Invisible Christian Privilege

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  August 11, 2011 — 258 Comments

I’ve been writing about Christians a lot lately. It seems largely unavoidable, as the influence of Christianity often haunts even the most Pagan of stories. We may be slowly moving into a post-Christian era, and some may question if the United States is really Christian at all nowadays, but the facts on the ground show that the vast majority of Americans (and Britons, Canadians, and Australians) identify as some flavor of Christian. Contrary to the fear-mongering of some about the evils of secularism, Christians still have massive influence on our culture, our economics, and our politics. The terms of debate on issues like same-sex marriage and abortion are framed by Christians. When people talk about a “Religious Right” or a “Religious Left” they are usually talking about the political positions of Christians, and it’s only prominent Christians who are defined as presidential “king-makers” in the United States. Yet, despite this wealth of influence and privilege, many Christians define themselves as part of a minority, a persecuted minority at that. One that is in constant danger of being eliminated by its numerous enemies. Conservative columnist George Will noted this persecution complex, finding it “unbecoming because it is unrealistic.”

Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” has become one of the 10 highest-grossing movies in history [...] Christian book sales are booming [...]  Religion is today banished from the public square? John Kennedy finished his first report to the nation on the Soviet missiles in Cuba with these words: “Thank you and good night.” It would be a rash president who today did not conclude a major address by saying, as President Ronald Reagan began the custom of doing, something very like “God bless America.”

To many Christians their immense privilege seems invisible. They don’t understand how much of our society panders to their unspoken power. The churches on every corner, the holidays and celebrations structured around Christian dates, the pandering of politicians, the ceremonial deism that acts as a placeholder for state-sponsored religion. Even our vernacular is colored by Christianity: “God bless you,” “we’ll pray for you,” “I’m in heaven,” or even “go to hell.”  Yet despite this, many Christians, particularly conservative Christians, have a major investment in seeing themselves as part of a persecuted minority. This was reinforced for me in the comments section of a recent post at the journalism commentary site Get Religion. There, I was informed that Michele Bachmann was part of a religious minority, and that due to mainstream media criticism “one has to speculate that perhaps Christians are a small minority in the United States.”

Where does this inaccurate perspective come from? How can a group see itself as a minority when it holds so much power? Through constant propaganda that tells them that this is so. Looking back to my Michele Bachmann piece a couple days ago, you can see the modern roots of this propaganda in Francis Schaeffer’s “How Should We Then Live” documentary series.

In that video you see the valorizing of the very early Christian period, heavy on references to persecution for their faith (and the glossing over of the era when the empire was Christianized). In countless Christian sermons and documentaries that period is returned to time and time again. Instead of being used as a reminder to not abuse power, and to not let any minority be persecuted, this narrative has instead mutated for some Christians into a paranoia about a returning “pagan” persecution that they must constantly battle and guard against. For Schaeffer it was the peril of secular humanism, but today it takes many forms. It is the “green dragon” of environmentalism, it is those who want to “take Christ out of Christmas” by saying “happy holidays,” or those who want to stop sectarianism at government meetings, and for a small but increasingly influential network of prayer warriors it is the “demonic” gods of non-Christians, returned again to bedevil and thwart Christ’s return. Whatever the foe, so long as the persecution narrative is sustained.

The persecution narrative, married with invisible (to them) privilege, creates monsters. It melds an “at any cost” mentality of survival and solidarity with vast economic and political power. It leads to bizarre juxtapositions, like a 30,000-plus prayer rally to help launch a politician’s ambitions featuring a fire-and-brimstone sermon talking about a “crisis of truth,” labeling all the world’s religions (except theirs) as false, and urging the crowd to “go public [...] regardless of what it costs us” as if though the Christian voice was silenced. As if they were still a small minority hiding in the catacombs of ancient Rome.

If I could ask for only one concession from Christianity as a whole, it would be the acknowledgement that they are not a persecuted minority in the West. That they are, in fact, economically, politically, and culturally powerful. That claims to “minority” status by Christians in North America are constructed on flimsy technicalities or outright distortions of the privilege they currently enjoy. Christianity still dominates religion here, and the Pagans, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, and indigenous religions enjoy the freedoms we do only because a separation between church and state has been erected. Because in the United States our constitution forbids us becoming an official “Christian” nation.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • http://vermillionrush.wordpress.com Vermillion

    The idea that Christians are some sort of religious minority makes my brain hurt in ways I never thought it could. They seem to be confusing “Don’t add religion to laws” with “OMGEVILCHRISTIANSDEATHTOJESUS (again)!” which even if it were true would STILL not make them a minority.

    Yet another reason why I’m really torn on the whole interfaith business but that’s a rant for another day.

    • http://en-pi.facebook.com/steward John Deltuvia

      “OMGEVILCHRISTIANSDEATHTOJESUS (again)!” …

      Well, they do refer to his death day as “Good Friday”, so I don’t see why they’d have any objection to it… :-)

      • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

        But for such an important day, isn’t “GOOD Friday” kinda weak? What about “Awesome Friday” or “Terrific Friday” or, this may be a little too “pagan” for them, “Epic Friday”?

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000892067766 Anne Hatzakis

          The Orthodox Christian church calls it “Holy and Good Friday”, the following day being “Holy and Great Saturday” — Not ‘just’ Good…..

          • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

            At least the Orthodox seem to have the right idea in naming their holiday…And the day after it too.

            A Friday so nice, they described it twice. ;)

      • Helen Krummenacker

        Lately I’ve seen a phrase popping up, “I love the Cross”… I think, wtf? The man-god you claim to love was tortured to death on it! It’s an instrument of torture, a brutal way to die, and you brag about thinking it’s a *good* thing?

        • Rebecca Fouts

          The thing that always gets me is how they pretend Christ was the ONLY one who suffered death on a cross. As if all the others who were sentenced and subjected to the Roman cross, some Christians, but MANY MANY who were NOT — don’t exist. Or somehow suffered less. OR that only Christians were ever fed to the beasts — the fact that they turned around and did the SAME DAMN THING to pagans they tend to forget during their moral outrage. Or that the arena wasn’t just used for religious persecution – but for all of Rome’s perceived ‘enemies'; political, religious, criminal…inconvenient, poor, etc.

          • MIke Haubrich

            It’s because god did it willingly and knew how bad it would hurt. Of course, it only lasted for a few hours, and compared to the eternal bliss of being god it doesn’t seem like such a sacrifice to me. I bet Jesus doesn’t have the same sort of terrifying flashbacks that victims of torture suffer.

          • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

            Who pretends that, Ms. Fouts?

        • Kulasundari Devi

          Well, in fairness, there is a reason Christians love the cross. It is the very fact that it is, for Protestant Christians that is, an explicitly empty cross that gives them joy. The concept is that the suffering and torture was endured for them, so that they don’t have to suffer in hell for eternity, that the suffering Jesus went through was not in vain but an altruistic gesture for all of humanity.

          I’m a Shakta Hindu, but I can understand why Christians feel the way they do about some things. I think that while it’s good to be critical of people of other faiths who try to dominate or manipulate others via their religion in social and/or political spheres, we should refrain from making value judgments about religious beliefs we may not fully understand.

          Certainly there are people who don’t understand or accept the rituals that I perform and the deities that I worship, and I would want them to give me the same room for respect that I would give them. Golden rule and all that. :)

        • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

          This is not a new phrase popping up. In his letter to the Christians of Galatia, St. Paul writes, “As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Gal 6:14). He boasts in a means of torture and death, even in the year AD 50 or so. Boasts, mind you.

          It is a very, very good thing.

          And to the Christians at Corinth, he writes, “but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,” (1 Cor 1:23).

          You are not the first person to be startled and amazed that we are proud of the Cross of Christ, and that at our better moments we hope for one ourselves.

          And the reason? He writes to St. Timothy, “Here is a trustworthy saying: if we die with him, we will also live with him,” (2 Tim 2:11).

          And we do believe that He is alive, going back to the testimony of the women who went to His tomb to anoint him: “But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay,” (Mt 28:5-6).

          You might not believe in the resurrection of the body, first of Christ, and at the end, of all the rest of us, Helen, but that is very much where our hope lies, and that is very much why we put our hope in the Cross, at least at our better moments, though I will by no means insist that many of us are very good at it.

        • Guildbattle

          It’s not bragging about how much pain he experienced. In fact, the physical pain is the least painful part. What really happened is that Jesus took on all of the sins of the world, past and present, so that he could die and allow everyone to enter heaven. That’s why his death was so painful, not simply because of the cross and prior beatings (which, by the way were much worse that what even the worst criminal normally recieved) but because he shouldered the responsibility for every terrible thing that has been done and will be done by humans, which would have been too much to describe.

          And because of that, the most painful and soul crushing death one could possibly have, anyone who believes in him can live in heaven, because heaven cannot allow in sin, and the sin’s price has been paid by Jesus.

          And as for why God doesn’t immediately prove to everyone he exists so that they can come to heaven? Because he created humans to have free will, not mindless followers. And if we have no need for faith, everyone would follow. It’s simply everyone’s choice.

          Many christians generalize atheists, and many atheists generalize christians, or take the beliefs of the more ignorant christians to be accurate representations of what is written in the bible. Neither side should do so.

  • http://kallisti.writingkaye.com Kaye Bohémier

    Jason, thank you for writing this post about Christian privilege and for this series of posts about Bachmann et al. I tried to say something about Abrahamic privilege on my blog a while ago ( http://kallisti.writingkaye.com/2011/05/word-pagan-and-abrahamic-privilege.html ) at about the same time an argument happened in a TWH comment thread over whether or not privilege exists or is just our own persecution complex. I can tell from the comments that this current intersection of TWH with politics hasn’t gone over smoothly with everyone.

    The worst part about discussing Christian privilege is that very few people — even some of our fellow pagans and polytheists — want to affirm that it exists or even understand that the term doesn’t mean active persecution, but a pattern of behavior that people adhere to at a subconscious level. As the people at Microaggressions have said, privilege isn’t just about the big, ugly things like custody battles and army tombstones. It’s about the little things that people say and do every day without even knowing it — the history textbook at a public school that treats everything in the Bible as though it actually happened; the benediction delivered by a priest at a publicly-funded event; and someone saying “but you’re not religious!” because you couldn’t possibly be pious if you follow a non-Christian faith.

    • http://profiles.google.com/camille.klein Camille Klein

      Christian Privilege is like White Privilege, in that when you are a member of the privileged class you don’t realize that you’re privileged because there’s nothing saying PRIVILEGE HERE, and it’s easy to blithely say “I’m not privileged” because nobody’s ever treated you like you’re going to rob them because you don’t “look like a criminal”–but in the case of Christian Privilege, you can easily change your religion and *lose* that privilege (which may include your job, your lodging, your family, or what have you), in which case you realize “oh wait, I guess I did have some sort of privilege when I was Christian.”

  • http://throughthehiddendoor.wordpress.com/ Eric

    I see this all the time, especially in Kalispell, America where a large part of the city is Christian. Why do they feel like this? Who knows. But I have noticed that a lot of those that are saying that they are minorities are from an age where other minorities were not so smiled upon. Where African Americans were separated because of the color of their skin. They fear this happening to them in this new progressive world, they fear change. They fear to be pushed aside and disappear and have to fight and challenge themselves to rise up again. They fear that what they do to others will come back upon them.

    • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

      This comment is very astute, actually. And psychologically revealing. Do you feel that you have been marginalized by mainstream (“Christian”) culture, I wonder? I mean, did you feel that way growing up, even before you were a Wiccan or whatever practice you’ve taken up? I apologize for being overbold.

  • Devin Quince

    so, what are all these church things on every friggen corner of every town in the US again? How many Hofs, etc. can we find openly displaying their religious majority in the US?

    • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

      So, if they’re the minority, why aren’t we sacrificing hecatombs at the White House or throwing them to the lions? I’m a bit confused here. ;)

      • Norse Alchemist

        Because Peta wouldn’t let us get the lions for the arena, and Greenpeace and other environmental agencies said we couldn’t build the stadium. XP

        • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

          But we could tell PETA that we wouldn’t be starving the lions! We’d just make the Christians more appetizing by slathering them in gravy first. This would obviate the old practice of starving the lions. As for the environmental agencies, we’d be fighting *memetic* pollution, wouldn’t we? ;-) Also, plant a buttload of trees.

          • Rebecca Fouts

            PETA won’t care – because PETA wants all the little animals to run free; lions, tigers, bears, elephants, even cows and horses and dogs and cats and gerbils! So it won’t matter if you feed the lions — they’d rather the lion be running free in your backyard! Never mind some of those animals have been domesticated to the point they can’t be let free and survive humanely (a milk cow would DIE without a human to milk her). And the rest don’t have enough food or space in their natural habitats to survive, either. So when those same PETA folks refuse to give up their fancy homes in the suburbs so a pride of Lions can be moved in instead, I stop caring much what PETA has to say. I’m all for the ETHICAL treatment of animals, but I’m all tool accustomed to the hypocrisy of PETA.

          • DreamingOfPan

            I know this is off-topic but I’m afraid you don’t have your facts straight about PETA. I’m not attacking you here, it’s just that I used to work there and it really bugs me when people spout off about them with misinformation. PETA does not “want all the little animals to run free” – they want people to stop treating animals as “products” and the like. They’re not talking about letting currently domesticated animals run amuck. They want the system itself to change – and for good reason. Factory farms, zoos, circuses, fur farms are completely UNNATURAL and ripe with animal abuse. For those animals currently ‘unfit’ for release into the ‘wild’ – there are sanctuaries. You have to change the industries that cause animals to end up there in the first place (laboratories, so-called entertainment venues, etc.). And your comment about the cows & milking…well I don’t think you’re thinking clearly on that. Cows on dairy farms are intentionally & constantly artificially inseminated so that their bodies are in constant ‘baby-food-making’ mode. When left to their own devices (as nature intended), they would self-regulate and their milk would go where it’s supposed to – baby cows. It’s not designed for human use, just like rat milk is not for humans, it’s for rats. The comment PETA peeps living in fancy houses is just ridiculous – it’s a non-profit and most actual staff are paid below average wages (for instance, I got $11/hr while working there) – hardly McMansion material – which most of them would reject on environmental reasons anyways. I could go on, but there is just far too much to say & I’ve rambled enough.

        • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

          But we could tell PETA that we wouldn’t be starving the lions! We’d just make the Christians more appetizing by slathering them in gravy first. This would obviate the old practice of starving the lions. As for the environmental agencies, we’d be fighting *memetic* pollution, wouldn’t we? ;-) Also, plant a buttload of trees.

        • Rebecca Fouts

          Smartass

      • Nick Ritter

        I frankly like the idea of sacrificing hecatombs. The Lincoln Memorial seems like it would be an appropriate setting.

      • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

        Oh, it will come to that, I am sure.

  • http://moma-fauna.blogspot.com/ Moma Fauna

    Though I realize that Paganism is forever seen as a problem, I can’t help but wonder if some of the Christian hullabaloo comes also from Islam’s increasing numbers. I would think that the threat of really large religion like Islam (approx. 1/4 of the world pop. now & growing) might be more disturbing to them, so I am confounded when they narrow the focus to Pagan religions. Then again, given the technicalities, it must be hard to vilify & deny the Muslims’ God…

    • Pagan Puff Pieces

      It doesn’t stop a lot of people….

