It seems that Christians as of late have stepped up the persecution complex. They have always had one, but ever since the government started not bending over backwards for them (as much), as well as the wider public, they have been screaming, “Persecution!” and “War on Religion!” every chance they can get.
When the Supreme Court ruled in Engel v. Vitale (1962) that public schools could not force students to pray and in Abington School District v. Schempp (1963) that students could not be forced to read the Bible, the Christian right believed that their rights were being taken away.
If forcing children to take part in their religion is a “right,” then yes, that right was taken away. And that’s a good thing. If the Court ruled that about Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Satanism, or any other religion, Christians would be jumping for joy over secularism.
But when it affects their religion and their ability to invade public schools, then they’re obviously being persecuted by the godless liberals who want to enforce Shariah Law (that’s a somewhat paraphrased sentiment that some conservative Christians have expressed in recent years, like Newt Gingrich).
A common thing we will see, or at least I have, is the shirt that says, “This Shirt is Illegal in 51 Countries,” and it has a nice little cross on the front and a giant one on the back with a Bible verse.
Yeah? Well, a shirt that says “Atheist” is illegal in probably just as many, if not more, countries. In fact, in seven countries a person can be put to death for being an atheist. You’re not special, Christians.
I think I’m going to make a shirt that says the same thing but has an atheist A on it (copyright!) and make every atheist wear them everywhere to annoy Christians and let them know that they are not special and not the victim of any kind of special persecution anywhere in the world that is not also, if not exclusively, shown towards gays and/or atheists, least of all in America.
This sort of sentiment that Christians are enduring some kind of special persecution, in American public schools no less, was embodied in a recently released video, called “The Thaw,” made by a fundamentalist Christian organisation by the name 0f Reach America. The video, which stars only children and teenagers, is all about how Christian students are apparently being persecuted in public schools.
I made a response video to this, which is the first legitimate video I’ve made in a long time, where I completely demolished the idea that Christian students are being persecuted in public schools and that Christianity is being “frozen out” of the public square. JT Eberhard also did a brilliant response to the same video over on his blog.
Nonetheless, there are even more examples that can be pointed to.
In a small town in Oklahoma, a high school student recently complained to the Freedom From Religion Foundation that all of the classrooms in his public high school were displaying the Ten Commandments. When the FFRF contacted them and said that the district could be sued if they did not comply with the request, the town of Muldrow, Oklahoma went into full persecution mode.
In response to the brave student’s actions, the student’s sister was harassed at school and the student himself has been shunned by his school and confronted by a linebacker on the school’s football team.
According to the Huffington Post:
Multiple petitions have been signed by hundredsof people, pray-ins have been held at the school, pro-Christian messages lit up Twitter with the hashtag #FightForFaith, and church officials and politicians have railed against the request to remove the religious postings.
The school said that if students wore the shirts they would be asked to turn them inside out, which probably just added fuel to the persecution fire.
Pastor John Moore of Muldrow First Baptist Church said (emphasis mine), “It’s Christianity under attack. It was promised in the scripture [that this would happen].”
They want this to happen. They want to think that they are being persecuted, even though they obviously are not, because they believe that Jesus told them that this would happen and that this would be a sign of the End Times.
The thing is though, they are not being persecuted. They are being told to respect the same laws and Constitution that everyone else is told to. Christianity does not get a special pass to be forced onto students just because they think they have the right to force it onto them.
They think equality means persecution, because they’re so used to be the favoured class in America. They’re used to having a dominance over public life, politics, and culture in America. When that preferential treatment is slowly stripped away and replaced with equality, they are dragged kicking and screaming through the Courts, crying persecution.
The students in “The Thaw” video kept saying that they are being bullied by other students for being Christian. No, they’re being bullied. Being Christian has nothing to do with it, although that may be what the bullies are targeting (statistically speaking though, those bullies are probably Christian too). Gay kids and kids who are perceived to be gay are bullied every day to the point where they commit suicide. Atheist students are bullied. Muslim students are bullied. I was bullied for being bisexual, for being an atheist, and for being effeminate. I had a fucking Bible thrown at my head in a public school!
In the cases of Jessica Ahlquist in Rhode Island, Damon Fowler in Louisiana, Matthew LaClair in New Jersey, and so many other students, including the student in Muldrow, the towns all believed that they were being persecuted and that their rights to believe in what they wanted were being taken away, because one student stood up for what was right and stood up against the majority.
In all of these cases, they believed that because they could not force religion into public schools anymore, that their right to freedom of religion was being taken away. The townspeople, students of the school, and people all across the country threatened these students with bodily harm, rape, and even death. But the Christians are the persecuted ones.
Wanting the government to treat everyone equally through a policy of neutrality is not persecution. Wanting equality is not persecution. Wanting what is right is not persecution.
If you think Christians are persecuted in America, then you should try not being one. Try being the minority. Try being the minority that is literally the most hated minority in the United States, more than gays or Muslims or anyone else. Try being us for one day. Try living in our shoes.
Most atheists were at one point in time religious. We’ve lived in your shoes. We used to think just like you. We know what it’s like to be you. You have no idea what it’s like to be us. Try it. I dare you.
