A fax from the Chick Publication distributor in Nigeria spotlights the blessing we have in America in the freedom to present the gospel.
On September 4, Brother James returned to his office in Lagos to find that a police officer had arrested one of his staff members. When he reached the police station, the staff member was released and James was detained instead. He was held for two days without charges and then moved to another town. There he was told that he was charged with "False publication and Conspiracy with intention to incite" in relation to the tract "The Deceived" which presents the deception of Islam and the truth of the Bible.
Contrary to Nigerian law which requires a court hearing within 24 hours after an arrest, James was held for over 5 weeks with no hearing before he was miraculously released. While in jail he conducted a "prison ministry" and led several fellow prisoners to Christ, including some Roman Catholics.
Key element in the arrest charge was the word "incite." America is one of the few countries in the world where this kind of charge will not stick. It represents a fine line which the enemies of Christ have been attacking to shut down the gospel.
Christians are accused of spreading hatred when they attempt to witness by telling someone their religion (Roman Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.) will not provide eternal life and that their sin will send them to hell. As long as the law only allows for arrest for actual criminal behavior Christians are safe in witnessing. The line is crossed when the law is changed to make it illegal to incite or promote hatred.
When a soul winner hands someone a tract, it is hard to call that an ACT of hatred since the tract can be refused and no force is involved. But if the one who receives the tract calls the message hatred against his religion and is able to point to a law against "incitement" or promotion of hatred, the soul winner can be arrested. All nations which are ruled by a religion-dominated government, such as Islam, Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, use such laws to keep the truth of the gospel out.
Pressure is mounting in Europe, Canada and the U.S. to enact such laws. The United Nations genocide treaty attempts to bind all nations to agree to pass this law. Anytime such a law is suggested, our elected representatives must hear from us "loud and clear." Meanwhile, let's get the gospel to as many as we can while there is time.