      But, of course, Pagans and their relations are a bit more… Mythical and fantastic, first encountered in the realm of the dramatic for a lot of people, then having to be convinced and reminded that they are for real, and not just LARPers. Nobody doubts that people believe in Allah, but a lot of people believe that nobody believes in various Pagan gods anymore. Pagans are still storybook characters, and so it’s natural fit them into narratives of good and evil. You can very easily make up stuff about them, and not be challenged by mainstream thought and history (and who writes history?).

      • http://moma-fauna.blogspot.com/ Moma Fauna

        Precisely! Every time I see the term LARP, I giggle (I can’t help it!) — which is why it is so extraordinary that they see Pagans as such a threat. You are right, our gods are most commonly understood as characters of Fairy & Folk Tales while we are perceived as wand-wielding-weirdos. Most people just don’t seem ready for the (neo)Pagan brands of religion & won’t be rushing off to register for Asatru/Druidry/Hellenism, et. al. 101 anytime soon. So, for threatened Christians to gloss over the real numbers with this myopic anti-Pagan view is, well, myopic. Perhaps it is more fun (and attention-getting) to demonize our gods than to get into the theological details of why Allah is somehow different from “God.”

        • Nicole Youngman

          Plus, witchcraft/sorcery and Pagan deities are mentioned throughout the Bible, so they already have that opposition built into their belief system. But yeah, these days they do seem to be going after the Muslims more.

        • Anonymous

          My mom once told my dad about a Wiccan student she had in her math class…Dad made comments about a “stupid Harry Potter game.” I think the Play-gan stereotype is so entrenched that people assume we’re either LARPers or Satanists, and can’t be anything else.

          • http://fabricdragon.livejournal.com/ kirsten

            i sometimes sell items of pagan interest at conventions and etc… and i can assurte you that the Playgans are much louder, and more numerous, than anything else. (especially louder) and ESPECIALLY after a movie that glamourizes magic. whether its “practical magic” “harry potter” or anything else. after every movie or Tv show we get a TON of wannabe and playgans crowding into the stores and online forums. given that you can hardly be surprised if thats the dominant opinion of “pagan” from the non pagans…

    • Sarah

      Well, a lot of these people (maybe most) would consider Islam a “pagan” religion, as they understand the term. Even other self-identified Christians can easily find themselves accused of worshiping “false gods” when their understanding of their God doesn’t line up with that professed by evangelical Christian fundamentalists.

      • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

        It was Emperor Julian the Philosopher (called Apostate by the Galileans) who said: “No wild beasts are so dangerous to men as Christians are to one another.”

        • Norse Alchemist

          He never met Muslims then, but he has a valid point.

          • Cigfran

            Gettin’ just a wee bit tired of the sound of that axe being ground.

          • Norse Alchemist

            For now you hear it grind. Soon you may hear it fall. Enjoy the warning, for soon that will pass as deeds come to be done upon your pagan head. Would you rather be caught unawares?

      • http://moma-fauna.blogspot.com/ Moma Fauna

        This must be what is happening in part, because so much of their sermonizing (is that a word?) involves the subject of false “pagan” gods that they must be speaking about a greater group of lost sheep than just us. I’ve never thought of Islam, or say, Mormonism, or even Judaism as pagan (b/c it is inaccurate), nor do I think most mainstream Americans. But, in light of this type of thinking, all the blah, blah, blah about “pagans” makes sense.

    • Anonymous

      There are about as many Muslims here in America as there are Pagans, though. We’re weirder than Muslims are, so they go after us. Doesn’t help that the largest Neopagan religion in the US often refers to its members as “Witches” and worships a Horned God.

      • http://fabricdragon.livejournal.com/ kirsten

        ahem. having been a public member of Wicca (and a shop owner) and a public member of a “heretical Xtian group” (not mainstream) a public Catholic, and a wearer of a head scarf (although not Muslim) i can ASSURE you that the amount of abuse and actual threat i received was in this order:
        1. heretical Xtian (when recognized, its not so visible as a head scarf)
        2. Catholic (ditto)
        3. head scarf wearer in a major east coast city
        4. owner of an openly pagan friendly/supportive shop.

        and its not just from other Xtians (although when i was a “heretical Xtian it was)

        on the rare occassions i identified myself as , say Catholic on a internet forum, i got SLAMMED by people. these people identified themselves primarily as Atheist or Pagans, but some identified themselves as Christian and some did not identify their beliefs.

        while objectively Catholics, for instance, are numerous and potentially powerful (especially in my city) i assure you that receiving death threats and firebomb threats and etc makes you feel persecuted and alone…. whether its because you are Catholic or because you are Pagan (i have been threatened under both auspices, so it feels about the same…)

        • The_L

          I was raised Catholic in the heart of the Bible Belt. I didn’t get hate back then, so much as, “Wait…you guys believe in Jesus?” I’m sorry your experience was so much worse. *hugs?*

          And believe me, I never said that hate hurts any less when someone different is hating or being hated. I guess it affects me more now because the few anti-Catholics I encountered were strangers, whereas the people I hear anti-Pagan sentiments from are in my own family. There’s a reason I spent over 3 years buried deep in the broom closet.

          • Qcirish

            I have a number of students who think Catholics don’t believe in Jesus. I’m not sure where they get that. I don’t hear much in the Midwest about wiccans or pagans, but the Muslims are reviled in some places. I often think God or god or the higher power or whatever, weeps to see how we treat each other in the name of “religion”. A friend is announcing his candidacy for re-election. His wife posted the even on fb and someone said “that’s great. We need godly people in government”. I didn’t answer but wow I wanted to. As for Christian privilege, of course it exists. People think this is a Christian nation, and get very upset if you correct them. If I may, I’d like to use the original blog as a discussion piece for my intercultural class…

          • Pagan Puff Pieces

            Yeah, I once had someone double check with me on Catholicism on that (“Uh… YES?”).

            And it’s primarily my Catholic background that makes me call BS on “Christian Nation” claims. I didn’t experience a lot of persecution myself, but I know our history. “Don’t pretend you always liked us and we were all one big happy Christian family! I’m onto you!”

      • Norse Alchemist

        It’s not that we are weirder than the Muslims, it’s that we don’t have a document history of proclaiming jihad and actually hunting down and killing people for drawing cartoons about our gods or heroes, haven’t been known to blow up buildings, kill our mothers, wives, and daughters in the name of honor (for not wearing the right clothes, or talking to a man not of the faith, or dating someone out of the religion, or leaving the religion, etc), or scream that anyone that doesn’t like us is a racist.

        We’re not weirder than Muslims, we’re a safer target to go after.

        • Cigfran

          Yeah, no one but Muslims blows up buildings.

          *cough*McVeigh*cough*Breivik*cough*

          And yeah, they’re certainly the only ones who are so free with the claim of ‘racism’ against anyone whom they feel challenged by…

          except you, of course, who have used it multiple times in this thread.

          • Daniel Kestral

            Not to mention abortion clinic bombings by radical christians, too!

          • Norse Alchemist

            Ah, but McVeigh was a radical Christian, and Breivik was a Darwinist or a Christian, depending on who you ask (his own manifest claims him to be an atheist and darwinist). Neither of which are Pagan.

            As for the Racism thing, yes, I have called out people here in this very threat for racist and sexist talk. But the issue is not the use of the cry of racist. It’s the fact that Muslims claim those who speak against Islam are racist, when Islam is not a race, but an Ideology (or a religion, depending on your point of view). Islam is not a race or a gender, it is a philosophy. I was commenting more on the improper use of the cry of racism.

          • http://www.facebook.com/rapture.hoax2011 Roy Linford Adams

            WHat a fake term “Darwinist”. Like it’s a religion or something. It’s no different than saying to someone “Oh, you believe in gravity? I didn’t know you were a Gravitist. Why did you stop believing in God?”

          • http://profiles.google.com/camille.klein Camille Klein

            You’ve also conveniently forgotten about Eric Rudolph, who blew up buildings and killed people.

            Dude, just admit it–you’re speaking from a position of racial bias, and you’re afraid that all those evil brown and black people will overrun the White Race, and you’re just using Islam as a convenient crutch.

            Seriously, you gleefully ignore the far larger and far more present threat of Dominionist Christianity, and instead claim that (for example) any woman who wears a niqab or any man who wears a turban or a djellaba is a bomb-totin’ turrist that wants to subjugate us all in the name of Islam.

            Get the hell over yourself already.

    • http://fabricdragon.livejournal.com/ kirsten

      just for the record… most of the loudest Xtians think of Muslims AS Pagans. i know the Pagans do not, but the Xtian evangelicals especially certainly do.

  • http://pagan-culture.blogspot.com/ Magaly Guerrero

    The idea of Christianity as a minority religion is ridiculous, even upsetting because by suggesting that they suffer the same ordeals as religions that are indeed marginalized, makes such religions less significant. The idea seems selfish and unjustified; just like the spoiled rich kid who wants it all, and throws a tantrum when the poor kid from the park doesn’t let her have the only toy she owns.

    • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

      YES! THAT! THANK YOU!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001395795787 Nicole Chojnacki

    Yes, I, too wish Christians would shut up about being a persecuted minority. I like that this blog entry brought up the point that perhaps Christianity’s survival depends on believers having a persecution complex.

    • http://pagan-culture.blogspot.com/ Magaly Guerrero

      Indeed; fear can act as nutrient for the unfounded.

  • Pagan Puff Pieces

    Well, yeah. That’s basically the story of privilege in a nutshell. Any attempt to even things out is scene as an attack, and you have a bunch of people who have been able and are largely still able to do what they place whining about the things they’re “not allowed” to do anymore and how there’s a huge conspiracy against them.

  • http://twitter.com/SodiumNoir Spikey

    a great article. kudos!

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      Word.

  • http://profiles.google.com/cosettefromjupiter Cosette Paneque

    I have said this many times: Persecution and suffering are built into the theology of Christianity in the form of its central figure, Jesus, who was persecuted, suffered greatly, and serves today as a model for Christian living. Whether it’s real or imagined persecution, mortification of the flesh, or even just illness and poverty, spiritual reward is wrapped up in welcoming and enduring corporal suffering. Christianity glorifies and sacralizes suffering and uses the promise of heaven as baited reward.

    • Jocelyne Houghton

      YES

    • http://www.facebook.com/EdAHubbard Ed Hubbard

      The need for enemy is the central core of Christianity, even if it is simply the devil. Being militant creates a structure of consistent expansion.

    • nanoboy

      Also, the story of the early Christians as told in Acts and other books deals mainly with the persecution of Christians, since at the time, they were very definitely oppressed by the Romans. Also, Christian prophecy is filled with talk about how Christians will be oppressed in the end times, at least according to fundamentalist interpretation.

      • Norse Alchemist

        Depend on your definition of “oppressed” as most evidence points to the Christians mostly engaging in criminal acts, and that’s what they were “persecuted” for. In fact, Christians would intentionally go out and commit crimes just so they could be “oppressed.”

        • Anonymous

          “Help help, I’m being repressed! Come see the violence inherent in the system!” -Dennis, “Monty Python’s Search of the Holy Grail”

          (I know, I lose teh internetz for quoting Monty Python. Sue me).

        • http://fabricdragon.livejournal.com/ kirsten

          uh..not so much the early Xtians.. i believe you are referring to the Muslim/Christian wars or the mid period Xtians. the Christians in the time of Rome mostly got killed for refusing to sacrifice to the emperor.. which admittedly was a crime, but hardly of the “lets deliberately go out and smash stuff” variety (that came later)

          • Anonymous

            Kirsten wrote:
            uh..not so much the early Xtians.. i believe you are referring to the Muslim/Christian wars or the mid period Xtians. the Christians in the time of Rome mostly got killed for refusing to sacrifice to the emperor.. which admittedly was a crime, but hardly of the “lets deliberately go out and smash stuff” variety (that came later)

            You may wish to get your facts straight first.

            330AD is hardly ‘mid-period’ for Christianity (considering its immediately after the Council of Nicea).

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decline_of_Greco-Roman_polytheism#Beginning_of_persecution_of_paganism

          • The_L

            Yes, AFTER the Council. There were a good 300 years of Christianity before that. I can see people saying “well, if they’re gonna treat us like shit anyway, why not do something to deserve it?” after a while. I’ve had to fight the temptation in myself.

          • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

            Not quite, kirsten…

            Hadrian enacted a law in the early 2nd century in which Roman citizens could only denounce someone as a Christian if they had already committed some other crime, but not just “for being Christian” in general. And, his “goodness” in this regard was highly praised by Christians for centuries afterwards. (Some of his other good pagan qualities, however, were not anywhere near as appreciated as that…)

          • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

            I seem to recall reading that Tertullian (a Christian no less) wrote that many early Christians deliberately goaded crowds into killing them so eager were they to become ‘martyrs’.

          • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

            The phenomenon of early Christians “goading” Pagans into killing them is well documented in the historical record, and it was openly discussed by early Christians themselves (they disagreed over whether or not this “counted” as genuine martyrdom). Some scholars now refer to this phenomenon as “voluntary martyrdom”.

            In response to Kauko’s comment:
            “I seem to recall reading that Tertullian (a Christian no less) wrote that many early Christians deliberately goaded crowds into killing them so eager were they to become ‘martyrs’.”

          • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

            What scholars call “voluntary martyrdom” I call…
            “Suicide-By-Centurion”.

            In response to Apuleius Platonicus’ comment:
            “The phenomenon of early Christians “goading” Pagans into killing them is well documented in the historical record, and it was openly discussed by early Christians themselves (they disagreed over whether or not this “counted” as genuine martyrdom). Some scholars now refer to this phenomenon as “voluntary martyrdom”.”

        • nanoboy

          Various early Roman emperors oppressed Christians, though the policies were never very consistent. Nero famously singled them out, mostly to deflect public anger. Diocletian and Maximinius diai set out to purge Christians violently, as well. Of course, later, it was the Pagans who were oppressed. I very much doubt that many Christians would be intentionally trying to get Roman punishment, as it was rather harsh, especially to non-citizens. It may have happened some, but it wasn’t the norm.

          I’m not saying that Christians are in anyway innocent of oppressing others through history, and I don’t have a dog in the fight, as I’m neither Christian nor Pagan (I’m a Deist) but they have been the subject of other institutions’ wrath. Today, there are Christians in the world who face varying degrees of persecutions. Hell, recently, a new country was formed over it: South Sudan. Also consider China, East Africa, and the Islamic world.

        • http://www.facebook.com/rapture.hoax2011 Roy Linford Adams

          We see it even now. Like those people that caused trouble at the Washington monuments and when the police arrived they turned on the cameras and started kissing. Then they posted the video after they got out of jail and claimed they were being arrested for kissing in public. As I said above, there’s no proof christians were ever persecuted by the Romans outside the bible and who wrote that? christians. I believe the only christians who were fed to lions were the ones who raped, stole and publically insulted Caesar.

      • Anonymous

        Not in Acts, so much. Acts focuses mostly on “omg, you guys, Christianity caught on SO QUICKLY!! Look at all the new believers we got in such a short time!”

        As for Revelation, I still believe that was referring to the Roman Empire. It’s hard to see “the beast with seven heads and ten horns” as much of anything else.

        • http://fabricdragon.livejournal.com/ kirsten

          also the 144 thousand or what not that will get saved? they did. Jerusalem was slaughtered by the Romans later …not by much, maybe 10-20 years…. and the ONLy ones who survived got out and watched from a nearby hill….it was a large number FOR that time period.
          and 666 was the numerology for the current Roman Enporer at the time, i understand. you cant exactly publish open diatribes against a emperor.

