The church that cried persecution

Evangelical and fundamentalist Christians are very invested in being persecuted. Very interested. Here’s an example from a Fox News article on the whole Chick-fil-a issue:

“‘If the thought police come to Armitage Baptist Church, we will meet them at the door, respectfully, unflinchingly, willing to die on this hill holding a copy of the sacred Scriptures in one hand and a copy of the U.S. Constitution in the other,’ he said.

Pay attention, people of faith.

Dark clouds are gathering. The winds of intolerance are blowing. There’s a great storm approaching.

The days of persecution are upon us.”

There are two reasons for this, I think. First, there are a slough of verses that say that if you follow Jesus, you will be persecuted – therefore, evangelicals and fundamentalists must believe themselves persecuted or else they must not be following Jesus. The second reason has to do with evangelicals and fundamentalists’ beliefs regarding the end times – namely, the belief that America is soon to face a wide-scale persecution of Christians (for more, click here). Evangelicals and fundamentalists, therefore, expect to see the persecution of the church around every corner.

[Edit: In the rest of this post I"m going two things. First, I'm going to use snark, which I don't usually do but I think this situation calls for. Second, because evangelicals and fundamentalists frequently pick and choose verses that support their point while ignoring context or verses that make contrasting points, I'm going to use these same problematic methods to bring to light some verses about persecution that evangelicals generally ignore.]

But for all their reliance on the Bible, evangelicals and fundamentalists seem to be missing some verses when it comes to the persecution of the church. These ones, for instance:

Matthew 5: 10-12

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Do you see that? The Bible tells Christians to rejoice when they are persecuted! Did you see all the rejoicing when the Left began its full-scale “persecution” of Chick-fil-a? Yeah, me neither.

Matthew 5: 43-44

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

“Pray for those who persecute you – and also fight back against them with everything you’ve got!” Oh wait. Did I just imagine that last part? Given how evangelicals and fundamentalists generally act, I could have sworn it was there!

Matthew 10: 23

When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another.

Which is why every evangelical and fundamentalist Christian is in the process of moving to Canada, right? Wait, they’re not? Ah well, it’s a short verse, I can see why it would be easy to miss.

Romans 12: 14

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Have you heard all those evangelicals and fundamentalists on the news lately just blessing the pants off those “homosexual bullies” who are persecuting them? No? Huh, that’s weird. Maybe you were watching the wrong station, because I could have sworn…no wait, you’re right, that’s not happening either.

I Corinthians 4: 12-14

When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;  when we are slandered, we answer kindly.

Ah ha! “Endure”! That must be the code word for “cry fowl and go eat lots of chicken”!

Endure: verb

1 [with object] suffer (something painful or difficult) patiently:it seemed impossible that anyone could endure such pain

2 [no object] remain in existence; last:these cities have endured through time

Oh. Huh. That’s really weird. That makes it sound like that verse is telling Christians to suffer patiently under persecution, but that’ can’t possibly be right. Unless…

I know I’m just picking and choosing verses here. My point is that you really can’t pick some verses about the persecution of the church – like the ones that say Christians will be persecuted if they follow Jesus and that persecution will get worse as the end times approach – and ignore others – like the ones that instruct Christians on how to handle said persecution. But, well, that’s exactly what the vast, vast majority of fundamentalists and evangelicals do. And you know what? It’s getting annoying.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Christine

    Oh, the “Christian Right” is in the process of moving to Canada all right. I just regret that, since we’re stuck with them slowly taking over our government, that you’re still stuck with yours too.

    • Ken Puck

      This article is rot. Christians are being physically attacked in the Near East, with Marists, Copts, Chaldeans, and Assyrians fleeing their homes to avoid being killed by Muslims. Closer to home, Hollywood has declared war on Christians, who are deemed unreconstructed troglodytes by the bien-pensant. Piss Christ by Serrano stands out, as does elephant dung on a depiction of the Virgin Mary at the Brooklyn Museum, a chocolate Jesus, the ACLU going after crosses, Christmas trees, the Lord’s Prayer in schools, on and on. To argue that Christians are not being pilloried in the press, in popular culture, and in the courts, is to be willfully blind to reality — an easy maneuver for liberals, for whom reality is an abstraction.

