Top 10 Instances of Christian Bashing

Did you know that there exists an organization called Christian Anti-Defamation Commission? Well, it’s true. They have some gems on their site including Seven Reasons Barack Obama is not a Christian. My immediate thought on this title was, “do they mean to say ‘proofs?’” Because really, there is a huge difference between a reason and a proof. After looking through the list, I determined that, yes they did mean “proofs.” But, I digress.

What led me to the Christian Anti-Defamatory Commission site was an article titled Top Ten Instances of Christian Bashing in America, 2008 written by Dr. Gary Cass. Interestingly, it seems that often times telling the truth is seen as bashing. They aren’t the same thing,

Anyway, as happens with me sometimes, my sarcasm gets the best of me, as it did when I was reading this list.

INSTANCE #10: Jack Black Musical Video
In a short video posted on FunnyorDie.com entitled, “Prop 8 The Musical,” an all star cast of Hollywood celebrities perform a low budget musical farce that defames Christ, mocks Christians and distorts the teaching of the Bible. Jack Black played the lead role of Jesus.

I loved this video. I thought it was brilliant. Silly me.

INSTANCE #9: Bill Maher Gratuitously Attacks Pope
Bill Maher, host of the HBO program Real Time, made light of the Pope during his recent visit and the tragic sexual abuse scandal. Maher said, “Now I know what you’re thinking, Bill. You can’t be saying that the Catholic Church is no better than this creepy (radical Mormon polygamist) Texas cult. For one thing, alter boys can’t even get pregnant. But really, what tripped up the little cult on the prairie was that they only abused hundreds of kids, not thousands all over the world. Cults get raided; religions get parades… If you have a few hundred followers and you let some of them molest children, they call you a cult leader. If you have a billion, they call you Pope.”

I can see why they would be bothered by this. But, really, the Pope didn’t need Bill Maher to bash him. I think his own actions (or lack thereof) did that well enough.

INSTANCE #8: ESPN Anchor Dana Jacobson’s “F— Jesus” Remark
Speaking at an ESPN corporate event in Atlantic City, N.J., to honor ESPN Radio personalities Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, Dana Jacobson let go with a steam of vulgar remarks; “F— Notre Dame,” “F— Touchdown Jesus” and finally “F— Jesus.” Jacobson was suspended for a few days for the incident.

Meh. How exactly is that bashing Christians?

INSTANCE #7: Minnesota University Professor Desecrates Communion
A Biology Professor from the University of Minnesota, Paul Zachary Myers, recently desecrated a consecrated communion wafer from a Catholic Mass. Meyer’s has also asked people to steal the Eucharist for him in order that he might desecrate it and display it on his blog.

Really? He desecrated a Jesus biscuit? Well, damn him. In all seriousness, though, stealing IS wrong. 

INSTANCE #6: Religulous the Movie
Bill Maher released a very shallow, pseudo-intellectual documentary entitled Religulous. The movie did not cover any new intellectual ground. It simply raised the old attacks on the faith. Maher studiously avoided being fair and did not allow for legitimate Christian answers from any leading Christian intellectuals.

And to think… I wrote an article touting it the best movie of 2008. I don’t even want to know what that says about me.

INSTANCE #5: Chaplains Fired for Praying in Jesus’ Name
Chaplains for the State of Virginia are being denied their right to pray in Jesus’ name. Six chaplains were fired for continuing to pray in Jesus’ name. Earlier this year in Virginia, Rev. Hashmel Turner, a city councilman in Fredericksburg, was told by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that his prayers during city council meetings that ended in Jesus’ name will continue to be banned.

My question is why he was praying at all, never mind in whose name he was doing it. (Again, I don’t see the bashing here.) We have this nifty little thing called the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of The US Constitution that was put forth to build a wall of separation between church and state. Upholding the Constitution is not Christian bashing.

INSTANCE #4: Colorado Law Criminalizes the Bible
SB200, a Colorado state bill recently signed into law, criminalizes the Bible. Section 8 of the bill entitled “Publishing of discriminative matter forbidden” makes publishing the Bible illegal because it contains anti-homosexual passages. This is part of a larger effort to criminalize the expression of certain opinions and beliefs.

