As America continues to grow more hostile toward public prayer and conservative religious viewpoints, younger generations of courageous Christians will be faced with the challenge of defying the norm of secular culture to defend prayer and biblical truth.
In his book No Fear: Real Stories of a Courageous New Generation Standing for Truth, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins highlights 11 instances when young men and women risked everything to defend biblical truth and their religious beliefs from intense societal, political, cultural and spiritual opposition.
Perkins hopes readers, especially younger Christians, will be inspired to live out their faith with the same courage displayed in the real-life stories exhibited in his book, No Fear, which was praised by leading evangelist Franklin Graham, who believes the book will “help raise up a new generation of world changers.”
The 13 Christians Perkins writes about in his book, No Fear: Real Stories of a Courageous New Generation Standing for Truth, are revealed below.
In 2008, 16-year-old Chad Farnan of Mission Viejo, California, filed a federal lawsuit against his history teacher and charged that the Capistrano Valley High School teacher made a habit of mocking Christianity by saying things like “Jesus glasses” obscure truth.
The lawsuit states that the teacher violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by promoting irreligion over religion.
Although a federal court ruled in 2009 that the teacher did violate the First Amendment, the ruling was overturned by a federal appeals court in 2011. The Supreme Court declined to review Farnan’s case in 2012.
“Increasingly, more and more ordinary people like Chad will be faced with the same decision,” Perkins wrote. “Do I stand on the sidelines as my faith and values are threatened?”
Rose, who at the age of 15 began pro-life activism by founding the organization Live Action, made a name for herself during her college days at UCLA by continuously standing up to many of America’s largest abortion providers.
Rose produced several undercover videos that targeted Planned Parenthood to prove that, in many cities across the U.S., abortion provider were covering up abuse and prostitution of underage children, and performing sex-selective abortions.
Considering that Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry had much to lose from the Live Action videos, Rose was faced with death threats and lawsuits. Despite the threats, she continues her pro-life activism and her role as president of Live Action.
“The threat from a billion-dollar abortion giant was more real to this young woman with only two hundred dollars in her bank account; It was overwhelming,” Perkins wrote. “But Lila refused to yield to fear, no matter how strong the attacks against her.”
Peters, a Texas girl who always dreamed of a career in show business, moved to Los Angeles in 2001. Being a devout Christian, she had her own policy of waiting until marriage to kiss.
Peters, 23, auditioned for American Idol in 2010 but was turned away by the reality show’s judges — Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Avril Lavigne. She was told that her image was too wholesome.
Lavigne told Peters that she should go experience the world, “feel sexy” and “kiss a guy” in order to make it in the music business.
“God opened doors for me to get this far and then closed them, and I am not going to question it because I know He has bigger things for me,” Peters said in an interview during the show.
Despite comments from the judges, Peters stayed true to her convictions and eventually earned a record deal on her own. She has released two albums: I Choose Jesus, which debuted in 2012, and Brave, released in 2014.
Roy Costner IV
Atheists groups throughout the United States have been steadfast and largely successful in their attempts to use the courts to silence prayer in public schools.
When Pickens County High School in Liberty, South Carolina, was pressured by a local atheist organization to ban student speakers from offering references to God in their commencement speeches, Costner, the school’s 2013 class valedictorian, ripped up his pre-approved speech and boldly recited the Lord’s Prayer instead.
“I’m so glad that both of my parents led me to the Lord at a young age,” Costner told the commencement audience. “And I think most of you will understand when I say … ‘Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name …'”
After the Freedom From Religion Foundation complained that a Texas high school’s cheerleaders were violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by writing Bible verses on football game banners, the school banned them from writing the verses because they felt the cheerleaders were representatives of the school and could not exercise their personal freedom of religion.
Despite the ban on Bible verses on banners, the cheerleaders continued to include the Scriptures.
Led by Rebekah Richardson, the team of cheerleaders took the Kountze Independent School District to court and charged that it had violated their rights to free speech.
Although a Texas district judge ruled that the school had violated the students’ free speech rights by banning Bible verses from banners, the case has progressed all the way to the Texas Supreme Court, where a ruling has yet to be decided.
