“Christians are the guardians, protectors, rulers, and teachers of the city; and let the reprobates and libertines learn the same thing, that they should be afraid of God's servants, and that if they want to say anything blasphemous or mocking, they look around and fear even the shadows, fearing that a Christian might overhear."
— St. John Chrysostom
Recently at a McDonald's here in Russia, I confronted a man, and I tried to stop him from committing blasphemy against the Lord Jesus Christ.
When I first saw the guy in the T-shirt, I approached him and asked if he understood what his T-shirt depicted and that it is blasphemy. The shirt depicted Christ, bleeding and crucified, with his life blood dripping into grocery bags held by his nailed hands.
I did this because St. John Chrysostom advises us to take specific actions towards blasphemers: First talk to the person, and try reasoning with them. Afterwards, if they do not respond to reason and they continue to blaspheme, then move on to decisive actions.
“If you hear that someone is at a crossroads or on a square blaspheming God, go and reason with him. And if you must, hit him on the face, strike his mouth, sanctify your hand with a blow; and if they accuse and bring you to court, go."
— St. John Chrysostom
The guy waved me off, and told me to not bother him.
Realizing that my words failed to reach him, I began to try and rip off his shirt.
I was alone, while the young man was with two friends. In addition, when I began yelling and thrashing this blasphemer, two guards ran up to me and began to block and repel me from him.
At that moment, a couple came out of the cafe, and the man stopped sympathetically beside me, telling me not to pay attention to "this half-wit." I began to beg him and his companion not to tolerate blasphemy. I said that they had a unique opportunity to earn praise from Heaven, and that God would bless them for taking action. But they left.
Then I began to shout: "Shame!" and appeal to the consciences of people in the vicinity, saying that if they do not stop blasphemy, then they are participating in it.
I finally asked the guards of McDonald's to detain the blasphemer so that he could not leave, but they said that they did not have such authority, and they advised me to call the police. I immediately called the police, but even after waiting an hour they never showed up.
I was very eager to pull off the blasphemer's shirt, and I fought to get at him, but the guards constantly shoved me away. They rudely pushed me out of the door of the establishment, while bystanders looked on with curiosity but did not interfere.
When the guards threw me out the door, I was so upset that I could not do anything to stop the abuse of the King of Glory, and I began to cry. One of McDonald’s managers came outside and began to mock me, saying that I should not only call the police, but also for medical assistance. He said that he did not see any insult to religion here. I asked him:
“If your relative was drawn on a T-shirt in a nasty, mocking form, would it offend you? Why shouldn't I be insulted when my celestial relative, through whom I was adopted by God the Father, is mocked?”
It is particularly interesting that when I asked about religious affiliation, one of the guards claimed to be an Orthodox Christian.
While I stood outside the door and waited for the police, the blasphemer quietly walked out through another door and disappeared, even though earlier he had said he would wait for the police to come and investigate everything, because he considered himself completely innocent.
I am happy that the Lord allowed me to stand up for Him, even though the sides were unequal. I realized from the very beginning that other people would treat me as a laughing stock.
St. Paisius told a very applicable story:
Even if someone is insulted, we must protect him, and even more so Christ!
One boy came to me one day — he was limping, but his face was shining. “Here, I thought, life must not be easy, since divine Grace shines like that!” I asked, “How are you?” And he told what happened to him.
One beast, rising to the ceiling, blasphemed Christ and the Mother of God, and this boy rushed at him to stop him. The beast threw him to the ground, trampled him, and crippled his legs, after which the poor thing limped. A true confessor! This is how the confessors and the martyrs suffered!
If most Christians are so humanistic that they are willing to swallow any vulgarity and dirt that is poured on our Lord, hiding behind imaginary love for people, then there will be nothing surprising when ten years from now your schoolchildren will be forced to stretch condoms on bananas, while having homosexual pornography crammed down their throats as is already happening in Europe. Perverts will march through the streets, and feminists in indecent form will climb on the altars in churches. And if you try to say a word against it, you will be hunted down and dragged through the courts.
This is only the beginning; the main fight is still to be seen. After all, Russian society is already seeing the beginnings of this blatant mockery of God: blasphemous theatrical productions such as the Mkhatovsky "Ideal Husband" and the Novosibirsk "Tannhauser", which in a completely arrogant way ridicule everything that is considered to be holy in Christianity — feminists dancing to the canon on the altar of Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, exhibitions with blasphemous exhibits that stand for modern and progressive art, and so on.
It must be noted that this mockery concerns only Christianity! Not Islam, nor Buddhism, nor even Judaism, only and exclusively Christianity.
What, then, should Christians do in such cases? St. John Chrysostom provides us with an answer:
“Let both Jews and Hellenes know that Christians are the guardians, protectors, rulers and teachers of the city; and let the reprobates and libertines learn the same thing, that they should be afraid of God's servants, and that if they want to say anything blasphemous or mocking, they look around and fear even the shadows, fearing that a Christian might overhear."
— St. John Chrysostom
Translated by Kimberly Gleason