Who do you remember from 2015?
When faces come to mind, it’s hard not to think about the current field of presidential candidates and the bravery many have displayed at pivotal points in their political careers. Others have not shown such stellar qualities, and discerning voters will hopefully sort this out.
But when I look back at 2015, I remember ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances, and both wisely and sometimes creatively devising solutions. Many still walk a hazardous path where the foes are financial ruin, court drama or much worse: acts of terror from evil enemies. They need our fervent prayers and tangible support.
Here’s my list of the top ten acts of Christian courage in 2015:
- Dedicated pro-life advocates gather daily outside Planned Parenthood clinics coast to coast to provide sidewalk counseling, to protest the actions of the abortion giant and encourage prospective patients to choose life instead. The week before Christmas, many local groups held “empty manger” protests while singing Christmas carols. A nationwide effort this summer was called #ProtestPP.
- Crystal O’Connor told an Indiana TV reporter her family-owned pizza shop, Memories Pizza, would not cater a same sex “wedding” if asked. Deluged with vicious calls and emails from “gay” sympathizers, including one Tweet advocating arson, Memories closed. Good news: a crowd-funding effort yielded over $800,000, and the restaurant re-opened.
- Cake designer Jack Phillips of Lakewood, CO filed an appeal in October to the Colorado Supreme Court following two unconstitutional lower court rulings finding him guilty of “discrimination” for denying two men a “wedding” cake because of his Christian faith, in a state where such ceremonies had not yet been legalized. Phillips perseveres in his fight against an egregious denial of his religious freedom.
- A grandmother and florist in Washington state, Barronelle Stutzman, has appealed a lower court ruling that she violated state “sexual orientation” discrimination law when she turned down a wedding floral order for two men in 2013. She did so because of her faith in Jesus Christ. She has also filed a countersuit against the state of Washington in a U.S. District Court. The expected legal fees and fines could ruin Stutzman financially.
- Because he spoke out about the health risks of homosexual behavior, and a hospital’s inappropriate promotion of “LGBT” activities, Dr. Paul Church has been expelled from the medical staff of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston where he has practiced for 28 years. It’s a tragic triumph of the “LGBT” agenda prevailing over fact and sound science. Despite the ten- year battle, Dr. Church did not back down from the truth. A urologist with a stellar medical background, Dr. Church has served on the Harvard Medical School faculty for many years.
- Former owners of the bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Aaron and Melissa Klein, face a fine of $135,000 ordered by the state of Oregon Department of Labor, owed to two women who requested a cake for their “wedding.” Aaron declined because of his Christian faith. After a vicious media campaign, months of protests and harassing calls and emails, the business was forced to close. The Kleins have five children. The Daily Signal found a pattern of possible collusion between Oregon state officials and a large homosexual group, Basic Rights Oregon. A state official put a gag order on the couple, yet the Kleins have declared they will not be silenced, thereby losing not just religious freedom but freedom of speech.
- The voters of Houston had the last say on special rights based on “LGBT” behaviors when they turned down the so-called “equal rights ordinance” in November, 61% to 39%. A broad coalition of churches, including many Hispanic and black congregations, joined to advocate against the measure, which would have allowed men in women’s restrooms.
- The Center for Medical Progress launched possibly the most daring and effective pro-life campaign ever by releasing a series of undercover videos showing the grisly truth about Planned Parenthood: these clinics are apparently proudly trafficking in human baby body parts. It’s not obscene enough that unborn humans die in these clinics, but their remains are then dissected and sold for “research.” Planned Parenthood issued a series of usual denials, along with “the sky is not blue” and “the Pope is not Catholic.” They will not ultimately be able to lie their way out of this one. CMP and its leader David Daleiden are being sued by abortion supporters and subjected to a trumped-up investigation by HHS. This important effort needs our prayers.
- Even after the U.S Supreme Court spoke the “last word” on marriage in June– that Jesus Christ misunderstood and two men really can nuptialize sodomy — millions of Americans are not buying it. One of those is court clerk Kim Davis, who bravely went to jail just for wanting her name to be omitted from same sex licenses. A Democratic Kentucky governor was just not progressive enough to allow that, but the new conservative, Republican governor is– and he promised Kim Davis’ name will not appear on those licenses.
- Even as Americans are being fined, losing jobs, losing businesses and getting harassing emails and phone calls, these situations pale beside incidents of Christian persecution throughout the globe, increasing in severity in the Middle East. As we hear about torture and rape, and learn about a video proudly launched by ISIS where Christian men kneel on a beach before being beheaded, our hearts should be heavy and our prayers desperate for these saints of the faith. God’s loving arms surely wait to receive them in heaven.
Their valor sets the example as we enter 2016. If Americans cannot retain religious liberty and freedom of speech, under daily threat by the “progressive” left, we face physical persecution in the not-distant future.
It’s time to rise, put on the full armor of God and contend earnestly for our faith, our families and our country.
Linda Harvey, President, Mission America
The media ministry of Linda Harvey is an outgrowth of her Christian faith and a successful career in marketing and public relations.
As a former advertising executive, Mrs. Harvey specialized in creating new communications’ vehicles. She has started more than twenty-five publications and overseen multi-million dollar advertising campaigns, primarily in the health care field. She was formerly Director of Marketing Communications at Ohio State University Hospitals.
In 1995, she founded Mission America, a Christian pro-family organization tracking current cultural issues with weekly e-newsletters sent to a national audience.
Linda hosts daily commentaries and a weekly radio show on the Salem Network station in Columbus, OH, 880 AM WRFD which broadcasts throughout the state, and airs a weekly commentary on the national Moody Radio Network. She is also a regular columnist for conservative news site www.WND.com , for www.AmericanThinker.com, for www.barbwire.com, and for www.ohioconservativereview.com .
She is interviewed frequently by local, state and national media outlets, and is author of two Christian books, Maybe He’s Not Gay: Another View on Homosexuality and Not My Child: Contemporary Paganism and the New Spirituality.
In addition, Linda is a frequent conference speaker, with presentations at events sponsored by Concerned Women for America, Focus on the Family, Heartbeat International, American Family Association, EPC (the Education Policy Conference), Americans for Truth and TruthXChange. She has also spoken to many Ohio Tea Party groups..
Mrs. Harvey attended a United Nations international conference as a media representative; has participated in a briefing on Capitol Hill; and has testified numerous times before Ohio legislative committees. She serves on the National Pro-Family Forum and the Ohio Pro-Family Forum.
Linda Harvey holds a B.A. in English from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and has done graduate work at Miami, Ohio State University, and Trinity Lutheran Seminary. She is the wife of Tom Harvey and the mother of two children. They live in Columbus, Ohio.