Christian martyrdom: Are we willing to suffer?


This wasn't the subject I intended to write about today, but it needs attention.

Over the last few days, I've become aware of two instances, one in Louisville and one in Pennsylvania, in which physical and verbal abuse has taken place against elderly protesters outside abortion facilities.

In Louisville, the woman, age 82 if memory serves, was pushed to the ground and injured by a person decades younger. She has required hospitalization.

The Pennsylvania incident, in its way, is even more pathetic. News reports indicate the protester, an elderly female, was standing outside a Planned Parenthood facility, silently praying the rosary.

State Rep. Brian Sims, half the protester's age, comes toward her with phone in hand to record for social media his eight-minute verbal assault of this woman. He aggressively ridiculed her Christian faith and her protest, admonishing her for her choice of target for the protest and claiming that, while she had a constitutional right to be there, she had no "moral right." It should be noted that the woman did not engage or respond to Sims, other than asking him to get out of her way when she tried to leave, as he was blocking her path with phone still in hand, continuing to berate her.

This is obviously wrong on more than one front. Hopefully, Pennsylvania Democratic leadership will do the right thing with this blatant example of what you don't want in a public servant. The very fact that he was recording the confrontation shows that Sims cares for no one but himself and his career. Pray for him.

What this is all about, dear readers, is freedom of religion. It's about having courage enough to be public with your religious convictions, even when taking serious heat from those who oppose your beliefs.

It is about being strong enough, and fed up enough, to take a stand against a culture and people who have increasingly forgotten where they came from and who allows them to take their next breath.

Please don't make the mistake of believing that these incidents could never happen in our little community. Abuses against religious freedom can happen anywhere if we are not careful and vigilant. No, we do not have the right to impose our beliefs on others. A state-sponsored religion has never been, and will never be, a good idea.

But we must maintain the right and the courage to speak out in public if our faith moves us to do so in a loving way. We must always be willing, as the two ladies mentioned above, to suffer for Jesus Christ.

Christian martyrdom is not something that only happens in faraway countries. To believe otherwise is to allow the enemy to move closer.

Michael Clapp is Deacon of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Mayfield. You can contact him by e-mail at