The Victim card: Is Christianity Persecuted in America?by Don Lacey on May. 19, 2012, under Abortion, Arizona Families, Atheism, Atheist Humor, AZ Politics, Biblical Inerrancy, Christian Self-Righteous Arrogance, Christianity, Critical Thinking, Ethics, Faith, Fundamentalism, Gay Marriage, God & Bible, Government, History, Logic, Reason, Religion, Responsible Government, Sanity, Science, Separation of Church & State, That's Life!, Willful Ignorance
Here’s another opinion piece from Jim Wilson:
“If you can hate the sin, but not the sinner, I can hate the beliefs but not the believer”-Anonymous
Christians have a huge persecution complex. Christians think of themselves as martyrs doing the Lord’s sacred work in a country and a world that is hostile to their existence. They wear this persecution as a badge of honor. Christians want to portray themselves as under attack, and as history’s righteous underdogs. To them, being hated or persecuted by the people around them is something to be celebrated. This seems to be a common thread among many of the world’s religions, and often seems to go hand in hand with religious insularity. Let’s talk about Christians because they are the ones I am most familiar with, and most likely to be reading this blog. There are in fact many insular Christian sects who believe that their small communities of believers are God’s true church and everyone else is working in opposition to them. The infamous Phelps family is an example.
Christians have a point. There are still many places where Christians are systematically persecuted, such as North Korea and much of the Middle East. However, I have trouble believing this to be the case in the western world especially the United States. I take the subject of religious persecution seriously but I don’t equate the often violent suppression religious minorities with things like being criticized, misunderstood, or prevented from imposing ones beliefs on others. These are the things that American Christians complain about when they are playing the victim card.
The whole notion is absurd. For one thing, Christians make up the vast majority of the population, with roughly 60% to 76% of Americans identifying as Christians. Furthermore, every major presidential candidate since Carter has felt the need to present himself as being a fervently religious Christian. The vast majority of members of both houses of congress identify themselves as part of the Christian faith. Many in congress profess the belief that the United State is officially a Christian nation, and that Christianity should shape public policy and be promoted by government. Some have written and passed legislation that is unambiguously theocratic and the situation is even more extreme in many of our state governments. This includes Arizona’s state government, where Republicans who are not affiliated with the Christian right are guaranteed to be met with well funded theocratic primary contenders, thanks to the influence of the Center for Arizona Policy.
Currently, the only openly non-religious member of the United States congress is Pete Stark of California. Richard Dawkins’ believes that this certainly means many in both houses are deceiving us. Statistically there are quite a few more non-believers in Congress. Still, the mere fact, that our politicians feel a need to claim to be Christian and represent Christian interest in order to be elected, shows me how politically powerful the Christian faith is. In contrast, while there are many atheist and agnostic American tax-payers and voters, the general consensus is that any politician who identifies as one is committing political suicide. This overt religious bigotry is keeping many good, honest men and women out of office.
There also seems to be some, historical shortsightedness at play too. During the Cold War in the 1950’s, not that long ago, the United States government chose openly embrace the Christian faith, adding “Under God” to the pledge and “In God We trust” to our money. This was an attempt to highlight the contrast with between the supposedly Christian United States and the godless Soviet Union. Outspoken atheists around this time were portrayed as communist sympathizers if not soviet shills.
Christians are not victims in the United States. Your beliefs are not above criticism and criticism isn’t persecution. All people do not have to accept Christian dogma. Christians accuse others of persecuting them for merely sharing their opinion of their faith with them. Christians, you don’t have a lock on the Truth! And your belief system is not immune from criticism. Christians want to use the legislature and other authorities to impose their beliefs and prohibitions on others. We saw quite a few Mormons attempting to remove the blog posted on Thursday because they felt that it had crossed the line in posting links to what they considered sacred secrets. They went as far as posting complaints to the paper. Christians feel that they are immune to criticism. They believe that those who do not think like them deserve to be tortured for it, forever! I’ll happily stand up for the rights of all religious people to believe anything they like, but not to have the government endorse it. At the same time I stand-up for the right to criticize said beliefs.
Christians are upset because it is no longer assumed that they are automatically able to have the government force people to conform to their standards. We get rid of mandatory teacher led prayer in tax-payer funded schools, and suddenly it is the Christians who are being victimized. How about the tax-payers who had to pay for kids to listen to religious hogwash? By the way, the Ten Commandments monuments do not belong on state property any where! Blue laws that were put in place to support religious practice need to be abolished—everywhere. There are a lot of non-Christian tax-payers in this country who have rights and I think Thomas Jefferson’s wall of separation between church and state should be strong and high.
Cultural changes are leaving many Christians behind, however. They are upset about it and feel alienated by the cultural changes that are passing them by. Non-Christians are becoming more numerous and more assertive. Feminism and gay rights movements have challenged deep seated assumptions associated with Christianity. Worst of all, people are free to express their sexuality and technical advances have reduce negative consequences. It is possible to prevent pregnancy and disease while staying sexually active. There are Christians out there who would see the discovery of a cure for AIDS as bad news because it might increase sexual freedom.
There are the major hot button issues like gay rights and abortion. It is ridiculous that Christians are declaring themselves as victims because a group that they have historically treated as third class citizens are suddenly able to marry. If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get one. Gay people marrying don’t have any effect on a hetero sexual couple. NONE! How does a happy gay couple victimize anyone? Anti abortion or the pro-life movement is based on emotional appeal because even the Bible does not specifically define when life begins. However the word spirit if taken literally means “breath.” If life begins when the “spirit” enters the body that would mean that life begins at birth. You are free to believe that zygotes, embryos and fetuses that yet to develop a central nervous system should be treated as fully developed humans, but there is no logical reason this should be the case from a legal perspective or a biblical perspective. Zygotes and embryos are clusters of cells, and we kill many clusters of cells just going throughout our day. There is no good reason why a well-being of a collection of cells with no means of self awareness, should have priority over a grown woman’s right to control her body. If you don’t like abortions, don’t get one but don’t try to impose your logically nonsensical moral ideas on others and then claim that you are the victim when you fail to do so.
It’s ironic that Christians have a long well recorded history of persecuting others, hoever. They’ve tortured and burned people. They’ve used their holy book to justify slavery, and forcibly converted people all around the world to adopt Christianity. The Catholics protected the activities of pedophile priests. Atheists are routinely demonized by Christians. All of this makes the claim that Christians are victimized in this society laughable.