          • Nick Ritter

            I don’t know if you’ve ever read “VALIS” by Phillip K. Dick (or “The Exegesis of Phillip K. Dick” which is similar), but your comment made me think of that, and raised further thoughts, as well.

            I think that, when it comes down to it, Christianity’s view of themselves and the world only made any kind of sense (however tenuous) during that time period when they were being “persecuted” by the Roman Empire (the quotes are to indicate that there is doubt to how much they were being persecuted vs. actively seeking martyrdom). Christians, therefore, need to believe that they are in essentially the same situation, even when they are clearly not. Dick’s somewhat more mystical interpretation was that they still were in that situation, and that the last 1700 years were some kind of malignant illusion that everyone was caught in.

            The more correct answer, of course, is that Christians’ view of themselves and the world has not made any sense for a long, long time.

          • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

            “and 666 was the numerology for the current Roman Enporer at the time”

            If you write out the name Nero Caesar in Hebrew/ Aramaic letters (נרון קסר) and convert those letters to their numerical value (each Hebrew letter also traditionally stood for a number) you get 666.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ALynnThomas Amanda Lynn Nielsen Thomas

    I sometimes wonder why Christians think their god so weak. The Christians tried to wipe my Gods off the face of the Earth, and even without a PR/evangelical section to the religion; they have survived, and have followers. As much as Christians pay lip service to Jesus being all powerful, they sure as all get out don’t seem to act like he is, for he seems to be in constant need of their interference for him in society.

    • Kelly NicDruegan

      And cash… don’t forget his incessant need for cash. Jesus is always sending his followers out begging for cash. In spite of being the “Son of God and King of Kings” the ol’ boy just can’t seem to manage a dollar. I fully expect to see him standing on a street corner one day with a sign that reads “Will provide eternal Salvation for food”

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

      NOTHING cheeses them off as much as this fact you point out: I got kicked off a Catholic forum by simply pointing out this fact. Some fool was crowing about how we pagans just play act because paganism was “long dead.” I asked him how come if our gods are long dead, their Church has had to work 24/7 for the last 15 centuries to keep killing them? Why is it that our gods and pagan imagery keep boiling to the surface in virtually all of the artwork collected and commissioned by Christian authorities even at the height of their power a thousand years after pagan practice had vanished from living memory! That galls them, because they know what the answer is as well as we do….

  • http://www.OccultCorpus.com Caliban

    I am reminded of a friend of mine in college who, when counter-demonstrating agaist organizations like “Operation Rescue” would play to these very fears by encouraging us to chant “Bring back the lions! Bring back the lions!”

    It was not perhaps in the best of taste, but I do still think it’s funny.

    • Jocelyne Houghton

      Which reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw at a Pagan Faire in the 90s: “Christians. Can’t live with them, can’t feed them to the lions any more.”

      In poor taste, decidedly. Still, rather clever. Heh.

      • http://www.facebook.com/rapture.hoax2011 Roy Linford Adams

        That is so strange. I saw a bumper sticker that said “Wiccans, can’t live with them, can’t burn them at the stake anymore.” This was next to a “JESUS IS LORD” sticker.

    • Magaly Guerrero

      Funny and mildly frightening.

    • Guest

      Of course it’s not in the best of taste, Christians have an awful flavor. Poor lions…

      • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

        It’s all that mortification of the flesh, it really kills the flavor and makes the meat tough and stringy and gamy.

        • Anonymous

          And the bitter aftertaste. Don’t forget that.

  • Morningglory

    And if you go to Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, you will find a Muslim privilege or a Hindu privilege in India…this isn’t a mind-blowing article if you look around you. Frankly, I’ve seen a less narrow-minded Christian evolving around me. Christians who were buying from a Pagan shop and bathing in Love Spell bath oil. These younger Christians are trying and shouldn’t be lumped in with the older dinosaurs who are afraid of everything.

    • Tara

      Right, the difference being that in Muslim majority countries, Muslims don’t pretend to be a persecuted minority. Same goes for Hindus in India.

      • Lonespark

        I’m guessing they still may say that real, true, properly pious religious people are a minority.

      • http://fabricdragon.livejournal.com/ kirsten

        yes they do. at least some of them

        in many areas of India the (overwhelming majority) Hindi are so TERRIFIED of Xtian proselytizing and Muslim incursions….because after all India was a subject nation to Britain… and Pakistan is RIGHT THERE…
        meanwhile Pakistan thinks their way of life is threatened by the OMG Hindus…. they are so big and we are so small….

        The Islamic magazine my friend brought back from Egypt is all “OMG we are so persecuted by teh west, our way of life is THREATENED by the *overwhelming* force of media and propaganda.. our decent women are becoming whores.. etc etc etc.

        i assure you it is in NO way unique

        • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

          The Hindus have rather more reason to be worried than either Christians or Muslims, though.

  • Anonymous

    I agree that the factors Jason mentions all play a part. But I also believe that good old Jungian projection is at work, as well.

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    Part of the problem is the following: many of these smaller, extremely conservative groups of Christians (including many that fall under the “non-denominational” standard) think they are really the only “true” Christians, and they see all others as either false or not-good-enough in various ways.

    I’m not talking about Evangelicals thinking Mormons aren’t Christian, I’m talking about some of these smaller groups thinking that Catholics and Anglicans aren’t Christian, and that haven’t even heard of the Orthodox Christians before, but when they find out about them they disavow any sanction of that group’s Christian status as well.

    So, as those groups do tend to be smaller and more “fringe,” and they’ve done nothing to curry the favor of other types of Christian in ecumenical efforts and others may disagree with their views or resent their appropriation of exclusive Christian status, they think of themselves quite rightly as persecuted, “just like Jaysus was.”

    I’m not, by any means, saying it is right for them to think this–it’s stupid, if you ask me–but in their minds, and in actual reality, they do have some basis for thinking that. Their public voice is out-of-proportion to their actual demographics, certainly…

    • http://www.facebook.com/EdAHubbard Ed Hubbard

      You have hit it on the nail, Christianity is always in turmoil, as only a few represent the true faith, and must battle Satan-deceived churches for resources. They are cannibalistic in their structure, and they will feed on other Christians, and make them the Pagan and witch enemy.

      • http://www.facebook.com/rapture.hoax2011 Roy Linford Adams

        I sell a T-shirt that reads “No nation is undivided under God.” It seems fitting here.

    • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

      Protestantism, at its very foundations, is based on the absolute conviction that Roman Catholicism is not merely “non-Christian”, but that it is the Whore of Babylon, the Instrument of Satan, and so forth. That is right out of Luther and Calvin.

      Likewise, the only possible view consistent with Roman Catholicism is that all those outside the One True Church cannot possibly, in any way shape or form, be Christians.

      Also, in the majority of cases, as each little Protestant sectlet came into being (including “mainline” groups such as Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and so forth) they, from the very beginning considered only themselves to be the One True Church (in fact, there is no real justification otherwise to separate oneself from the religious fellowship of all other Christians and form one’s own sect).

      Whatever concessions have been made to this absolute intolerance of Christians for one another has never been theological, but merely a matter of making expedient alliances against all of the other Christians.

      This has only changed somewhat in the last half a century or so (2.5% of the history of Christianity). But even this change is still nothing but brazen opportunism, the only difference being now that Christians are willing to form a spiritual united front against all non-Christian religions, and put aside, for now, their contempt for one another.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000204507861 Cathie Rayes

        “Likewise, the only possible view consistent with Roman Catholicism is that all those outside the One True Church cannot possibly, in any way shape or form, be Christians.”

        I can tell you from personal experience this statement is not accurate. Roman Catholics believe and teach their children that ALL Christian religions have a part of the Truth. And while it is no longer commonly taught everywhere, there is an official doctrine in the RC church that each person is ultimately required to follow his or her conscience in all things, and that if what God calls a person to do is in conflict with the Church, then that person is required to follow God’s calling no matter the consequences.

        It is my belief that no institutionalized religion has a monopoly on either stupidity OR tolerance; Catholics are as likely as anyone from any other organized religion to accept that God speaks to everyone.

        • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

          “I can tell you from personal experience this statement is not accurate.”

          There are over 1 billion Catholics. They all have different personal experiences, and they all have differing beliefs, and they all teach their children according to those different experiences and beliefs. But that does not change Catholic theology. As you are probably aware, Catholics do not vote on theology. You’re opinion, as an individual Catholic, literally counts for precisely nothing, so far as the what the Catholic Church teaches or doesn’t teach.

          I used to be very active in the National Abortion Rights Action League. I knew quite a few Catholics who were also active in NARAL, some of them were quite active in their respective parishes. But that in no way shape or form impacts what the position of the Catholic Church is on abortion.

        • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

          “I can tell you from personal experience this statement is not accurate.”

          There are over 1 billion Catholics. They all have different personal experiences, and they all have differing beliefs, and they all teach their children according to those different experiences and beliefs. But that does not change Catholic theology. As you are probably aware, Catholics do not vote on theology. You’re opinion, as an individual Catholic, literally counts for precisely nothing, so far as the what the Catholic Church teaches or doesn’t teach.

          I used to be very active in the National Abortion Rights Action League. I knew quite a few Catholics who were also active in NARAL, some of them were quite active in their respective parishes. But that in no way shape or form impacts what the position of the Catholic Church is on abortion.

      • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

        I posted this elsewhere, but: “No wild beasts are so dangerous to men as Christians are to one another.” – Emperor Julian the Philosopher.

      • http://fabricdragon.livejournal.com/ kirsten

        (waves) Catholic here…. not so.
        official teaching from the Catechism is that ANY who are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are Christian.. and if they convert to Catholicism are NOT catechumens, but “candidates” because they are already RECOGNIZED as baptized Christians.

        and any who declare Jesus to be the “Son of God” and a handful of other beliefs is a non baptized Christian. (they are still Catechumens because they have to be baptized to join)

        so official teaching says they are Christian. heretical chrictisna perhaps, but christians none the less…. wheras Martin Luther and many current groups said Catholics were not Christians at all……

        that is not to say that individual churches and priests dont go against the rules, they do , of course… but those are the official rules.

        • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

          Catechism is, by definition, the version taught to children. In other words: lies.

          The simple fact is that there is absolutely no reason for the Roman Catholic church to even exist at all if one could achieve salvation without the Church.

          When pressed on this issue, Catholics are forced to retreat to weasle-words like the following: “while it is normatively necessary to be a Catholic to be saved there are exceptions.” (source)

          See, for example, Lumen Gentium (especially 14 and 15), where the “exceptions” are spelled out. The executive summary is that non-Catholics can be considered Christians only to the extent that they are still somehow “joined to the Church”. That is, those for whom it might be possible to gain salvation outside the Church still rely on the Church for their salvation. George Orwell can’t touch this level of doublespeak! Meanwhile, and in the same breath, Catholics are exhorted to pray for the return of all Christians to the One True Church. Amen.

          • The_L

            “Catechism is, by definition, the version taught to children.”

            Apuleius, my parents have at home a copy of both the regular and the childrens’ Catechism. I assure you, I would not dare read such a warped book as the official Catholic Catechism to ANY child. Even the kiddie Baltimore Catechism is pushing it. :P

          • Turnabout

            Those sources are interesting: I kind of wonder if the use of ‘normatively’ in your first link is a malapropism or the intended term. It wouldn’t be such a paradox if the word was ‘normally’.

            That said, I can see (theology-wise) the necessity of the Church needing to /happen/, in that Jesus had to sacrifice himself and form a new covenant with mankind in order to buy salvation for all, whereas following that exact faith afterwards is up to the individual. Whether that’s what is meant is… like almost all Catholic theology, up for interpretation.

            In my experience at least, we were just taught the doctrine of baptism by desire, and that other faiths have some measure of truth: the Catholic faith is just the most accurate one. Which was fair enough, under the circumstances: if you didn’t think so, you probably shouldn’t be taking vows to that effect…

            Thanks for the sources, but I have to ask: if lay belief is irrelevant because it ‘changes nothing’, and official codified catechism is lies, then where do you think the ‘actual’ belief of a church is? If what the believers think doesn’t count, what possibly can? Who does get to define the faith? The disputing clergy? The theologians? Do they actually erase millions of Catholics who merrily go on ignoring what they say?

            Our voices might not matter to the Church: personally, I’m still trying to find out how true that is. But I think they count for something in the real world, just like the Church’s real-world victims in practice aren’t erased by its theoretical compassion and justice for all.

          • Turnabout

            Those sources are interesting: I kind of wonder if the use of ‘normatively’ in your first link is a malapropism or the intended term. It wouldn’t be such a paradox if the word was ‘normally’.

            That said, I can see (theology-wise) the necessity of the Church needing to /happen/, in that Jesus had to sacrifice himself and form a new covenant with mankind in order to buy salvation for all, whereas following that exact faith afterwards is up to the individual. Whether that’s what is meant is… like almost all Catholic theology, up for interpretation.

            In my experience at least, we were just taught the doctrine of baptism by desire, and that other faiths have some measure of truth: the Catholic faith is just the most accurate one. Which was fair enough, under the circumstances: if you didn’t think so, you probably shouldn’t be taking vows to that effect…

            Thanks for the sources, but I have to ask: if lay belief is irrelevant because it ‘changes nothing’, and official codified catechism is lies, then where do you think the ‘actual’ belief of a church is? If what the believers think doesn’t count, what possibly can? Who does get to define the faith? The disputing clergy? The theologians? Do they actually erase millions of Catholics who merrily go on ignoring what they say?

            Our voices might not matter to the Church: personally, I’m still trying to find out how true that is. But I think they count for something in the real world, just like the Church’s real-world victims in practice aren’t erased by its theoretical compassion and justice for all.

    • Anonymous

      This, this, THIS. If you want to hear condemnation of Christians, listen to a Pentacostal preach.

      • Merofled Ing

        Look – isn’t this a bit like the pot calling the kettle? I remember some enormous upset when Benedikt XVI said on 10 Jul 2007 that the Protestant Churches weren’t really Churches … you can now split hairs if that means they aren’t Christian or they are, and I’m sure you’ll find a Protestant to quote back, but I’m not sure this will help.

        When I began studying European history, what disgusted me the most (in perfectly secular classes, this was history, not theology!), was the kind of sentiment shown when people would pipe up “Yes, but the other side did that too, and more!!” Whether it was torture in the context of reformation or counter reformation, or the burning of witches, or the churches’ behaviour during Hitler’s regime … – the other side did it too, so let’s substract the dead, and the side with a plus at the end loses. As good a reason to leave Christianity as any (or to leave a lot of other religions, too).
        Cathie Rayes is absolutely right with: “no institutionalized religion has a monopoly on either stupidity OR tolerance”.

        In the end I we should, of course, speak up to be heard in our own and pagan concerns, but what each of us should work at as least as hard is: let’s just not become like them. The point is not: let’s count their crimes and prove them wrong, or at least that point is low down on the list. Let’s show, we’re not like that. Let’s show we can be serious, and we can laugh, and we can be different.

        • The_L

          What? I never said that Pentecostals were the only ones doing it, or that they are somehow not Christians. I simply happen to hear the most venomous statements from Pentecostals.

          After all, most mainstream Christians don’t consider Mormons Christian, even though they are.

          Just because I was RAISED Catholic, doesn’t mean I still am, or that I will hesitate to put my former church in its place when it needs it. If we start talking about gay-bashing, misogyny, and child-molesting, I will prove this.

          • Merofled Ing

            Sorry, I’ve obviously angered you, and I didn’t mean to. There’s a misunderstanding here, and I realize my first paragraph contributes to that.

