March 2, 2007

Christians Are Not Being Persecuted

English: Persecution of the Christians
English: Persecution of the Christians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have often wondered whether it would be possible for Christians to sustain their religion without the imaginary threat of persecution. I suspect not, but that really is not the point of this post. Instead, I want to draw your attention to a great letter to the editor I found in the Evansville Courier & Press. It argues that American Christians are not persecuted in the arena of school prayer, as they are so fond of claiming.

This letter was written in response to a previous letter complaining about how Christians "allowed one woman ... to remove prayer from our schools ... Christians sat back and let it happen without a fight." I did not attempt to find the previous letter, but I suspect it was referring to Madelyn Murray O'Hair. Regardless, the author of the response, Mr. Hartley, points out that this is untrue, noting that Christians fought hard to retain prayer in school. Defending their desire to infuse superstition into public education all the way to the Supreme Court is hardly standing by and doing nothing.

They lost because it is a violation of religious freedom to use taxpayer-funded schools to indoctrinate children into one particular faith. Public schools belong to everyone, not just Christians.
Mr. Hartley also notes that (and this is important) no child has been deprived of his/her right to pray in school. In fact, America's children are free to wallow in any form of superstition they choose at school, as long as said wallowing does not disrupt other children or interfere with the learning process.

True, public school teachers do not have the freedom to lead their students in prayer. However, this is not what the Christian extremists are labeling persecution. As the author suggests, "So, when Christians complain about the lack of prayer in public schools, what they really mean is they would like NON-Christians to pray to Jesus." Yep, that seems to be exactly what they are after.

Are American Christians persecuted? As the author of this article recommends, it is helpful to look at the evidence:

  • American public school children are free to pray silently to whatever imaginary being they wish.
  • The American government is filled with avowed Christians at all levels.
  • American political candidates are united in their efforts to flaunt their Christianity to potential voters.
  • It is difficult to imagine that an openly atheist candidate for virtually any public office would even be taken seriously, much less elected. In some states, it wouldn't even be allowed!
As Mr. Hartley appropriately concludes, persecution is not the same thing as being expected "to follow the same rules as non-Christians."
Christians aren't being persecuted. They've been privileged. They've been privileged for so long that they must feel picked-on whenever they are subjected to a level playing field.
I couldn't have said it better myself. I am thrilled to see such an important message being distributed through letters to the editor. Perhaps the day will come when I will be able to occasionally share my thoughts in this manner without fearing retribution.

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