Okay… that is wrong. Censorship is never okay. Perhaps if it the Bible were dubbed “fiction” as it should be they could squeeze it through. Another thing to consider, if it is okay to publish religious literature that is full of hatred and bigotry, is it okay for other groups to do the same?

INSTANCE #3: Barack Obama Defames Christianity
According to research into President Elect Obama’s own statements about faith, and an examination of Obama’s position on moral issues, CADC has determined that by any biblical and historic Christian standard, Barack Obama is not a Christian, although he claims he is a “devout Christian.”

I think that “by any biblical sense and historic Christian standard,” no one claiming to be a Christian would really qualify.

INSTANCE #2: Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin Is Attacked
Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin, came under sharp attack by some in the mainstream media because she self-identifies as a Christian. The Washington Post published a cartoon by Pat Oliphant mocking Palin because she has a background as a Pentecostal/Charismatic Christian. A suspicious arson fire at Sarah Palin’s home church recently caused over $1,000,000 in damage.

The fire was definitely wrong. The cartoon on the other hand…
 
And finally, the #1 Christian Bashing Instance in America for 2008… 

INSTANCE #1: Radical Homosexuals Assault Prop 8 Marriage Supporters in California
During and after the November campaign stories flooded in of pro-Prop 8 signs being taken, people verbally and physically assaulted, church property and private automobiles vandalized, and person’s jobs and pastor’s lives threatened simply for exercising their right to campaign and vote in support of traditional marriage. 

Assault and vandalism are wrong, to be sure. I certainly would never condone such actions. But, to point a condemning finger at a group of people who are regularly defamed and otherwise bashed by religious folk seems a bit hypocritical to me.

BONUS INSTANCE: Senator Grassley’s Abuse of Power
US Senator Grassley, a member of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, has demanded the financial records of a number of very prominent conservative, evangelical broadcast ministries. The demand was based on Grassley’s concern that these ministries are not spending their contributions properly. Grassley has admitted his concerns were in part driven by media accounts.

Ummmmm, so? If they have nothing to hide, why would this be bothersome?

  • Autumnal Harvest

    Ummmmm, so? If they have nothing to hide, why would this be bothersome?

    OK, I agree with most of your post, but I have to say, I hate, hate, hate, this logic. Just because people don’t want the government poking through their affairs without good cause, doesn’t mean they have something to hide. The fact that I find “bothersome” the government’s warrantless wiretapping program doesn’t mean that I’m hiding criminal activities.

  • Pingback: Seven Reasons Barack Obama Is Not a Christian « globalizati

  • http://lavenderprophets.wordpress.com/ Idir

    Of course Obama is not Christian.
    Neither was Jesus.
    And Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein weren’t real Muslims, either.

    Now, let’s great a league for the advancement of middle-aged heterosexual WASP men, shall we?

  • chancelikely

    Re #7: PZ received the cracker from someone who claimed it was received when the anonymous sender was still a Catholic. Calling the cracker ‘stolen’ seems to me like calling a found penny ‘stolen’.

    And re #4: The Colorado legislature made damn sure that the law didn’t apply to the Bible. The Christian Anti-Defamation League is just wrong on this point (and several others, but this seems to be the most blatant).

  • SarahH

    I certainly acknowledge that there are real, legitimately troubling incidences of violence against Christians in the US, (and much, much worse in other parts of the world) but this list only mentions a few – instead using “bashing” to denote “people loudly disagreeing and calling us dumb” which just makes them sound whiny.

    I think it’s just as whiny when atheists get upset about private citizens/organizations calling them “evil” or “amoral” or whatnot. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion. As far as the Prop. 8 protests in California go (obviously excluding all assault and vandalism of personal property cases), I think Dan Savage put it best in his podcast, when he said:

    I agree, people of faith have a right to express themselves in the public square without fear of reprisal. Reprisal is not angry queers waving placards on public sidewalks in front of your Bigot Inc. churches. That is not a reprisal. That is us exercising our right to free speech and our right to participate in the democratic process.

