A Self-Pity Party for American Xians
This past holiday season brought us the "War on Christmas."
Now, if we are to believe the promotions for an event starting today in the nation's capital, something bigger and darker is afoot in America: "The War on Christians."
Such is the title of a conference that boasts a lineup of some of the biggest stars of the so-called Christian right - Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, onetime presidential candidate Gary Bauer and Eagle Forum leader Phyllis Schlafly.
The chief organizer is Rick Scarborough, leader of Vision America, a group that describes its purpose as reversing America's moral decline by getting more Bible-believing Christians to participate in the political process.
"Christians are under a constant, relentless attack - from Hollywood, the news media, activist organizations, and the cultural elite," warned a Web page promoting the "War on Christians and the Values Voter" event, in language typical of the prevailing zeitgeist.
Isn't this more than a bit overblown? And in a time when the country is caught up in a real war with religious overtones, shouldn't the word "war" be tossed around a little less recklessly?
'A kernel of truth'
Certainly, liberals and secularists must concede a kernel of truth to the religious conservatives' charges. To the eyes of conservative Christians, much appears to have changed for the worse in American society in recent decades.
There are stricter limits on explicitly Christian expression in schools and other public settings. There is growing public acceptance of homosexuality and out-of-wedlock births, while television and movies seem awash with sex, nudity and profanity.
And if the claims of Christian persecution sound shrill, so do those of secular Americans who sometimes equate the political activity of religious conservatives with a crusade to replace our Constitution-based government with a hard-edged theocracy.
Still, the rhetoric of persecution from Scarborough and his fellows rings false. A war on Christians?
It sounds more like an exaggerated scare tactic aimed at grabbing attention, rallying the troops and sowing deeper division between the opposing sides in the ongoing debate over the proper role of religion in the public square.
Worse, it trivializes the true persecution of Christians in the early history of the church and the real abuse unleashed on Christians today in some corners of the world.
Christians in America are hardly being thrown to the lions. In many ways, the political and social values of conservative Christians are carrying the day. We are in the second term of the most faith-friendly, explicitly Christian presidency in many a decade.
Not only has President Bush talked a good game with evangelicals, but his administration has backed it with dollars for faith-based initiatives and abstinence-education programs.
Hollywood is producing more Christian-friendly movies while Christian news media, Christian music, Christian novels and other forms of Christian pop culture continue making their strong mark on society.
Nevertheless, the rhetoric of persecution and oppression seems irresistible to many. Nowhere was the theme of Christian oppression more vividly on display, and combatively expressed, than at Justice Sunday III, held Jan. 8 at a predominantly African-American congregation in north Philadelphia on the eve of the Senate hearings on Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.
Joining host minister Herbert Lusk at the altar of Greater Exodus Baptist Church were four of the leading figures of the Christian right - Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell and Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.
"We are facing, like we never have before, this hostility against the people of God," roared Lusk, a former running back for the Philadelphia Eagles and the leader of a church whose community outreach work has received more than $1 million in federal funding from President Bush's faith-based initiatives program.
"Don't fool with the church, because the church has buried many a critic, and all the critics that we have not buried, we're making funeral arrangements for them!"
There's the good xian love we all know so well!
It never fails to surprise me that xians in American cry oppression and persecution when they - above all others - are first in line to oppress and persecute others (gays, women, other religions, those evil atheists, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc).
While they're whipping themselves into a frenzy of imagined (YES, IMAGINED) persecution, I'm laughing my ass off at them. Whenever Goliath pretends to be David, it's pathetic and tragically funny. It's hard to take them seriously when the fake president panders to them constantly in many ways, not the least of which is the MILLIONS of tax payer dollars funneled into crappy faith-based programs, when a report showing that THEY are the most tolerant of torture has just been released, and when for two months at the end of every year the entire country has to put up with their shallow mass-consumerism dressed up like a holiday.
Once again theists, you're embarrassing yourselves.
To the sane: read the whole article. It points out that there are REAL wars going on.