      A secular tomorrow, with Man regnant and triumphant, his own God, will usher in the New Jerusalem. We’ll just see how all that plays out.

      Meantime, it should be noted, Muslims get a pass — even though they do not accept separation of church and state. The reason is simple: Critics know they will get their throats cut.

      • snow27

        Yes, Ken Puck is absolutely correct. Christians around the world are seriously persecuted. This article is yet another attack on Christianity. Where in the mainstream press does one ever see a positive article about Christians or Christianity? For the life of me, I can’t really ever remember reading one that was positive towards evangelicals. At my work, my co-workers, most of whom are leftists, often criticize and ridicule Christianity. I’m not an evangelical and disagree with many of their tenets, but am dismayed at how Christians and Christianity is portrayed, almost everywhere I turn. Do you Christian-haters have any understanding at all of the importance of Christianity in the development of Western civilization? The history of the Catholic church has certainly not always been stellar, to say the least, but it has been instrumental in the development of democracy, intellectual traditions and ultimately the freedoms we have come to expect (unfortunately, the left has also come out of this tradition, so there is certainly complete shite in this tradition, though we are able to debate the good and bad with relative freedom, unlike in Islam).

      • Tisha

        If by “instrumental in the development of democracy, intellectual traditions and ultimately the freedoms we have come to expect”, you mean that these things developed despite the church kicking, screaming, suppressing, and killing, then you’re absolutely right.

      • smrnda

        As for how great the secular world is playing out, the US is the most religious of all Western nations and compared to more secular ones, we almost look third world at times. If anything, some of the least violent nations with the least social problems are the least religious. Having seen Scandinavia and Western Europe, it looks like religion can be abandoned without a country going backwards.

        Also, the US requires that the State should not promote any one form of religion over another. Any sort of monument on public ground on in school equals government sponsorship of religion, a matter in which the State is to remain neutral.

        It should also be worth noting that nations who persecute Christians also tend to persecute homosexuals, and quite a few Christians in the US are very vocal that they’d like to make the States into a Christian Iran.

  • smrnda

    If Christians in the US feel persecuted, they should move to Iran.

  • http://jw-thoughts.blogspot JW

    I would agree that there exists a type of persecution complex among some Christians but not all Christians. As a result some Christians are really deluded about what it means to be persecuted as a Christian. Losing your job because you are a Christian can be a type of persecution while being asked to not talk about spiritual things at work is not although some will think it is because it can stir up arguments. Jobs prefer that talk to be outside of work.

    I definitely believe there are many who preach the end times who cause some Christians to create in themselves a culture of persecution. Just like a self fulfilling prophecy. I have always challenged some to be careful for if a person spends too much time preaching end times dogma , especially from the book of Revelation,it can create a complex in which some people really go off the deep end and lose focus on their own heart and the well being of their fellow person and become a religious zealot who wants persecution and war in order to show the end times are here. It becomes like a self fulfilling prophecy. They take on the ‘Hell fire’ Mentality instead of a ‘woe is me for I am undone and I need to get right with my God before I tells others of Him’ type of thing.

    Right now the persecution going on in this country, That I see, if the methodical taking out of items that show a religious Christian symbolism in the name of separation of Church and State. Although I don’t know the history of it all, prayer was in schools at one time and now it isn’t. What caused prayer to be in school at one time which was ok but not it is considered not ok especially some want to emphasize separation of church and state to the nth degree? There are various other symbols around the country that are being taken down such as the obscure cross out in the middle of the desert. What is the issue behind such motivation? Is it really that serious?

    Lastly, Some of the words we have engraved in Washington D.C. buildings have the invoking of God within them. This tells us that there was some motivation to include God in this country at its beginnings. If this is the case what is stopping groups such as the ACLU and other Atheist groups from sandblasting those words that invoke God out of those sayings if indeed they use ‘Separation of Church and State’ as justification to do so. This is a type of persecution going on even though it is quite different from those being persecuted in Iran and North Korea.

    Am I rambling?