If you would like to hear these points flushed out more, I have a talk called “Step Into the Shoes of an Atheist,” one of the many talks I can give at secular conferences or for secular groups, though I plan on making this particular one a talk that I give to churches and interfaith groups mostly instead of atheist and secular groups.
A pharmaceutical company has come out with a new drug called “Geezus.” It’s claimed to give the user eternal life and unending bliss with no side effects as long as they continue to take it and believe that it will work. That’s great news. It really is. With all the terrible things that happen in this world, it’s about time someone found a solution to it all. Despite sounding like a miracle fix to all our problems, we must test Geezus and its effects on people and society before we force it onto children who may not be able to handle it with their developing brains and unconditional trust for authority.
Unfortunately, the company that made Geezus has somehow been able to bypass nearly all government regulations and testing to confirm the validity of these claims, and yet the government is still putting up ads for Geezus all over the country, even on public grounds and government buildings, as well as giving tax breaks to the company that made Geezus, which are paid for by our tax money.
From what has been observed since Geezus was released, most people who take Geezus excessively, or even in moderation, become highly irrational, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist, racist, and overall willfully ignorant douchebags, as well as displaying a tendency for believing the world is about to end and/or taking part in ritualistic cannibalism and human sacrifice. Doctors have diagnosed such excessive use of Geezus and these symptoms as a disease called “fundamentalism.” Some, but not all, fundamentalists have even shown homicidal and infanticidal behaviour.
The excessive use of Geezus, fundamentalism, should not be confused with schizophrenia. Schizophrenics have a problem with their brains that is not their faults where they perceive things that are not there. Without actual medication, they cannot not see or hear these things. Fundamentalists are fully aware of the world around them, but they willfully ignore it and replace reality with their own if it is more comfortable or convenient for them. Geezus use is not a disease like schizophrenia, but an addiction, even if it is not excessive like fundamentalism, similar to alcoholism.
In some parts of the country, people are being discriminated against and harassed for not taking Geezus (or for taking different drugs), especially those that dare to speak out against Geezus and the company that made it. These people feel that the claims made about Geezus are false. They also believe it’s dangerous to take Geezus without knowing the full truth about it, especially because of the multiple cases showing the harm that Geezus use can cause. They believe Geezus and the company that made it should be regulated and taxed like anything else; it should not be exempt from such scrutiny and oversight simply because it claims to be special.
Original idea by David Smalley, owner of Dogma Debate Radio.
Justice Richard White of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia ordered the parents of a four-year-old girl to allow the doctors to perform blood transfusions on the girl, who had been diagnosed just very recently with cancer of the blood and bone marrow, despite the objections of her parents, who are both Jehovah’s Witnesses.
According to the Witness faith, which I used to belong to, blood transfusions are not allowed because of commandments from Jehovah (God) that consuming blood is forbidden in several verses, including Leviticus 17:10-14, Acts 15:19-29, Genesis 9:4, and Deuteronomy 12:16. The verses never say that blood transfusions themselves are not allowed, because they did not exist back in the days of the Bible, but the consuming and drinking of blood is forbidden, which the Watch Tower Society applied to blood transfusions.
Many different Christian denominations consider this, among other Witness practices and beliefs, to be outrageous and similar to a cult. It’s not really. The Bible never said gays couldn’t get married, just that people who lie with others of the same sex should be killed. The Bible also never said that you shouldn’t get blood transfusions, just that you shouldn’t drink it. It’s applying two-thousand year old dogma to modern day situations. It’s no different than any other Christian interpretation and implementation of the Bible.
The girl was diagnosed with leukemia, and the pediatric oncologist treating her said that without treatment she “will die . . . I would say in weeks.” The doctor also said that she had an extremely good chance of survival if she underwent treatment immediately. The parents refused to let her daughter receive possibly life-saving blood transfusions on the grounds of religious objections. They did, however, allow the doctors to do any other kind of treatment that is recommended for a leukemia patient.
After the parents refused to give their daughter the blood transfusions, the hospital petitioned the courts, saying that the transfusions would save the girl’s life.
In the courtroom, the parents gave very emotional addresses to the court about how they love their daughter very much and do not want her to die, just that they object to blood transfusions because of their faith. Justice White, who only two years prior heard a similar case of a ten-year-old boy, came down in favour of the hospital and the girl, saying that, “The court is to act in the best interest of the child,” and that, “Without a blood transfusion, there is a very high prospect that (she) will die.”
This is especially good news, because the doctors said that even if they could save the girl without the blood transfusions, which is highly unlikely, she could have severe brain and kidney damage.
Parents should be forced to treat their children, not pray over them and wish that everything gets better. If a child’s life is at risk, I don’t care what a parent’s religion is or what it teaches. A child living is better than appeasing some sky daddy who let her get sick in the first place.
People who deny their children safe and proven to work medicine because their religion says to are disgusting and should have their children taken away from them, at the very least. Nobody give me that “It’s Darwinism! It’s natural selection!” haha bullshit. It’s not funny. Children are being killed by their parents over delusional, superstitious nonsense. There are 30 states today in America that allow exemption from prosecution of parents who deny their children medical treatment on the grounds of religious objections. This is the government condoning and shielding child abuse.
