of a “relentless attempt on the part of the media to stereotype Christians as being violent.”

Cass is a frequent guest on national news and talk shows reacting to the latest incidents seen to be anti-Christian. He says there are “friendly Christian legal groups” like the Scottsdale-based Alliance Defense Fund that use or threaten legal actions in blatant cases. “I am just a little preacher who doesn’t know any better than to stand up when someone is doing wrong and try to defend my fellow Christians,” he said.

In a phone interview, Cass said he wants the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission to rival the Anti-Defamation League, which has long aggressively monitored anti-Semitic activity and bias against Jews in media and culture. Similarly, the Council on American-Islamic Relations has emerged as a vigilant force against discrimination against Muslims.

On one level, Cass said, Christianity’s legitimacy as a religion needs no defending, “but what is up for grabs is the way that Christians are treated in the world.”

“There are literally hundreds of millions of Christians around the world who are suffering in situations of very intense persecution,” he said. In Western countries, Christianity is commonly derided.

“In the United States right now, apparently you’re free in our culture to say the most bigoted and hateful things against Christians that you could never get away with saying about any other group in America.”

On his organization’s Web site, Cass cites nine countries having the most egregious climate for Christians — Afghanistan, Palestine, Eritrea, Nigeria, Turkey, Laos, China, Iraq and India — based on findings of four international human rights groups. He uses this example for India: “Over a period of 10 days in Orissa state, Christian leaders said at least nine people were killed, close to 90 churches burned and about 600 houses were torched or vandalized, leaving 5,000 people facing hunger and fear. The reason for the violence was conversions by area Christians.”

Ordained in 1985 as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America, Cass served churches and later joined Coral Ridge Ministries, founded by the late Pastor D. James Kennedy. For three years he was executive director of the Center for Reclaiming America, an outreach of Coral Ridge. That group, no longer active, fought against abortion, obscenity, evolution as a theory and gay marriage, and fought for religious liberty and traditional family issues.

He calls the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, which he took over last summer, a “necessary thing” if Christianity is to counter bigotry displayed against it. “It is not a pleasant thing, necessarily. Who wants to just blow the whistle on everybody all the time.”

“There is some toxic theology out there that has taken root in the church,” he said. “Somehow we are to be the doormat for the secularists.” He said Christians are being told to “take our values out of the public square, but, of course, their values are perfectly welcomed, thank you very much. Wait a minute, there is something wrong.”

Cass said secularization and atheism “are a religion, and it builds upon philosophical and religious assumptions” that are no different than his faith.

“We have been commanded to transform culture through the advancement of the Gospel,” Cass said. He accused secularists of “using every tool, not the least is hate crime legislation to try to silence us, and we are not going to roll over, and we are not going away.”

His organization calls on Christians to be the eyes and ears to report defamation against their faith. “We don’t want to get into brick and mortar” and expensive regional offices to monitor defamation, he said. “This is about making sure our grandkids get to enjoy the same liberties that our parents and grandparents handed to us,” he said.

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