Are Christians “persecuted”? Don’t make me laugh!

I got an email yesterday, called “Save the Persecuted Christians,” that made me laugh out loud. (I couldn’t find a web link for the email, so I cut and pasted it at the end of this post.)

This email is comedy at its driest and
wittiest. It claims that Christians “are being persecuted simply because of their faith. They are being tortured, enslaved, raped, crucified, driven from their homes and murdered in the most horrific ways imaginable.” It
accuses “some Americans” (hmm, who could that be?) of “enabling”
this “odious behavior.” This group, “Save the Persecuted Christians,”
actually held a series of rallies the other day, “To hold anti-religious
persecutors and their enablers accountable.”

The maximum leader of Save the Persecuted Christians is a fanatical neo-con, Frank Gaffney, who has long lurked in the more hateful, conspiracy-theory extremes of conservatism. Gaffney is especially known as an Islamophobe; his political career began under Reagan. Today, he writes for the crazy rightwing Newsmax. Gaffney’s closest political colleagues include such delightful white neo-fascists as Newt Gingrich, John Bolton and Jared Taylor, a white nationalist who wants “voluntary racial segregation”, since legal segregation is now illegal. Taylor is a huge fan of Donald J. Trump, whose election, he wrote, was “a sign of rising white consciousness.”

These people all profess to be “Christian,” but then, so did Hitler—who was only trying to appeal to his Christian supporters, but the same is true of Trump, who also claims to be Christian but who for most of his life showed no signs of being so.

So are Christians really persecuted? It’s true that in some Moslem countries they are, but so are other religious minorities: Sunnis persecute Shia and vice versa, and both persecute Jews; and in India, Moslems persecute Hindus and vice versa. In the U.S., no claim can legitimately be made about Christian persecution. Christians founded this country; they’ve run America since before the Revolution, and they still run it. Christianity, if anything, is gaining power in America, because of the rise of religious fundamentalism. And let’s not forget that the worst persecutors of the rights of LGBTQ people, of Muslims, of immigrants, of Native Americans and of non-Christians in general are Christians.

Which makes “Save the Persecuted Christians” a joke. In countries like Nigeria, where Gaffney’s friends in the American evangelical and Pentecostal cults have been trying for years to convert the population, anti-gay violence is on the increase due to their hate speech and indoctrination of children. Trump’s born-again vice president, Mike Pence, has been active in this Christian missionary work in Africa, thereby violating the spirit if not the letter of the law that says America is a secular nation and ought not be promoting any particular religion.

Now, remember that “some Americans”
quote, above—the one that accused some of us of “enabling”
anti-Christian behavior? Who could this smear be referring to? Like all
inuendoes, this one is long on implication, short on detail. I would wager that
in the eyes of these “Christians” the chief enablers are Democrats and
liberals. To conservative, rightwing Christians, inclusiveness is a dirty word.
Rationality doesn’t fit into their world view, because rational people
understand that the “facts” of the Bible are superstitions. The world is not
5,800 years old, as Pence and other Biblical literalists allege. Thus
Democrats, who sincerely believe in inclusiveness and in science, are the enemy
of rightwing Christians.

These people—the Save the Persecuted
members—and their ilk are preparing for war here at home. They
have formed a strange-bedfellows alliance with ammophiles (the NRA), white
nationalists, home schoolers, anti-government types , para-militarists and
just-plain haters. We call this…

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