    He goes on to point out that if McDonalds had sponsored Prop. 8 instead of churches, angry queers would be protesting outside “fucking McDonalds” instead.

  • Diagoras

    “Meyer’s has also asked people to steal the Eucharist for him”

    As far as I remember Meyers never asked anyone to steal a eucharist, he just asked that it be desecrated. In fact, I don’t see why anyone would steal it considering that if you just wait in a communion line then a priest will give one to you.

  • Dan C.

    I never would have seen the Jack Black video if it weren’t for this list. I’m glad they got their panties in a wad =)

  • Stephen P

    I think it’s just as whiny when atheists get upset about private citizens/organizations calling them “evil” or “amoral” or whatnot. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion.

    Certainly if people want to criticise specific opinions or actions, they are entitled to do so. It is different when we are talking about a blanket condemnation of an entire group as “evil”, based on nothing more than that they don’t share the speaker’s religious views. In my view that is bigotry, and unacceptable. Do you consider it acceptable for someone to publicly condemn all blacks as evil?

  • SarahH

    Certainly if people want to criticise specific opinions or actions, they are entitled to do so. It is different when we are talking about a blanket condemnation of an entire group as “evil”, based on nothing more than that they don’t share the speaker’s religious views. In my view that is bigotry, and unacceptable. Do you consider it acceptable for someone to publicly condemn all blacks as evil?

    Yes. I think it reveals that person as ugly and evil, and it would certainly generate a giant response from other individuals and groups. But free speech is free speech. So long as it’s not “fire” in a crowded theatre, it’s legal and fine with me, no matter how much I might hate the content.

    I think there will always be people who hate atheists, gays, Christians, blacks, etc. The important thing is that, when they spew their hatred/bashing/etc, their voices don’t go unchallenged by the rest of us.

  • llewelly

    INSTANCE #7: Minnesota University Professor Desecrates Communion
    A Biology Professor from the University of Minnesota, Paul Zachary Myers, recently desecrated a consecrated communion wafer from a Catholic Mass. Meyer’s has also asked people to steal the Eucharist for him in order that he might desecrate it and display it on his blog.
    Really? He desecrated a Jesus biscuit? Well, damn him. In all seriousness, though, stealing IS wrong.

    PZ specified that the communion wafers should not be stolen. The claim contains a lie.

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    Just to be clear: Colorado SB200 is not a ban on publishing Bibles. It’s an expansion of an existing anti-discrimination bill to include sexual orientation (including transgendered people) in addition to race, gender, creed, national original, etc.

    I’ve been talking with a lawyer friend of mine, and he does say that this particular section of SB200 (the one the CADL is citing) isn’t very well written, and it’s feasible (although not likely) that it could be interpreted in a way that’s contrary to the First Amendment. But nobody except the CADL and their ilk thinks it’s going to be used to ban the publication and distribution of Bibles in Colorado.

  • Miko

    I find it interesting that the fact that some wingnuts don’t find Obama to be a Christian is somehow defamation of Christianity.

    Ummmmm, so? If they have nothing to hide, why would this be bothersome?

    I’d argue that this sentiment is the cause of many of the worst laws on the books currently. Consider for example the recently proposed law in Kenneth City, FL tasking city officials with random searches of private homes to see if they are sufficiently “tidy.” Anyone who vacuums regularly couldn’t object, right? You might as well say that no one should mind getting hit by a nuisance lawsuit as long as they’ve done nothing wrong. (Insert Scientology reference here.)

    In this particular case, there are a number of potential downsides. If a non-profit organization criticizes a certain policy (in a non-partisan way permitted by the IRS), it’s fairly easy for political opponents to harass them by wasting their time with audits, review of non-profit status, etc. Also, the paperwork can get costly. In the 90′s, the Democratic Party racked up millions of dollars (literally) in photo-copying charges for documents submitted in the fundraising witch hunt by the Republican-controlled Congress (which never turned up any wrongdoing). The bottom line is that these tactics can be very costly and very time-consuming, and they are often used as a way of silencing free speech.

    On the other hand, the organizations Grassley wants to investigate are almost certainly guilty.

