Christianity

The persecution of American Christians

Rainbow

American Christians have been concerned for years now about becoming a persecuted group. Admittedly, in recent years some Christian cake makersflorists and other service providers whose usual function is to cater to the public, were pulled up over refusing to serve gays and gay couples.

It is not a matter to be taken lightly that some American Christians truly believe they are being persecuted, but the assertion requires assessment.

I believe we’re going to see persecution in this country.

We’ve already seen many laws that have been passed that restrict our freedom as Christians. I believe it’s going to get worse, and we see no question gaining influence in Washington by those that represent the Islamic faith. We do have a problem in this country and we are losing our religious freedom and we’re losing it a little bit day by day.
Rev. Franklin Graham

 

On the other hand, it is not unusual for gay and transsexual teens and adults to be routinely denied servicesbulliedphysically assaulted and murdered. Not always by strangers … sometimes by their own families.

The LGBTI community is also targeted by Christian groups who insist they can ‘cure’ homosexuality. Devotees of so-called ‘gay conversion therapy‘ assert homosexuality is a ‘correctable behaviour trait’, despite:

  • growing scientific evidence that homosexuality is in fact epigenetic or genetic in source;
  • the position taken by every reputable professional mental health association, including the US Psychological Association, concluding there is no credible scientific evidence that such therapies work;
  • the high number of suicides by gay men as a consequence of this unscientific and dangerous therapy; and
  • the fact that the man who originally devised ‘conversion therapy’, Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, has now disavowed it.

‘Conversion therapy’ is hateful prejudice manifest and the practice is nothing less than the malicious persecution of the LGBTI community. It’s notable that common sense and science are starting to win out over bigotry worldwide. In the United States there is also a growing movement towards banning this harmful practice.

Now, let’s discuss the ‘persecution’ of Christians in America. I couldn’t find records of any American Christians:

  • being bullied, beaten, haunted into suicide or murdered; or
  • subjected to some form of religious ‘conversion therapy’,

because of their Christianity, by gays, ‘liberals’ or anyone else.

They are being asked to check many of their historical privileges and observe the laws of their secular, liberal democracy. Those laws have been changing to become more inclusive and less discriminatory, as culture and society undergone rapid changes over the last century.

I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

Some Christians have been on the receiving end of intense criticism, even boycotts and discrimination law suits, after they have done or said something unlawful or particularly bigoted and uninformed in respect of the LGBTI community. But many American Christians have a penchant for engaging in what can only be characterised as very ‘un-Christian’ behaviours:

This is just a tiny and utterly abhorrent example of the bigoted, hateful rhetoric aimed at the LGBTI community by … Christians.

All this makes you wonder how Christians would feel and react if suddenly there was a movement to enable people to deny them services at a whim, just because they are Christians:

If Christians were treated like the LGBTI community is often treated by them, Christians might just start to understand what real persecution feels and looks like.

Dear American Christians, you are not being oppressed by virtue of another group of human beings attaining the same freedoms, protections and rights under the law which you have always enjoyed – that’s called equality, progress, social justice, and an end to discrimination.

Ironically, even the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, advised ‘persecuted’ western Christians in the United States and the United Kingdom to ‘grow up’.

This is not the first time in American history when Christians felt persecuted by social evolution and progress. However, when you look closer at those events it becomes evident that in fact Christianity was being used to insidiously marginalise and oppress others, and endorse cultural practices now considered abhorrent:

But, society is evolving. Fast. The ever increasing scientific understanding of our universe is leading us to unshackle ourselves from ancient beliefs and superstitions and to become better human beings, and a more advanced society.

Unfortunately, many conservative, and so-called evangelical, Christians have anchored themselves to a ‘holy text’ frozen in time, reflecting the morality of a bygone era. That text has also been ignorantly and maliciously (mis)interpreted by a succession of self-serving religious leaders. Consequently, some Christians struggle to understand and accept the social progress around them. Christians are not alone in this struggle, it is a common theme across religions in our modern age.

Curiously, although many of the cultural and social norms prescribed in those ‘holy texts’ are now considered immoral, or illegal, and followers are regularly seen cherry-picking as to which parts of their ‘holy text’ they observe and which parts they ignore, they remain unwavering in their reverence for those texts.

