This is a guest Chaplain's Article from Chaplain Vahan Sipantzi, SF Chaplain for many years and friend to SFA Chapter IX members Ike Camacho and China Boy Joe Lopez.
THE GAG ORDER
Shortly after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Peter. a fisherman, preached to a large crowd in Jerusalem and 3000 of his audience became followers of Jesus. Later, he and his fellow disciple John were brought before the religious and political leaders of their day and told to shut up about Jesus. They were given what we’d call today “a gag order”. Talk all you want but, don’t talk about Jesus the Christ.
Things haven’t changed. Students are told not to talk about Jesus at commencement exercises. Chaplains are told not to mention His name in their prayers. The symbol of His sacrifice, the cross, is not to be displayed on any military buildings because it might offend the people trying to kill our troops. However, if our enemies succeed in killing them, then Uncle Sam will put a cross on their grave. Any visit to any military cemetery will show that the vast majority of grave stones bear a cross representing their faith.
The message, at least in America, from our media, Hollywood, academia, and our PRESENT government seems to be either that God doesn’t exist, or he is a generic god who is to be kept in the closet. They don’t want a God who is our Creator, Redeemer, a Just God who wants the best for us and from us, a God willing to forgive us, die for us, and give us the promise of an eternal future in His presence. To them the crosses that cover the graves of most of our military cemeteries have no meaning other than a quaint decoration. It’s time for the so called leadership in this country, very few of whom have served in the military, or who have made any sacrifices for this great country of ours to visit our military cemeteries at home or abroad and count the number of graves marked with something other than a cross, the symbol of love and sacrifice and the Christian faith. Remove the crosses and the cemetery will look like a western clear cut forest with only an occasional tree standing here and there.
We are told that we are to be silent about our commander-in-chief, Jesus, because “we might OFFEND” someone from some minority of beliefs or lack of beliefs. It’s OK if we Christians are offended even if we are the majority of those who have paid a disproportionate price to maintain our liberties to include freedom of speech and discussion.
Jesus, when He was being falsely arrested told Peter to put away his sword because Jesus had a mission to accomplish – to die for each of us! He didn’t tell Peter to shut up or cover his mouth with duct tape, just put down your sword. His was to be a war – but a war of words, of love, compassion, and hope. His “Rules of Engagement” called on us to heal the sick, visit those in prison, care for widows and orphans, treat the enemy with kindness (for example - Iraqi POW’S in Desert Storm) and to share with the world the Good News of God’s intervention on our behalf through His son Jesus Christ. This was to be a war fought with love not by strapping bombs on children or so-called martyrs. It did not call for raping women and young girls, burning captives alive or beheading or drowning those who disagreed with them. No forced conversions. Instead schools, churches, hospitals, orphanages, leprosarium’s, refugee camps all built in the name of Jesus.
The choice is ours. We can allow ourselves to be “gagged” or do what is right and is our right – to be true to ourselves and true to our Commander in Chief, Jesus Christ.