            I’m certainly not out to defend Pentecostals against Roman Catholics (or vice versa, or any other – insert whoever you want – group), I was simply not happy with all the “not us/it’s them” statements I was reading. Bible belters, from a comfortable majority position, picking on Roman Catholics – of course it’s not right, hurting individuals never is. Bible belters attacking the Roman Church for its view on Christianity or for lack of tolerance, well, they may have points, but it’s a laugh – the same holds true vice versa. And the other way round, again. XXXX, from a comfortable position of majority (or even without that), picking on ZZZZ isn’t right. XXXX using ZZZZ to prove they’re right, is silly.

          • Anonymous

            Exactly. :)

    • http://fabricdragon.livejournal.com/ kirsten

      as a public member of both a extreme minority Xtian group and as a public Catholic (not at the same time obviously lol) i can assure you that i was repeatedly told i was a heretic and a pagan and a non Christian.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

    We will never get the concession Jason seeks because Christianity’s power has always derived from the manipulation of fear, and nothing raises cash and gets followers in line like a persecution narrative. I frequently like to give them grief whenever I’m on a board dominated by them. Every time they crow about “persecution” over some unfavorable depiction in pop culture or some court ruling, I remind them that their true martyrs might have something to say about that. The Christians of old I’m sure were as maddening as those today, but they were made of sterner stuff.

    They have become so blind to their own privilege that the merest exercise of pluralism or democracy which forces them to share the public space in any way is now “persecution.” They’re so hysterical that they actually believe the advent of gay marriage is a government conspiracy to ultimately put them in concentration camps and outlaw their religion. Like all apocalyptic cults, they cut themselves off from voices other than their own and immerse themselves in a feedback loop of fear and anger. It’s like the Jonestown cult in every way, except that there are tens of millions of them. They are an extraordinarily dangerous movement and one which poses an existential threat to us and the very idea of civil society in this country.

    • http://www.facebook.com/EdAHubbard Ed Hubbard

      You are definitely correct about them being blind to their priviledge, and until we have the Congress composed of Christians of a particular denomination, so strongly as to enforce biblical law, then they will stay in this loop.

      Mind you, when they get that strong, a minority of peaceful ‘true’ Christians form with a new softer theology, and they will begin the process over.

      • Anonguest

        Most of the religions that are majorities are controlling and guilt producing on their adherents and people are raised in them without their choice and sometimes under threat of death should they leave. A privilege is viewed as a boon or a gift which is misleading in such contexts.
        When people mention privilege they’re actually referring to a classification that has greater access to wealth/resources and a better class perception, giving it more power. It’s these that need addressing.
        The class perception is that Christianity is somehow more noble (upper) than minority religions. Also in class perception it is also seen as fine and better to raise your children as Christians. The financial power is obvious in groups like the GOP, the resources clear in churches in nearly every town.

    • No Bod E

      Has anyone else noticed that to get elected in this country you must be a “Good Christian” ? It seems to me that they are the persecutors and NOT the persecuted.

  • http://heathenhall.blogspot.com Joseph

    “it is the “demonic” gods of non-Christians, returned again to bedevil and thwart Christ’s return.”

    I dunno. Sounds like a good idea, to me. ;-)

    • Ohiobirds

      no kidding. At times I think that this entire world needs an enema. Isn’t it funny that the deities of one culture were made into demons to scare them into following Christianity? So, in a sense, all the demons were in fact MADE by Christians…

  • http://profiles.google.com/bethnin Beth Winegarner

    An excellent post, Jason. I incorporated it into my post today about an Illinois inmate who was denied a request to have a copy of the Satanic Bible, which to him is a sacred text: http://backwardmessages.wordpress.com/2011/08/11/judge-discriminates-against-illinois-prisoners-request-for-sacred-text/

  • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

    “The West” = “Christendom”, and until such a time as there are multiple non-monotheistic religions with substantial and stable followings in the West, this will remain the case.

    As a direct result of the Spiritual Warfare waged by mainstream Christianity over the last 17 centuries, people who try to “leave” Christianity today continue to retain a deeply ingrained psychological habit of automatically associating all religions with the violent, intolerant, and authoritarian qualities of Christianity. That is, even for would-be non-Christians, Christianity still remains the template according to which all other religions are (mis-) understood.

    To actually succeed in shaking the Christian dust from one’s feet requires a significant, sustained effort. And this effort must be directed toward some other religion, not merely away from Christianity. If one simply tries to leave Christianity, one will just get sucked back in. The same also applies to those who try to embrace some other religion, but lack the understanding, or the courage, to renounce Christianity and make a clean break with it.

    • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

      As a former atheist who had been a former Roman Catholic,I’ve had to go through just that process of shaking the Galilean dust from my feet. This is very, very, very true. So when people mis-understand religion based on Christianity, it really, really, REALLY drives me berserk. (All the more so because I used to do the exact same thing.)

    • Anonymous

      …I had to resist the urge to say “Amen!” XD

      It did help me a bit that I read mythology books from an unusually early age, and can’t even remember ever not knowing the story of Romulus and Remus.

    • The Bony Man

      I tend to disagree with Apuleius on many things, but I find myself saying “Amen” to this one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/EdAHubbard Ed Hubbard

    Actually, if you want to see the power of the invisible privilege go no farther than Patheos and Wild Hunt Blog. Since Wild Hunt transferred from a independent Pagan site, to a Interfaith site, primarily supported by ads from the Christian community and Google Adsense, Pagans are continuously being shown Christian based ads. So this is the power of the Invisible Privilege, even right here deep in our sphere, and at one of the most respected Pagan blogs.

    • Grimmorrigan

      THANK YOU! I use ad blocker and no script on the home compute but at work I marvel at the amount of Christian Single ads I see on this site. It always get a giggle and a sigh.

      • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

        Grimmorrigan, the Christian Singles are clearly looking for sexy, uninhibited, guilt-free Pagan love. ;)

        • Thelettuceman

          They’re too vanilla for my tastes!

          • Grimmorrigan

            Ain’t that the truth. I’ve never liked vanilla. unless it was blended with something more flavorful.

          • Norse Alchemist

            ~Convert, convert, convert the Christians to kinky Pagan ways~

          • http://castwidethecircle.wordpress.com/ Grimmorrigan

            Looks like someone is getting a head start on us.

            The following link is semi NSFW and I do not know if it is a parody ( Dear gods I really hope it isn’t) with that being said I present to you…..
            http://www.sexinchrist.com/fist.html

        • Anonymous

          One of my Christian exes certainly was. :P

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002086502589 Kira BlueStar

      I had no idea there were ads at TWH. Have you tried AdBlock Plus? It’s free and works with many different browsers.

      • http://www.facebook.com/EdAHubbard Ed Hubbard

        Actually I don’t use one for one main reason. I want to pay back the people who pay for us to get the Blog. It is part of the special insanity that has denied many good Pagan sites a chance to survive, because there was no income given, not nearly enough donations, and have no income. So to block all ads only guarantees someday this will be a subscription only site, or keeps Jason in dependence and poverty.

    • http://vermillionrush.wordpress.com Vermillion

      If you can install them AdBlocker + No Script are your friends. I’ve never seen an ad on THW (No Script makes it a bit harder to post comments but not impossible as is proved by my constant comments XD)

      • Grimmorrigan

        One extra step is worth it for never having to see ads. I’ve had a love affair with no script since it was around.

        • http://vermillionrush.wordpress.com Vermillion

          No script has saved my butt far far too many times for me to ever be without it. It’s the first thing I install on a new browser.

    • Boris

      The ads depend on the country you ive in. I live in the Netherlands, and I get Dutch ads inserted into the Wild Hund. By the way, they are never Christian or religious, just commercial.

      • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

        It’s based on your search history. I get pizza ads because I order pizza online often. People don’t realize this and about once every two weeks someone ignorantly sounds the “we’re being repressed” alarm.

        • Souris Optique

          All I ever get are Christian singles ads, and I’ve been neither Christian, single, or searching for any related topics in over 15 years.

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

      It’s Google Ad-Sense, and based on your search habits. It’s not a nefarious plot. All I ever get are pizza ads.

      We’ve actually had several meetings getting dedicated Pagan advertisers, and I have another one this week. You yourself have looked into advertising with us, but I understand you backed out. It’s tough for a lot of Pagan businesses right now, and their ad budgets are tight. We’ve had Pagan ads before, and we will again.

      We are not primarily supported by Christian ads. You should really check your facts before you sound off, Ed.

  • Kilmrnock

    our xtian freinds are indeed nuts . the whole persicuted minority idea is absurd as has been pointed out we live in a judeo- xtian majority land .something like 70to 80 percent of the US population identifies as Judeo-xtian. i also have a tee shirt i had to buy a while back that reads ” so many christians , so few lions “.i don’t wear it b/c i do believe it to be inflamatory , but still darkly funny to my pagan mind .the xtians do have a invisable privledge tis all around us , all you need to do is look around , it’s presence is quite obvious .these extremist groups need to get thier heads out of thier arses and also get out of our politics b/f they ruin our society.now it looks as if the rantings and ravings of the right have damamged our economy again. the current stock market fall is the direct result of the repulican economic policy. the hostige holding of the debt ceiling , all thier carrying on about the govt debt and economic cuts in a depressed economy has lead to our current situation . i agree something needed to be done , but not this radical and all at once in a depressed economy like we have now .from what i’ve heard and understand from leading economists govt . spending needs to increase to stimulate the economy or atleast increase taxes on the rich to raise govt revenues. not to even mention that all the cuts the right wants are on the backs of the middle and lower class . gods forbid the rich and powerful companies share some of the burden . this whole thing is lop-sided in favor of the rich and big powerful companies.the right wing concept of trickle down economics doesn’t work . time has proven this . now the rich are getting richer , and the poor and middle class poorer. this needs to change , our democrat , left wing president and congress need to grow some balls and oppose this nonsence b/f it’s too late. i don’t wish to see our noble experiment Fail in my life time , The US govt and constitution are based on a balance of power , not one group rule and control of our govt .. all of this mess was precipatated by the teabaggers and ultra right wing Xtian conservatives .

    • Anonymous

      Um…you may want to use the Shift and Enter keys a bit more often. No offense, but a long wall of text with no capitalization anywhere is a lot harder to read than a short post, or one that is broken up into paragraphs.

      Just a tip. :)

  • Anonymous

    Many sentences would ring as true if the word “Christian” was replaced with “white” or “male.” What is it about privilege that makes it easier to hold onto if you deny it exists?

    In Texas last week, I stopped in a Baptist bookstore to purchase ritual supplies (a great place to get little disposable communion cups). Waiting in line, I stood next to a display of back-to-school items–pencil cases, notebooks, and so forth–with Christian persecution messages, such as a large cross with the legend “This is illegal in 29 countries.” Ok, it’s a Baptist bookstore, I told myself. Today, in a Wal-Mart in Siler City NC, I saw a point-of-purchase display of the same line of goods set up right next to the ordinary school supplies. It’s North Carolina, I tell myself. But that’s not an acceptable answer. The kids who purchase these (or their parents) have little likelihood of having had experienced real discrimination or persecution in their lives. This is the road to smugness, not enlightenment.

    • Norse Alchemist

      PhaedraHPS, take your racist, sexist butt and go. All sexes and races at this point can claim that they are “Oppressed” when they in fact have many privileges over the other groups. I’m tired of people whining that “White Men” are soooo privileged. Please. I’m White. I’m a Male. And trust me, I ain’t got no more going for me than anyone else. And if you insist that I do, because of my sex, or my gender, then maybe you need to take a look at your own racial/sexual attitudes. If you look at a group of people and see only that they are different from you and everyone else, that they are “privileged,” and think that maybe that “privilege” needs to be taken away in the name of “equality,” I recommend some deep introspection.

      You will most likely say that i’m holding onto that privilege by denying it. You’re wrong. But you will believe as you like, and when someone comes along spouting that “Oh, the White Man has privileges and powers you don’t,” you’re buying into a racist/sexist ideology no different from hating those of any other race or gender. Perhaps even worse, because in saying that White Men have more privileges in this age, after everyone, White, Black, Asian, Men, Women, Heterosexual, and Homosexual, has fought to bring about the greatest level of human equality in history, and moving towards even more, it sounds to me like you’re agreeing that all those who aren’t “white” or “male” just can’t cut it on their own merits. You gotta tear someone else down, proclaimed their “privileged” and use that to explain why “no body else has what they have.”

      Think about that.

      • Anonymous

        My goodness. All that to read before my first cup of coffee.

        As was mentioned in another comment, privilege is often the water that the fish cannot see. Sometimes, however, it is visible. I know I get privileges for being white and superficially hetero. I lose points for being female, and for getting older. I live in the South, now. In many places, I lose points for that.

        When I wrote my original comment, I remembered a conversation about feminism I had with my own father more than 40 years ago. “I was raised to believe,” he told me, “that being a man and being white gave me certain advantages in this world. It’s not fair at my age to take those privileges away from me.” I was shocked, then. Now, at least I give him credit for recognizing his privileged position.

        Of course, things were more black and white (so to speak) in those days. Some things have changed. I remember the first time I got on a bus in Chicago and the bus driver was a black woman. Many riders congratulated her. People of my father’s generation would have been just as surprised (if perhaps more hostile) the first time they had a bus driver who was a black man.

        But as long as I can look at photos of corporate boards or legislative bodies and see a sea of white men in suits, far out of proportion to their numbers in the general population, I know we have a ways to go.

        Knowing it is worse in other places does make me grateful for what we have here. But that is not enough. As a young woman, I often heard the slogan, “America–love it or leave it!” We learned to answer, “America–love it? Make it better!”

        • Norse Alchemist

          And sometimes those who think they are fish that can’t see the water, are actually birds flying where there is not water.

          You say you look at a corporate board or legislative body and see a sea of white men, there fore there must be racial/sexual privilege that put them there. Apparently the skills of those involved, based on individual merit, is meaningless. They are White. They are Men. It doesn’t matter how hard they worked, how much that gave up and sacrificed to get there. Doesn’t matter if they were skilled, or intelligent, or lucky. Nope. They were White Men.

          When you look at someone like Steve Jobs, do you see a man of character and skill, who worked hard to get where he was by his skills and mind? Or do you just see another white man of privilege? Bill Gates? Anderson Cooper? Bill Clinton? Was it their talents? Seems to me, you don’t see those. You just see a race. You see a gender. You don’t see people. You don’t see individuals. You don’t see merit.

          You see the Hue of skin, the organs of a sex, and the presumption of an orientation. And as i understand it, that is what it means to be racist and sexist. You don’t see people for who they are. you see them for what you think they are, and call them privileged, with no thought to anything else.

          • Anonymous

            “…with no thought to anything else.”

            Sigh. There’s an assumption for you.

            Another blast from the past. Sitting in the cafeteria of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, circa 1976. White male student (younger than me) sitting across the table. “Women shouldn’t be in art school. Women are not great artists. There’s never been a female Picasso.”

            To which I replied, “There’s never been an American Picasso, either. Guess you’d better quit school.”

            (It’s interesting to think that it is white guys his age who are now running for president.) (Yes, I know not just white guys. And not just guys.) (But apparently we’re still more willing to nominate a black *guy* than a white woman ;-) (The day I heard my 88-yr-old mother tell me, “I don’t know who to vote for in the primary, the black guy or the woman,” I knew that hell hath froze over. Either that, or my mother had been replaced with a pod person. ;-)

            The assumptions of one’s youth are hard to shake. I’m sure I have my own. But I have tried to examine my prejudices and to live thoughtfully for many decades, now. I have seen enough to observe that hard work and ability are not always enough. Life is tough. Society is flawed. Men don’t face some of the hurdles I do. Christians don’t face some of the hurdles I do. And women of color of minority religions have it worse than me. I do them no service pretending otherwise.

