Christian Persecution? Response Against

This is part two, started here.

The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission has released its ‘Top 10 list of Anti-Christian Acts of 2009’ and they point the finger at Larry David, Obama, the Department of Homeland Security, but mostly at gays, and the oh-so-scary gay marching band that participated in the inauguration.

From both a public relations and human rights perspective, I can appreciate the desire of any group to ensure that representations of its components are accurate and non-defamatory. In order to honestly carry out any mission to prevent defamation, it’s important to understand what defamation is; Princeton University defines the term as “a false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone’s words or actions.”

Reverend Dr. Gary Cass, President and C.E.O. of the CADC, said–with no sense of irony–“Christians were killed and bullied for their witness, ministers and churches threatened with violence and vandalized for standing for marriage, and Christians were fired for not compromising their faith. If these are not bona fide examples of persecution, than (sic) I wonder what more it might take?”

Given that 3 of the Top 10 listed Anti-Christian Acts directly target the LGBT population, it’s important to review Dr. Cass’ quote before dissecting the acts he goes on to enumerate. Perhaps Christians were indeed killed and bullied, threatened with violence and vandalized, or fired for their faith; if this is case, then certainly steps should be taken to discourage such behavior.

LGBT persons and groups are a minority group whose numbers can’t even be counted because our very existence is vilified by these same Christians who claim opposition to defamation. There is no question that LGBT people have experienced “bona fide examples of persecution”, routinely at the hands of Christians who have, historically as well as recently, opposed legislative acts designed to provide protections against such persecution.

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act added sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability to the already-protected classes including race, religion, ethnicity, and national origin. Christian organizations were the most vocal opponents to this historic piece of legislation designed only to discourage hatred. Much of the vitriol from Christians included the outright lie that pastors would be prosecuted for sermons discussing the church’s stance on homosexuality. See item #1 on this list…

Christians claiming “to stand for marriage” are the greatest obstacle to tax-paying American citizens seeking to assert the right of equal protection under the law by ensuring equal access to civil marriage. There is no legal basis whatsoever for the denial of this right–all arguments are either transparently or thinly-veiled religious diatribes, thus imposing the religious views of one group on another via statute.

Lastly, Christians vehemently oppose the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which is intended to expand protections from employment-related discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Discrimination is already prohibited on the basis of gender, religion, disability, and other common factors. Again, Christians fabricated the lie that churches would be required under proposed law to hire “queers and transvestites”–in spite of the crystal-clear exemption of religious institutions from this law.

Dr. Cass, the CADC, and Christians in general are clearly in favor of special rights granted only to Christians. All while claiming that civil equality for LGBT Americans amounts to “special rights”…

Here are their Top 10:

10. Pro-life Pastor Reverend Walter Hoye of Oakland, CA was jailed for exercising peaceful, pro-life speech.

This pastor was jailed not for his speech, but because he violated an existing law barring protestors from coming within 8 feet of anyone entering an abortion clinic. Upon violating the existing law, a judge imposed an order requiring that Mr. Hoye stay 100 yards away from an abortion clinic–Mr. Hoye unsuccessfully argued that this order was unconstitutional and then sentenced to 30 days in jail. Mr. Hoye could have chosen to carry out his sentence by volunteering, but it was more politically beneficial for him to ascend to martyrdom.

Perhaps if “Pro-Life” Christians weren’t so fond of murdering medical personnel in cold blood, such laws wouldn’t be necessary in the first place.

9. Rev. Fred Winters was murdered while preaching in his pulpit in Maryville, Illinois.

This is truly a sad story. Rev. Winters was murdered while preaching a sermon on happiness one Sunday morning in March. His killer was a 27 year-old man who suffered from schizophrenia, but there are no reports suggesting that the motive was religious in nature.

8. HBO’s program “Curb Your Enthusiasm” aired an episode where the main actor urinates on painting of Jesus. When confronted HBO would not apologize.

Free speech is sometimes difficult to fully appreciate. Provided that no other laws are being broken, Americans have the right to say just about anything they want; protected speech also extends to the subjective realm of art and entertainment and HBO’s wildly popular show “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. I haven’t seen the episode in question and am not a fan of the show in general. Since I didn’t watch the show, I choose not to comment about the specific content of the episode. I will say that it’s interesting that the CADC believes Reverend Walter Hoye’s right to free speech to be greater than that of Larry David and HBO, particularly since Mr. Hoye chose to break the law, whereas Mr. David’s scene was simply in questionable taste.

7. The overt homosexual participation in Obama’s presidential inaugural events by “Bishop” Vickie (sic) Eugene Robinson, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington D. C., and a homosexual marching band.

