(CNS News) New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson, who frequently speaks about his Christian faith, commented about the Islamic State’s persecution of Christians on his Facebook page and then said on television that “there is a turning against the things of God” in our culture, and added “it won’t be long … until we may be facing some of the same things here” that are happening to Christians overseas.
“As I sit here in a 21st century United States, I can’t help but wonder when we too will face martyrdom for our faith,” Watson wrote on Facebook. “On this very day nearly 50 countries have laws that restrict or outlaw Christianity, leading to the harassment, imprisonment and death of those who follow Christ.”
“The images keep flooding our timelines and news feeds,” he wrote on Feb. 28. “Men being burned alive or beheaded by masked assassins. Stories of families on the run, fleeing their homes while they are pillaged and burned. Their testimonies hold a familiar chord. ‘Convert, Pay or Die!’”
Watson’s post went viral and on Mar. 3, he was interviewed by Greta Van Susteren on the program On The Record. She asked Watson why he wrote about ISIS and Christians.
21 Egyptian Christians, in orange suits, moments before they were beheaded with knives by members of the Islamic State. (Photo: IS video)
He said it was not solely about ISIS, or the Islamic State, but about “persecution of Christianity” and how he feels about it. “[W]hen I see these images on my computer and on my Facebook and on TV, seeing Christians being slaughtered merely because they believe in Jesus Christ and how it makes me feel and how I realize, you know what?”
“In America, sometimes we feel like we are separated from that, like that just happens over there,” said Watson, “but it won’t be long, I believe until we may be facing some of the same things here.”
Van Susteren also asked, “Do you think there is persecution of Christians in the United States? Obviously, we’re not beheading, but that it comes in another form?”
Watson, who was with the New England Patriots when they won the XXXIX Super Bowl, said, “You know, it does come in other forms, and even as we look at laws have changed and things that have happened recently, there is kind of a shift that is happening throughout our culture, that is turning against the things of God, turning against people who profess to be Christians.”
“But this is something that we should expect and something that we are going to have to deal with,” he said. “And the beheadings seem to be overseas but things are happening in Europe. I really believe it won’t be long until we may face some things that we have been seeing.”
Asked why he had such a strong faith, Watson said he did not know “why these things happen,” but went on to comment that Christians need to “kind of circle the wagons and wake up from our slumber, and realize that everybody is not for us. And that’s what’s promised to us, that’s what Jesus promised us: If they hated Him, they would hate us as well.”
Watson, who is married and has four children, said on Facebook that he was fearful of having to face persecution for his faith in the way that Christians slaughtered by the Islamic State have experienced.
“I shudder, thinking of that day,” wrote Watson. I feel so inadequate. Rest assured, fellow Americans, if it hasn’t already, our day WILL COME.”
American journalist James Foley, a Christian, just before he was beheaded by an Islamic State jihadist. His exeution was videotaped and posted on the Internet. (Photo: YouTube.)
“My only hope in such trying times is the power of the Holy Spirit,” said Watson. “He is the X factor. He will give us the strength, words, and vision when our backs are against the wall. … We must REMEMBER that as terrible as things are and will become, they are simply signs pointing to one thing; His Imminent Return.”
He then quoted from the Gospel of Luke, “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
On Fox’s On the Record, Van Susteren asked Watson if he was astounded by the persecution of Christians that is going on in Syria and Iraq and other places.
Watson said, “I don’t know if I use the word astounding because it’s been going on since the beginning. As we look in scriptures and when I wrote [on Facebook], I thought about the Apostle Paul, I thought about Steven, how he was martyred and how, as we look throughout history, there have been people who have been marginalized or killed or martyred for their faith.”
New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson. (AP)
“Throughout that whole ordeal, it’s amazing how Christianity has kept growing and how people still believe, even though these sorts of things happen,” he said. “So, when I’m looking at from where I am, I admit I have fear. It makes me scared to think of having to stand up against those insurmountable odds. But as we look at scriptures, we are encouraged because the Holy Spirit gives people power to stand during these times.” Read More…