There was a time, in the not too distant past, when people were respected and sought out for employment, or even voted into political office, because they openly and proudly avowed an allegiance to God.
But a few confused spins of the globe and we find ourselves facing an ironic twist: To be a worshiper of God is to open oneself to discrimination, ridicule and even loss of employment or physical violence.
Where once it was admirable to proclaim the Biblical values in one's lifestyle, it is now tantamount to political and social suicide to overtly profess to setting Biblical standards as one's guide for honesty, morality and sexual conduct.
To openly admit to following Scriptural values and patterns as being one's hope for a happy and fulfilling future is seen by many as intimidating and threatening to their desire to live other values.
I can remember when an employer had a right to ask a prospective employee what church he attended, what his moral convictions were and what organizations he belonged to. Experience had demonstrated that one's moral values had much to do with the kind of employee a person would be, what kind of work he would perform when the boss wasn't looking, whether he would have a light hand on the till or how he would relate to other employees. We've come up with the term "work ethic," which many people can testify has all but disappeared on the work scene.
The problem arises when a person believes some things to be absolutely true for himself, he will also believe there are some things that are absolutely untrue. He can't help but believe that if he has found satisfaction in living the morality and righteousness of the Bible, then he must live out those values in his place of employment. This often brings conflict with those who live by other values.
It's not unusual for a person to want to share his discovery with all who will listen. He sees those negatives as "sin" and some people have been, perhaps, too zealous to preach a gospel of guilt punishment and eternal damnation. But there are equally as many who have found hope and encouragement in knowing that those who believe in God have someone they can point to who cares and who they can turn to for help in times of need.
God has been taken out of the schools, except when students shoot each other, and then God is sought to give consolation in prayer vigils when the secular answers don't offer anything.
Today, anyone who professes morality of the Bible is a "religious pervert," a "traditionalist" or a part of the "Religious Right extremists."
Even the way religion is reported is often done in a tongue-in-cheek style that makes it obvious the one reporting thinks it is foolishness and the people involved are weirdos.
As believers in God, we are discriminated against whenever we go to a movie because there are none that show Biblical morality in its truth and reality. They poke fun at anyone who is religious, they show the glamour and necessity of sex and the success of a sinful lifestyle. But they never show characters living in simple gospel fulfillment and showing how scripture sets all kinds of patterns of temperance, love and giving.
Contemporary movie-makers seem to be ignorant of this. It isn't that they relegate us to a naive minority to be tolerated. Rather, they show us either as non-existent or a scowling, ignorant bunch who are out to rob them of their licentious lifestyle, which most of them agree ends up in drugs, sexual confusion and heartache.
We are discriminated against when the powers that be cancel shows like "Dr. Quinn" and others that provide conservative wholesome viewing.
We are discriminated against when our children are told that society's values are more important than their family's.
We are discriminated against when we are shown the failures of our officials and our government, when programs claim to be the answer to the crime, violence, unemployment and human failures as being proof of the non-existence of God.
It's discrimination when a doctor can kill a baby a few inches from delivery but call it murder when the parents of a baby allow it to die.
It's discrimination to poke fun at a child who prays at lunchtime or says he believes in the story of Creation.
It's discrimination when young people are forced to attend sensitivity classes in order to be tolerant of those engaged in lifestyles and activities that they are convinced are wrong. It takes a strong and determined young person to withstand the pressure of their peers backed by the authority of an administration that is committed to indoctrinating students into a mindset that is anti-God and anti-Bible. Yet our kids can't have Bible studies or prayer meetings even among those want to participate.
It can mean having to stand alone in peculiar places, especially of higher learning, to be able to be the person they know themselves to be. But it's worth it.
DON BOOTH lives in Orchard Park.
For writer guidelines for columns appearing in this space, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Opinion Pages Guidelines, The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.