Three years ago I wrote about 'flashing lights' warning on coming vehicles of a radar trap or accident or cattle across the road or any such thing and it is now clear that we have a flashing light syndrome over ISIS. Paris is a reminder to us all.
I thought it time to readdress this issue about 'flashing lights' as it was huge news not that long ago when a Florida Judge in a ruling stated that it was a constitutional right in the United States for a motorist to flash their lights to coming drivers alerting them a radar police presence.
I thought I might look at 'flashing lights' first in terms of the Sydney Morning Herald article - from 'The Orlando Sentinel' on 25-year-old Ryan Kintner of Lake Mary, Florida, who challenged a fine he received from an officer who saw him flashing his lights at oncoming motorists.
Kintner's lawyer, J Marcus Jones, claims his client took the case to court because he felt his human rights had been imposed upon. "He felt the police specifically went out of their way to silence Mr Kintner and that it was clearly a violation of his First Amendment free speech rights," Jones is quoted as saying. Jones is also involved in a similar suit against the state's highway patrol.
NSW police media, as reported by that Sydney Morning Herald article, while there's no specific law against flashing your lights to warn other motorists, doing so may still result in a fine and demerit points.
The official term for the offense is "Use high-beam on oncoming vehicle less than 200 metres", and the penalty is an $88 fine and one demerit point. There's another law that also covers flashing your headlights "not as prescribed" which could also cost you $88 but no points. In Victoria, the law is the same – you're not permitted to use high-beam within 200 metres of oncoming traffic, but there's no specific rule surrounding warning other drivers of police presence.
Parallels in Christian Evangelism
There are so many parallels with this story with that of Christian evangelism in so many parts of the world. The very nature of 'flashing your lights' to alert oncoming drivers of a radar trap ahead of them, is indisputably of like manner to that of an evangelist warning his hearers of the terrible dangers ahead of them - without repentance.
Then comes the rejoicing in the Salvation of Jesus Christ by his death on the Cross for their sin, and His resurrection as assurance of life eternal. Yet, in so many parts of the world, this very act of "warning of such dangers ahead" is not only restricted and banned but can land the evangelist in prison or to death.
An associate and friend of mine, Dan Wooding. developed Assist News Service in 1984 to bring to light the persecuted church around the world. He has a team of international journalists who report on such activities and he distributes them to editors globally.
Dan Woodings' web site documents and details case after case, state after state, country after country of real-life, real-time of the most horrible situations where ordinary Christian people, church workers, missionaries and pastors are handed out such terrible injustice.
And what is their crime?
The philosophical flashing of lights, warning their hearers of the destiny ahead without the saving love of Jesus Christ.
If there is ever a time for prayer, now is that time. I encourage readers to visit Dan Wooding's web site and read these daily news releases of such horrific and unjust responses to that of this "flashing of lights". Certainly flashing lights are required regarding ISIS and the young firebrands (lone wolves) in the West that want to bring destruction upon us.
What about law suits in the western world against Christians of conscience have been caught up in legal and civil cases where they have chosen to follow what they believe is their calling for the Biblical announcement. Flashing lights are required here.
If ever there should be a flashing light these current 2015 issues are way up there. Any Australian can by conscience 'legally' elect not to fight for their country as a conscientious objector. Yet in so many countries they are not afforded the right to a conscience decision against same sex situations. There's a flashing light!
Paris, Kenya, South Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, London, Sydney
ISIS has spread its destructive virus around the globe, their destruction and killing knows no end. Their version of Islam is that of a seventh century barbarism that their religious message is spread through the sword.
This has been presented to us all on our television sets and newspapers with Christians being lined up and beheaded, drowned, set on fire, shot – the more barbaric the better for the image.
Terrorism acts in the west and in Christian Africa are conducted time and time again and we get rhetoric from the politicians. History illustrates that such evil needs to be scourged from the face of the earth.
Yet the Christian call reveals another way – love and peace, forgiveness and compassion, and yet when confronted with Nazism, Dietrich Bonhoeffer paid for such with his life with 20 days left to the end of WWII, yet it took Nations 'combined' to destroy it.
It seems to be there are two answers. I as a Christian am called to exercise the Christian path, but I as a citizen for which I am equally responsible (Romans 12) have a commission to protect the society, my friends, associates, family – where these cross over has been the dilemma of Christians down through the centuries.
Edmund Burke's words: "When good men do nothing, evil prevails" has equal Gospel power here the New Testament gives voice to both. I for one am not at odds to criticize when a fellow believer has an emphases on one this week and the other the following week. I kind-of get that!
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html