Playing the role of “victim” carries along with it many secondary gains! For example, it helps catalyze people to come together to fight a common enemy of their own construction, thereby solidifying in-group cohesion, and a feeling of having a sense of purpose that helps make life more bearable for them.
Moreover, by inventing, not “discerning,” one’s sense of purpose, rather than giving life true fulfillment as discernment does give, often causes a militant response from gullible followers and those who need such invention to give their rather empty lives some semblance of meaning, and there is no better way of achieving that goal than by inventing a “common enemy” that can both give one a sense of belonging as well as a sense of purpose!
This article by Charles Colson helps accomplish just these goals! It speaks to the need for a sense of purpose on the psychological level; it speaks to a sense of in-group identity and cohesion on the social level!
The stated justification to be wary of Muslims, particularly after 9/11, has many uses, ranging from free-floating xenophobia to the winning of a Presidential election, through the use of such simplistic means as empty rhetoric and the manipulation of colors ostensibly showing various threats of “terror,” that miraculously disappeared after Bush won the election; such rhetoric and manipulation shows that playing the victim role pays off politically as well as psychologically and socially.
Therefore, playing the role of “victim” pays off psychologically, socially, and politically! It can even pay off materially, as portraying Christianity as being under siege; portraying Christians as being under attack, can likely add more money into the collection plates handed out in assorted churches and other outlets by those who use tried and true religious differences to both claim moral supremacy as well as having that supremacy, that is said to be justified by its higher morality, validated and continued by supplying sufficient monies to fight for “our religion,” and “our religious liberties.”
We have seen this tactic work all too well in the so-called religious objections to LGBT people and to same-sex love; now we also see the same dynamic being played out in reference to Muslims.
Colson’s article must be seen in the context of the truth of the assertions he, and all too many others, criticizes and condemns!
This article highlights the distortions that Colson and all too many others wittingly or unwittingly use to justify their moral, religious, material, and political hegemony in their constructing “Muslims” as the devilishly clever enemy who is burrowing from within to take over “our” way of life!
Beyond the obvious, what makes this story particularly germane is the fact that the same scenario is played out in the rhetoric and animus directed against LGBT people! They, too, are seen as “the enemy” who is burrowing from within “our” culture, infusing “their immorality” on “us Christians!”
And untold numbers of people listen to this dangerous nonsense, and come to believe it! As Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, said, “No matter how big the lie, if it’s repeated often enough, people will come to believe it!”
Those who love to play “victim” have used their tactics on Muslims, and they have used their tactics on LGBT people! And, if we let them have their way and we don’t confront them, they will use their tactics on us as well!
When it comes to civil rights and civil liberties, our fortunes are inextricably linked! LGBT, Straight, Muslim, Christian, or what have you, we’re all in this together, and the sooner we recognize this fundamental truth, the sooner we’ll reject the foolishness and danger of condemning “the other” who are constructed by those who frequently psychologically, socially, politically, and materially gain from those constructions.
We must actively confront those who would prevent us from seeing that we are ALL brothers and sisters who have every right to share this planet together in peace!
[Also posted on A Christian Voice For Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, And Transgender Rights.]