WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2015 — Today’s Christian youth are aware of the mainstream media’s all-out assault on Christianity and the personal attacks lobbed against GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson. Those attacks mock a man who has achieved many of the things we want our children to achieve: education, a brilliant career in pediatric neuroscience, philanthropist and unapologetic Christian.
Parents may need their own Christian talking points to use when their children watch this war being played out on social media and on television. What do you tell young people when the media and other candidates go on the attack?
Separating fact from politically inspired media fiction can be quite a job, since children, older teens and adults are bombarded with 24-hour punditry that masquerades as journalism.
The recent truth meltdown by Politico in its politically inspired attack headlines purposely maligned Carson, a Christian who has written and spoken of God’s involvement in his life.
The news organization had to disavow its salacious West Point story and headline on the same day it was written.
But the damage was done.
Christian children openly wonder if these attacks on Carson now and Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann in 2012 were designed to justify attacks on evangelical Christianity. According to Western Journalism, “In 2012, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller likened Santorum’s Catholic faith to sharia law.”
What are children to believe when Catholic beliefs are equated to Islamic radicalism by the media or our president?
Parents can use this and other examples as teachable moments to help children learn to see that candidates who stand up as Christians are showing courage, even as the media seek to demonize them.
Carson, who in October helped launch the #IAmAChristian movement, created a wonderful opportunity for Christian parents to help their children stand up and declare their faith.
Another example is former Gov. Mike Huckabee, who defended Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis’ right to stand up for God’s word even if it meant going to jail.
It is crucial to help your child understand that, while not all journalists attack Christians who run for office, many are not objective in covering Christian candidates.
That is when it is important for the candidates and the rest of us to stand up for what we believe.
In 2012, Western Journalism highlighted a Washington Post article, “Seven Reasons Why Santorum Will Lose.” The first reason was “Satan.” The Post linked it to Santorum’s defense of statements he made in 2008 saying that America was in a spiritual war.
In the Huffington Post article, Santorum defended his remarks. He is quoted in a CNN video regarding the attacks on his faith during the 2012 presidential campaign: “It’s a joke, it’s absurd. I‘m a person of faith. I believe in good and evil. I think if somehow or another because you’re a person of faith you believe in good and evil is a disqualifier for president, we’re going to have a very small pool of candidates who can run for president.”
Kids may ask, did Christian presidential candidates like Santorum, Huckabee or Carson do something wrong to make the mainstream media or even television pundits attack them on television or in social media? The answer is no.
Here parents can reinforce their own religious faith framework for their children. Use the Bible as an instrument to show why standing up for your faith is not wrong, even if it is unpopular.
Matthew 10:33 “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”
Sit down with your child and discuss why being a Christian who believes in Biblical teachings is important. Show how those beliefs are used in everyday life. Discuss useful examples that can demonstrate how Christian values that candidates support occur every day.
For instance, talk about how kids are not being allowed to take their Bibles to school to read during recess in many parts of the country.
Mention how Catholic colleges, hospitals and even senior care facilities are standing up for Christian rights and Christian candidates are supporting them. Point to how Christian business leaders like the owners of Chick-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby are examples of Christians who stand up for Christian principles and have been supported by Christian presidential candidates like Huckabee and Santorum.
Now is the time to teach your children what it means to stand up for their beliefs and not let the mainstream media write a false narrative of their beliefs or their life. The American Christian Civil Rights Movement slogan that “Silence is Betrayal” is essential for parents to talk about and for children to understand.
1 Peter 3:14 “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled.”
A Christian candidate like Dr. Carson who stands up for his faith shows leadership, and that is just as important in the White House as it is in the home, school, church or among friends.
Parents can use Carson’s most recent book, “A More Perfect Union,” to discuss the framers of the U.S. Constitution. The founding fathers also displayed courage in standing up for the Judeo-Christian values enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Help them to understand why Christian candidates like Carson, Huckabee and Santorum are showing courage to stand up even as the biblical values found in the Bill of Rights are being attacked by mainstream media, the president and even the U.S. Supreme Court.
Help your child to understand that their first step toward protecting their own religious freedom as Christians begins by not letting the media walk on their back with untruth or to deny their faith and their Christianity.
Your child may feel that it is easier to let people make fun of a Christian candidate because that way they will not have to suffer having their feelings hurt.
Talk with them about the feelings that God has in creating each and every one and how sad he may feel in having Christian candidates deny him, because they are afraid of having their feelings hurt.
The greatest danger to the freedom of Christianity in America is to let Christian candidates feel that they are alone in their stand to protect the nation and religious civil rights. Remember: Silence is betrayal.