Christian Persecution Complex
If you’ve followed the Radical Writ for any length of time, you’re familiar with my anti-blogger, Adam Graham (symbolized by the Spock-from-the-evil-parallel-universe photo). Adam’s quite the up-and-coming Christian Conservative political writer and blogger, and cites me as one of his influences in beginning his blog (which has now surpassed mine in terms of TTLB Ecosystem; he’s a Marauding Marsupial and I’ve backslid to Slithering Reptile). Despite our nearly opposite political and religious beliefs, I’m quite proud of him. He’s a very thoughtful and kind guy (we met in person back in Boise last summer) and eloquently proves the point that just because you disagree doesn’t mean you can’t like someone personally.
Anyhow, I recently put up a post about Silly Christian Spam (those paranoid e-mails that make the rounds asking for prayers or complaining about the evil secularists who are trying to ban the Bible, cancel Christmas, and delete God) and Adam replied to it. The gist of the e-mail had to do with how the government is working to undermine God
Since we can’t pray to God, can’t Trust in God, and cannot Post His Commandments in Government buildings, I don’t believe the Government and it’s employees should participate in the Easter and Christmas celebrations which honor the God that our government is eliminating from many facets of American life. I’d like my mail delivered on Christmas, Good Friday, Thanksgiving, & Easter. After all, it’s just another day. I’d like the US Supreme Court to be in session on Christmas, Good Friday, Thanksgiving & Easter, as well as Sundays. After all, it’s just another day. I’d like the Senate and the House of Representatives to not have to worry about getting home for the “Christmas Break.” After all, it’s just another day.
And of course I shot that down as the silly Christian nonsense that it is (“what, should only black people get the day off for MLK?”), and added the following question:
Why is your brand of Christians so insecure about recognition of God that it seeks to stamp and impose God on every aspect of our secular government? Shouldn’t people come to religion from an inner need to seek truth, rather than the peer pressure of the money, your classmates, and the courthouses advertising for God?
A secular government does nothing to prevent the worship of your God, but a theocratic government will do great injury to the worship of any God but the state’s. Separation of church and state exists to protect the church, not the state.
…which led to Adam to write the following, a textbook example of Christian Persecution Complex:
You seriously think money is being used coerce people to God?
Lets turn this around. Why is that your band of Atheists are so insecure they have to obsess about making sure every monument is scrubbed of religion, and that every inch of the public square from stem to stern is religion free. In most cases, there’s no talk of adding new mentions of God to the public sphere. Its simply defending the existing ones in most cases.
What if someone came to Boise and started a movement to rip out the Black History museum. Blacks wouldn’t be silent.
What the left suggests constantly is that God is a cancer that must be excised from our nation’s political life. God is a danger to our freedom. Yet, our money has existed for a century with “In God We Trust” and the term is in our National Anthem. (Whether you want it there or not.) Ten Commandments have stood since our nation’s founding. How could anyone whose a true Christian agree with such a damnable assumption?
Prayer happened in schools for nearly 2 centuries until the Supreme Court imposed a ban on school in prayer on a country that to this day after 40 years still doesn’t want it.
In essence, what we’re witnessing in America is tyranny of the minority, where you guys have gotten everything through cheating and next to nothing through the democratic political process. So, you basically spend 40 years shoving stuff down people’s throats and have the audacity to ask why we’re not more happy about it. All we’re wanting back is what has been taken illegitimately.
People can come to God however they want. I know the state can’t make people come to Jesus, or even preach it. Given the state’s lack of competence in teaching other topics, I’ve concluded the result of trying to have the government teach Christianity would be massive conversions to Buddhism. (please don’t analyze this too deeply as its a joke.)
I also think a government that reminded that there’s a God and we are not Him we’ll govern better, will be more condusive to freedom. The Communists didn’t know this. The Swedes don’t know this and they tried to send a minister to jail for preaching against homosexuality. In Sweden, they in fact govern exactly what names you can give your children.
You see, without the recognition of God’s sovereignty, our rights are reduced to grants by the government, subject to change and Amendment by a Supreme Court that views the Constitution as their etcha-sketch.