    JW

    • smrnda

      Prayer in schools, given the Constitution, has always been illegal as it constitutes a state sponsorship or religion – having a teacher (an agent of the State) officially lead a prayer is the State acting as Priest/Pastor/Religious Propaganda Minister. The difference is that for most of the time, Christians held such a numerical majority and were in such firm control of the culture that this went on without complaint – people who disagreed knew their place at the times and, for the most part, had to keep quiet or risk being discriminated against. Doing ‘officially Christian’ things in school and government worked when the US was more a monoculture and people who were not mainstream did not speak out.

      • Steve

        Prayer in schools isn’t illegal. When you phrase it like that you fall for the right-wing whining. There is nothing preventing a student from praying on their own. No one has “taken prayer out of school”. It’s only official endorsement and forced prayers that are illegal.

      • machintelligence

        It is true that the only prayer and religious observances that have been removed are the official ones, but some of us can remember when they were pretty pervasive. When I was in a public elementary school, we had a yearly Christmas play, complete with Baby Jesus and readings from the bible. I still have the shepherd’s costume that my mother made when I played that part. I remember wondering what the Jewish kids thought about it, but no-one really cares what a 10 year old kid thinks. (There was also a student born in Turkey, but he probably was a Christian. He made a big deal of his Turkish ancestry, but I never asked about his religion.)

    • http://thaliasmusingsnovels.com/ Amethyst

      Did you know the ACLU has been defending Chick-fil-A?

    • BabyRaptor

      Prayer in school has not been made illegal. FORCED prayer, IE praying over a loud speaker or at ceremonies where everyone has to join in…THAT is what was taken out.

      And yes. Signs of a certain religion on public property ARE a serious deal. It’s the government throwing it’s lot behind a certain religion. It’s wrong no matter what the religion is. The government being forced to remove these symbols is NOT persecution…No offense, but the fact that you consider that persecution is laughable. It shows that you have no idea what persecution really is.

      The Constitution makes it very clear that this land is not a christian land, nor was it based on the christian religion. It plainly says as much. This is pretty widely ignored by people who find it inconvenient, but it’s still a fact.

      Lastly, separation of church and state is the law. And as much as christians yell about how it offends them, it protects ya’ll as much as it does us. Maybe one day when you’re the minority religion, you’ll realize that. Sadly, it won’t happen in time for any of the people you’re stepping on now to enjoy the karma.

    • Anonymouse

      The first removal of mandatory prayer from public school came from one group of Christians were were tired of having the beliefs of another group of Christians imposed on their children. There were riots in the streets. http://candst.tripod.com/boston3.htm “Interestingly enough, the issue that incited the violence remains controversial even today, and that is religion in public schools.

      In fact, the parallels between the rhetoric of nineteenth-century America’s Protestant majority and today’s Religious Right are startling. As Roman Catholics and Protestants battled more than a century ago over prayer and Bible reading in public schools, Protestants relied on the same arguments uttered by modern-day TV preachers: Protestant practices in public schools were “traditional”; those who don’t like the exercises could get up and leave the room; a little religion never hurt anyone; and finally, Protestants were the majority and should have the right to do whatever they wanted.

      Like the modern Religious Right, ultraconservative Protestant leaders of the nineteenth century insisted the United States was a “Christian nation.” Only one catch: by “Christian” they really meant “Protestant.”

    • Anonymouse

      JW, the founding fathers were quite clear that they didn’t want religion to be a part of government, which is why it’s not included in the Constitution of the USA.

  • http://www.brooksandsparrow.com Angelia Sparrow

    I love how my decision (made years ago) not to give my money to a group that buys laws specifically to harm people like me is suddenly persecuting THEM.

    JW, the loss of hegemony is not the same as persecution. The US is 75% Christian, true enough. But it’s also 72% white. When whiteness is the enforced default in public (Driving While Black, segregated spaces, unwarrented searches of people of color, lack of media representation) it’s called racism. When Christianity is the enforced default (teacher led prayer, Christian symbols on public land, etc) it’s a form of religious bigotry against the 25% of us who aren’t Christian.

