Sunday, June 3, 2012

American Christians, the Persecuted Majority?

One of the most oft-trotted out lines from the extreme religious right is that American Christians are the most persecuted group of people in America. How and when are Christians persecuted, you ask? Every time a gay couple gets married. Every time a woman exercises the right to choose what she does with her own body. Every single time a JC Penney commercial with Ellen Degeneres is shown on TV.

 In February, Newt Gingrich (the embodiment of Christian family values), equated President Obama's requirement that Catholic affiliated hospitals offer female employees insurance that covers contraception with "waging a war on the Catholic Church." Activist Jerry Boykin warned that "we're seeing now the persecution of Christians, particularly Christian in uniforms" in response to the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, which, of course, previously banned gay men and women from serving in the military. The National Organization for Marriage called attempts to curb anti-gay bullying in America's schools an "attempt to bully [conservatives] out of the debate and even out of their jobs."

That's because, to the religious right, being denied the right to persecute others is tantamount to being persecuted themselves. But unlike those evil homosexuals, no Christian man has ever been denied the right to serve in the military because he is a Christian. No Christian couple has ever been told that they cannot marry because they are a Christian couple. No Christian kid has ever been bullied to the point of suicide because of his faith.

Yet we're supposed to believe that these Christofascist lunatics — who spend all their time, money, and resources working to make life hell for women, gays, Muslims, and even other Christians — are the persecuted ones? Has anyone ever noticed that the only "Christians" who ever seem to scream about persecution are the ones whose sole purpose in life is to persecute others?

The Episcopalians, on the other hand, seem to be doing just fine. But maybe that's because they tend to focus more on preaching things like love and charity. Obviously, Newt Gingrich, Jerry Boykin, and the National Organization for Marriage found that Jesus guy's message too boring for their tastes. And that's fine. But they really should drop the persecution complex and quit whining. It could be worse; they could be bullied gay teenagers.

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