The difference between us is that you see the greatest danger as the state acknowledging God in any way whatsover. I see the greatest danger as the state making itself God.
No, I don’t think our money coerces people to believe in God (I do think it subconsciously indicates what we truly worship in America, though; the almighty dollar). And I don’t wish to scrub all references to religion in the public square; just the ones taxpayers are footing the bill for. The government is not supposed to endorse or oppose religion, period.
Bringing up the [Boise] Black History Museum is a non sequitur. Nobody is trying to remove any Christian History Museums. The Black History Museum is not taxpayer funded, and even if it were, the Constitution does not mandate a separation of black history and state.
Cheating? I suppose you’re referring to court decisions you don’t like. Interesting that you call it cheating when the legitimate exercise of judicial review is used to ensure our nation’s laws are constitutionally sound. I don’t call it “cheating” when court decision upheld the use of the commerce clause to justify the prohibition of cannabis. I call it a “bad decision”, but not “cheating”.
The persecuted Christian meme always cracks me up. The “tyranny of the minority” line especially. The Constitution is all about majority rule with respect for minority rights. One of those minority rights is the free exercise of religion or the freedom from religion with a government neutral to religion so as to prevent state endorsement of one faith or state persecution of another. What you’re advocating, with your line about “you guys have gotten… next to nothing through the democratic political process” is the idea of tyranny of the majority. The majority is Christian, therefore government should espouse Christianity. The majority thinks there should be prayer in schools, so be it. The majority thinks gay marriage is wrong, s
o gays should be treated as second-class citizens. Well, the majority also thought women shouldn’t vote, alcohol should be federally prohibited, and blacks shouldn’t integrate with white society, too.
And woe to the poor persecuted Christians, what with their lighted cross overlooking Boise, little crosses along nearly every roadside where a Christian has wrecked (why are y’all such bad drivers, anyway? I never see any Stars of David or Buddhas marking roadside crash sites), a church steeple every four blocks, massive scripture readerboards alongside the federal highway system, federal holidays marking the birth of your savior (why don’t we get Mohammed’s birthday as a day off?), almost every calendar made indicates your religious holidays, your holy book in every hotel room, TV shows like “Reba”, “Touched by an Angel”, “Three Wishes”, “7th Heaven” and other very Christian-friendly shows on network TV, worldwide Christian broadcast channels, popular musicians and sports figures giving “shout-outs” to Jesus at every awards show, your holy symbol is a popular piece of jewelry worn by many, missionaries knocking on doors and leaving little Jesus pamphlets in phone books, no politician can ever hope to be elected to national office without at least lip service to your religion (no atheist stands a chance in politics, because he won’t affirm the popular superstitions), your Bible stories are inextricably woven into the fabric of our culture, popular newsmagazines like Time and Newsweek devoting cover stories to Jesus, popular broadcast TV news shows running specials on Christian issues (Barbara Walters’ next special is about Heaven) and you’ve still got (in my opinion, unconstitutionally) prayers by chaplains to begin Congress, oaths sworn in court on your holy book, recognition of your deity on the currency, your Ten Commandments still displayed (in a limited fashion) around courthouses, and the leader of the country claiming he’s ordained by God. Christians complaining about persecution in America are like white college males complaining there’s no White Student Union on campus.
As a member of the majority religion, you don’t see these government endorsements of Christianity the way some of us do. You see “In God We Trust” on the money and it’s just a simple fact to you; I see government promoting faith in an unprovable opinion. You see Ten Commandments in courthouses and it’s a natural extension of God’s Law; I see a government that claims to treat all its citizens equally without regard to religion, yet displays Judeo-Christian scripture to show that some religions are more equal than others. You see prayer in public school as a healthy ritual for children; I see the children of Wiccans, Buddhists, Muslims, and Atheists forced to endure government-sponsored indoctrination into Judeo-Christian ideals (how am I supposed to convince my kid that belief in God is a foolish superstition when his school and his government are constantly telling him there is a God?)