This is just another reason that religion is dangerous to society. It’s stories like this that luckily ended up okay (or worse, the stories where the children die because of their neglectful parents) that make me question the idea of freedom of religion. So many children would still be alive today if not for their parents denying them insulin, or when a baby is denied medical treatment that could prevent her from going blind, or any of these horrific cases, all because of the parents’ religion. Better yet, when a thirteen-year-old boy refuses his own cancer treatment because of the influence from his parents’ religion.
Since we’re here complaining about children dying from diseases, let’s actually do something about it. Here’s a link to the donations page of Have a Heart: Children’s Cancer Society. Donate what you can. Please. I know, I’m such an evil, misanthropic atheist for wanting people to donate to a children’s cancer charity.
If you have visited an American high school in the past few years, you might have seen something called “See You At the Pole,” where students go to the flagpole on campus and pray to God. Students will gather in numbers ranging from a small handful to, at least the largest one I have seen in photos, a few hundred.
The nation-wide SYATP event is supposed to be on the fourth Wednesday of September for those students who are participating to, according to their own website, “…lift up their friends, families, teachers, school, and nation to God,” with a prayer rally before class starts, but individual campuses are encouraged to continue it every week, or whenever they can, and the people at my high school did just that.
But why is See You at the Pole such a big deal? Okay, some people are getting together in public to basically write letters to Santa, but what’s the real harm? None, depending upon one’s own view of the matter. If one takes the Christian fundamentalist perspective of simply: students worshipping God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost (sure sounds like monotheism), trying to get friends and other believers gathered together, and not being afraid to show their faith in a public area, then I guess there is no harm in the event.
Now, if one were to take the rational person’s perspective, then one should see the hypocrisy and damage these kinds of events can cause. The big one for Christians themselves is that Jesus said that you should not pray in public areas, because it makes you a hypocrite, and that instead you should pray in your own room, where God will reward you (Matthew 6:5-6). Those who pray in public are wanting to be seen by others; they want their piety shown to the world, and Jesus, their own Lord and Saviour, is calling them hypocrites for it.
In the About section of their website, under a brief description of the event, it has a list containing its supporting ministries. After a quick look through the list, one finds a ministry that most of us should be familiar with, Focus on the Family. Yes, a supposedly loving event that is about bringing students closer to their deity is in association with one of, if not, the most anti-gay rights organisations in the country. Look through some of the ministries that they have listed, and one will see some of the most fundamentalist, dominionistic rhetoric that exists out there today.
The event, which started in Texas (big surprise) back in 1990, claims to be a “global movement of prayer which is student-initiated, student-organized, and student-led.” So it’s all supposed to be about students who are just gathering together to show their love of God? Alright, then why does the Baptist General Convention of Texas own the trademark for the See You at the Pole name and event? Why do the Student Discipleship Ministries, also from Texas, produce and distribute promotional devices for the event? Why do the National Network of Youth Ministries (which is the only non-Texas based organisation in the bunch) handle all of the media relations and promotion for See You at the Pole? Sure does sound like it’s all just spontaneous student action!
The SYATP prayer events are evangelism and dominionism masquerading under freedom of religion. Dominionism, in case one is unfamiliar with the term, are the beliefs and actions taken by conservative Christians to influence or replace a secular government with one that is either run entirely by Christians or with a system of government that is based on biblical teachings and principles. The organisations that run and promote the event or are associated with it are dominionistic. Focus on the Family, First Priority of America, Advocates for Faith and Freedom, Campus Crusade, Life Teen, and many of, if not, all those listed by the SYATP website are: dedicated to converting students, third-worlders, and other vulnerable people, anti-gay, and anti-secular schools and government.
The SYATP is a peer-pressure group. They promote proselytising of other students in school to bring them to Jesus, more so to bring them to their narrow interpretation and rituals concerning the Christian scriptures. They are a discrimination machine. At a SYATP event at an Oklahoma high school, the names of non-Christian students were written on pieces of papers and nailed to a wooden cross that someone had brought to place by the school’s flagpole, which is in violation of separation of church and state. However, secularism is not the main issue here. The issue is that people in a majority Christian school, community, and state that were not Christians had their names posted for all the fundie Christians of the school to see. “Oh look! Johnny is a pagan, Rick is a Jew, Susie is an atheist, Aisha is a Muslim. We better do whatever we can to bring them to Jesus!”
All in all, despite nothing legally that can be done about the event as far as I’m aware, the See You at the Pole event is not “student- initiated,” “student-organized,” or “student-led.” It’s run and promoted by and associated with ministries and religious organisations that are aimed at converting as many confused and vulnerable teenagers as they can by any means necessary and are threats to freedom and equality, especially concerning gays and religious minorities, and to secularism in America. It’s harmful to the community of a school environment, which is supposed to be a safe place for children of all socio-economic, political, and religious backgrounds, not a place where religion can be shoved in the faces of the student body and could be utilised as a discrimination and harassment tool used against gays, religious minorities, and non-fundamentalist Christians. It’s stealth evangelism hiding in a smokescreen of religious tolerance and freedom.