  • Miko

    Just to be clear: Colorado SB200 is not a ban on publishing Bibles. It’s an expansion of an existing anti-discrimination bill to include sexual orientation (including transgendered people) in addition to race, gender, creed, national original, etc.

    (Without knowing the details of the new law,) given all of the racist, sexist, and nationalistic language in the Bible in addition to the anti-gay bits, I’d imagine that the Bible would be in no more danger under the new law than it was under the old.

  • valdemar

    Er, so nobody was burned at the stake, tortured, forced to recant their beliefs by atheists? No books were burned by atheists? No children were sexually assaulted and the criminal protected by the leaders of the militant atheist movement?

    Gosh, we’re much nicer than them, aren’t we?

  • J. J. Ramsey

    And to think… I wrote an article touting it [Religulous] the best movie of 2008. I don’t even want to know what that says about me.

    Well, it probably says that you didn’t catch Maher’s credulity about, for example, the quote mine of John Adams saying “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it” and the B.S. about Mithras, Horus, etc. that comes from the likes of Acharya S. That’s not something that I’d accept from any purported “best” movie.

  • Chris Rippel

    No honest person reading SB200 would think it outlaws printing the Bible.

    The law clearly, clearly outlaws “publishing discriminative matter” “intended or calculated to discriminate or actually discriminate” in “lodging, housing, schooling, or tuition…”

    The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission is lying for Jesus.

    This page contains a link to the full-text of Colorado SB 200
    http://lonestartimes.com/2008/06/29/colorado-sb-200-an-analysis/

  • Joseph R.

    Speaking of instance #5,
    I work for two towns and attend all of the city council meetings. Prayers “in your loving name” or “in Jesus’ name” are said before every meeting. Needless to say, it tends to be a little uncomfortable. I suspect that it is an accepted practice in many parts of the country.

  • http://www.skepacabra.wordpress.com Michael

    Yeah, someone mentioned it already but I don’t recall PZ EVER telling people to STEAL anything. In fact, I think he specifically urged people not to steal the cracker (though I could be wrong about that). And how exactly can a free product be stolen? I liked how someone said it’s like claiming someone stole a penny. But even a penny has monetary value. It’s more like the Wetzel’s Pretzels in my local mall accusing me of stealing their free samples of pretzels.

  • http://www.skepacabra.wordpress.com Michael

    Okay, another point worth making is that the fire in Palin’s church happened after she joined the ranks of other irrelevant reality TV stars. There’s no good political motivation for arson. We’re not sure even if it was arson. And if it was arson, there are no known suspects or evidence to suggest any particular motivation. So this is all just one giant exercise in scapegoating.

  • Stephen P

    But free speech is free speech. So long as it’s not “fire” in a crowded theatre, it’s legal and fine with me, no matter how much I might hate the content.

    Blanket vilification of a group is every bit as bad as shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre. For the results, see Rwanda, Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia, Nazi Germany, the American South, many centuries of religious wars and religious persecution …

  • http://www.sheeptoshawl.com writerdd

    Whoops, I posted this in the wrong thread by accident. Or maybe it was somewhat related.

    Christians are supposed to rejoice and be exceeding glad when they are persecuted. They are not supposed to get mad or fight back. They are not suppose to whine and complain. They are not supposed to file lawsuits or take out ads. I guess most have not heard the sermon on the mount.

    Matthew 5:11&12 (KJV)

    Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

    I think that today’s Christians are spitting in Jesus’s face by the way they so often directly reject his teachings. Talk about taking the name of the Lord in vain. It’s not about profanity. It’s about claiming to follow Jesus while ignoring his words.

    I also think today’s Christians have a persecution complex. None of the things listed in the original post seem like true “bashing” or “persecution” to me. If they whine about this, what would they do if real persecution came?

  • http://zackfordblogs.wordpress.com ZackFord

    Hey all, I wrote my own review of the list on my new blog. I actually didn’t read Trina’s before I wrote mine, and we made some of the same punchlines. If you feel like reading another set of responses, click on over to my post. I really respect all the discussion that takes place over here at Friendly Atheist!