    Nobody expects someone to convert out of being a PoC, but everyone expects non-Christians to convert or keep their mouths shut. Prominant politicians talk about deporting us, as if we aren’t American. We can lose our children for practicing a minority religion or none at all. We can be denied prison chaplains because of our faith, in California no less.

    Kids can pray in school, as long as they are not disrupting (you cannot stand up, pray loudly and invoke the wrath of God on your teacher for the math test). But the adults cannot stand in front of a classroom where 7 of their 28 kids may believe something different, and pray to Jesus. That is coercion by an authority figure.

    • WhiteBirch

      Well said Angelia.

  • JJ

    I think part of the reaon Christians are feeling persecuted over this, is that several city mayors said they would oppose Chick-fil-a opening in their cities becuase of its anti- gay stance.
    http://gawker.com/5928200/city-of-boston-jim-henson-company-refuse-to-do-business-with-chick+fil+a

    • machintelligence

      This may be true, but those two mayors were taken to task pretty heavily on the atheist/free thought blogs. Most of us thought that they were out of line. They feel persecuted because persecuting is something they would do if the circumstances were reversed.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        I’m sorry but this drives me nuts. I can’t speak for Chicago but all Mayor Menino of Boston said was that he “urged” Chick Fil A to not open a branch in Boston, that this would be insulting to the heritage of the city of Boston. Nothing about “urging” implies an intent to take legal steps to prevent them from coming to Boston. Urging is legal. All he did was basically say “I, the mayor of Boston, think you’re assholes and I don’t want you hear.” I don’t care if conservative Christians’ widdle fee-fees are hurt by that. That’s legal too.

        I get that people’s hearts are in the right place when they take to task Menino, but do not uncritically accept the Christian Right’s characterization of his actions. Read the letter yourself. There’s nothing illegal about it. All he did was publicly express his opinion. Mayors are allowed to do that too.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        oops, “here” not “hear.”

      • machintelligence

        Mayors are allowed to have opinions too, as individuals. When they sign their names as mayor it gives the imprimatur of government backing to their opinions, and we all know how hard it is to fight city hall. Not illegal, but bad form.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Fight City Hall on what? He didn’t actually say he would take any steps to prevent Chick Fil A from opening in Boston. He just said, “I really don’t want you here, douchebags.” There was never a word about trying to use the local government against them. I’m just not getting what is so incredibly threatening about “I urge you not to open here.”

      • machintelligence

        I suspect that you don’t understand how big-city politics are played. My experience is from Chicago in the 60′s but I doubt that Boston is much different. If a mayor says that something is not welcome, a whole bevy of underlings will see to it that it does not happen. Building, zoning and licensing departments will nit pick and stall until the “offending” party goes away. No one will order them to do it. It will be nudge-nudge, wink-wink. Do you want to sue them? The city’s pockets are deeper than yours.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        But that is STILL all conjecture, even if it is founded. The people freaking out about this act as if him sending a fucking open letter constitutes a direct violation of the first amendment. I’m sorry, speculating on how him having a particular opinion MIGHT play out politically in the city does not give anyone an argument. Until anyone can produce any evidence that Menino is actually taking steps to legally bar the chain from opening, all anyone’s got is “c’mon, you know how it is.” Not enough, sorry. These people need to quit whining, period.

  • wanderer

    I think the real issue has nothing to do with persecution or christianity. I think the real issue is that those who hold power, want to keep their power. It’s the same as it’s always been in issues of human rights. The majority christian white heterosexual community is not about to lose their grip on privilege.

    They will slap down anyone who hints at their reign weakening in the slightest. In order to make their power mongering palatable, they label it christian and call it persecution, so they can call themselves victims. It’s been effective through the centuries. For a time at least.

  • http://ripeningreason.com/ Bix

    I’ve been trying to articulate why this (‘your criticism just makes me more right’, which I think is part of the idea of persecution) bothers me so much, other than for its ability to shut down reasonable conversation about anything. I think it comes with the belief that one is righteous and morally just, to the exclusion of other people, to the extent that they dehumanize those who disagree with them. Dehumanization, abetted by a belief that a group of people is morally inferior, is what leads to actual persecution, not the expression of disagreement. After all, they have an omnipotent God on their side–one who doesn’t hesitate to punish, kill, and eternally torture people who don’t please him.. I think that’s a very dangerous mindset.