This one really bothers me, for a few reasons.

First, I don’t quite know what constitutes “overt homosexual participation”, but I do know that Bishop Robinson, the Gay Mens Chorus, and yes, even the gay marching band, are made up of tax-paying American citizens who have every right to participate in an event that so symbolizes the freedom and democracy of our nation. Further, Bishop Robinson didn’t participate in the main inauguration event, but was instead relegated to a hastily-prepared event at the Lincoln Memorial. Famously anti-gay Evangelical Christian Pastor Rick Warren was chosen by the Obama administration to provide the “official” invocation at the ceremony.

Second, the word games being played with Robinson’s name are abhorrent. I’ll give the CADC the benefit of the doubt that they didn’t double-check the spelling of his first name, which is “Vicki”, not “Vickie”. It’s sloppy, but I don’t know for sure that it was intentional. What IS intentional is the framing of his title of Bishop in quotation marks. Whether the CADC or Christians in general like it or not, V. Gene Robinson is absolutely a Bishop duly appointed according to the processes of his denomination. OneNewsNow, the Family Research Council, and other Christian groups play the quotation game with words all the time. Apparently, someone can be “gay”, and two people of the same sex who file a legal marriage license are only “married”. This is yet another way Christians marginalize LGBT Americans on an ongoing and malicious basis.

I sent a card of congratulations to Bishop Robinson when he was appointed, which was at a time when I was still struggling with matters of personal faith and seeking peace with who I am and how I envisioned my life. In my card, I told Bishop Robinson that I admired his dedication to his faith and his ability to live a happy, successful life as an out gay man who was also in the clergy. Sending the card was cathartic on its own, and I never expected a reply of any kind. So I was pleasantly surprised when a card came in the mail from New Hampshire with a hand-written note from Robinson encouraging me to return to my faith and ministry. There was no exhortation to advancing any kind of gay agenda or anything. The guy told me to go to church. Does that sound like something an evil guy would do? Even though I’ve since reconciled my own beliefs differently, I’ll always treasure the compassion and sincerity of his note.

6. Police called to East Jessamine Middle School in Lexington, Kentucky to stop 8th graders from praying during their lunch break for a student whose mother was tragically killed.

I don’t know enough about this and can’t find any elaboration on the specific circumstances online. The feeling I get from such a broad, difficult-to-substantiate allegation is that there’s much more to this story.

Generally, I’ll say that I don’t have a problem with student-led prayer at school, provided that it is done during non-instructional time and is non-disruptive to the normal operations of the school.

5. Pro-life activist Jim Pullion was murdered in front of his granddaughter’s high school for showing the truth about abortion.
I’ll give the CADC this one. Mainstream media reports indicate that this was a premeditated murder (which included another victim) and was spurred by the pro-life activities of the victims. Is it in the best of taste to display giant posters of aborted fetuses across from a school? No. But that’s not a valid reason to murder people.

4. An activist judge ordered a home school mom in New Hampshire to stop home schooling her daughter because the little girl “reflected too strongly” her mother’s Christian faith.

The inclusion of this story is so incredibly suspect.

The real story is that the girl’s parents divorced when she was young and agreed to share decision-making authority, employing a mediator when an impasse arose. The parents had a disagreement over where the child should be educated, and the issue was resolved in the previously-agreed-upon manner. The father has been unequivocal in his support of his child’s faith, while the mother feels normal societal interaction would be detrimental to the girl’s faith. This is absurd.

3. The Federal Department of Homeland Security issued a report entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate” that labeled conservative Christians extremists and potential terrorists.

Once again, the CADC perpetuates a complete lie. Read the report for yourself.

At no point in the report are conservative Christians lumped together as extremists or potential terrorists–instead, the report notes that there are radicals within the Christian faith, a fact that should be unsurprising to any thinking person. These radicals were noted not because of any anti-Christian sentiment, but because they have proven to be threats in the past and are worth at least knowing about.

Incidently, the term “Christian” appears only once in the entire document, and is used in reference to a very specific group within the much larger Christian world.

2. President Obama’s appointment of radical anti-Christians like homosexual activist Kevin Jennings as the “safe school czar;” pro-abortion advocate Kathleen Seblius made Secretary of Human and Health Services, and Chai Feldblum, pro-homosexual and anti-religious liberty judge nominated for Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Again, with the typos and mystifying quotation marks…

Having worked in politics for over a decade, I’ll simply say that the President is free to appoint whomever he deems suitable for any position in his administration. No matter what you may think of these individuals or how fraudulent the stated claims against them are, let us not forget that President Bush was never called out by Republicans or Christians for appointing Michael Brown to head FEMA.

