Thursday, February 23, 2006

persecution

Do Christians really feel persecuted in America? I can understand, in other countries, where one’s religious beliefs, including Christianity, can literally place a person in danger, where this would be a valid concern—but in America?

I have recently been perusing sites talking about this prevalent persecution of Christians that appears to be on the verge of exploding into a vast, conspiratorial outbreak (at least as these sites seem to claim) and tried to figure out exactly how the Christians are being oppressed. I am, frankly, a little disappointed in the results.

Apparently, it is torment of the highest degree, if I dare propose legislation that the Christian does not agree with. This becomes a bit tricky, when we realize the variety of Christian beliefs out there, and that some legislation agrees with some brands, but is in direct opposition to others. The Catholic Church has endorsed evolution being taught, but if a law is passed stating that, other Christians, it would seem, have been tortured into agony. Oppressed. Harassed. Persecuted.

Excuse me? I am relying upon the scientific community which informs me evolution is as valid a theory as the atomic theory (no one seems to argue that one!) and there is no way to empirically test creationism. If a Christian wants to be taken seriously that they are being racked simply because of what is being taught in schools—change it. Christians, too, have a democratic process. Think intelligent design is worthy of an academic subject? Take it to the academic community and demonstrate it.

Very few Christians, in my experience, have even read one single book on the theory of evolution from the perspective of a scientist. Yet they cry “Persecution” if it is taught in the public schools. That evening, they will take medicine, which has been developed specifically because of evolutionary theory, and think nothing of it.

Another claim of infringement is in “the media.” What exactly “the media” entails is never quite certain. Sometimes it is news reporting, sometimes it is Television, sometimes print media. All claiming that it portrays Christianity in a bad light, and that this is a scourging of the Christian. Yeah, that Passion of the Christ thing must have been terrible.

Here I have to claim some ignorance. I don’t employ enough of the media. Perhaps if I watched more television, I would be aware of Christian-bashing that, according to these sites, must be a daily event. I also do not have cable or satellite, so perhaps all those Christians that pay for such services are subjected to greater torture.

I find it amusing that many churches outright close on Super Bowl Sunday, due to the drop in attendance. Many join in by having a Super Bowl Party (with an appropriate half-time devotional to “legitimatize” it) of their own. I can only assume the congregation is busy being “persecuted” by beer commercials and wardrobe malfunctions.

I attended a fundamentalist Bible college. Televisions were not allowed in the rooms, and each dormitory had a common room with one (1) Television. It could only be on for certain hours in the evening. And the school provided its own TV Guide. If it wasn’t on the Guide, you were not allowed to watch it. This happened to be the year Miami Vice came out. It was on the Guide for the first week. (How, I have no idea.) This show had everything we were not allowed to have—sex, drugs and rock’n’roll! Of course, the next week it was off the list. There was such an outcry from the student body, and complaints, that in the third week (and thereafter) it was allowed with a large, bold statement, “Strongly cautioned. For Mature Christians” assuring that everyone watched it with glued eyeballs. All must have been researching the on-going media persecution of Christianity!

I read bits about how Wal-mart(c) saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” is evidence that thumb-screws and the rack are next for Christians. How the “homosexual agenda” cleverly getting homosexual marriages outlawed in many of the states is a sign that soon Christians will have to practice their beliefs underground. Questioning the right of a Christian advocating murdering all homosexuals is apparently oppressive.

Not allowing the Ten Commandments as a monument is harassment. Allowing an Islamic prayer before a football game is equally horrid punishment to the Christian.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not claiming that atheists are persecuted either. (Some may even disagree with this, but it is how I see it.) We live in a free society that allows, and encourages public forum debate in which to express ideas. Part of that speech will be disagreeable to others. But that doesn’t rise to the level of persecution!

And our society will impose laws to protect the minorities. It is easier to eliminate than to be all inclusive. By that I mean it is easier to eliminate all religious trappings than to include all. To have no Nativity, rather than a Nativity, a Kwanza scene, a Menorah, a winter festival, a blank spot for non-practitioners, etc.

And behind all of this, I can’t help thinking—“Don’t you want to be persecuted?” Wouldn’t Christianity be thrilled to stand out? We, of the world, are supposed to be evil, fallen. Of “darkness.” You know the thing that humans of the world cannot comprehend and love rather than the light? (John 3:19) Isn’t this supposed to be a sign that you are doing things right? If you weren’t being persecuted, isn’t that a problem? So why complain about it?

It is a sad, but simple axiom in my work. If the other side isn’t happy, that means I must be doing something right. I would hope it would be the same with Christian oppression. If you aren’t being oppressed by the “world” (whatever that means), you must not be doing something right.

I did read on a few sites, this recognition, and a statement that not all were called to be oppressed (not sure that is true; John. 15:19), and that Christians have the right to speak out against such persecution. But why bother? The worst that is happening is some TV shows make stereotypical jokes, just like they do about other religions, sexes and ethnicities? Or you teach your children creationism out of the school environment? Or you have a Nativity on a thousand lawns, rather than one City Hall?

In light of the atrocities around the world (and there ARE Christians being physically persecuted in other countries) it seems very petty to claim that “Will & Grace” is causing you severe depression by actually having a homosexual laugh.

If that’s the best Christians have for persecution, perhaps to relieve some of the agony, use that “off” button on the remote. Start researching evolution. Teach children what you want on your own time. Start interacting in the homosexual community as a person, not a persecuted prune. Get involved in the process of making laws, and not just the laws you like.

5 comments:

  1. I agree!

    Here's a "Spot the Persecution" quiz you might like:

    http://www.xnforums.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=2;t=005439

    Keep up the good thoughts!

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  2. I think the fact that some Christians are complaining is just a statistical oddity. Making up over 80% of the population, the odds are highly favorable that when a media "slight" is perceived, whether real or imagined, there is a high degree of probability that someone is going to bitch about it. In some ways, the recent complaints by Christians are similar, although comparitively muted, to the cartoon fiasco in the Islamic world. Muslims, like Christians, may be perceiving a slippery slope that is getting "steeper" with the fear of a nightmarish secular goal of outlawing even the mention of their respective deities.

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  3. Holiday is short for holy day so saying happy holidays instead of merry christmas isn't persecution at all. The christians are like the GOP they pretend to be persecuted and say that they're the outsiders even though they're so firmly in power.

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  4. Thanks, mickey.

    roman, I must be unlucky, because I hear quite a bit of this complaint in my real life. I sometimes wonder if I hang out with the 20%.

    vman, I was able to hit your site without problems. Maybe it was a glitch.

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