  • Stephanie

    Thanks for your post, as a conservative Christian, I have been wrestling over how Christians should be responding in a Christ-like way to the whole gay marriage issue. As Americans we have the right to vote according to our conscience, and I don’t think it is wrong to use it. I think Christians in America have to be careful not to make idols out of our freedoms, our country, and our viewpoints. I read “tortured for Christ” by VOM founder Richard Von Wurmbrand and there was a pastor in it thanking God for how persecuted they were in Communist Romania, because he wasn’t sure they would be very good Christians otherwise. Anyway, your post brought that back to me. I’m not feeling persecuted at present( reading Voice of the Martyrs helps one to keep things in perspective). In other words I didn’t go to chick fil a to show support, I don’t think they did anything wrong though and will still go there when I want a good chicken sandwich. I am also undecided if I would even vote on a gay marriage issue at the ballot box. My husband and I think that marriage should be a religious issue , left to each church/religion to decide, not a civil issue decided by which viewpoint has more numbers.

    • Rosie

      I’d agree with you about marriage being a solely religious issue, if the state didn’t provide marriage licenses with real legal rights and responsibilities attached. So it is a civil issue at this point, because it is the state that is keeping some people from making legal contracts. And some religions already do commitment ceremonies (religious “marriage”) for gay couples, despite the lack of state recognition. So not all religions even are in agreement on the issue. Even if the state makes the contract available to all couples, churches will retain the freedom (which they already have) to only marry those who agree with them on what marriage is. And those who wish to have a different kind of marriage can have a civil ceremony, or one conducted by the Church of Universal Life, or the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or whatever religion they agree with.

      • Anonymouse

        Marriage is absolutely not a religious issue. People of differing faiths can marry (e.g. Christian and Jewish or Buddhist and Christian), people who are not religious at all can marry other non-believers or believers. This is as it should be. Marriage is a contract between two people. If they want to add religious frills and bells and whistles, they’re perfectly free to do it, but any married couple is indeed married even if they never step foot in a church.

    • Steve

      FYI, the people who came up with Protestantism (Martin Luther and John Calvin) saw marriage a worldly issue and wanted the churches to stay out of it. They knew that the Catholic Church only got involved in the marriage business very late and had no real claim to it.

    • Rosa

      If gay marriage is legal, then it WILL be up to each church to decide who they will marry. Right now, in most states, affirming churches can’t marry same-sex partners and have it be legal the way heterosexual marriages they perform are legal.

    • cken

      Unequivocally, you should not vote based on the gay marriage issue. You should vote on an array of issues, but then think about what light the candidates position on gay marriage sheds on their character. How did they come to that position, and what are their general political leanings? Is the candidate remaining true to his beliefs or is he pandering for votes? Then again maybe I am behind the times. Maybe character doesn’t count anymore in this country

      • Rosa

        well, if they are anti marriage equality, they are either a sincere bigot or pandering to bigots to win.

        So, character matters but I am not sure sincerity is the best character trait a politician can have.

  • Stephanie

    I wasn’t trying to say people should only be able to marry in a church. There are many other religions. The problem with having the state involved is that it goes against some peoples deeply held religious beliefs and they feel like they are condoning things that go against their religion with the push to redefine marriage. I realize Luther thought marriage should be a civil issue, but that doesn’t mean he was right. It wouldn’t be only the catholic church, any church, any religion could marry people, then file the licenses with the state for legal differences. The only difference would be that each church/religion would have the freedom to legally marry whoever they see fit. It would allow for homosexual marriage and polygamy. I do not think it would be best for society, but freedom can be messy. They shouldn’t have to live according to my convictions. It will never happen though, I know :) not many Americans can handle libertarian ideas we’re all such do-gooders:)

    • Steve

      What utter bullshit. First, having “deeply held religious beliefs” doesn’t mean anything. It’s a useless catchphrase. Anyone can pretend to believe in something deeply. I have deeply held beliefs too. Just because other people’s are religious doesn’t mean they deserve any respect or consideration.