1. The Federal Hate Crimes Bill that attacks religious liberty and freedom of speech. For the first time in our history ministers are vulnerable to investigation and prosecution for telling the truth about homosexuality.

This is a complete lie. The CADC should be ashamed of themselves for so clearly breaking a Commandment with this utter garbage. READ THE ACT. §10(C) says:

(4) FREE EXPRESSION- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual’s expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual’s membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs.

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24 Replies to “Christian Persecution? Response Against”

  1. Many things are said about Christians in this country, good and bad. But persecuted? Hardly. I know Christians (and atheists) who think that they are being persecuted simply because someone disagrees with their theology (or lack of belief). Perhaps we should define “persecution” more rigorously. Political or violent acts carried out against certain groups of citizens by the state seems too specific, while zealous and/or psychotic individuals perpetrating violence upon other individuals seems too vague. I’m open to suggestions. For the record, I am a Christian who has experienced much criticism and mockery, even threats of violence, for being Christian and little else – but never have ever felt “persecuted.”

  2. Glad to see LGBT and gay marriage brought up at the same time by one of their supporters. Of course the “B” stands for bisexual, thus, we are engaged in a “hate crime” unless society openly embraces three-way bisexual marriages, such as Nero had after his wife died. (Technically Nero’s marriage was a transgendered, bisexual marriage.)

    Living near San Francisco, we have the LGBT advocacy groups in all the schools. The fact is that LGBT people have their identity and self worth locked up in the sex acts they perform, or desire to perform. Christians are banned from teaching morality in the public schools, but it is gradually becoming mandatory to have the LGBT advocates teaching. The net result is that unless you are an advocate for total depravity, your opinions on morality are “religious” and you are banned from teaching right and wrong to the children. I really don’t like being ruled by these people.

    1. Glad to see LGBT and gay marriage brought up at the same time by one of their supporters. Of course the “B” stands for bisexual, thus, we are engaged in a “hate crime” unless society openly embraces three-way bisexual marriages, such as Nero had after his wife died. (Technically Nero’s marriage was a transgendered, bisexual marriage.)

      Please educate yourself on what a hate crime REALLY is before you perpetuate the myths put forward by Christian groups more vested in advancing a political agenda than providing a living example of how Christianity can improve one’s condition. Here, I’ll help:

      SEC. 4710. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.
      For purposes of construing this division and the amendments made by this division the following shall apply:
      (1) IN GENERAL.—
      Nothing in this division shall be construed to allow a court, in any criminal trial for an offense described under this division or an amendment made by this division, in the absence of a stipulation by the parties, to admit evidence of speech, beliefs, association, group membership, or expressive conduct unless that evidence is relevant and admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence. Nothing in this division is intended to affect the existing rules of evidence.
      (2) VIOLENT ACTS.—
      This division applies to violent acts motivated by actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of a victim.
      (3) CONSTRUCTION AND APPLICATION.—
      Nothing in this division, or an amendment made by this division, shall be construed or applied in a manner that infringes any rights under the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Nor shall anything in this division, or an amendment made by this division, be construed or applied in a manner that substantially burdens a person’s exercise of religion (regardless of whether compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief), speech, expression, or association, unless the Government demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest, if such exercise of religion, speech, expression, or association was not intended to—
      (A) plan or prepare for an act of physical violence; or
      (B) incite an imminent act of physical violence against another.
      (4) FREE EXPRESSION.—
      Nothing in this division shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual’s expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual’s membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs.
      (5) FIRST AMENDMENT.—
      Nothing in this division, or an amendment made by this division, shall be construed to diminish any rights under the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
      (6) CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS.—
      Nothing in this division shall be construed to prohibit any constitutionally protected speech, expressive conduct or activities (regardless of whether compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief), including the exercise of religion protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States and peaceful picketing or demonstration. The Constitution of the United States does not protect speech, conduct or activities consisting of planning for, conspiring to commit, or committing an act of violence.

      Living near San Francisco, we have the LGBT advocacy groups in all the schools. The fact is that LGBT people have their identity and self worth locked up in the sex acts they perform, or desire to perform.

      My identity as a gay person is no more tied to sex acts than the identity of the average heterosexual. Having been in a relationship for nearly 8 years, I, like similarly-situated heterosexual counterparts, can attest that sex is most certainly not the central focus of my/our day-to-day life. Anti-gay rhetoric is constructed to isolate and exaggerate the sexual aspects of life while ignoring the reality that we live lives as mundane as anyone else’s.

