Cross-posted from Examiner.com with permission from the author.
The myth of Christian persecution in the United States
Many Christians walk around with a Gibraltar-sized chip on their shoulders, crying about how they are being treated unfairly and compare themselves with David in that mythical story we all know so well. They fly into rages when unbelievers have the unmitigated gall to throw up a billboard here and there about godlessness because we all know there are almost NO Christian billboards out there…
The fact is that Christians are very much privileged in the United States. Christianity is an ideology in the US that enjoys implicit, unreflecting, and uncritical acceptance and one would have to be a complete idiot to counter the fact that the mythical delusion of Christianity is dominant here. Christians are continuously told that they are special and deserve privileges. Many stores take the Christian sabbath into account and are not open for business on Sundays. Most Christians don’t have to work on their holidays. They can assume that television programming will be geared toward their holidays. They can generally construct holiday displays such as nativities without fearing vandalism. “Merry Christmas” is a greeting that they will most often hear during this time of year and can, with impunity, ignore and be ignorant of the holidays celebrated by other religious groups. In fact, many school events will probably address Christian holidays. There is no shortage of churches for a traveling Christian to worship at and whenever someone talks about or thanks god, Christians can assume it’s their god. Almost every hotel in the United States has bibles in their rooms and when there is a need, Christians have many charities to donate to or get assistance from.
Persecuted? Please… Unlike those who do not believe in a deity, Christians won’t be discriminated against because of their religion and can assume that their opinion won’t be ignored because of their religion and they never have to worry about living in a place where they are not welcome because they will almost never encounter groups that exclude Christians. While it can be a gut-wrenching decision for an unbeliever to “come out”, Christians don’t worry about revealing their religion to parents, friends, etc. Without worry of being labeled a bigot amongst their own, the Christians can discriminate in ways not otherwise allowed.
Christians can wear evangelistic clothing or jewelry without fear of persecution, as well, and can promote their religion on cars or houses without fear of vandalism. They rarely have to worry if their religion will hinder their professional ambitions, but if you are known as atheist, it becomes very difficult to find or keep a job. In fact, Christians can assume that most neighbors and coworkers share their beliefs and many Christian owned businesses participate in advertising in directories of other Christian-owned businesses. In short, Christians can assume that almost anywhere they go and anything they do, they’ll feel normal.
Many of the laws in the United States come with built-in exemptions for Christians and their beliefs and Christians can assume that most politicians are Christians who represent Christian interests and this is reflected in that almost without exception, government prayers are Christian in nature. Yes, many of these privileges are seeing a decline as more and more of the godless are becoming vocal and getting involved, and so Christians interpret this as persecution, but this is only because privilege is all they have ever known. They have been on top of the food chain in this country for so long that they are largely clueless that in a free society, such privileges are inappropriate.
There is a reason so many unbelievers refuse to be accommodating and stand idly and quietly on the sidelines. It's because so many unbelievers get routinely thrown under the bus. There is a reason so many unbelievers cannot keep their mouths shut while the children of our Nation are getting indoctrinated every Sunday morning, rendering them totally and completely unequipped to integrate into a post-modern society. It's because they are being taught that the earth was created six-thousand years ago, that a nine-hundred-year-old man crammed an army of animals into a boat for forty days, that donkeys and snakes talk and all the other countless and totally insane fairy tales that they are taught as unmitigated truth. That unbelievers should be tolerant and accommodating is an insult to the collective of human intellect and against the very backbone of basic human rights.
Of course, you will never get them to admit that as long as they continue suffer under their memetic viral delusions. They will continue to whine like petulant children until they either come to their senses and embrace reason and abandon their silly, outdated and completely ridiculous superstitions, indoctrination and dogmatic garbage or they manage to die off without infecting their own progeny.
It is because there is still so much persecution of unbelievers in the world, and because there is still so much discrimination, hatred, bigotry and outright violence against unbelievers that being "nice" to fundamentalists is fast becoming a thing of the past. You can only beat a dog so much before it bites back.
If you are unable to fight this discrimination directly, perhaps due to the threat of losing a job or being shunned by family, then support organizations that do. I recommend joining American Atheists, Inc. Since 1963, they have been the premier organization laboring for the civil liberties of atheists and the total, absolute separation of church and state. American Atheists was borne out of a court case begun in 1959 by the Murray family which challenged the recitation of prayer in public schools.
Al Stefanelli is an American author, writer and journalist. His book "A Voice Of Reason In an Unreasonable Word - The Rise Of Atheism On Planet Earth" is available in paperback and digital formats. Al also serves as the Georgia State Director for American Atheists, Inc.
(Originally published 2012/02/14 at http://replacingreligion.com)
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