          • Souris Optique

            “You say you look at a corporate board or legislative body and see a sea of white men, there fore there must be racial/sexual privilege that put them there. Apparently the skills of those involved, based on individual merit, is meaningless.” Just say “Obviously it’s all white men because white men are just better” next time. It’s shorter.

      • Cigfran

        > I’m White. I’m a Male.

        Really? How surprising and novel.

        • Norse Alchemist

          Your sarcasm leaves something to be desired. And do you have a problem with my race and gender?

      • Loro

        I’m also white, heterosexual, and male. And yes, I do enjoy privilege as a member of each of those categories.

        For example, I was just offered a job alongside a female friend of mine, with the same amount of education and experience that I hold. Without negotiation, I was offered a higher starting salary than her current pay, despite her holding the position for over a year. This is what male privilege looks like.

        During a trade conference in my hometown, myself and a black friend dropped into a department store for job interview needs. I was pleasantly ignored, only encountering employees when I sought them out. He, meanwhile, was asked over a dozen times if he needed help in the same time span, and had security guards monitoring him as he moved through the store. This is what white privilege looks like.

        Privilege is not a conscious effort (that would be outright racism or sexism). The department store employees probably did not realize his race was the reason they thought him more likely to steal from them. The hiring manager very likely did not consciously think I was worth more as a male. Privilege is subtle, and very easy to miss when you are the beneficiary of it.

  • http://www.wiccanweb.ca Makarios

    Awhile ago, Kathy Goodman and Tricia Seifert prepared a handout entitled “40 examples of Christian privilege.” The Great Oracle Google should lead to a pdf. The first 10:

    1. It is likely that state and federal holidays coincide with my religious practices, thereby having little to no impact on my job and/or education.
    2. I can talk openly about my religious practices without concern for how it will be received by others.
    3. I can be sure to hear music on the radio and watch specials on television that celebrate the holidays of my religion.
    4. When told about the history of civilization, I am can be sure that I am shown people of my religion made it what it is.
    5. I can worry about religious privilege without being perceived as “self-interested” or “selfseeking.”
    6. I can have a “Jesus is Lord” bumper sticker or Icthus (Christian Fish) on my car and not worry about someone vandalizing my car because of it.
    7. I can share my holiday greetings without being fully conscious of how it may impact those who do not celebrate the same holidays. Also, I can be sure that people are knowledgeable about the holidays of my religion and will greet me with the appropriate holiday greeting (e.g., Merry Christmas, Happy Easter, etc.).
    8. I can probably assume that there is a universality of religious experience.
    9. I can deny Christian Privilege by asserting that all religions are essentially the same.
    10. I probably do not need to learn the religious or spiritual customs of others, and I am likely not penalized for not knowing them.

    Another statement, originally made by David Gaider with reference to heterosexual privilege, but still applicable IMO:

    You can write it off as “political correctness” if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, and everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.

    • Anonymous
      • Sunweaver

        Thank you for that.

    • AnonGuest

      I’m going to write this off as shallow tripe that could cause people to be dismissal of some serious issues. I’m sorry to be harsh, but wow is it shallow.
      I don’t mind if someone wishes me a Happy … I like happiness, and think it’s a well-wishing, and meant as nice. I loathe “Silver Bells” and “Winter Wonderland” on repeat for 3 months of the year at stores, but the reason such crap is played over and over is due to the perception those aren’t actually religious carols and therefore non-offensive since they don’t mention Jesus.
      I’ve heard of people vandalizing cars for all kinds of bumper stickers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=687696001 Cheryl Essary Nesselrodt

    I think this love of the idea of persecution comes straight from 2 Timothy, where we find a veritable list of “signs” of the so-called last days: “3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” They WANT to be persecuted, because that means we are in the end times. They will grasp at anything to claim persecution, if it means Jesus is coming back soon.

    • Anonymous

      Which is scary in and of itself. A desire for Jesus to return is the same as a desire for the world to end and for all the “unsaved” people around you to suffer a horrible death, followed by an even more horrible afterlife. What kind of sociopath do you have to be to want every living thing on the planet, except for a small group of privileged humans, to be destroyed?

      • Mountaindwellinchick

        “What kind of sociopath do you have to be to want every living thing on the planet, except for a small group of privileged humans, to be destroyed?”

        C. Peter Wagner, John Hagee, Tim LaHaye, Mike Bickle, Lou Engle, Cindy Jacobs, Janet Porter, Che Ahn, Ed Silvoso, Dutch Sheets, John Maxwell, Dick Eastman, George Otis, John Dawson…

  • Anonymous

    Cossette is correct about the “suffering Jesus” mentality but it doesn’t stop there. Jason asked ; “How can a group see itself as a minority when it holds so much power?”
    This is not just a subliminal message given to the follower, but an actual teaching in the church. So many Sundays I sat in the pews while this pastor or that reverand got “amen brother! Tell it!” from the congregation as he spoke on the “blessedness of suffering” and how we were “gods chosen people…” and how, because of our belief we would suffer…as Jesus did…as the disciples did….as the Jews did….

    You see? It’s not just that Christianity hints that masochism is spiritually valuable, it teaches that masochism should be sought after, held up and is praise-worthy.

    This is why you can walk up to a straight, white,male,church-going senator
    who has a big house, a mexican maid, a boat, a few hundred thousand tucked away just in case the kids need braces and say “Do you think Christians are persecuted?”
    and he will look you straight in the eye and say, “yes.”

    Malaz

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000204507861 Cathie Rayes

      I got the same sermons and messages in church when I was growing up. It’s fundamental to Bible-based religions. They MUST be persecuted, because Jesus said they would be. How’s that verse go? “Blessed are you when they persecute and revile you in My name.” So if Christians are NOT persecuted, then they are not following Jesus, right? They have to find it somewhere–even if they have to make it up–in order to preserve their self image as good Christians.

  • Charles Cosimano

    It would be wise to stop using the word “privilege.” The folks whom you refer to as having don’t believe that they do, would have no reason to object to having it if they did believe it and get so mad when they hear it they just slam the door and dialogue, if there was any hope of it, ends.

    It really is a waste of time talking about it.

    • http://elf.dreamwidth.org/ Elf

      Feel free to suggest alternative ways of pointing out the institutional advantages society grants to Christians (and males, and white people, and straight people, and so on).

      The word “privilege” has become a stumbling block, much like the word “sexism,” and for much the same reasons–the people who enforce it want to believe that because they are *good* people, they cannot be participating in some nasty oppressive system they’re not even consciously aware of.

      Refusing to label a problem doesn’t make it go away. Refusing to use a label for a problem because the people causing and enforcing the problem are uncomfortable with it doesn’t help anyone.

      • Norse Alchemist

        Or maybe they’re just tired of your own racist and sexist attitudes against, say “whites, heterosexuals, and males.”

        After all, you can only be called an evil, privileged person so long before you stop being able to take it and just want the other person to shut up. Especially if you are one of those “good” people who actually do try to be respectful, not oppress anyone, and go out of their way to be neutral if not helpful.

        You can say I’m refusing to label the problem, but I’ve never oppressed a minority, never done ill to a homosexual, or anything like that. But still I get to hear all about how I’m an “evil privileged white heterosexual man who oppresses everyone with my system.” And I’m sick of it. Stop your own racism and sexism.

        You want to see real racial and sexual privilege? Leave America. Go to the Middle east, or China, or Africa. Go see what the Morality Police in Saudi Arabia do to those who are Pagan. Oh, wait you can’t. They kill them all. See what they do to the gays. You might be in time for an execution. Might even be yours. Try being different over there. Try it in China. Try it in Egypt. Try it in Somalia.

        White people aren’t perfect. Men aren’t perfect. But we’re as human as the next person, and we do our best to do the right thing. So shut up with your racism and sexism. I’m sick of it, and so are a lot of other people, even if they are too polite or scared to say it.

        • Merofled Ing

          So, again, let’s count the dead and injured, and the side with a plus at the end loses.
          You’re so right, Norse Alchemist, Middle East, China, Africa … lots of places are much worse. Forgive those who set their sights slightly higher than that. You know, those ‘racist’ ‘sexist’ undoubtledly feminist people. They should be soooo grateful for not being shot, who could ask for more.

          • Norse Alchemist

            Who could as for more? Everyone. All I want is for people to stop putting the evils of “White Men” above the evils of everyone else on this planet.

        • BlackCat

          Please explain how a white person telling another white person that being white in America bestows upon them an inherent set of perks that are not given to other ethnicities… is being racist against white people.

          • Norse Alchemist

            Gee, maybe the way they say it? Ever think of that?

        • Anonymous

          “If you don’t like it here, leave and go to ” is not a compelling argument. It’s an excuse not to change things just because there happens to be some backwater nightmare on the planet that’s worse.

          I’m white, male and straight. I know that the world at large and this country in particular looks at me as being “better” because of those things. I have squat to do with that, it’s been that way since long before I was born, so yeah if we want to get technical it’s not “my fault”. So what? Should I get a cookie or a gold star because I personally didn’t have anything to do with any of the oppression? Should I pat myself on the back because despite what other people do, I show respect for those around me and treat people as I would have them treat me? I’m not a dog, I don’t need or want reward or praise for that. Does it bother me sometimes when people assume that I’m looking down on them just like bunches of straight, white guys have done thousands of times before me? Sure. But instead of getting my ass all chapped about it, I show them who I really am. I also realize that not every conversation about white, straight men is about me personally. Works a lot better than “RAWR, I WHITE GUY AM TIRED OF ALL YOU NON-WHITE PEOPLE BEING MEAN TO ME AND SAYING UNKIND THINGS, I DEMAND YOU CEASE!”. Whether you realize it or not, you sound like you’re defending all those bigoted idiots you go out of your way to say you have nothing to do with. What boon do you think you have a right to demand besides the recognition that you’re not that kind of person?

          You want to pretend we all have a level playing field and everything is sunshine and roses for all the peoples of the world, that’s your prerogative. You can even demand that everyone around you not argue to the contrary so as not to bruise your thin skin. Unfortunately for you, nobody else is honor bound to obey you. You can either get used to that, or maybe YOU can move to somewhere those people are not permitted to hurt your feelings so bad.

          • Norse Alchemist

            So what, my choices are “sound like a bigot” or “shut up?”

            Seriously? I thought (based on the comments of people here and elsewhere) that we were trying to make this country better for everyone, with freedom and liberty for all, and equality to boot. I didn’t realize that meant that “whitey has to shut it” when people call him a privileged racist homophobic sexist. Suddenly just being white an existing in the system makes it all your fault, based on color and gender.

            I grew up thinking everyone was equal, that everyone should be judged by their merits and that this was how all people in America thought. I thought the dream of MLK had be realized in my life time. Then I hit the real world, and places like this, and I see the racism, and the sexism. I see people hating other ’cause of the hue of their skin or the gender or sex by which they are identified. And low and behold, the Dream faded, and I found not but a bunch of people whining about how they’re being persecuted, and blaming everyone else. Blacks blame whites (and get nods about how right they are), White blame Whites (and are called progressive), Whites blame blacks (and get called bigots). Arabs blame everyone, so on and so forth!

            Is this really the results? Is this the legacy of our civil rights? Does equal rights mean that now we all hate each other, and claim everyone else has a privilege while “we” don’t?

            If we really want to stop the hate. If we really want to get equality, we have to stop blaming. Sure, certain groups might have more members in positions of authority or wealth. But we have to stop seeing everyone as part of disparate groups! Everywhere I see people calling for peace, coexistence, and tolerance. But Those same people are ones I hear screaming about how some group is privileged and they need to give it up, pay for it, or so on.

            We have to stop seeing people as part of a group like that. We have to stop looking at lines of race and gender. We have to look at them as people! We have to stop seeing “Black Man” and see Jamal. We have to stop seeing “White Man” and see Fredrik. We have to stop seeing, “Race/Gender” And start seeing the individual people in those places!

            So call me a bigot if you like. Tell me that my insistence that people stop blaming white men or saying that we’ve got more privileges is nothing more than a cloak to keep said “privileges” and an act of racism. Go ahead. I have stopped caring what people label me. Call me racist, evil, insane, deluded, naive, whatever.

            It won’t change what I’ve said. It won’t change reality one way or the other. Believe as you want, and call me whatever you please. But I have never judged a man or woman by anything other than idividual merit, even as I watch the dream of civil rights and equality burn in the face of revenge and prejudice. Want to see where your talk of White Privilege leads? Look in Phili. Look in London. See what goes on there. And know, that one day, people who feel that one race has something over them, will get up and burn that race to the ground in order to “take back the power.”

          • Anonymous

            See, this is the problem. I say, “White privilege exists whether any of us had anything to do with it or not” and you hear “YOU’RE A HORRIBLE PERSON FOR BEING WHITE AND NOTHING YOU DO WILL CHANGE THAT!!1!”. Lemme try and say this again very clearly. It is not your fault because you are white or straight or anything else. YOU, the individual, have nothing to do with the fact that we all live in a world where the people outside the group you’re in have been labeled as criminally-inclined, shiftless, lazy animals for centuries before either of us were even born. But pretending that all of that is better now, that all that societal programing just vanished within the past 40 years like smoke in a breeze isn’t just naive, it’s stone stupid. I don’t know what world you live in, but I’m stuck in the one where some cowardly dog was planning on blowing up a bunch of people at an Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade and by some miracle managed to fail. The one where a bunch of kids ambushed a black man leaving his job, beat him to a pulp in a parking lot while they were shouting “White power!” and then ran him over and killed him with a godsdamn pickup truck. The one where some loser kid who had to be hand-held by the FBI is Yet More Proof of the Looming Muslim Threat but white guys with bombs, sodium cyanide, huge stockpiles of guns and even double-digit body counts are “lone nuts”. Maybe when you’re done feeling sorry for yourself you can lift your head up, take a look around and see that other people have a lot worse things to deal with than angry words cast at them.

      • AnonGuest

        I said above my opinion:
        “When people mention privilege they’re actually referring to a classification that has greater access to wealth/resources and a better class perception, giving it more power.”

        Wealth or Poverty obviously then in my view take a greater role than skin tone, orientation, religion, and class, involving both class perception and access to resources including health, education, beauty, and legal.

    • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

      If they’re prattling on about being a persecuted minority, there likely can’t be any hope of dialogue to begin with. Also, from what I’ve read so far, the whole “privilege” thing seems to be like a fish not noticing the water they swim in. To extend the metaphor a bit, we are like land creatures in the water, very aware of the water which the fish take for granted. So…I don’t see how it’s a waste of time calling a spade a spade, calling things by their proper names.

  • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

    If they were really a persecuted minority, things would be VERY different.and you’d hear a lot more of “Christianos ad Leones!”

    ( For people so focused on their origins as a persecuted minority religion, they seem awfully forgetful of what real persecution is. Instead they go “What?! What do you mean we have to COEXIST with…*shudder*…Non-Christians…You mean we’re not getting our way? BAWWWW, PERSECUTION!)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1640055259 Yovonne Aallyouneedtoknowisthe

    *laughs out loud* Pardon, but I just had to point out that the adds to the right of this post were for Christianmingle dot com and to sign a petition sponsored by Senator Rand Paul.