      Christians are banned from teaching morality in the public schools, but it is gradually becoming mandatory to have the LGBT advocates teaching. The net result is that unless you are an advocate for total depravity, your opinions on morality are “religious” and you are banned from teaching right and wrong to the children. I really don’t like being ruled by these people.

      Public schools have no business promoting morality of any kind. The role of schools is to provide standard educational instruction in predetermined disciplines while ensuring the safety and security of students & staff alike. Many special interest groups attempt to use public schools as a distribution point for information–a practice I find largely inappropriate.

      There is an unquestionable irony in the desire of Christians to indoctrinate schoolchildren with prayer rituals and Bible-distribution while vehemently and vociferously opposing even the appearance of identical activities by any group/organization with which they may disagree.

      You are being ruled by a representative democracy. Your citizenship and residence within our free nation may be voluntarily abdicated at your convenience.

      1. USAtheist, I will agree with you on one point: There is a lot of irrational upset (“hypocrisy” in new-speak) by Christians on many issues, like Ten Commandments display. Of course this irrational upset is on both sides. The one that gets me going is when a Christian is upset that “In God We Trust” might be removed from a coin, yet the only god visible on the coin is the goddess of Liberty. Sheesh!

        Regarding your three responses:

        “Please educate yourself on what a hate crime REALLY is …”

        1) I was not talking about “hate crime” in a legal sense. This was a reference to the post prop-8 rage that certainly did characterize Christianity as a hate crime, because they weren’t permitted to do what no civilization has permitted. I don’t see how this can be up for debate. Anyway, the legal meaning is irrelevant when LGBT if lawyers litigate someone into bankruptcy.

        “… Anti-gay rhetoric is constructed to isolate and exaggerate the sexual aspects of life while ignoring the reality that we live lives as mundane as anyone else’s.”

        2) I like to think that the vastly higher STD rates among gays in the US and Europe is the result of behavioral differences. If you want to argue that the behavior is the same other than orientation – thus implying that the STD rates are an act of God – feel free. Don’t accuse me of making that statement! The STD rates are consistent with the classical Greek and Roman literature regarding LGBT behavior, so it seems to me that there is no reason to reconsider what has been settled for the last 4,000 years.

        “Public schools have no business promoting morality of any kind. …:”

        3) Part of me agrees, but the notion that schools shouldn’t teach values seems rather unrealistic. The kids can learn things on the street, which is common and has nasty consequences, while secular moral teaching has proven worthless. The schools could at least properly teach moral values of various religions as an academic exercise, but even this is prohibited. I might still agree with you on this point, since there is no way that schools would teach religion without it being replete with error, and I would be quite happy to see atheist values out of the schools.

  3. I hate it when people lie in order to advance their idea of Christ’s Kingdom.

    He is NEVER advanced by any form of dishonesty. This list of so-called persecutions is utterly absurd.

    1. Non-believers are never impressed by histrionics like the list compiled by the CADC.

      The most effective means of convincing others of the veracity/efficacy of anything is to demonstrate it in your own life. For example, there was a very public outcry in the last few years in the American South because monuments to the Christian 10 Commandments were prohibited in public buildings (specifically, courthouses). Christians launched campaigns and wrote letters demanding that such monuments be not just allowed on public property, but encouraged. There was much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth from Christians of all stripes on this issue. What I find most revealing is the almost total lack of similar monuments on church properties. These Christians wanted monuments in public spaces that they themselves weren’t willing to place in private spaces. Likewise, Christians oppose protections for LGBT individuals that they enjoy under the exact same statute. The double-standards are appalling.

  4. Oh, and it should be noted that we are commanded to rejoice when we are persecuted as Christians. I do have a problem when Christians taken on the “woe is me, we are being persecuted!” complex.

      1. Not sure of this comment here, Robert, as LF was commenting that he is rather tired of seeing Christian behave like spoiled brats in the face of even perceived persecution. We are told endure it, and it seems to me, that those who are ‘whining’ about it, and seeing it everywhere, are not enduring it. I have a feeling that many American Christians, if they faced what was given out during the Roman Persecutions, from Nero to Diocletian, would have lapsed, given up, and sacrificed to idols.

        1. You’re right, I should have been more clear. I agree with the first part of Looney’s comment, but was using my subsequent reply to point out an inconsistency in the second part of his statement.

  5. Stuart has an excellent point.

    In China, you can get arrested for going to a church that isn’t state-sanctioned. He has noted the evil of North Korea.

    There are countries in which Christian missionaries and local church leaders operate with cover stories and have to meet secretly and quietly to avoid vanishing into prisons and not coming back out.

    And Americans consider the presence of Gene Robinson to be persecution?

    Americans are wimps.

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