      Second, what other people do, does NOT violate anyone else’s religious beliefs. No one is forcing them to become gay or become gay married. No one is demanding to get married in their churches, no matter what their feverish paranoia tells them to. Get some perspective and learn to live in the real world.

      You also do not understand what a marriage license does. You act as if churches issue these licenses and then just give them to the state. That’s so not how it works. A marriage license is issued by the government and returned to it. You first have to go to city hall to get one. You can’t get a marriage license from your church. Clergy merely notarize that a wedding ceremony has taken place. That’s all. And it’s this ridiculous habit of having clergy act as notaries in a civil legal contract that creates this confusion. The central European model where you have to get legally married by a civil registrar before a religious wedding can even take place is far superior. Churches shouldn’t in any be involved in the legal aspects of a marriage.

      • Paula G V aka Yukimi

        and at least the Catholic Church wasn’t involved in marriages for ages. Its involvement is “relatively” new. Why give marriage to religious institutions when it wasn’t theirs? Also, my boyfriend of almost 10 years and I are atheists (all our parents are too) so we aren’t getting a religious wedding, nor many other people. As steve has said, I think that you should get a civil marriage and then if you want get a religious or otherwise ceremony.

        Also, I’m not American and I don’t personally know a single person in Spain who doesn’t think libertarian ideas are completely nutty. I’m sure they will be some supporters somewhere…

    • smrnda

      Marriages are legal contracts. Any religious aspect is completely irrelevant to their legal status, and even allowing members of the clergy to sign documents is just a courtesy. The only meaningful definitions of marriage are its legal aspects, and that is entirely a government issue.

      Churches can say anything they want about what marriage is supposed to be, and their members can believe it, but outside of their church those opinions shouldn’t dictate public policy. A church can refuse to perform a marriage for anyone, whether it’s because they don’t support same-sex marriage or because they don’t think the people are sufficiently devout or orthodox to warrant that church approving of their marriage. The church gets to express its opinion, it can poo poo anybody’s marriage that it wants to, but it has zero legal power to determine who can be legally married.

      I’ve known people (some of whom have since rejected religion) who went to churches that didn’t believe in divorce and were told that the church didn’t ‘see them as married’ since it wasn’t their first marriage. Fine, churches can do that, but they have no legal power to stop or invalidate someone’s marriage.

      If a church doesn’t agree with gay marriage, it should have no power to stop it, any more than a church’s disbelief in Wotan should stop someone from building a temple to Wotan. If you sincerely believe that worshiping Wotan is wrong, then by all means, disapprove, but it doesn’t grant you the right to deny people their religious liberty. I don’t see how gay marriage is any different.

  • reverend billy walters

    helping Evangelical and fundamentalist Christians understand the bible. plus gods love is like giving a cat a fea bath they bit ch, claw, bite because they fear whats happening to them. afterwards, they are all loving. until the next bathtime ie Sunday serves . (in a few minutes cats like Evangelical and fundamentalist Christians forget what happen at bathtime ie Sunday.)

  • Deacon Jim Stagg

    How about, “We’ll pray for you”, since you seem to be among our “enemies”.

    The peace of Jesus Christ be with you. Selah!

  • http://Idon'thaveone.I'mnotthatarrogant. Tim Smith

    The thing that most disturbs me most about this piece of typing is that I followed a link from realclearpolitics.com, which, up to now, has impressed me as a good source of intelligent, balanced opinion , to read this awful example of argumentation.

    Is the writer 16 years old? Her writing certainly reminds of a poorly educated 16 year old’s feeble attempt at argumentation. Based on the quality of this piece, I must assume that patheos.com is both ridiculously liberal and edited by morons. I understand that pathos is about emotion, but could that be coupled with some writing ability, please?

    Please continue to publish whatever you wish, but would you ask your writers to go beyond a quotation and a blanket “There, I told you so!”? Seriously, this makes you look foolish.