    Yeah, Christians are such a persecuted minority….my Great Aunt Annie’s Fanny!

    • http://www.myspace.com/kadynastar Khryseis_Astra

      Along the same lines, I just saw a horrifying advertisement on youtube for the *National Guard*… *shudder* The text reads on the first frame “You’re armed with something more powerful than any weapon.” The second frame reads “FAITH.” And the third says “You are needed here.” Background image: torso of a soldier with a Bible tucked under his arm.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, the National Guard needs to come up with better ways to recruit chaplains. A book as a weapon is…kinda creepily accurate, if you’re talking about the Inquisition.

    • Cara

      The ads that you see are generated by your search and browsing history. If you don’t want to see ads for dating services and Rand Paul, you need to change the websites you go to.

      Heh…I won’t tell you what ads come up for me.

      • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

        I wonder though if it is about the actual content of the pages you look at or just words contained within them. So, in other words, could Christian ads that appear for me sometimes here be due to the fact that the word ‘Christian’ or other Christian-specific terminology appears on this or other Pagan sites/ blogs I might visit?

  • Litesp33d

    The problem with all religions is that you take a child that is preprogrammed by evolution to accept instruction from adults. If that instruction involves brainwashing about gods and other myths an legends it becomes part of the persons psyche. Eventually they reach the age of reason about 8 ish when they start to ask the obvious questions which show the whole thing is a pack of lies and stories. Now here they either get browbeaten into accepting this nonsense as truth by the most dire of threats which scar some people for life or they get through this and become life long doubters. If they can find brights or athesists or humanists or other free thinkers they may escape religion.

    If not some just accept 2 contradictory points as truth at the same time and believe both and promulgate the same themselves. If challenged with logic and reason they become defensive and angry. Often shouting their truth from the pulpit.

    Others brainwashed into belief in God but looking around see their peers not following the ‘word’ assume it is just the group they belong to and that the ‘truth’ lies elsewhere. Unable to accept that there is no god they spend a lifetime moving from congregation to group, some even jumping creed by joining another faith altogether. Always ultimately doomed to failure and they know it. Such is the evil of the indoctrination of the child and why the jesuits say give us the child to the age of 7 and I will give you the man (or woman).

    • No Bod E

      It is also why Christians are taught to ” bring up a child in the way (Christian) he should go and when he is old , he will not depart from it. ” It took me most of my life ( and I’m 50+) to break away and find where I truly belong. I am PAGAN !!!!

    • Anonymous

      I am so thankful that I grew up pagan-ish.

      “Contemplate the workings of this world, listen to the words of the wise, and take all that is good as your own. With this as your base, open your own door to truth. Do not overlook the truth that is right before you. Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly and freely between the rocks. Also learn from holy books and wise people. Everything – even mountains, rivers, plants and trees — should be your teacher.” – Morehei Oeshiba, “The Art of Peace”

    • http://www.ohmykurenai.com WhiteBirch

      We should be careful not to be unfair. I had a Christian upbringing and grew up believing it — without significant doubts and without any sort of fear or pressure. I was NEVER threatened, NEVER browbeaten, and NEVER coerced. I was not a doubter until long long after that point. What I was was influenced by other peoples’ genuine belief.

      I get that Christianity is frequently the enemy, but painting every Christian with the same brush is unfair. Privileged? Absoutely. Every single Christian parent threatening hellfire and every child growing up terrified or a doubter? No.

      • Turnabout

        My father was an (ex-)seminary student with a passion for theology, a deep faith and a positive lifelong relationship with the Catholic Church.

        Precisely for this reason he taught us to question what we were taught (by demonstration: some dads play football with their kids, we have theological/sociological debates), to think and reason about what we believed and why, to listen respectfully to other people’s faiths as well as value our own. When I had doubts, even as a child, they were respected; when I had questions, they were answered, and nobody insisted I had to be satisfied with the answers on offer.

        tl;dr: I second WhiteBirch: most Christian parents I know of don’t terrorise their kids for the faith and hardly need to. I just want to add that some of us were explicitly given plenty of room to doubt and disagree, and that did more to win our respect for our parents’ beliefs than any dumb fear-mongering.

    • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

      Irrespective of your beliefs or lack thereof on deity and spirituality,etc. (“brights” and “free thinkers” sound atheist) you seem to have a rather simplistic and frankly, parochial understanding of religion. I’m just gonna quote Apuleius Platonicus (who wrote the following elsewhere in these comments), because he hit the nail on the head:

      “As a direct result of the Spiritual Warfare waged by mainstream Christianity over the last 17 centuries, people who try to “leave” Christianity today continue to retain a deeply ingrained psychological habit of automatically associating all religions with the violent, intolerant, and authoritarian qualities of Christianity. That is, even for would-be non-Christians, Christianity still remains the template according to which all other religions are (mis-) understood.

      To actually succeed in shaking the Christian dust from one’s feet requires a significant, sustained effort. And this effort must be directed toward some other religion, not merely away from Christianity. If one simply tries to leave Christianity, one will just get sucked back in. The same also applies to those who try to embrace some other religion, but lack the understanding, or the courage, to renounce Christianity and make a clean break with it. “

      • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

        I’d also like to add that trying to understand religion as a whole based on Christianity is like trying to understand mammals as a whole based on platypi and echidnas. Or trying to play chess using the rules from “Scrabble”.

    • http://twitter.com/ouranophobe Áine

      The continuance of religion and religious thought are not solely within the realm of indoctrination of children by parents (or other authority figures). We, as a species, evolved a sensitivity and susceptibility to the effects of (prayer/magic/whatever) and an at least spiritual turn of mind.

      http://www2.selu.edu/Academics/Faculty/mrossano/recentpubs/religious_mind.pdf

  • Holistictherapies2010

    I think the best way for any group to get symapthy is to victimize themselves as the Christians in America have doen.. Their leaders keep the sheeple fearfull of losing their privalige so no one really loks at the cushy perks that coem with claiming you are one. Too bad

    • Norse Alchemist

      Actually, all the Abrahamic religions do it. I’ve seen it in the Jewish religion (though they actually have history to back it up) and in the Muslim religion (though that mostly was used to build up the energy to wipe out everyone that isn’t a Muslim, and still goes on to this day.)

  • http://profiles.google.com/raven268 Raven Corvid

    This is, of course, always the rationale a privileged group uses for its abuses. I wonder if the Roman pagans felt they were persecuted by those early Christians?

    • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

      Somehow, I doubt it. xD

  • Anonymous

    FTR: Osama bin Laden was opposed to the Separation of Church and State.

  • LordFanny

    In other news, FIRE IS HOT!

  • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

    I keep reading the last paragraph of Jason’s post. It’s just perfect.

  • J. Hartline

    I beg to differ with the view expressed in this article, and many of the subsequent comments. I think first the definition of ‘Christian’ should be clarified. To call something ‘Christian’ does, or at least should, reflect something much deeper than a slight hint of Protestant background. Yes, much of our country today has a Christian flavor and Christian history; America was founded by Christian men with strong principles, despite historians’ attempts to deny it, and the Constitution does not in fact forbid us from becoming an “official Christian nation”, since the nation was already considered Christian at the time. The very foundation of our country was Christian religion and the freedom to practice it. This is deeply engrained in our culture, and Protestant Christianity still receives much lip-service in our country’s politics today.
    However, much of the Christianity in today’s society is not a portrayal of true Christianity, and I say this in acknowledgment that in a lot of areas, we have gotten it wrong. Our fault is not that we have not compromised enough, but that rather we have compromised too much. A true christian is a Christ-follower, striving to be like Jesus Christ, and such a person wears a very different uniform than the one with which society credits most Christians. Yes, a christian brings religion into politics, because our religion touches every part of our life; it is not in fact a religion at all, but a lifestyle. We oppose homosexual behavior because it is a revolt against the sexual relationship that God designed. We oppose abortion because it is murder; we oppose government-funded ecology programs that focus more on preserving resources than providing for people. We believe that Christ is the only way to a life in Heaven. And we do, or at least should do, all of this in love, love for people the same way Jesus Christ loved people. Love, and not paranoia of persecution, was Jesus’ main teaching. And the reality is, a true christian will be persecuted because many people do not like the message we spread. In love we tell people that they are misguided, because we want them to know the truth; in love we will point out an immoral lifestyle because we want to see people know a better life. In love we speak about God, not from a superior attitude, but because we know how necessary He is. Christians are not holier-than-thou; we are one set of beggars telling another where to find the bread. This is a true definition of Christianity, and it will be persecuted because, quite simply, people don’t like to hear that they are wrong.

    • Anonymous

      Oh, where to begin….

      1. “Yes, much of our country today has a Christian flavor and Christian history; America was founded by Christian men with strong principles, despite historians’ attempts to deny it, and the Constitution does not in fact forbid us from becoming an “official Christian nation”, since the nation was already considered Christian at the time.”

      A. Since it is apparent you’ve never read the Constitution, I’ll enumerate the relevant part of the First Amendment, viz: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”

      2. “However, much of the Christianity in today’s society is not a portrayal of true Christianity, and I say this in acknowledgment that in a lot of areas, we have gotten it wrong.

      A. Well, you got part of that right, anyways.

      3. “Our fault is not that we have not compromised enough, but that rather we have compromised too much.”

      A. /facepalm Yes, because living in a pluralistic society is so hard. We understand that it is difficult to live in a society where you’re not allowed to sell your children into slavery, kill your neighbor for not worshipping as you do, wearing two different cloth fibers, etc.

      4. “A true christian is a Christ-follower, striving to be like Jesus Christ, and such a person wears a very different uniform than the one with which society credits most Christians. Yes, a christian brings religion into politics, because our religion touches every part of our life; it is not in fact a religion at all, but a lifestyle.”

      A. religion: a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. (from dictionary.com)
      Yes, yes it is.

      BTW, How often do you hang out with prostitutes, fishermen, and heretics?

      5. “We oppose homosexual behavior because it is a revolt against the sexual relationship that God designed. We oppose abortion because it is murder; we oppose government-funded ecology programs that focus more on preserving resources than providing for people. ”

      A. I’m not going to get into the other two, but regarding the ecology part: Do you believe that preserving the planet that you live on is a good thing, e.g. is making it possible for more people to live on the planet in a healthy manner is better than despoiling it? After all, didn’t your god claim that humans were made to be ‘stewards of the earth’? (Genesis, in case you were wondering).

      6. “And we do, or at least should do, all of this in love, love for people the same way Jesus Christ loved people. Love, and not paranoia of persecution, was Jesus’ main teaching. … Christians are not holier-than-thou; we are one set of beggars telling another where to find the bread. This is a true definition of Christianity, and it will be persecuted because, quite simply, people don’t like to hear that they are wrong.”

      A. Because beating a man to death for loving another person who happens to be male is done in love. Because hurling abuse at a woman as she tries to get basic preventative medicine is done in love. Because mental and emotional and physical abuse of children is done in love.

      • Anonymous

        What’s sad here is the depth of the historical ignorance and general misinformation. When I was much younger, I read one of the Christian/Evangelical historical revisions — I forget the title now — and it made a big impression on me. Until I learned a little bit more and found out how much of it was simply made-up. The only reason that made-up rot could impress me was because I was so profoundly ignorant of history.

        J.Hartline: I would gently suggest that your self-identification with Christianity has little effect on either the definition or the nature of Christianity. I face the same issue as a Pagan. Neither of us gets to redefine the terms. We only get to choose whether we will use them for ourselves.

        Christianity has been around for over two thousand years, formally for just under seventeen hundred. It has changed dramatically over those centuries. You want a tale of woe and horror? Look to the First Papal Inquisition against the Bon Hommes of Languedoc — from our perspective, Christian against Christian, yet neither “version” of Christianity exists any more, save in name only. A tempest in a teapot full of blood and suffering.

        Your words about Christianity remind me of things I might have said thirty-five years ago. It was a learning process, so I don’t beat myself up about it any more, but I was a fool. You sound intelligent and well-intentioned: I suspect you will have much the same experience.

        You have “love” and “criticism” confused. Your list of “thou shalt nots” sounds a lot more like the Pharisees than like Jesus in the stories. Jesus said to the whore, “Your sins are forgiven.” What you are saying skips right over that, and jumps hard on the next statement, which (in English) is, “Now go and sin no more.” I.e. “clean up your act.” But what Jesus was really saying was, “Go in peace, and stop calling your life sin.”

        If you want to follow Jesus, if any of you Evangelicals wants to follow Jesus, you have to stop calling your lives sin, and for God’s sake, stop calling other people’s lives sin. That’s what the Pharisees did, and look what Jesus had to say about them.

        • lovenotfear

          “Now go and sin no more.” I.e. “clean up your act.” But what Jesus was really saying was, “Go in peace, and stop calling your life sin.”

          Can you give me a source for that? I’ve not heard it before.

          And for the record I’m a Christian – albeit not an American one – and I agree with quite a lot that’s been written here. And if it were down to me, I’d happily give the assertion that the author requested. I believe there are many more like me out there.

    • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

      Jesus taught: “By their fruit shall ye know them.”

      The vast majority of Christians today are the descendants of those who have been forcibly converted, and then forcibly prevented from either returning to their ancestral religions or converting to any other religion, over the course of the last 17 centuries. About half of the world’s Christians are of European descent, and these were among the first victims of forcible conversion (there were also many non-Europeans who were forced to convert during the early days of Christianity’s bloody “triumph”, but most of these were later forced to convert to Islam).

      The other half of the world’s Christians today are Africans, indigenous Americans or Asians who were forcibly converted by European Christians in the course of the last six centuries of conquest, slavery, and colonialism carried out in the name of spreading the gospel.

      The most recent major influx of Christians has been in sub-Saharan Africa (which today accounts for over 20% of all Christians). Even many African Christians themselves recognize the truth about how this was accomplished. See, for example, an article by Rev. Dr. Timothy Njoya: “Africa became Christian by submission, not by conversion.

      We have had 2000 years of Christianity. That is more than enough data for us know what Christianity is, and what Christians are.

    • Anonymous

      A good example of how the mega-group we lump together as “Christians” can’t agree among themselves as to what constitutes a proper Christian.

      Next, we’ll be trying to define Paganism …

    • Cigfran

      What piffle.

      A Christian is simply someone who believes in Jesus as the Christ.

      Everything else is a la carte scriptural/authoritative adherence, as post-hoc justification for prior attitudes.

      • Khalila Redbird

        “A Christian is simply someone who believes in Jesus as the Christ.”

        Please unpack this assertion for me.

        I know who Jesus is. What is “the Christ”? What does “believe in” mean?

    • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

      “Christians are not holier-than-thou; we are one set of beggars telling another where to find the bread.”

      Except that it is very holier-than-thou to assume that the people to whom you are “telling” your ideas are beggars, or that they’re even interested in bread. What do you say, in this metaphor, to all of those who have a gluten allergy and can’t eat that kind of bread?

      “This is a true definition of Christianity, and it will be persecuted because, quite simply, people don’t like to hear that they are wrong.”

      And, in the next sentence, you show you’ve got the worst kind of holier-than-thou-ness that there is in assuming that “error” (i.e. anything that doesn’t agree with you) has no rights…

      Well, guess what? You’re wrong! What makes you think you have the “Truth” more than anyone else does? Because a book you believe in says that the book is true and infallible?

