The Diminishment of Religious Persecution

The Diminishment of Religious Persecution
By Tina Dupuy

Sorry, my fellow hyperbolists, slavery is not being required to pay income tax. Also, gun control is not what Hitler did to the Jewish people. And the religious right is not being persecuted for their religious beliefs in America in 2014.

In order to be persecuted, American Christians would have to endure more than just their own overstatements about their anguish.

The problem with the overuse of hyperbole is it spurs amnesia to the horrors of history by making atrocities seem relatable. For example: Saying someone disagreeing with you is a Blood Libel is akin to saying almost getting a paper cut is like having all your limbs amputated sans anesthesia.

A Blood Libel was the widespread slaughter primarily of Jews (with a few exceptions) because of false rumors of cannibalism. On the other hand, someone disagreeing with you is Every Day of My Professional Career.

Dubbing our twice-democratically-elected president a “socialist dictator” gives a pass to real monsters like Kim Jong Un. And saying the religious right in America is facing persecution because of their faith is essentially saying every person who has ever sacrificed themselves for what they believe—emulated Christ himself by bravely dying for the cause of righteousness itself—is akin to not having the legal right to deny homosexuals equal protections.

Yeah, it makes modern people of faith look pretty small and petty.

Faith isn’t under attack. But martyrdom has been shrunk by exaggeration.

Are we really supposed to feel bad for American Christians for having legal hurdles in order to ostracize people they perceive as sinners? Really? Out of all the hardships human beings are subjected to, does having to make a cake for a lesbian wedding actually register?

Religious persecution is the maltreatment of a group FOR their religious beliefs. It is not—not now, not never—the state refusing to grant people of faith the ability to marginalize others. The Puritans didn’t make the dangerous trek across the Atlantic because they longed to be cruel to others not like them. That’s not religious persecution—that’s religion persecuting.

Last week the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held a screening of the low-budget feature “Persecuted” by filmmaker Daniel Lusko. (Full disclosure: Like everyone else I have not seen the movie, I read the POLITICO article about it.) The story follows John Luther (subtle), a lawmaker who refuses to endorse a bill which would give equal time to all faiths. And because of this hero standing up against inclusiveness and (gasp) multiculturalism, he’s framed for murder and spends the rest of the film trying to thwart government efforts to assassinate him.

Is this really how the evangelical community sees themselves? The evangelical wish-fulfillment fantasy is that they’ll be forced to along with other faiths or else become the target of a vast government conspiracy? The government is nefarious for suggesting one faith should not be the arbiter of the entire country and their champion is the guy who says, “No way — only our way!”?

That’s what’s construed as persecution?! The faith equivalent of taking all your toys and going home? That’s now referred to with the same word used to describe the widespread torture and murder of heretics? The slaying of the Huguenots? The tens of thousands of Christians massacred during the Boxer Rebellion? It’s just like the mass executions of Jews, gypsies and homosexuals in Germany during WWII?

If I’m clear on the rhetoric, what used to be burning at the stake is now just having to tolerate others.

Really. As they say, get off the cross.

© Copyright 2014 TinaDupuy.com, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Tina Dupuy is a nationally syndicated op-ed columnist, investigative journalist, award-winning writer, stand-up comic, on-air commentator and wedge issue fan. Tina can be reached at [email protected]

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Author: CAGLE CARTOONS

  • sheknows

    Really great article Tina!

    ” The Puritans didn’t make the dangerous trek across the Atlantic because they longed to be cruel to others not like them. That’s not religious persecution—that’s religion persecuting.”

    This “religious persecution” of the right of course is just deliberate hogwash.
    They know what they are doing. They just found a way to try and reverse it for their benefit. Truth told, it has very little to do with their so called faith imo. I mean Christians are supposed to be followers of Christ right? So how can they not understand his basic teaching? They understand alright, but they prefer to use the OLD testament when they need an archaic writing ( usually misunderstood or translated poorly) to justify their own fear and hatred.

    Honestly, would Jesus own a gun? Would he cut food stamps to the poor? Would he be a Republican ??

    They know…Like most psychologically disturbed people, they are quick and clever enough to rationalize their behavior.

  • cjjack

    “In 1776 our fathers endeavored to retire the gods from politics.”

    Robert G. Ingersoll, 1890

    The Declaration of Independence turned traditional authority on it’s head. The Divine Right of Kings was out the door, and the consent of the governed was held up as the ultimate power.

    A little over a decade later the new country adopted a Constitution that did not rest upon the authority of a deity (or his representatives on Earth). In effect, they stripped secular power from churches, and made it the creed of the nation that all religions were welcome to the same sanction from the government:

    None.

    As a practical matter, of course, Christianity was still the unofficial official religion, and with a wink and a nod government meetings were opened with prayer, school children were led in prayer, politicians declared national days of prayer, and “so help me God” became an unofficial part of every oath.

    Now – finally – some of that is starting to change. Non-religious people and those who follow less popular faiths are standing up for the right to have that whole “1st Amendment” thing enforced, and the religious right is squealing like a bunch of stuck pigs. Not because of “multiculturalism,” but something they themselves claim to worship almost as much as their god:

    Competition.

