"Tolerance becomes a crime when it is applied to evil...." - Thomas Mann (1927)

All hell broke loose this week (you'll note it usually does during Holy Week...) because the State of Indiana passed a law to ensure what many of us already assume to be a right granted by the United State Constitution.  Namely, the right to freely practice one's religion.  That pesky First Amendment. 

Turns out...Indiana is the 20th state to pass such a law.  A Federal bill affirming the same rights was passed and then signed by President Clinton in 1993.  The fact that Barack Obama helped pass the same law in Illinois while 'serving' as Senator there, matters not one wit to the pols or the press.

On Wednesday evening's Liturgy of the Hours prayer all this was swirling in my head when we began:  "Evil men said:  Let us make the just man suffer; he sets himself against our way of life." Indeed he did....the Romans and the Jewish leaders didn't crucify him because he was a 'nice guy', after all.  2000 years later...we still must be reminded of who He was, why He came and that He promises to come again.

Other Governors of other states eagerly put in their 'two cents' and clarify that no....they LOVE all people and always AGREE with all people and would never support such an interpretation of INDIANA's bill, etc, etc.  That makes you a robot...not a human being.  

Now, if you have read my blog at all, it is no mystery where I stand.  While I should be angry at what has taken place here....I'm actually quite heartened.  According to the LGBT community, there was enough evidence to convict a couple of small town pizza owners of....well,being Christians.  I'm sure the religious symbols that are quite evident in their small pizzeria had absolutely nothing to do with the 'journalist' wandering into their little business to do a story.  

Our culture is at war with itself.  In a nation so blessed, and so prosperous, I suppose it was just a matter of time.  In their boredom and their search for meaning, too many in our day want not just a bite out of the apple....they want a bite of every apple, from every tree, in everyone's garden.   They further demand you agree with it, pay for it, encourage more of it, and finally to provide comfort for it when they crash and burn.

A couple things to remember.

First, the mere fact that they have to rely on their shameless intimidation tactics (with the help of their friends in the media...) to make it look like they have an endless numbers of supporters, is a sure sign that exactly the opposite is true.

Second, they hate what we believe.  They see it as judgmental, oppressive and limiting.  They hate the thought that Christians--and other people of faith--place their hope in God -- not in Caesar.  They even hate the peace and joy that our faith engenders.  Even though they are desperate for it...the Father of Lies has convinced them it is out of reach.

Tonight, we celebrate the Lord's last supper.  I have a tradition of reading from John 17 and the beautiful prayer to our heavenly father on that fateful night:

v. 14-15  "I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.  I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one.   

There has been joyful news in all of this....a fund was started to help the pizzeria owners ride out this storm.  The hope was to raise $150,000.  As of this writing, they are way over $260,000.  There was about $92,000 when I pledged this morning.  Join me, will you?

Conquering evil with that makes for a very happy Easter!


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