A middle-aged man dreaming of the day when he can stop begging for scraps and write for a living.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Myth of Christian Persecution in the US

A very nice Christian kindergarten teacher made a post about Christian priorities that I would find almost heartwarming if not for this poison pill right at the beginning:
Don’t get me wrong, it saddens me that a teacher can actually get fired if he or she offends someone by praying aloud or teaching scripture in a public school. It sickens me that some school systems (not mine) have taken the phrase “under God” out of their daily Pledge of Allegiance. It frustrates and sometimes angers me that other religions seem to be tolerated so quickly, yet Christianity simply will not be tolerated in some public school systems. It makes me want to cry out “What are we doing?”
This was my response to her. I hope she allows my comment to pass moderation, but I'm posting it for posterity.

I apologize for being the voice of dissent here, but I have to ask: do you truly believe that that there's some kind of War on Christianity ala Fox News? Do you really think your beliefs are under attack, that secularists are seeking to make it illegal to worship in a church or in the privacy of your own home? You claim that other religions are tolerated while your beliefs are being suppressed, but what schools are seeking to replace Christian prayer with Muslim or Hindu ones? Where are we trying to take down Bible verses in favor of those from the Koran or the Eddas?

I applaud your desire to live by your beliefs and show your conviction by walking the walk as well as talking the talk. This more than anything else is what secularists strive to achieve: where people feel free to live according to the dictates of their conscience without imposing them on others. Otherwise where does it end? It's frequently claimed that the United States is a Christian nation by virtue of the majority, but Christianity isn't a monolithic belief system. There are over forty-two thousand different sects of Christianity, many of whom directly contradict each other. Some deny the divinity of Jesus while others not only uphold the doctrine of the Trinity but the unassailable truth of predestination. Which of these doctrines should become the law of the land? Yours? Theirs? Who decides? Whomever happens to be in the majority at the moment?

The point of enforcing secular values in our schools and governments is not to suppress your beliefs. The point is to make sure that your majority beliefs do not suppress all others. You are always and have always been free to worship as you feel is right, but you were never supposed to have the freedom to make sure that others worship as you require.

Leading by example is fantastic. I utterly support this. Claiming persecution because we want to respect the right of others to follow different examples is something else entirely.

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