      I realize that my comments here are totally useless, and will do nothing to change your mind about your own viewpoint (or anyone else’s), but nonetheless, you’ve just proven every point written about in this post and in the comments (other than your own) by seeking to try and “correct” what you didn’t agree with in this article. Thank you for being a living, shining example of the ridiculousness discussed here, and reminding all of us who read The Wild Hunt that the exact sort of privilege discussed above is alive and well in the world, and has come traipsing into this particular forum to “set everyone right” simply because it thinks it has the right and the privilege to do so.

      • Anonymous

        “What makes you think you have the “Truth” more than anyone else does? Because a book you believe in says that the book is true and infallible?”

        I always hated this mindset. I can handle, “I believe the Bible is true because I believe it to be the Word of God.” That is a sensible progression from one belief to another–if a god told me something, I would certainly assume that that god was telling me the truth. I have no problems with Christians who say something like this.

        However, “The Bible is inerrant because it says so in the Bible!” is such a clear case of circular reasoning that I don’t see how anybody says it with a straight face. Worse–a fictional novel* commonly assigned in middle and high schools in the U.S. says it is true at one point. So there is a direct counterexample to “books that say they’re true are totally true stories, you guys.”

        * Paul Zindel’s [i]The Pigman[/i] begins with an oath, signed by two high school students, “to record the facts, and only the facts about our experiences with Mr. Angelo Pignati.”

    • Merofled Ing

      In love we tell people that they are misguided, because we want them to know the truth; in love we will point out an immoral lifestyle because we want to see people know a better life…..
      Waahh, I like to preach as much as the nest person, and I love to tell people how to live, and blimey, they don’t listen ….
      But I don’t get to damn them to hell for that, nor do I glorify this with ‘love’. I know when I’m serious, as a person on earth, and that’s good enough authority for me (and for others), and sometimes I even know I’m a smarta** – usually ’bout 5 hours later.
      There are things which shouldn’t be negotiable. The stuff put down in the American constitution, and in its intepretation since the 1960s, when justice for all really began to mean justice for all, sth to be proud of. But all that’s about life here on earth, the realm where things give pleasure, or hurt. Not elsewhere, the consolation of later.

    • Robert Mathiesen

      Well, now . . .

      1. “America was founded by Christian men with strong principles . . .”

      George Washington was only nominally a member of a Christian church (Episcopalian). As an adult, he deliberately avoided ever taking communion in any church. When this became a matter of public notice, he scrupulously avoided ever attending any church when he knew communion would be offered there. On the other hand, his active, life-long participation in Freemasonry is well documented. Even those *Christian ministers* who had the longest acquaintance with him and knew him best, asserted that in his beliefs Washington was a Deist.

      Thomas Jefferson utterly rejected the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus, and respected him only as a moral teacher. He felt free to cut up and discard large parts of the Bible. What was left, after his paste-and- scissors job was finished, was printed (by the Government Printing Office, IIRC) as “Jefferson’s Bible,” and copies were given to every newly elected congressman well into my own lifetime.

      And then there is Tom Paine, without whose pamphlets the American Revolution would probably never have succeeded. He also wrote one of the most incisive attacks on the Bible as any sort of revelation whatever, _The Age of Reason_. This work of his remained popular and was very widely read and approved by generation after generation of patriotic Americans, even up to the Civil War and beyond. It has, I think, remained continuously in print from its first publication up to now.

      2. “. . . the Constitution does not in fact forbid us from becoming an “official Christian nation . . .”

      Indeed, the Constitution does not forbid this in its text *directly*, but “the supreme Law of the Land” (Article VI) includes not only the Constitution itself, but also “all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States.” Among these treaties is one that states “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion” (Treaty of Tripoli, 1797, Article 11). Thus the Constitution forbids it now, in consequence of that treaty.

      By these documents, it would take a constitutional amendment to found the government of the US upon the Christian Religion.

      Such an amendment has been offered repeatedly from 1863 onward for consideration by Congress. Every single time that it has been offered, Congress has voted against it. That in itself is evidence that either Congress itself or a significant fraction of the electorate or both has opposed the very idea that the United States is Christian in its government.

      Article VI of the Constitution goes on to say that “the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” So even if any state government were to have been explicitly founded on Christian principles, any legal effect of its Christian foundation would be explicitly nullified by the Constitution.

      And if this were not enough, Article VI further states that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

      3. “We oppose homosexual behavior because it is a revolt against the sexual relationship that God designed. We oppose abortion because it is murder; we oppose government-funded ecology programs that focus more on preserving resources than providing for people.”

      You are certainly within your political rights to oppose these things, as indeed anyone else is within his or her political rights to oppose the opposites of these statements.

      But “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,” then why should that government give any more heed to Christian doctrines than to those of any other religion? Even if Christianity actually were the one true religion, and even if its god were the one true god (which I will not concede), why must — why should — our Government take any account of that putative fact?

      Answer me that, please!

      • Robert Mathiesen

        That was “But if “the Government…” at the start of my next to last paragraph. Proofreading fail!

    • The_L

      Oh, for Di’s sake, don’t tell me this sort of Christian is going to start plaguing us here too, now.

      1. Don’t pull a No True Scotsman. A Christian is ANYONE who believes that Jesus was Messiah. Even if that person only goes to Church on Sunday in hopes that his God will forgive what he did on Saturday.

      2. QUILTBAG people aren’t revolting against anything. We simply are attracted to the people to whom we are attracted. It’s not like I woke up one day and said, “I feel like making YHWH angry, I’m gonna go be bisexual now!!” I just happen to find both men and women attractive. I fail to see how that in any way constitutes a desire to rebel against your God. I honestly have nothing against the guy–he’s just not MY god.

      3. You have a code of ethics, you have teachings about a deity; according to the dictionary, that makes Christianity a religion. To deny this is to deny that you worship deities of any kind. I have a personal relationship with my Goddess, but that doesn’t make my beliefs any less a religion; indeed, that’s sort of what a religion implies.

      4. Not all “true” Christians oppose abortion in ALL cases. What if, for example, a woman has an ectopic pregnancy? She MUST abort or both she and the child are lost. Even the “no-exceptions” Vatican makes an exception for ectopic pregnancy. If all abortion is murder, than you are saying that in such cases two deaths are better than one. By the way, your Bible doesn’t mention abortion at all, because it did not exist. Back then, you got rid of an unwanted baby by taking it out into the wilderness and leaving it there to die of exposure and get eaten by wild animals. And don’t kid yourself, people from ALL religions and cultures did this.

      5. Preserving the environment, in and of itself, DOES help people. If we kill off the ecosystems on which we rely for our food, we kill off humanity as well. The problem of world hunger is NOT based on scarcity, but on improper distribution of resources. Rather than growing more nutritious vegetables, for instance, the lion’s share of US farms grow corn–that’s why we have corn syrup in damn near everything now. Instead, we could use those same fields to grow food for people in other countries, which doesn’t deplete the soil of nutrients nearly as fast as massive monoculture fields of corn. Hel, the amount of money it would take to provide food for everyone in the Third World is the same amount that Americans spend on ice cream alone in one year.

      Americans have poisoned half our waterways so that they are not safe to fish or drink from. We have buried toxic chemicals underground, where they leach into groundwater sources and poison both animals and people. We are killing off predator species with no thought to what we will do when their prey overruns us. I highly doubt that this is the sort of “stewardship” your Bible encourages.

      • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

        “Oh, for Di’s sake, don’t tell me this sort of Christian is going to start plaguing us here too, now.”

        We’ve been having a lot of these types showing up here of late.

      • fearnotlove

        Technically a true Christian is anyone who says Jesus (as opposed to anyone else) is Lord – which isn’t quite the same as agreeing he was the Messiah. It involves him getting to call the shots.

        Of course that still means that you can’t tell by looking at someone whether they are the real deal or not. And how people interpret what Jesus said varies so much that two people can easily agree that Jesus is Lord and try to obey his command – love one another – but act quite differently on certain things. I agreed with your views on abortion, sexuality and the environment for example.

        • Anonymous

          To-may-to, to-mah-to. Most people who say Jesus is Lord believe he was also the Messiah (according to the Christian, not Jewish*, definition of the word).

          As I said before, Christianity includes a variety of people, with a variety of beliefs, and whose success at living up to their perception of Christian ideals also varies widely. Always good to meet the nice ones. :) It reminds me that the more venomous types haven’t won.

          * The Jewish idea of the Messiah was of a military leader (like Joshua or Judas Maccabeus) who would overthrow the Romans and re-establish Israel as an independent nation. Even the apostles are stated in the Bible as asking when Jesus would kick out the Romans.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ALynnThomas Amanda Lynn Nielsen Thomas

            I have known lovenotfear for a number of years, and trust me, she is a good one, and a great example of what Christianity can look like. I wonder if that has to do with being a european Christian (where Christianity is not the majority) as opposed to here in the states?

          • Merofled Ing

            Where Christianity is not the majority … err you may want to check that. The evangelical movement is not strong, true, and how fervently people believe in what they register as is another matter, but Christianity (Protestant/Anglican, Catholic, Greek and Russian Orthodox) accounts for 71% of believers in Europe (source uhm, ok wikipedia, based on UN-figures, 1995-2000). Depressing thought: if Europeans are or seem more relaxed in their faiths, this could be because the slaughter lies behind them, 1618-1648, and last century there were other pressing problems..
            What is on the rise is the old ugly form of “National Christianity” in some countries (Hungaria, sadly, and there are attemps at that in Russia.)

        • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

          lovenotfear: “Technically a true Christian is anyone who says Jesus (as opposed to anyone else) is Lord – which isn’t quite the same as agreeing he was the Messiah. It involves him getting to call the shots.”

          Among early Christians, that is, those with the best chance of having some idea of what Jesus and his first disciples actually had in mind, never agreed on that most fundamental question of what Jesus was (the nature of Christ, or “Christology”).

          Early Christians did not agree on whether or not Jesus was God, just a man, both, or neither. They did not agree on what he had said, what he had done, whether he had actually died, whether he had ever actually lived, or whether he had both lived and died and then, somehow, come back.

          In other words, Christianity, in its true original form, was no more coherent than Paganism is today. An artificial kind of coherence was imposed on Christianity after Constantine, by murdering all those who refused to toe the line.

    • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

      I know that it’s so cliche to bring this up and it will fall on deaf ears with you anyway, but, hey, I’m gonna do it anyway. From the Treaty of Tripoli, unanimously ratified by the Senate and signed by the President back in 1797:

      “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…”

    • deerwoman

      “the Constitution does not in fact forbid us from becoming an ‘official Christian nation’, since the nation was already considered Christian at the time. The very foundation of our country was Christian religion and the freedom to practice it.”

      The Bill of Rights does prevent us from becoming an “official Christian nation.” In fact, the first amendment prevents us from having an official religion of any sort. The same amendment also protects the rights of non-Christians to practice their religion as well.

      You beg to differ about the reality of Christian privilege since you feel the term “Christian” is not adequately defined*, yet go on to spout the usual drivel about how our nation was and is intended to be Christian and that our Constitution exists to ensure the free practice of Christianity. Do you not perceive the contradiction there? You disagree with many of the previous comments here but fail to realize that you are the perfect illustration of them.

      *Under your own definition, of course, true Christians are a persecuted minority.

    • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

      “…and the Constitution does not in fact forbid us from becoming an “official Christian nation”, since the nation was already considered Christian at the time. The very foundation of our country was Christian religion and the freedom to practice it. ”

      Oh really? Well…I’ll just leave this piece of unequivocal evidence to the contrary here:
      “***As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion***; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”
      – Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11.

      “Not in any sense founded on the Christian religion” is pretty clear.

    • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

      “We oppose homosexual behavior because it is a revolt against the sexual relationship that God designed.” I think you have it backwards. Homosexuality exists in other animals (which, according to Christian belief, God had a personal hand in creating) Here’s a hell of an example: Regarding the monogamous pairing of liver flukes, which latch onto each other and mate for life, Carl Zimmer, in Parasite Rex, adds: “A few homosexual flukes will also get together. While their fit isn’t as tight, they will keep reuniting if a disapproving scientist should separate them.” (Google Books has it if you don’t believe me)
      I know a common argument among Christians who consider homosexuality a sin is that people chose to engage in homosexual behavior. Maybe penguins and apes could be said to have some sort of choice, but what about LIVER FLUKES? Internal parasites. Either flukes have a choice, or they don’t. If they don’t, then people are bound to have the same processes going on. Are you going to tell me they choose homosexuality too? Maybe there’s a tiny little liver-fluke Satan deluding the boy liver-flukes into mating with each other? Or a tiny little liver-fluke Liberal Media spreading pro-homosexual liver-fluke lies? Please.

      During the Roman Empire, Pagans couldn’t take Christians intellectually seriously. Clearly, this is still true today.

    • Cigfran

      Is J. Hartline this guy?
      http://www.jameshartline.com/

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Hartline should contact the Forum for Hindu Awakening. Soul brothers!

      • Khalila Redbird

        I wonder if he is bothering to read all discussion his post has stirred up.

        • http://profiles.google.com/camille.klein Camille Klein

          No, he’s too busy trying to pray away the gay.

    • http://profiles.google.com/camille.klein Camille Klein

      I would rather dine in your Hell with my honoured ancestors than enter you Heaven with a parcel of beggars. — Radbod the Great

      • Nick Ritter

        One of the greatest quotes of all time.

  • http://heathenhall.blogspot.com Joseph

    One of the (many) ironies in this is that, by insisting they are some sort of persecuted minority in America and the West, Christians are actually belittling the very real persecution their brothers are suffering in certain parts of the world. They are, in essence, making an equivalency between not being able to use taxpayer money (in the U.S., anyway) to prosletyze or indocrinate other peoples’ children with their beliefs, and being physically assaulted, having their property destroyed, and in some cases even killed because of their beliefs.

    Sudanese Christian: Like the martyrs of old, I am being oppressed for my belief in Christ.
    American Christian: I share your pain, brother, I am similarly oppressed for my faith.
    Sudanese Christian: Zelots burned our church and killed my daughter. I myself was beaten so badly I was in the hospital for weeks.
    American Christian: I feel your pain, brother. Just last year, our school board voted to not include a sticker in our biology textbooks, warning students that evolution is just a theory. We martyrs must stick together!
    Sudanese Christian: O_o

    • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

      You could replace the Sudanese with a Copt, or whatnot, and it’d be the same.

  • The_L

    By the way, am I the only one who pictured a lolcat image a la “Invisible Bike?”

    • Anonymous

      I didn’t think of that. I feel scooped…. :-)

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    I’m posting these responses in a fresh comment because I lack the kishkas to go through the 158 replies (and counting) and find the appropriate items to append them to.

    The US Constitution bars a Christian nation not only in the First Amendment and the Tripoli treaty, but a line that says that there shall be no religious test for holding an office of the United States.

    Norse Alchemist, nobody has called whites or males evil, simply privileged. Some 15 years ago an essay on the “invisible knapsack of white privilege” went the rounds in the Unitarian Universalist Association. A lot of people responded as you have, reactively counter-accusing of prejudice where none was offered, only a cold (if calculated) rendering of fact. Some have been corrected but still resonate:

    As a white person I can swear in public without concern that I am giving my race a bad example. I can answer the door unshaven and half-dressed with the same unconcern. I can find a “flesh-colored” bandage in my actual flesh color. I can buy a children’s book in the certainty that its illustrations include pictures of kids like mine. I can go for an employment interview confident that I will be talking with someone like myself.

    Some of these are no longer true or no longer exclusive to whites, not because they were always false but because things have changed, and the awakening self-awareness of the privileged as privileged has arguably aided in bringing about those changes.

