Monday, July 23, 2007

Vietnamese Christians and the Law (Part 2)

Last month I was privileged to attend a week long Constitutional Law training event with the Alliance Defense Fund and National Litigation Academy in Pasadena, California. The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) is the largest Christian legal defense organization in the United States with focuses on religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and traditional family values. As a graduate of the National Litigation Academy, I am part of an army of Christian attorneys over 1000 strong dedicated to protecting, training and litigating against humanistic philosophies and organizations like the ACLU in the attempt to protect and preserve traditional, biblical and constitutional matters that affect Christians. ADF has won over 34 cases at the U.S. Supreme Court level. For a summary of recent cases won, please visit

Although the use of the court system should be something to avoid if at all possible, it is sometimes necessary to avail ourselves to the secular judicial system in order to protect ourselves, our families and our rights as Christians. Even the apostle Paul in Acts 22:25, appealed to the laws of his day for protection from the unjust punishment of scourging without a fair trial. When Paul lost at the lower court levels, he appealed to the higher courts—in his case, appealing directly to the courts of Ceasar (Acts 25:21), as was his right as a Roman citizen.

God has placed us in this world for a reason. Though God does not want his people to be conformed by the world (Romans 12:2), he does desire that we be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-14) in the world as to be a witness and in my view, transform our world. God has commissioned his people to go into the ends of the world—not only to preach the gospel, but to also make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). God not only wants individuals to be saved but He also wants the kingdoms and governments of this world to be transformed by the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. One of the ways that kingdoms and governments can be transformed is for its laws to reflect the righteousness of Christ.

There is now current legislation in the United States Senate to make it a hate crime to speak negatively against homosexuals or issues regarding homosexuality. In Sweden, there was a Lutheran pastor who was preaching on the text that mentioned a list of unbibilical lifestyles, with them, homosexuality (Romans 1:21-32). The pastor was brought up on hate crime charges against homosexuals because of the reference to homosexuality as an unacceptable biblical lifestyle. He was actually convicted at all the lower court levels and sentenced to prison. His case was appealed to Sweden’s Supreme Court and thankfully with the help of ADF, the Swedish Supreme Court reversed the conviction, threw out the unjust law and set the pastor free. What happened in Sweden can actually happen in the United States (just a matter of time) if Christians don’t utilize our legal rights to oppose a humanistic agenda that seeks to remove Christ from society.

For too long, secular humanistic organizations like the ACLU have terrorized people of faith (especially Christians) with their lawsuits. God is now raising up Christian organizations like ADF to help Christians everywhere protect values most important to us—that is, the right to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, to protect the least of us without a voice (the unborn) and to uphold the biblical standards of traditional family values.

Discrimination against Christians rarely happen outright, but often are done through disguised reasons or the implementation of certain laws that restrict. As Vietnamese Christians, please avail yourselves not only to the power of the Holy Spirit but also the laws of the land to protect yourselves, your family and community. If you ever need help against those that seek to restrict your rights to speak out for Christ in any way, please feel free to contact me. As an ADF allied attorney, I can help advise you of your rights and help make available the resources of more than 1000 attorneys across the United States who are willing to battle the agendas of secular humanists for the sake of Christ and His Church.


Anonymous said...

I am so glad and grateful to know such available help and resources out there regarding our religious rights especially for Vietnamese Christians. Thanks for being a "warrior for Christ." Your article is so well written and covers the core issues, concerns, and real threats/discrimination toward Christians in America today, especially in the schools/ educational institutions. It's sad how a nation is found on Christian faith and bases is turning away from God and slowly replaced and dominated by secular agendas.

Sam said...

Dr. Lu, I like how you pointed out that Paul appealed to the legal system in place during his time.

On the other hand, is there ever a time when we would want to endure suffering for Christ's sake and not try to remove ourselves from it?

I ask this with all respect to those who have suffered for Christ's sake. As an American Christian, the amount of suffering I go through is a big zero.

Father Lu said...

Hi Sam. You raise a very important and hard to analyze point--truly. When do we embrace suffering and when do we try to assert our rights? Fight or flight is another similar option.

For Paul, we know that he did not always appeal to the legal system. There were many times that he in fact accepted the punishment, however unjust (See 2 Cor. 11:24-25). Perhaps he chose not to but perhaps the options were not available to him either because there was no authority to stop it (mob scourging and stoning) or that he did not know his full legal rights at that time. On the previous article (in the comment section), I commented how Paul may have learned more of his Roman legal rights from the Jailor/Warden at Philippi--after leading him and his family to Christ.

I am of the opinion that most sufferings should be the last option, if there is any other legal way to avoid it. There is a difference between a legal option and a cowardly option--I am not at all advocating anything cowardly--however, sometimes it can be a very close call.

Recall how the early church experienced tremendous persecution in the book of Acts. The Bible says that the believers were scattered (Acts 8:1-4; 11:19). Going back to the fight or flight--these believers chose to flee in order to fight another day--and where ever they went, they preached the gospel (as opposed to fleeing and cowardly hiding in a corner).

The examples of Paul and the early believers above sort of give me a rough guidance on suffering: If I can avoid suffering legally, so as not having to deny Christ as my Lord and Savior, I should take that route in order to live and proclaim His gospel. If, however, I am backed up to a corner where I have to bow to "Ceasar" as god or die, I choose death with Christ and pray that He will give me courage until my last breath.

Consider this also--sometimes, the way of suffering for Christ is to assert one's rights not so much for oneself--but on behalf of others and for future generations. Sometimes we must confront the Ceasars of the world (legally or by whatever means) to say that Ceasar is wrong, even if it cost us our own lives. Consider all the Christians that stood up to the Roman Empire with generations of lives lost to one day seeing the conversion of Constantine. Consider all the Christians who saw the oppression of slavery and racial discrimination and stood up to governments, spending countless financial resources to fight unjust laws through the legal system and at times, losing their own lives--so that future generations can live in a world with less discrimination.

There are no easy answers to suffering and standing up for what is right--only guidance from scripture, our fellow believers going through the same experience and with prayer for personal guidance. Pray for the way of courage either way.