    My main complaint, however, has to be with realclearpolitics.com. For several years I’ve recommended them to my AP Language students as a reliable source for well-reasoned, well-written argument, and they have really let me down here.

    Thank you for your consideration

  • cken

    Libby Anne’s article was the most vitriolic piece of sarcasm I have read this year. What’s worse, she obviously has no understanding of the issues. This was never about gay marriage. It’s a first amendment rights issue. Apparently she doesn’t know what that is. I’ll try to explain. Whether the gentleman, had said he hated gays, blacks, or Muslims, or Jews is unimportant. What is important is he has a right to say it, whether you agree or disagree, under the first amendment you are not to be punished for stating your opinion. His particular statement had religious overtones, which he also has a constitutional right to voice.

    One final note: Despite the authors lack of any in depth understanding of the Bible; she was very well versed in the Biblical literalist style of argument – taking passages out of context to support your argument.

    • smrnda

      Libby Anne has in no way argued that the CEO of Chik-Fil-A expressing his opinion is invalid, just that people choosing not to spend money at his business are not interfering with this first amendment rights of freedom of speech. I don’t have to patronize a business that supports organizations I disagree with – that’s my right. If a person wants to have opinions I disagree with, fine, but I am in no way obliged to spend my money on their greasy chicken sandwiches, and freedom of speech means both a right to speak and to criticize others’ points of view.

      Tim Smith – if you teach AP Language, all said, you didn’t exactly display eloquence or mastery of the English language with your response. I mean, you mistook the word “PATHEOS” for “PATHOS” – so perhaps you are the person who can’t edit or read properly?

  • cken

    Some of you need to brush up on your history. Marriage being an “institution of God” was historically within the jurisdiction of the church, as was divorce. Henry the 8th started the Church of England because the Pope wouldn’t grant him a divorce from one of his wives. At one time the church had what amounted to a court system and heard all matters which weren’t included under the Kings Law. Sometime later they became known as Courts of Chancery, and heard most domestic and civil matters. It’s only been a relatively recent historical development the Court of Law (or of the King or government) took domestic issues such as marriage and divorce out of the church’s jurisdiction.

    • Steve

      It’s you who doesn’t know history. The church didn’t get involved in marriage until around the 12th or 13th century. They didn’t even have a standardized liturgy until the middle ages. And priests weren’t required to perform a marriage until then. For centuries they kept Roman laws largely unchanged, only tightening some requirements like consanguinity a bit. Later, when they took over all aspects of public and political life, they also made a grab for marriage. That is until the Protestant Reformation, which sought to undo that and put the legal registration of marriages with the government.

  • machintelligence

    @ Tim Smith and cken
    Sorry you were so disappointed, guys. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

  • Dean

    The comments from the fundies here say it all. The truth is, there has been no easier time in the history of Christendom to be a Christian than in 21st century America. This is an objective, verifiable fact. Try reading some books, you can start with Latourette’s A History of Christianity, we’ve been getting killed, killing each other, or killing people of other faiths for the better part of 2000 years. I think strongly worded opinion pieces and creative and vigorous legal stratagem are exactly what we need when it comes to disagreement over our religious beliefs, the rest of the world best pay attention and follow our lead! What exactly am I missing here?

  • jj

    What is feminism but getting together to whine about men? You projected an article about yourself. Yawn.

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  • Jennifer

    Libby, this is your one big problem: you ascribe to feminism, which is a dead-end. Of course we’re ticked about Chick-fil-A’s freedom of speech being attacked, and naturally everyone BUT Christians get to whine about persecution. You amazingly easily dismantled and misused the Scripture regarding this; the Bible says to take joy in the fact that we’re serving God, NOT to ignore slander or real intent of harm. Chick-fil-A is in fact being very gracious, but if they jumped around in glee and said they rejoice in this attack on freedom, somehow I think you’d be nailing them for that too.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      Believing in women’s political, social, and economic equality with men – i.e. feminism – is a “dead end”? I think not.

      Of course I was misusing scripture here, but my point is that Christians with a persecution complex who cry foul at the slightest thing are doing the same thing. Picking and choosing verses isn’t the way to go about it, and so I thought I’d take a hand at exactly what they do and try some picking and choosing of my own in an attempt to show how ridiculous it is. Sorry that that was apparently so unclear.

