Tuesday, May 09, 2006

"War on Christianity"?

Pardon me while I get serious for a moment.

The WaPo's Religion section recently ran this piece surveying readers' attitudes regarding the existence (or not) of a "War on Christianity." (Related piece.)

The question: "In Today's Culture, Do You See Evidence of a War on Christianity?" Seriously, check out the answers. Most of them are very well thought out and interesting and make great arguments. Some attack the question from an angle I hadn't even considered.

Others, of course, make less sense. Not surprisingly, they tend to be the ones I disagree with. I tried -- really, I tried -- to read the ones that argued that there is, in fact, a war on Christianity brewing out there, but the support used for those people who thought so were rather off base (in my humble opinion).

So before I share what I wrote in response to the question when it was posed, I'd like to comment on some of the other responses.

* Andrew Genszler, Washington, D.C. is spot on. Political conservatives tend to feast on a buffet of "pick and choose" principles, deciding when states' rights are paramount and when they should be ignored, and when the free-market should reign supreme and when it should take a back seat to regulation. I love that Genszler points out that, even in a religious context, the hypocrisy shines through. Diversity of beliefs, people.

* Trisha Marsh Johnson, Athens, Ga., makes sense that persecution of Christians in non-Christian countries receives little media attention in the States. Extremism is really just the latest turn on the maxim "if it bleeds it leads." I would have to disagree with her, of course, on her last question. No one (except maybe the aforementioned extremists) has every really said that Jesus was wrong.

* C. L. Waltemath, Portland, Ore. really packs a punch. I do love his (her? I'll just stick with a gender-neutral "his") last point: if you have to shove your religion down other peoples' throats, your faith isn't all that strong to begin with. Actually, I've made that point before (I'm too lazy to go link to it now).

* Marilyn Goodman, Yaphank, N.Y. rocks it. Right on, sister.

* Frank Mortimer, Foxboro, Mass. takes a fascinating new spin in answering the question. Yes, Mortimer says, there is a war on Christianity, and it is being waged by people who purport to be Christians. People who equate religion and politics are destroying Christianity from within. Excellent argument.

* R. Brandon Edgar, Tampa, Fla. -- well, this guy I don't understand at all. According to the accounts I've read of the "Gospel of Judas," Judas states that Jesus told him to betray him. So Judas's claim is perfectly consistent with Jesus's ability to predict it beforehand. (Was Jesus at all psychic anywhere else in The Book? I don't recall.) The Gospel of Judas purports to prove that Judas was scapegoated and that he was, in fact, Jesus's favorite disciple. From what I've seen (admittedly limited), nothing in there is inconsistent with the Old Testament, except that it turns our conventional understanding of Judas's role in religious history completely upside-down.

Let's face it, most of Christianity wouldn't really amount to a hill of beans without the crucifixion and the resurrection -- absent those dramatic events all you really have is a hippie spouting platitudes. Is it really all that unbelievable to think that maybe the Divine Plan included the betrayal, and Jesus himself had a hand in setting those wheels in motion?

* Amanda K. Maynard, Boonsboro, Md.... Again, amen, sister!

* Yolanda Jurado-Gesswein, Edinburg, Tex. gives me the teensiest glimmer of hope. Her comments show that there are, in fact, at least some deeply religious people in The South who believe that the politicization of Christianity is abhorrent.

* Julie Hughes, Leesburg, Va., unfortunately, completely misses the point, and commits the very error that the other responses highlighted: "my religion is the right one, and the fact that other people are ignoring it means they hate my religion!" Who cares if anyone else exhibits a "resistance to Jesus"? Your life, your religion; my life, mine. What you don't have, lady, is a right to tell me that your values dictate my rights. No one's making you recant your Christian beliefs. No one. (Contrast that to The Crusades, when so-called Christians launched a "convert-or-die" large-scale assault.) You still have your rights. Don't want an abortion? Don't get one.

I started this post thinking I would post my submission (WaPo did actually call me for permission to print it, but I guess in the end I didn't make the cut), but I'm thinking the others that did get printed make the point better than I.


Rene Merced Jr said...

I consider myself a Christian and I believe in God. I don't see a real War on Christianity. It's seems more that the Christian Right feel threatened by the inevitable inclusion of other religions being recognized and the generalized holiday names that coincide with that. Which is simply sad. It's fear of losing the monopoly, I feel.

I have my God in my heart, I don't need to see a banner at Wal-Mart to know when the next Christian holiday is.

I recently added you to my Blogroll, I like to read your stuff.

Yes, Jesus was "psychic" on more than one occasion. Like when he told Peter that he would renounce Jesus twice before the rooster crows (which he did).

Voice_of_Reason said...

There is no war on christianity but a search for the truth. The truth scares people, especially the millions of innocent people who have been brainwashed by the choices of men thousands of years ago. It is going to be really hard to get the truth out, especially when people love and cherish the lies they have been fed. But as always, the truth will prevail.

Judas said...

OK, I'll sit by you!

Steve said...

It's the religious nut-jobs that are creating this so-called war on christianity. But really, what I want to know is why the fuck do christians always feel the need to think of themselves as victims? The same ways in which they feel they’re abused, is when another group, we homos included, receives rights of any kind. In other words, when a group gets closer toward being considered equal, it’s the christians who are being discriminated against. Boo-fucking-hoo.

The Lily said...

All very good points, especially Mortimer and Waltemath.

Was Jesus at all psychic anywhere else in The Book? I don't recall. Yep. He told Peter something to the effect of: before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.

I grew up in the south and associated with a lot of children whose parents indoctrinated them very early with such relevant things as: "If you listen to anything other than country music you are going to hell."

It struck me at that the Christians that everyone talks about are the ones that don't act very Christian at all.

Rene Merced Jr said...

"...before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times."

That's right. I don't know why I was thinking two times.

Dennis! said...

Thanks for the "psychic" heads-up. I remember that quote now.

Still, I'm glad that there's still a voice out there -- don't know how big or how representative this article was of any greater voice -- that truly believes that the loudest of the "Christian" voices are the most damaging to true Christianity.