You mischaracterize “the left” as well. No one on my side argues that God is a cancer. In fact, many many lefties are people with as deep a faith in God and Jesus as you. They just understand that their belief is their opinion, not a nationally-recognized fact that should be promoted by government.
The past forty years of “shoving stuff down your throats” (funny how the righties tend to use such homoerotic imagery) would be better characterized as forty years of removing the religion that’s been unconstitutionally shoved down our throats for the 189 years prior.
I completely disagree with your argument about the necessary recognition of the sovereignty of God by government. In fact, history shows that the more intertwined church and state become, the worse government becomes and the more tyrannical the state becomes. Iran’s done a pretty good job of de-secularizing their state and recognizing God, don’t you think? (Hey, that’s as reasonable a comparison to the right’s God fetish as your comparison of lefty secularism to Sweden.)
The genius of the Founders was recognizing that the only legitimate government derives its authority from the just consent of the people, not ordination from somebody’s God. Yes, they were Deists, yes, they were religious men, but they understood that their religion was their opinion, and were well aware how the influence of the church on the state corrupts both.
Furthermore, our rights ARE subject to change and amendment, regardless of the existence of God or not. We used to have the right to own slaves, then we didn’t. We used to have the right to drink beer, then that right was taken, then it was given back. Women used to not have the right to vote, but then it was granted. All of this was done by changes and amendments and a Supreme Court that views the Constitution, not the Bible, as the supreme law of the land.
The difference between us is that you see the greatest danger is America turning its back on God. I see the greatest danger is America elevating Christianity to a higher status than any other religion or lack of religion. My America — religion-neutral — creates a framework where people of all religions or no religion are free to worship as they please. Your America — Christianity-endorsing — creates an uneven playing field favoring Christianity in recruiting, fundraising, and political power.
Another thing I find amusing about Christian Persecution Complex is what you are fighting over and the imaginary threats you perceive in the battle. School prayer? Hey, as long as there are finals, there will always be school prayer. What is the harm you can show from the lack of school prayer? What direct, scientifically verifiable effect is derived from forcing schoolkids to pray?
The Ten Commandments in courthouses? Why? The Ten Commandments aren’t laws. Cops can’t arrest me for not honoring my mother and father or having any other Gods before Him. Whether they are displayed or not doesn’t change our legal system one iota, for our laws are based on secualar, not religious, authority. What demonstrable harm can you show from not displaying the Ten Commandments?
Keeping “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why? Is an American Buddhist less less patriotic than a Christian? Can an atheist not show allegiance to country? If we don’t say “under God”, is He going to get angry and send a record number of hurricanes at us? (Whoops, bad hypothetical…) What terrible thing would happen if we didn’t say “under God”?
Fighting embryonic stem-cell research and abortion? Why? Name one American citizen that’s been harmed by either. Oh, I know, 40 million “murdered womb babies”, right? Ah, but fetuses are not American citizens. According to the Constitution, they have to have been BORN in America or naturalized to be a citizen (good thing, too, or any illegal immigrants who merely conceive on American soil would then be carrying an American citizen fetus, who’d be a citizen even if he were born back in Mexico).
Fighting gay marriage and gay rights? Why? What heterosexual’s rights or what straight marriage is negatively affected by allowing gay people the same rights?
All of these issues (except perhaps abortion; there are pro-life atheists) are only controversial to those who place their personal religious opinions based on Biblical scripture above the constitutional law of the land. Religion tells you that if you don’t put religion first, bad things will happen. No proof required, no skepticism allowed. It is its own tautological argument — “the religion is true cuz it’s in the Bible, the Bible is true because God wrote it, God exists because the religion says so.” That’s a great way to run a church where everyone agrees with the
opinion, but a lousy way to run a country filled with many contradictory opinions.
Our nation’s continued evolution from religious fanaticism to enlightened reason has been going on for longer than forty years. We used to be a country that burned witches, invoked scripture to support slavery and Jim Crow and no rights for women, and unconstitutionally injected Christian religion into secular government as a frightened reaction to the Cold War. Compared to most other Western countries, we still have a long way to go.
To close, here is one of my favorite scriptures:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.