      Finally, I don’t believe this was a freedom of speech issue whatsoever. The CEO of Chick-Fil-A can say what he likes, but when his company supports groups that actively work to limit the rights of gay people or even – yes – work to block the government from speaking out against the kill the gays bill in Uganda, well, people are allowed to speak in condemnation of that. See, we have free speech too. No one violated Cathy’s free speech. They merely called it reprehensible. That’s not persecution.

      • Jennifer

        Feminists are not interested in equal rights and never have been; they ARE a dead end, and thanks to their little missions to make women as sexually loose as men, we have a huge mess in modern times. Yes, this is a free speech issue, people fighting to try and boycott Chick-fil-A; nobody’s limiting the actions of gays, they are free to have sex, work, and travel basically wherever they please, but the definition of marriage affects everyone and its abuse thus far has helped so many marriages end in divorce, because pple no longer see it as a covenant for life. If you’ve truly stopped believing in God, you gave Satan, the one who helped torment you in childhood, the ultimate victory. I still can’t believe it: college flipped you over? It’s like the ultimate nightmare of secularism, and a case in point for people who don’t want their kids going to college. Conservatism has helped keep the country intact, while ultra-liberalness has helped bankrupt us and tear apart families, while training men and women to be utterly selfish and sexually loose.

  • Material Defender

    This isn’t about persecuting Christians. Just asking them to endure and bless their enemies as the good book asks them too.

    Also, Hollywood hasn’t ‘declared a war on Christianity.’ If anything it’s on Western Religions, considering Dark skinned people from the middle east are A: assumed to be Muslim and B: tend to be bad guys in movies. And Christians are essentially, acceptable targets. Making fun of Buddhism or Muslim directly just seems like USA being racist. Making fun of white people and Christians? No big deal, their so pervasive and been on top so long that a little humble pie is something they should be able to stomach.

    I think they should be able to stomach it, certainly.

  • Little Magpie

    My mother’s family is Jewish. Luckily, they had been in the US for generations, so my family wasn’t directly affected by the Holocaust… but I do know some older folks who survived the camps – and lost all their families.

    I’m bisexual and strongly identify with the GBLT…(etc) community. While personally agnostic I’m closely tied to a minority, much-maligned religious path (Wicca and other neo-pagan movements).
    So while I thankfully have managed to avoid a lot of nastiness personally in my own life, I want to say on behalf of these groups I feel tied to and allied with, who really DO get persecuted (or, in the case of the Judaism, maybe not so much anymore, but undeniably so in the recent past): American and European Christians who cry “persecution” whenever you aren’t allow to impose your beliefs on everyone else: Do you even know what persecution MEANS? You are worse than hypocritical and disgust me.
    Has anyone tried there absolute best to routinely exterminate your entire religion? (The closest I can think of is, arguably, the religious wars around the Reformation, but that was between different sects of Christianity, not some outside force.) Are you routinely told by much of the society around you that you are horrible, evil, irredeemably sick and perverted because of your religious beliefs, and the youngsters of your faith frequently harrassed, bullied, and made to feel worthless, to the point that it’s saddeningly common for them to commit suicide as the only way out of their unhappiness?

    No. I didn’t think so.

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  • Kerberos

    An excellent article :) There is a lot of this self-pitying rubbish in the CC too – it is very, very, very annoying. The self-pity is the give-away that what is not complained of is not persecution. Talking of the CC, here’s another over-looked passage:

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Peter%204.12-16&version=NIV

    It includes this:

    “14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. ”

    Verse 15 is always ignored by those who indulge in this foolishness – it never occurs to them that criticisms can be justified, and that the disgusting behaviour of paedophile clergy, like that of lying “televangelists”, deserves the severest possible criticism. They end by seeming to be trying to defend the indefensible. This horror of all criticism, even when it is manifestly justified & appropriate, is a sign that the kind of religion criticised is very sick indeed.

  • Kerberos

    that what is not complained of = that what is complained of


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