    • AnonGuest

      so-called “flesh” color being peachy-orange

  • Rebecca Fouts

    Here’s a very simple litmus test to decide if your religion is being persecuted.

    1) When someone asks what religion you are, do you feel comfortable answering? (I don’t — but I’ve noticed Christians don’t seem to have that problem.

    2) Is the response to your answer positive? Or, which is more often the case when your answer is anything but “Christian”, you receive, at best a funny look and an uncomfortable “oh”, though occasionally it’s something far more negative or even violent. And in either case, you rarely see or hear from that person again.

    3) Do they even ask what your religion is? Or do they simply assume you’re Christian like them? When’s the last person someone assumed you were Pagan (and you weren’t at a pagan gathering?)

    • Anonymous

      Actually, I think most Evangelicals pass the first two litmus tests outside their own microclimate.

      What’s your first response when someone at a party starts talking to you about their “personal relationship with Jesus?” I suppress an eye-roll — usually — and wait for an appropriate moment to make a break for the restroom or the food. I avoid that person afterward.

      I’ll bet they get that a lot. Which has to make them uncomfortable talking about their religion, even though their faith doesn’t give them much choice in the matter.

  • CJ

    The Christians you see on TV talking about being persecuted, talking about the culture wars, and insisting that America is a Christian nation, and proclaiming the evils of Santa Claus fall into an ideological category that is a minority even within Christianity. The overwhelming majority of Christians know exactly how privileged we are. And for the most part we’re thankful for that privilege and for the most part we do our best to be responsible with that privilege.

    We’re not all the same and we don’t all have the same beliefs and even when we do we don’t all believe in forcing other people to agree. This is how you got a nation with a Christian majority that refuses to completely outlaw abortion or mandate prayer in schools. It’s how you get a nation with a Christian majority where state after state is legalizing same-sex marriage.

    We all have crazy people in our families. You know, the one that could be a Zach Galifianakis character. They live in their own universe and they do whatever idiotic thing comes to mind and they mostly embarrass us but we still love them because they’re family.

    And for what it’s worth we’re sorry they make the rest of the world miserable. Just know that they make us miserable too.

    • lovenotfear

      “And for what it’s worth we’re sorry they make the rest of the world miserable. Just know that they make us miserable too. ”

      Agreed!

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      Your commitment to pluralism is admirable, and I’d like to thank you for speaking up, but I also want to comment on something you wrote.

      “We’re not all the same and we don’t all have the same beliefs and even when we do we don’t all believe in forcing other people to agree. This is how you got a nation with a Christian majority that refuses to completely outlaw abortion or mandate prayer in schools. It’s how you get a nation with a Christian majority where state after state is legalizing same-sex marriage.”

      I think the evolution of our secular state was more a case of necessity than Christian largesse towards non-Christians. There was a time when Christian sects in America were openly hostile and violent towards each other, making the separation of church and state an essential element in building a workable nation. It really wasn’t until after WW2 that religious minorities started to build on the inherent promise of that separation to win an even greater disestablishment in the courts (check out the book “Tri-Faith America” on that).

      The idea that sweeping theocratic changes and an imposed Christian morality are held back by the charity of tolerant Christians is actually scary, not reassuring. It means we are subject to your collective whims and generosity. I’d rather rely on the strength of our constitution, laws, and legal precedent, and if they are not enough, then the American experiment has truly failed.

      • CJ

        You’re absolutely correct.

        The founders were aware of the damage that theocracy could do and none of them wanted to be under any of the other’s brand of Christianity.

        And yes it’s frightening that we are dependent on the whims of the majority. But we are. It’s sobering to think that most of the rights I have access to were decided by majority vote 40 years ago and it was a close vote at that.

        I don’t say any of this to say that you should be grateful for some absurd idea of generosity. That’s the same crap I hear from the leadership of the Republican party when they want my vote. But what I want you to know is that I’m not your enemy. Most Christians aren’t. The same Constitution, the same laws, the same legal precedents that you rely on, we rely on too.

        • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

          As the author of this blog, and as someone who knows quite a few Pagans, I want to point out that most of us have family and friends who are Christian. We are generally happy to coexist. We don’t think that *you* are are enemy, but we have also seen a segment of Christianity become increasingly reactionary and hostile towards non-Christian faiths. Many of us believe that monotheism, as a theology, has become problematic.

          I appreciate your apology, and honor the sentiment behind it, but it isn’t needed. More than the apologies of “good” Christians I would rather that this silent, tolerant, majority I’m often informed of would awaken from its slumber to challenge the narratives of the politically active minority that have come to so much influence and power. I wish the interfaith organization and activist groups would swell with volunteers and donations to such a point that the “haters” would be dwarfed.

          Mohandas Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization, charmingly said that he thought it “would be a very good idea.” I often feel the same way when asked about Christian love, charity, peace, and tolerance. I think it would be a very good idea. I’m more than happy to share the world with Christians, whether the Christianity that drives so many politicians and activist organizations in the United States today feels the same way is, sadly, an open question.

      • CJ

        You’re absolutely correct.

        The founders were aware of the damage that theocracy could do and none of them wanted to be under any of the other’s brand of Christianity.

        And yes it’s frightening that we are dependent on the whims of the majority. But we are. It’s sobering to think that most of the rights I have access to were decided by majority vote 40 years ago and it was a close vote at that.

        I don’t say any of this to say that you should be grateful for some absurd idea of generosity. That’s the same crap I hear from the leadership of the Republican party when they want my vote. But what I want you to know is that I’m not your enemy. Most Christians aren’t. The same Constitution, the same laws, the same legal precedents that you rely on, we rely on too.

  • Sunweaver

    This is not the kind of thing that makes me rail in anger or shake my fists. There’s just the long suffering sigh of a gal who wishes she could say her religion out loud without having to explain that “Yes, people do in fact worship the gods of Olympus.” ::headdesk::
    I’m not even anti-Christian. It’s the religion of choice for many of my friends, family members, and so on. I’ve got some Jews in the family, too. My husband is ostensibly Catholic (but doesn’t go to church). But once a man straight-up laughed at me because he’d wished me “Merry Christmas” and I said “Happy Chanukah” back. I was serious and can’t imagine “Blessed Yule” or “Happy Hyperborea” would have gotten any better reaction.

    I just want to be ::normal::

    • http://twitter.com/ouranophobe Áine

      I think that part of how we become “normal” is by acting as if we already are (where it doesn’t mean a very serious threat to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, at least). I amuse my fiancé to no end every winter by replying to the inevitable cry of “Merry Christmas!” from shop keepers and clerks around here with a bright smile and cheerful “Blessed Solstice!” But, then, I have a certain degree of privilege that helps me to do that. ;)

  • FranklyTarot

    People don’t realize they have privilege until they actually lose it, as my sister once told me.

  • Starlight

    I think a part of the problem here is that due to Chistianity’s origins as a minority religion, its mythology is full of warnings of persecution and glorification of martyrdom. It’s difficult to tell a group that very nearly defines itself as a persecuted minority that it is neither persecuted nor a minority.

    • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

      When Christianity was getting started pretty much all religions were minority religions. No one is even sure how one would go about counting the different religions that were practiced among the 60M or so people of the Roman Empire, but there were at least several dozen, but probably more like a few hundred. When you have that many religions, the whole idea of “minority” versus “majority” religion is completely irrelevant.

      So the problem is not that Christianity started out as a minority religion. The problem is that unlike all other religions of its day, Christianity set out to systematically eradicate all of the other religions, rather than accepting its place alongside them.

      You see, Christianity doesn’t care about being the “majority” religion. It’s goal has always been to be the only religion.

      • Starlight

        My point wasn’t so much that it started small, more that it defines itself by persecution, to the point that even if it were to utterly stamp out all other religions (as it very nearly did in Europe by the early second millennium), it would still see itself as the victim of persecution.

        • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

          Yes, Christianity definitely has a persecution complex.

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Because the fundies ARE the minority of Christians… they are just the nosiest and noisiest and get all the press… also they can organize their people to a freaking fare-thee-well.

    We need to learn the important lesson: Divide and conquer.

    The lefty Christians are your friends, we don’t give a shit what you do. Really.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rapture.hoax2011 Roy Linford Adams

    Since christians openly doubt how many were murdered in the name of jesus during the Burning Times, I openly doubt that christians were ever persecuted by the Romans. I believe there were christians then no different than the Westboro Baptist Church who publically attacked figures of high status and were put in the arena for it, and that these people deserved what they got for being stupid. And also that christians used these people to pump up a fake persecutions, much like the “war of christmas”.

    • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

      It is an uncontroversial and well-documented historical fact that there were many Christians who intentionally sought out martyrdom and committed acts of criminal violence with the goal of provoking their Pagan neighbors and the Roman state in order to bring about their own deaths. In other words, they were far more deranged and anti-social than the Westboro crowd, who are actually quite scrupulous in avoiding any criminal activity of actual physical violence.

      That this was the case is, in particular, attested by early Christian authors themselves. Today, historians debate how much weight to give to this phenomenon of “voluntary martyrdom”, but one of the leading modern scholars specializing in the study of martyrdom in the early church, Geoffrey de Ste. Croix, concluded that voluntary martyrdom was much more prevalent than ancient and contemporary Christian apologists care to admit.

      Geoffrey de Ste. Croix also wrote that: “In all probability quite a substantial proportion of the ‘noble army of martyrs’ of the first three centuries consisted of volunteers …. It is impossible to doubt that the prevalence of voluntary martyrdom was a factor which both contributed towards the outbreak of persecution and tended to intensify it when it was already in progress.” [see chapter four of Ste Croix's Christian Persecution, Martyrdom, and Orthodoxy. That whole chapter is devoted to the topic of "Voluntary Martyrdom".]

  • Kilmrnock

    Mr Devi , most of us pagans , are recovering from the Christian faiths . We are mostly ex christians .We do understand the xtian faiths , having been part of those religions . Altho most of us were raised in the xtian faiths, we didn’t feel like we belonged there. Coming to paganism to most of us , myself included, felt like a homecoming .For most of us , we now follow the beliefs of our ancestors . The ancient faiths of our forefathers .So we can be critical of the xtian faiths b/c we do understand them .btw xtian = christian as in xmas. Kilm

  • Steve Rankin

    So much of how we understand who has privilege depends on how words like “Christian” get defined. Your piece worries about people you associate with the Christian Right. Does the Christian Right define “Christian?” Most Christians don’t identify with the Christian Right.

    I realize that you wrote the piece you wanted to write and not the one I want you to, but, that said, I think your use of “Christian privilege” is too broad. It covers too many important qualifications that, if taken into account, render a noticeably different perspective.

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

      That doesn’t change the fact that Progressive Christians also have privilege in this country. I have friends who are Progressive Christians, and they still enjoy “Christian privilege” regardless of whether they identify with the Religious Right.

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      “I think your use of “Christian privilege” is too broad.”

      Christian privilege isn’t confined to the political/theological “right”, nor is it confined to only certain Christians. I’ve seen plenty of “moderate” and “liberal” Christians who refuse to engage their privilege. Perhaps you have trouble seeing it? It is quite palpable to members of religious minorities in the United States.

      Have you read this document yet?

      http://convention.myacpa.org/archive/programs/Boston10/Handouts/446/ChristianPrivilegeHandout.pdf

      As for how “Christian” gets defined, I think “an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth” (thanks Wikipedia!) sums it up pretty well.

    • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

      Christianity is nearly as dominant on the left as it is on the right, and some people would argue that there’s not even a small difference, or even that the left is worse. For most people on the left, religious diversity means being inclusive of Judaism and Islam along with Christianity. And if they think about it for a minute, people on the left will also add atheists and/or people with no religion. This leaves those who follow non-monotheistic religious traditions as an after-after-thought, at best. Or simply ignored altogether.

      And one can easily detect among many liberal/lefty types a greater hostility to non-monotheistic religions than to the followers of Abraham. Paganism is often viewed very dismissively by liberals, and there is also a strong tendency to view non-European religions (such as African traditional religions and Hinduism) as intrinsically more oppressive and superstitious than good old European Christianity.

  • Blueinferno220

    Its insane how much our country is manipulated by Christianity. I believe in freedom of religion, but I also believe in freedom FROM it. Everyday we are bombarded by christian propaganda, in the media, in schools, at home. Hell, I just found a bible verse in my egg carton the other day! Im starting to get scared that this country will become a christian nation. Its all extremely depressing.

  • Qcirish

    Jason, may I make copies and use this for my intercultural communications class? I think the students need to be aware of this perspective. Thanks. I teach at a community college in the Midwest.

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      Sure, so long as I’m credited.

  • C J Dull

    Both the author and George Will need to be much more nuanced in their descriptions of “Christians”. There are immense differences between Mainline groups (who typically dominate formal power structures) and Evangelicals (and more Fundamentalist groups), who are the ones that typically complain most about such conditions. They are on different sides in the gay marriage and abortion controversies and in a number of other areas. Some advocate universalism (all will be saved) while others think anyone not of their group will literally fry forever. Usually, the Mainliners have all the power and influence–and usually consider the apocalypse near when it shifts to Evangelicals–while Evangelicals have most (and increasingly so) of the numbers. That doesn’t even begin to take into account Catholic and Orthodox subsets. Some used to talk about Hillary Clinton as “the Methodist missionary to Washington, DC” with mild bemusement, but there was also a case of one senator who said he would not vote for John Ashcroft for AG because he spoken in tongues. Just as we need to be careful of the differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims, and Ulta-Orthodox and Reform Jews, we also need to be somewhat more informed on the vast differences among “Christian” groups.

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      First off, the notion that evangelicals do not currently share in formal power structures is somewhat absurd. The Mainline churches are a ghost of their former selves when it comes to influence. George H Bush was arguably the last of the mainline conservative presidents. The Mainline has no “king-making” mojo left. All the really have is a dwindling infrastructure.

      Secondly, splits and in-fighting amongst Christians do not erase Christian privilege. In many ways it simply reinforces it. Again the terms of debate are between “left” and “righty” Jesus, or traditional forms vs. non-traditional forms, but it’s all still a conversation happening within the wider context of Christianity.

    • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

      There are not “immense” differences between mainline and evangelical Christianity. How many “mainline” Protestant sects recognize same-sex marriage? How many explicitly defend the right to choose? How many “mainline” Protestant sects have renounced missionary work aimed at eradicating Native American religions, African traditional religions, and the ancient religious traditions of Asia? For that matter, how many “mainline” Protestant sects have explicitly renounced, and sought to tangibly atone for, the history of forced religious conversions that brought about the Christianization of Europe in the first place? How many have even considered the possibility of making amends for the destruction of ancient Temples and other sacred places that their “churches” are built on top of?

      From a sufficient/safe distance Christians all look pretty much alike. If you are close enough to tell them apart, you are in mortal danger.

  • Guildbattle

    I’m a christian, and I dislike big christian companies or organizations that have lots of power but don’t use it for anything worthwhile, and instead publish preachy books or do big rallies where nothing is said. I admire organizations which use their resources to help people in their community and abroad. But I really think that a REAL church is a community church. The people who make a difference where they live and go help other places are the heroes, not the companies. I don’t think that churches should be treated as anything other than a non-profit organization. And the fact is that of all the people who lay claim to a faith, very few of them practice what is plainly stated that they must, or participate with their church. This is why many Christians talk about themselves being a minority. I avoid churches that belabour that point. I go to churches that understand that the Bible doesn’t tell us to whine, but to get over stuff, and not to do anything with groans. I totally understand where this post is coming from. Christian organizations should not have any more power than another organization.