Bomberger, who is a product of his biological mother choosing to proceed with her pregnancy after being raped, was blessed to have been adopted by very loving and caring parents.
As Bomberger got older, he became upset by the large number of abortions in the black community, claiming that African-American babies are five times more likely to die from abortion.
Bomberger started a pro-adoption campaign called the Radiance Foundation and initially placed 80 pro-life billboards around the Atlanta area.
The NAACP went on the attack, accusing Bomberger, who is black, and his group of being racists. The NAACP also accused him of trying to create the impression that “Planned Parenthood kills black babies,” and filed a lawsuit against him.
“God was giving me an opportunity to take a stand for life by s
howing what had become of a once-great organization that fought for the rights of black Americans,” Bomberger was quoted as saying.
In 2012, a 14-year-old Crank testified before the Maryland Senate in opposition to a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. She told the largely liberal legislative body that it is important for every child to have access to a mother and father. She added that gay marriage would put more children in danger of growing up without a balanced family life.
“I really feel bad for the kids who have two parents of the same gender,” she told the senators. “Even though some kids think it’s fine, they have no idea what kind of wonderful experiences they miss out on.”
Following the testimony, Crank was ridiculed by many LGBT activists and became the victim of extreme cyber bullying. One comment from YouTube stated: “If I ever see this girl, I will kill her. That’s a promise.”
David (l) and Jason Benham (r).
The Benham Brothers
Things were going great for twin brothers Jason and David Benham in 2014 when they had established a successful business of flipping houses and were awarded a show on HGTV called “Flip it Forward.”
In the first days of filming, the network canceled the show after liberal activist groups pressured the network about the brothers’ open and conservative views opposing gay marriage and abortion.
“The fear inside of us wanted to say, ‘Hey, it’s okay. We’ll stop tweeting. Whatever it takes, we’re going to keep the show because it will give us so much influence for Jesus,'” the book quotes David Benham as saying. “But that was Satan luring us out of the fight, something we weren’t able to let happen.”
Aaron and Melissa Klein
The Kleins, who owned the Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery in Gresham, Oregon, discovered this summer that standing up for religious convictions in today’s secular society can cost a pretty hefty price.
The couple was fined $135,000 by the state after they refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage ceremony in 2013 on the grounds that doing so would violate their religious beliefs.
After refusing to provide cake to the couple, the Kleins were forced to shut down their shop due to harassment from LGBT activists.
“We sold birthday cakes to homosexuals and probably a lot of other people whose lifestyles we disagree with, but we draw the line at marriage,” Aaron Klein explained. “We once had someone come in and wanted us to design a cake celebrating her divorce, but we refused. Marriage is sacred to us.”
In 2011, an agnostic family filed a lawsuit that resulted in a federal judge banning speakers at Medina High School’s graduation ceremony from issuing any type of public prayer.
Being that the Texas high school had a longstanding tradition of beginning graduation ceremonies with an invocation and ending with a benediction, student Angela Hildebrand was not going to let extreme opposition or the threat of jail time deter her from issuing her own prayer at graduation.
“I had seen a copy of the ruling, and it was clear that anyone who violated it would be incarcerated,” Hildenbrand said.
Fortunately for the high school senior, an appeals court overturned the federal judge’s ruling and determined that prayer issued by students does not mean that they are “school-sponsored.”
Meriam Ibrahim, 27, on Fox News
In May 2014, the Sudanese Christian mother was arrested for apostasy because a court ruled that she should have followed the religion of her Muslim father.
Ibraheem was given three days to renounce her Christian faith, but refused. She was then sentenced to death by hanging.
“I am Christian and will remain Christian,” Ibraheem told a Sudanese judge. During her detention, she was shackled to a wall with iron chains and forced to give birth to her second child while her legs were chained together, which she claims caused her baby to be born with disabilities.
Ibraheem was released in June 2014 by order of a Sudanese appeals court.
“The situation was difficult, but I was sure that God would stand by my side,” Ibraheem recalled during an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly.