I’ve been very critical recently of the far right conservative Christian movement. I believe with good reason.
Before we get into this, I should note: *tongue in cheek* Some of my best friends are Christians.
Seriously, though, several of my good friends (and even family) are very conservative Christians – they would have to be, where I live. The thing about it, though, is that they don’t try to force their religious beliefs on me, just like I don’t try to force my religious beliefs on them. We each go about our own business in our religious and daily lives.
For myself, I appreciate that these folks have faith of any sort, just as I like to think they appreciate the same about me. I also understand and appreciate those folks who do not believe in a particular religion, or who identify as atheists. Frequently, these people are very spritual. And even if they aren't, what business of it is mine? There is nothing wrong with that. Yay! We are all free to do what we want in our own lives. I am a very live and let live person, and it really irks my shit when others aren't.
I also have many Muslim friends. The one thing they don’t do is to try to force their religious beliefs on me. And I return the favor.
I have some Hindi friends. The one thing they don’t do is to try to force their religious beliefs on me. And I return the favor.
I have Buddhist friends. And Orthodox Jewish friends. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
What I object to about the very vocal conservative Christian movement in the media and politics, is their desire to force their religious beliefs onto me. Our country was founded by many different religions, and many different factions of Christianity – Quakers, Puritans, Protestants, Catholics, Church of England, as well as other religions (though few and far between in the Americas at the time). The idea is that none of them wanted to be beholden to the Church of England. They didn't appreciate being forced to practice what others told them (except when it came time to convert the Native Americans). They did their own thing. Each different religion.
The founding fathers and Constitution that our right-wing media and politicians and supreme court seem to revere so much made it very clear. So clear, in fact, that it is the very first amendment they made to the Constitution our modern day right-wingers love so much. The first clause in the first amendment. The first in the Bill of Rights. The first right afforded to our citizens.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
In other words, you are free to exercise your religion, just as I am free to exercise my religion. But the government cannot tell us what that religion should be. This really isn't so difficult a concept, is it? Really?
Yet, the idea that I must, by law, be free to be able to practice my religion seems to threaten some people. It translates to persecution in their minds. I should repeat my previous paragraph.
You are free to exercise your religion, just as I am free to exercise my religion.
Nowhere does it say that you are not free to practice your religion. However, almost 250 years of precedent in US law have said that you can’t cram your religion down my throat - to use a phrase that the right seems to love so much. Not sure what the fascination is with cramming things down throats is to them, but to each his own…
Until we educate our people about different religions, societies, histories, we will be "scared" of that which is different. But we are actively legislating the de-education of our society. So that we can spout our own beliefs and nobody will think or know to dissent. This is exactly what we claim to hate about the Middle East and the Muslim countries that reside there. Hypocrisy much?
What we fail to recognize or admit is that we are acting exactly as the radicals in the Middle East who claim to be acting in the name of Allah. Only we are doing it in the name of the one and only real deity - the "Christian G-d". Hypocrisy much?
I posted this as my Facebook status yesterday and I realized that I do post quite a bit about Christians acting very un-Christian-like.
Today in Who's Holocausting:
According to Fox Fake News, we are having a holocaust against Christians. When 6 million Christians are murdered and the world stands by and does nothing, we can talk. Until then, shut up with your ideas of Christian persecution. Having to allow other religions into your society and not being allowed to force your beliefs on them does not equal persecution.
In the words of Inigo Montoya: I don't think that word means what you think it means.
First off, FFS, stop with the Holocausting & Nazi-ing of everyone who thinks differently than you or doesn't agree with you. It's really getting old, and you are actively and deliberately undermining the importance of what happened to so many in the actual Holocaust.
I've said this before. Because we are failing as a nation to educate our children about history and world cultures, we are actively denying that anything bad has ever happened to any people. Except all the wrongs done to us, of course.
Back to my original point.
To me, people of faith live the faith that they say so heartily they believe. They try to do good in the world. They try to help those less fortunate. They try to be kind.
What they don’t do, is publicly brag about how amazingly religious they are, how superior they are because of it, and how they follow all the teachings of Christ while at the same time:
- Legislating discrimination as a G-d given right
- Actively pursuing and advocating policy that hurts and penalizes those less fortunate
- Actively undermining those that do look for ways to help the less fortunate
- Attempting to legislate unconstitutional laws (ie, America’s national religion is Christianity)
- Saying that we must follow the laws in the Bible, while actively not following the laws in the Bible
- Getting all judgy and forgetting the whole "Judge not, lest you be judged" thingy.
- Picking and choosing which laws to follow (at that point, you are not a fundamentalist Christian – you are a reform Jew, lol). FYI, you don't get to say that "the gays" are breaking biblical law when you are a tattoo-riddled, hair-cutting, shrimp & pork-eating adulterer.
- Actively trying to outlaw a specific religion
- Actively pursuing religious war
- Actively pursuing treason by attempting to undermine our President
- Actively trying to undermine the success of our country simply because they don’t like the fact we have a Black dude in the White house
- Actively trying to take away the autonomy of our women citizens
- Claiming their right to kill other people with a firearm is what G-d wants
- Claiming they lurrrve the "Jewish state" so very much, while attempting to outlaw Judaism in their own country (again with the Christianity as a national religion).
- Pursuing hypocrisy as a life legacy
The difference in my mind is between “Religion” and “Faith”. Real people of faith manage to live their lives according to their faith without feeling the need to brag about what a good [insert religion here] they are. And they accept the fact that others’ faith is as important to that person as their own religion is to themselves.
You don’t get to claim that you are persecuted simply because I don’t like you "cramming your religion down my throat". You are free to practice your Christianity. I am free to practice my Judaism. My other friends are free to practice Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Satanism, Pastafarianism… whatever.
Just because the law says I am free to practice my Judaism (or Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Satanism, Pastafarianism… whatever) doesn't mean that you are being persecuted for being a Christian (and vice versa). Just because the law says you can't force your Christianity on me (and vice-versa) doesn't mean you are being persecuted.
That is the rhetoric that bothers me so very much. When Christians (or any religion) are no longer free to practice their religion as a group, then I will agree that they are being persecuted.
Until then, STFU.