    On a level playing field, some of those other religions (or the dreaded “none”) might peel off a few of the faithful, or even gain enough followers to say “wait a second…why should our government leaders lead is in prayer to a being we don’t pray to?”

    This is unacceptable to a group that has enjoyed preferential treatment for so long they think it is actually the law. They feel this thing they’ve never felt before (a challenge to their supremacy) and have wrongly interpreted it as persecution.

  • sheknows

    “This is unacceptable to a group that has enjoyed preferential treatment for so long they think it is actually the law. They feel this thing they’ve never felt before (a challenge to their supremacy) and have wrongly interpreted it as persecution.”
    Perfect! Well said cjjack.

  • JSpencer

    It seems pretty obvious there is an inverse relationship between those who routinely engage in hyperbole and those who understand history. Also what SK and cjj said.

  • petew

    Tina,

    The troubling thing about all of this far right religioius persecution complex is that, they are not just doing it out of a philosophical or intellectual sense of being put down and discriminated against,for disagreeing with others—It goes much deeper than that.

    One of the things Jesus said is that his followers would be hated and reviled because of their belief in him, and that they are really blessed when being persecuted for witnessing (what is really their own conceptions) of his truth. The Ironic part, which then follows, is that those of fundamentalist faiths seeking to spread their dogmatic messages feel free to claim that anyone who gives them harsh criticisms is really persecuting THEM because of their self -perceived “righteousness.” The idea that clinging to a biased position which justifies their feelings of being spiritually entitled to deny others of their human feelings and dignity—by even refusing to bake them a wedding cake—becomes a great and shining example of their own beliefs and truths being persecuted. And, these are truths which the rest of the sinful world refuses to accept because they still don’t accept the one true way which arbitrarily regiments believers. Rather than being aware of this bigoted and biased attitude, It never occurs to them that their stubborn insistence not to treat others in a dignified and fair way, is one way that they themselves, are justifying the persecution others!

    But never mind trying to convince any of them by writing anything in these forums—they will gladly demonstrate their own open mindedness by listening patiently to what you have to say, until they have an opportunity to tell you exactly where you are wrong. Then will help you avoid sin by deliberately treating others (which scriptures does not approve of) with common decency and respect. The old rationalization of hating the sin, rather than the sinner, then falls flat, since refusing to even provide food for another persons wedding is an open way of showing contempt for their lifestyles and type of sexuality, all of which transmits a real feeling of intense disapproval and contempt for the biological make-up of homosexuals.

    So, yes, it is absurd for fundamentalists to claim that being forced to provide a wedding cake for a gay wedding is a form of being persecuted for their religious beliefs. But all the reason in the world is not likely to change their minds and let them see this issue from another point of view. They won’t change because they really believe that Christ has empowered them to dispense the one true truth, that is more true than any other truths—truthfully speaking! Why?—because the Bible tells them so. And thus, believing that their own reservation in heaven could be cancelled if they dare to doubt a single line of either the Old or New Testament, they then become self-determined and self-justified in freely dispensing their own tunnel vision to others. And when someone believes they are charged with enlightening everyone else, at all costs—according to their own particular understandings—they are probably already thinking of ways to guide my poor soul to accept their own narrow–(minded) path, for the sake of my own salvation. It will never occur to them that myself or others, might have something valuable to teach them, or that, the ACLU would be the first to defend them against anyone who tried to deny them their right to worship in their own private and personal ways. That, and the absurd idea that they are actually being persecuted by others, in the name of their own conceptions about God, provides them with the self-fulfilling prophecies that they so stubbornly defend. But, how often have you heard of a caterer refuse to provide a cake for the wedding of someone in a fundamentalist faith (even if that caterer absolutely does not share their own kind of religious faith)? Since civil laws are one thing and religious beliefs are another, what right does anyone have to deny basic services and products to anyone, on the basis of their sexual orientation? Just who is persecuting whom?….Of course!….Who is really trying to Lord it over others?

  • petew

    In the third paragraph of my comment above, in which I said:

    “until they have an opportunity to tell you exactly where you are wrong. Then will help you avoid sin by deliberately treating others (which scriptures does not approve of) with common decency and respect.”

    I’d like to correct this comment by pointing out that I should have said “treating others (which scriptures does not approve of)WITHOUT, common decency and respect.”

    Sorry for another blooper.

  • slamfu

    Great article, great comments. Once again I’m all for the hyperbole. It exposes these people for the narcissists they are, and their faith for the shallow, weak thing that it is. The truly faithful are out there practicing as they are entitled by the law, and probably doing a much better job of supporting the spread of their faith.

  • http://n/a brownies girl

    out of all the hardships human beings are subjected to, does having to make a cake for a lesbian wedding actually register?

    If I’m clear on the rhetoric, what used to be burning at the stake is now just having to tolerate others.
    Really. As they say, get off the cross.

    I’m so happy to read something truly intelligent and sensible about this subject — so thanks to the writer, thanks so much. So many good points in this article – the above are merely my two favourite quotes. Out of many.

    I just wonder, when, where and how did tolerance become such a dirty word and when, where and why did Americans (only because that’s who we’re talking about here) get to feel so personally put-upon? Because that whole cake-thing just totally blew my mind. Fabulous article. A keeper for sure.