ebonypearl (ebonypearl) wrote,

Privilege, Not Persecution

On a friend’s FB, she commented about how she was tired of Christians whining about being persecuted in the US. She’s a sweet heart of a woman, charming, funny, warm-hearted, everything you’d want in a friend. She’s always a very devout Christian. I don’t think we’ve ever really discussed religion - there's not a whole lot of need to talk if one walks the walk; there are so many other things to talk about when we get together. But over the years, we've come to learn things about one another and the fact that we have different religious beliefs only deepens our friendship.

Her wall post attracted a Christian who very plainly felt she was personally put upon and persecuted by American society for being Christian. When this woman (I’m calling her CP for “Christian Person”) commented that she viewed verbal comments from people expressing different points of view (mind you, not comments that attacked her religion, just expressed a different viewpoint) to be persecution, I’m sorry, but I rolled my eyes. When someone asked her for examples, CP wrapped herself in her privilege and accused the querant of attacking her and not caring; that :::sob::: nobody cared! so she just would go away and not talk to such mean people!

Shades of the old Fascist Meanie Pooh Pooh Head days!

Then, CP made me just gape in awe at her cluelessness. She actually commented that she wished Christians had the same rights as other religions!

Really? I don’t think she knows whereof she speaks.

Christians have convinced our country to allow one of their primary holy days to be a legally recognized paid holiday, something no other religion has ever accomplished. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Christians can use their religion to practically guarantee an election. People of any other religion, were they to use their religious adherence as part of their political campaign, would have a nigh impossible task be elected. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Most government bodies, when they convene, if they open with a prayer, benediction, or blessing of some sort, invariably open with Christian prayers. Those few that don’t open with Christian prayers open with “non-denominational” prayers that are still very Christian in feel. Once in a great while, they open with a benediction from some other religion - but that person rarely receives the respect expected during a Christian prayer. When a Buddhist gave the opening benediction for a Senate session in the US government, he received catcalls from a couple of senators and had others carry o private conversations - something that would never happen to a Christian officiant. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Our Pledge of Allegiance (that patriotic little ditty penned as part of an advertising campaign) was altered by Federal Government intervention to include the words “under God” - paying homage to just one of the many religions existing in America at that time. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Since I live deep inside the Bible Belt, it’s common for people to ask, right after getting your name, what church you go to; so privileged they never once consider that you might not be Christian. And when you say, “I’m not Christian”, in their mind, the only other thing you could be is Satanist, or, if they’re feeling charitable, maybe you’re just “going through a phase”. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Cashiers, clerks, strangers on the street, all feel comfortable saying, “God bless you” and they know, beyond any doubt, that you must also be Christian and welcome the Christian blessing. That’s privilege, not persecution.

There are more churches per capita than there are places of worship for all the other religions combined in the US. If we adjust for proportions of adherents, there are still more Christian churches (ie if 7% of the population is Buddhist, then 7% of the churches/temples/mosques/synagogues/etc should be Buddist temples, not 2%), mostly because when other religions seek permits, they must prove they are a legitimate religion, but if they’re a Christian denomination they are automatically granted the permit. That’s privilege, not persecution.

When a Christian’s religion becomes known at work, they don’t have to worry about being harassed by co-workers or even fired. That’s privilege, not persecution.

When Christians want to start a new church or new organization, they know filing for tax exempt status is pretty much a given, that they won’t have to prove their religion is a real one, or that tax exempt status may still be denied even if they meet all the IRS criteria just because their religion isn't known. That’s privilege, not persecution.

If a Christian wants to hold a retreat at a camp ground, or a picnic in a park, they know they will get the permits without any problems and they won’t have picketers trying to force them to change venues or not have it at all or disrupt their event. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Christians know they can publicize their religion in their business and attract customers, not rocks through the windows. That’s privilege, not persecution.

If Christians want a chaplain in the military, no bars are placed in their way, yet soldiers of minority religions go without military chaplains – even when the religion is recognized in the Military Chaplain’s Handbook (I have a copy). The military chaplains all come from the mainstream religions, and predominantly from Christian religions. Not one minority religion chaplain has been able to leap all the hurdles placed in their path to date. That’s privilege, not persecution.

If Christians want to be married by officiants in their religion, they have thousands of choices all across the country, yet adherents of many minority religions don’t have licensed officiants to perform marriages because many states and county clerks make it not just difficult but virtually impossible for them to be licensed. That’s privilege, not persecution.

If a Christian commits a crime, they won't have reporters mentioning their "self-proclaimed" religion or say they "claim" to be Christian, as they do with adherents of minority religions - especially if the religion has no bearing on the crime. If their religion is mentioned, the reporters will say the perpetrator is a Christian, not that the perpetrator "proclaims to be a Christian". That's privilege, not persecution.

edited to add, courtesy of elfwreck's suggestions: Originally with the force of law, banks and government offices ere closed on Sundays so people would attend church. While the laws have often faded or been reversed, the force of tradition remains and banks, government offices, and schools are still closed on Sundays, the traditional Christian day of worship. That's a privilege, not persecution.

When Christians have children, it's expected they will raise their children in their religion. This also applies to Jews and Muslims and Buddhists with this caveat: the children of these other religions are expected to not only know about but to respect and even participate in the Christian activities created for Christian children. However, those of minority religions not named here are expected to raise their children as Christians because to do otherwise is considered child abuse. That's privilege, not persecution.

When Christians have children and raise them Christian, they encourage their children to share their activities with their friends, family, neighbors. Parents of minority religions school their children in silence so the children won't be taunted and harassed and teased and beaten by not only Christian children but by Christian adults, and pushed to the point of suicide. That's privilege, not persecution.
And if CP wants the same "rights" as other religions, that includes having strangers insist she must teach her children about their religion as well as her own.

If Christians truly, truly want to be treated like other religions, they either have to give up all those privileges they enjoy, or they have to allow other religions the same level of privilege.

If CP truly wants the same “rights” enjoyed by other religions, then she must mean she wants to be afraid to lose custody of her children should she get divorced because of her religion (I know the judge isn't supposed to consider religion in the divorce proceeding, but I know at least one case where the judge and the appeal stated the woman couldn't have her children because she was Wiccan, not because she was otherwise unfit). CP wants to search the stores during her holy days looking for religious symbols and decorations and gifts without being able to find them. She wants to work on her religious holy days if she lacks enough vacation days to use on them - and be forced to not work on someone else's holy day because the law allows it to be a paid holiday, even if they'd rather work on Christmas Day and have, say, the Solstice or Diwali off instead. CP wants to be afraid she’ll lose her job if her boss or co-workers discover what religion she is. CP wants to have her pets killed as a warning that “her kind” isn’t welcome in that neighborhood. CP wants to have her home egged and vandalized regularly as her neighbors of a different religion try to force her to move. CP wants government to stop passing laws that favor her religion over others (the Blue Laws spring quickly to mind – businesses that must close by law on Sundays so they can “go to church”, or items that can’t be sold on Sundays because it violates Christian morals). CP wants to have tax exemption denied her religion because it’s not a “real” one.

Other religions don’t necessarily want the same privileges that Christianity enjoys in America; what they want is to be allowed to exist without harassment, without fear, without being accused of being “in a phase” or belonging to a “fake” religion, or having reporters say they "claim" to be an adherent of their religion, or having their religion dragged into a news report just because they aren't Christian.

Asking for the right to exist peacefully and to be allowed to live their beliefs without deliberate hardships and barriers placed in their way isn’t persecuting Christianity.

And it’s not persecution for someone to wish another “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”.


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