5 Comments

  1. ourweaponofchoice

    I also am a Christian, and I found your article @thevuepost, to be even-handed and fair. Sometimes it’s hard for me to admit to others that I’m a Christian because of the baggage I have to carry of the idiots exemplified in your argument. It’s sort of the feeling that normal Muslims (yes, I have Muslim friends and I haven’t died yet) feel when they see some stupid ISIS person on the news. Like, great, THAT’S who the world sees when they look at me.

    Deep, deep down in my bones, I know for a fact that God does not “hate f**s.”. Oh, yeah, by the way, gay people are…wait, what’s the word.. people. Like actual people who fuck up like the rest of humanity fucks up. And yes, I said FUCK and I am a Christian and I kiss my mother with this mouth and I praise God with it too. Deal with it.

    Every day I open myself up to attack from so-called fellow Christians because of how I speak, who I hang out with, and who I’ve loved (I, a white woman, was married to a black man – Scandalous, I know – and once illegal in the U.S.). Arguing doesn’t seem to work, logic doesn’t seem to work, even quoting the Bible (and yes, you can quote the Bible to “defend” human beings who like similar human beings) doesn’t work.

    You know what does work? Asking God directly and then listening to what He says. What He says in your heart, living and now. And what He says, if you really listen, is that He loves you. See that period at the end? He loves you period. He even loves bigoted idiots. (I’m still working on that one..)

    One day soon, @thevuepost, I’m going to write a blog post about why I can’t find a church home where I am comfortable. (Hint: it’s because within one or two worship services, the pastor says something rude about homosexuals.) I hope you’ll read it.

    Thanks for letting me vent on your blog. Please continue to post articles like this.

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  2. waylon1776

    You’ve seemed to really do your homework, and to that, I am impressed. To that I would like to add that I am a Christian and adhere to that book that you said was from the Bronze and Golden Ages. While I don’t agree that homosexuality is genetic, I can say that I can’t recall a single time that I persecuted anyone for their beliefs or orientation. While I don’t agree with your stance, I can also say that I don’t agree with over half the things I do. I like the parable Jesus taught of the teacher of the Law and the tax collector. The teacher said, “I tithe, I fast, I pray-but I’m glad I’m not like that tax collector over there.” The tax collector didn’t dare raise his eyes to heave. Instead, he beat his breast and said, “forgive me, LORD, a sinner.”

    Jesus went on to say, “he who exaltation himself, will be humbled. And he who humbles himself will be exalted.” I’ve seen the negative things in church that can turn people off, and have been the recipient on a few of them. King David once wrote that God perceives our coming and going; our laying down and getting up; He knows every word that on our tongues before we even speak it. I try to keep that in mind when I feel compelled to heap judgment on someone.

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    1. The Vue Post

      Thank you for your comment waylon1776.

      We are pleased to hear you moderate your judgment of others. We were also careful in our piece to indicate that only ‘some’, not all, Christians behave in a way we see counterproductive to society and hateful towards the LGBTI community.

      We do have some wonderful Christian friends and next door neighbours who are very deeply committed to Catholicism, yet find room in their heart to genuinely love us, without judgment, and who never made us feel bad or less than them. We asked once how they can do that, given certain very firm positions of their Church. They told us Jesus taught them that love overrides everything, and they trust that message over the interpretations of men.

      Even though we don’t subscribe to any religion, we can’t argue with that very human sentiment, and we love them back genuinely without judgment.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The Vue Post

      Dear ‘Christ Centered Teaching’,

      We must confess, especially in light of your screen name, we find your comments and worldview ironic, sad and downright depressing. We doubt ‘most’ people see ‘decay’ or that those who do are ‘reasonable’.

      It’s a real shame that the Abrahamic religions left many believers with an apocalyptic imprint rather than with hope and desire for becoming the best humans and society we can be through education, science and progress and accepting that only we control our own destiny.

      Human intelligence is a precious ‘gift’ from evolution and it would be verging on the criminal to waste it because of certain groups of people who desperately cling to ancient tales. We understand that some people need the security of religion and provided that you don’t try to hold the rest of us back from becoming the best we can be, by all means do and believe as you please. It’s your right of course …

      Progress is an inherent to humanity as breathing, and human history is a record of our intellectual progress and social evolution. Humanity has great potential but we can only achieve our full potential by bravely unlocking the secrets of the universe and striving for a better and bigger world …

      Like

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