Friday, July 22, 2016

Is there Really a War on Christians

Since I commented on this in a recent post "Growing and Disturbing Trend, Discrimination by Theists!", one of my friends asked about my opinion on the, often-mentioned in the press, the 'War on Religion . . . most often expressed as a 'War on Christians'.  In my opinion, I do believe that some people have gone way to far . .  for example wanting to remove "In God We Trust" from our currency or trying to mandate 'Happy Holidays' instead of, what has certainly become a secular holiday for most of us, 'Merry Christmas'.  I also think many theist go overboard on professing their faith, like the waitress who says "May Jesus Bless You." to all of her customers.  But what I do not agree with is that there is some sort of war on religion.

If you look at nearly every cry of "War on Religion/Christians", what do you see?  Very little taking away of a citizen's rights, but most often -- by a huge majority -- it is the taking away of an effort to force people other to conform to their beliefs.  Think it through.  What is wanted most often isn't to protect someone's actual religious freedom, but to demand special privileges for no other reason than their specific belief set.

Here's my take.  For decades religion has forced it's way into many non-religious aspects of our lives. For example, did you know that the phrase 'Under God' wasn't added to the Pledge of Allegiance until 1954, almost 67 years after it was written.  "Blue Laws" are another example, you can argue about them all you want, their original purpose was using civil law to enforce a specific set of religious beliefs, beliefs not shared by all Americans!  If you dig a bit into the history of 'marriage', you might be surprised to discover that religions weren't originally a source of authority for granting marriages, that came along later in many cultures.

What I am trying to get at is that religion, and here in the US that means most often one variant of Christianity or another, has played a large part in all of our lives -- whether we share the beliefs or not.  The majority of what gets termed a 'War on Christians' isn't taking away any of their rights, but removing their ability to force other people to share their beliefs.

You don't agree?  OK, explain how Kim Davis' refusal to put her name on a legal document infringes on her religious beliefs?  You can give it all the energy you want, but all you are doing is rationalizing her behavior.  She had a job and she refused to do it, claiming some sort of special privilege because she disagrees with gay marriage and citing her narrow-minded religious beliefs as an excuse.  You may sell yourself on your rationalization, but you can't sell it to me.

I've read all her excuses and the comments from the pandering politicians and other theists who want to hold her up as a symbol.  None of it means anything!  She wanted, and still wants as far as I can tell, special privilege to not do her job when she disagrees with something and Kentucky let her get away with it.  If the Governor had any balls, she would have stayed in jail until she was relieved of her duties and then removed from office following proper procedure.  It would have been because of her refusal to do her job . . . not her religious beliefs.

Find me another example, just one, where the 'war' wasn't a demand for some special privilege.  I haven't been able to find any.  Removing the 10 Commandments from public buildings seems a bit extreme, but if out government organizations are supposed to be blind when it comes to supporting one faith over another, maybe it shouldn't have been there in the first place.

So what exactly is the 'war', I see it as an excuse.  Christianity, and most organized religions, are on the decrease.  There is a myriad of reasons, but people don't seem to handle the myriad of reasons all too well . . . so they pick on one or two and blame everything on that.  Plus religious leaders, like political leaders, like to polarize their followers by pointing at something or someone to blame.   Look at the number one reason cited often, gay rights . . . so the highly publicized sex scandals, the demographic changes of our population, the increase in cross-religious marriages, the higher education, and the stand of many religions on nonsensical positions (like evolution and birth control) has nothing to do with the decline, it's all the fault of the one group of people who are doing nothing more than demanding for the same rights as everyone else!  (source)

Funny you don't see LGBT advocates asking for special privileges, you see them demanding the same rights as every other citizen.  In fact when you look back at the Civil Rights Movement and even going back to the Suffragettes of the early part of the 20th century, what you see is not a request for special privileges, but a demand for the same rights as other citizens.  I believe that's why those movement were ultimately successful, because no matter how you dress it up, denying any group of citizens the same rights as others is eventually found to be illegal and Unconstitutional, as it should be!

But that's not true of the religious 'war' hawks.  They don't want the same rights, they demand special privileges and are using this artificial persecution as one of the means for getting it.  They want the right to scoff at public law and use their religion as a basis for discrimination, like Kim Davis.  They want the ability to pick and choose their clientele based not only on their religion but on the religion or sexual preference of their potential clients, like Masterpiece Bakery.  It's one thing to make decisions based on legal areas . . for example a bartender who refuses service to someone already inebriated.  But it's another thing to refuse service because of a different religion, sexual orientation, race . . ..

Why am I picturing students being assigned to certain college classes because the professor doesn't want to teach LGBT students because of their religion?  How about a professor who refuses to teach women or minorities?  I'm sure you can scare up a religion that will let you justify that.

The bottom-line for me is that as soon as you hear someone claiming a war on their religion . . . look at what they trying to do.  Odds are excellent that what they are asking for is not a protection of their rights, but the requirement to force other people to conform to their beliefs.  That's not Religious Freedom, that path leads to tyranny!

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