I'll never forget the first time I saw Michelangelo's frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. They are more stunning than any movie or photograph can depict. Soon, however, you won't have to go to Rome to view them. You will be able to see them in Dallas instead.
Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition makes its first stop in the US at the State Fair of Texas, which opens in Dallas on September 30. The works will be displayed in their original size, reproduced as thirty-four photographs displayed on sixteen-foot panels.
In a way, it's surprising that Michelangelo's masterpiece will be displayed at this city-sponsored event. The frescoes are overtly religious, depicting God's creation of Adam and Eve as well as a variety of biblical prophets and heroes. Given the rising tide against religious freedom, we can envision a day when such depictions will be allowed only inside church buildings.
Consider the frightening US Commission on Civil Rights report making headlines today. It states clearly that if someone alleges discrimination relative to their sexual orientation or gender identity, their claim takes precedence over religious freedom. The Commission's chairman summarized the report: "The phrases 'religious liberty' and 'religious freedom' will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance" (my emphasis).
Here's my question: If the Commission's report becomes reality, will Christians be unable to engage in any public faith expression that someone considers intolerant? What would an atheist say about the Sistine Chapel display at the State Fair of Texas? What would a same-sex couple say about my refusal to perform their wedding?
The more our culture turns from God, the more it will turn against his people. Jesus warned us: "If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you" (John 15:18).
That's why it's so important that Christians know how to stand for biblical truth in our post-Christian culture. Each day I write the Cultural Commentary, I thank God for the support of our readers. Without you, our ministry would not be possible. Since we give away everything we produce online, we depend entirely on your financial contributions.
Today is North Texas Giving Day. I am writing to ask for your help, so we can continue to share God's word with our world. A very generous donor has provided matching funds up to $100,000. In addition, every donation over $25 given through northtexasgivingday.org between 6 AM and midnight will receive a portion of bonus funds. And we are eligible to win several prizes, which can be seen on the North Texas Giving Day website.
God is expanding our ministry as we respond to the challenges of our day. Today's Cultural Commentary will reach more than 112,000 subscribers in 203 countries. Over the year, the Cultural Commentary will be read 7.8 million times.
Your support makes this ministry possible. Please click here to give a gift between 6 AM and midnight today. And know that I am personally grateful to God for your help. Together we will proclaim God's word "with all boldness" (Acts 28:31) until the earth is "filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Habakkuk 2:14).
To God be the glory.
Publication date: September 22, 2016
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
Do you want to live a life in whole-hearted pursuit of loving God and others?
Read today's First15 at www.first15.org.