  • Ur-Nungal

    “Really? He desecrated a Jesus biscuit? Well, damn him. In all seriousness, though, stealing IS wrong.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucharist_(Catholic_Church)

    Whether or not it is true, and whether or not Myers requested it be stolen or not, it was a deliberate act of provocation designed from malice. From a Catholic perspective, after all, he didn’t just pierce a piece of bread, but Jesus.

    Not only is it an unpalatably reactionary and, for Catholics, desecrating action, it fails to advance anyone’s interests – unless someone has a vested interest in seriously winding them up. I mean, how does this advance the cause of enlightening others or w/e, or even promoting understanding and tolerance for atheism in the USA?

    It’s as productive singing the Horst-Wessel-Lied because it’s Chanukah.

    ZackFord, you might want to read the Substance Theory page on their, too. Helps explain the belief.

  • stogoe

    Just because people don’t want the government poking through their affairs without good cause, doesn’t mean they have something to hide.

    Ah, but you aren’t a tax-exempt organization who is legally required to report your finances to the government in exchange for remaining tax-exempt. Grassley is going after these megachurches because their self-reported finances are wonky and raise numerous red flags.

    Ur-Nungal, it’s just a frakkin’ cracker. It has no power, no magic.

    And you deliberately ignore the context of the action – PZ’s ‘desecration’ of the Cheezit was in direct response to the Catholic Church sending death threats to and trying to expel a catholic college student who tried to show and explain the eucharist to his non-catholic friend.

    Sending death threats and trying to get someone expelled is much worse than hurting the fee-fees of the catholics.

  • http://zackfordblogs.wordpress.com ZackFord

    Ur-Nungal, I want to say that I do appreciate the discussion on this topic about the consecrated Communion wafer…

    Part of my point of view as an atheist is that I do not respect a belief simply because it is a belief. If there is good reason for a belief or PROOF of a belief, I will respect it because I can relate to it, but I will not offer what Dawkins calls “undeserved respect” to something someone says simply because it is a belief.

    I read through the article and everything about transubstantiation and “substance” and what vs. how… and none of it means much to me at all if I can’t test it. Show me proof that this cracker is now imbued with the spirit of Jesus. Demonstrate to me why eating it is important (and not cannibalism). Am I being “disrespectful” of the belief? No, I’m asking valid questions, but the only answer to them is “You have to believe…” and “Because the Bible says this.” Well, that’s not good enough for me.

    What the professor did I think proved a humorous point, not unlike the cartoon a few years back depicting Muhammad. Look at how upset people get over a CRACKER. It is an awkward little plastic-tasting wafer that has no measurable effect on the people who “receive” it. Bringing that to light might seem disrespectful if one maintains their religious privilege, but honestly I think people are just upset that it shatters the illusion. It’s like showing how a magic trick is done… it’s fun to believe that it’s magic (or holy), but then someone shows you how it’s done (or that it’s still just a cracker) and the mystique is gone. If you define your whole life around that illusion (or delusion), then you might be upset, but only because you’re confronted with truth you’ve been ignorant of for so long.

  • Maria

    Certainly if people want to criticise specific opinions or actions, they are entitled to do so. It is different when we are talking about a blanket condemnation of an entire group as “evil”, based on nothing more than that they don’t share the speaker’s religious views. In my view that is bigotry, and unacceptable. Do you consider it acceptable for someone to publicly condemn all blacks as evil?

    No I don’t, not at all. But I also don’t consider it acceptable for groups like RRS to say anyone who isn’t an atheist is mentally ill.

  • http://www.atheistnexus.org/profile/RosemaryLYNDALLWEMM49 RLWemm

    Ur-Nungal Says:

    Whether or not it is true, and whether or not Myers requested it be stolen or not, it was a deliberate act of provocation designed from malice. From a Catholic perspective, after all, he didn’t just pierce a piece of bread, but Jesus.

    And how is the PZM piercing different from a Catholic recipient biting the wafer with his/her teeth? Or digesting it with stomach acid? That would be vicious if the thing had a pain-sensing neuron in it somewhere.

    Besides, the context of PZM’s actions was quite humanitarian: supporting a youth whom the Catholic Church had harmed merely because he showed the wafer to some friends.

  • Wade

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