If you look in the comments on news sites and on Facebook concerning the Religious Freedom law in Indiana, it is clear that the reactions seem to stem from a hatred of Christian moral teaching and a willingness to bully anyone who stands up for their faith and refuse to take part in something which their beliefs tell them is wrong. If we would just abandon our beliefs that certain actions are wrong, the world would not hate us.
We shouldn’t be surprised. Our Lord warned us that the world hated Him and it would hate us too for being faithful to Him:
18 “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. 20 Remember the word I spoke to you,* ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken* to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me also hates my Father. 24 If I had not done works among them that no one else ever did, they would not have sin; but as it is, they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But in order that the word written in their law might be fulfilled, ‘They hated me without cause.’ (John 15:18-25)
None of us expected it to be here so soon. Hatred and persecution is something people tend to think of as happening in distant lands, the distant past or the distant future. Sometimes the persecution is milder—legal harassment. Sometimes it is harsh, imprisonment and death for the faith. The people doing the persecution always think they are doing a good thing.
In this case, in America, we have a vocal portion of this nation led by the political and media elites who are determined to portray our insistence not to do evil as a hatred of the people who do these acts. We have a choice. We can either remain faithful to God, praying for Him to strengthen us in the face of this hatred or we can abandon those beliefs which the world finds offensive and become harmless Christians who have no impact on the world.
We know that the second option is not an option if we are going to be faithful to God. So we need to pray for the strength to face whatever form persecution takes for us individually. Some of us may only have to endure hostile words. Others of us may have to endure legal harassment or prosecution. Our task is to bring our Catholic faith to the world, even when we are hated for doing so, even when we are hated for saying, “You must not do this thing!” Even when the branches of our government refuse to face their obligation to protect us from our enemies.
So each of us needs to pray, for ourselves and each other. So when the persecution comes to each one of us, we may do God’s will.