Christian Persecution Complex Much?

Remember when, after the 2012 election, I pointed out that the Right operates in a self-imposed information deficit? Well, a reader named Betty just left a comment on a post from last summer about LGBTQ rights, and this is a pretty decent example of that phenomenon:

As a matter of fact, it is [Christians'] rights that are being limited and we are becoming the minority in this nation. In many countries to even hint at being a Christian is the same as signing a death warrant. In our country they have taken away our right to pray in school, in some states we cannot even have private Bible study groups in our homes because it constitutes an illegal gathering, our organizations are being required to make the “abortion pill” a covered product on our insurance or be fined an absurd amount of money, our Christian doctors are being forced to consider if they even want to be doctors anymore or not because of a mandate that they must perform abortions……..and gay people are saying they don’t have rights?

Yeah … none of that is true. Well, the one part that is true is that there are countries where it is illegal to be a Christian. But what does that have to do with Christians having their rights limited in the U.S.? And also? There are countries where it is illegal to be an atheist, too. It’s not a Christian issue, it’s a religious freedom issue. But everything else? Yeah, no. Just completely flat out false.

And yet, this is the web the world of right-wing media weaves, a world in which Christians such as Betty honestly end up thinking they have fewer rights than do LGBTQ individuals, who in most states don’t have basic rights like the right to marry, adopt children, or not be fired because of who they are.

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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.

  • Steve

    She may be referring to the guy who ran some kind of Bible group out of his home. With *dozens* of people attending all the time. So they clogged the street with their cars and they violated building codes, e.g. about fire hazards. He basically ran a church without a permit from the city. It’s not that he couldn’t run the group – although maybe not in that place – but that he needed to follow procedures. Just as with any other businesses. As always it was a case of Christians demanding special rights and to be exempt from commonly applicable laws.

    • Amyc

      If it’s the same case I’m thinking, the guy actually built a building on his property and said he didn’t have to follow proper building codes because it wasn’t a church and wasn’t to be used for gathering of people. Then he filed it as a church for tax reasons and advertised it as a church.

    • BabyRaptor

      He also lied to the city about what he planned to use the extension to his building for when he got the one permit he did apply for. He told them it was going to be a game room, then turned around and filed for tax exemption.

      When the city showed up to make sure the building was up to code, it wasn’t. They told him to fix it, and instead he saw a chance for money and worked the persecution circuit.

      He could have KILLED people. But, no. He went to jail for deliberately lying to the government and endangering the people who went to “church” there, so the potential deaths get ignored. It’s government persecution.

      Oh, and the guy doesn’t even have a degree. He just thinks he knows enough about the bible to be a preacher. It all reeks of a money scam.

    • JethroElfman
      • Highlander

        Ok, you need to site a better news source than I quick google search of the parties involved in each of those cases shows that all of them involved code violations concerning regular gatherings of more than 20-80 people on a weekly or monthly basis. Personally, I’d be an upset neighbor too if one of my neighbors had 10-40 cars parked on the streets in my neighborhood every week. The last one featuring Michael Salmon also features code violations that would shut down any regular business. Namely regularly hosting 80+ people in a room that was given permits as a residential “game room”, but instead was being run as a church. If Michael had been running a movie theater instead of a church, he would have been shut down long ago. But because this is a religious organization he has been able to operate for years while this crap has wended it’s way through the courts.

      • mud man

        LA Times? San Juan Cap’ is also noted for being absolutely obsessive about hyper-competitive youth sports. Zoning violation: secularism at work.

        … but also: Special privilege for religious groups … secularism violated, but everybody happy.

      • JethroElfman

        Highlander, I’m not trying to show examples where as Betty said, Bible studies are illegal gatherings. I don’t believe that to exist. I want to show where she is getting the idea that Christians are being persecuted. For that, RWN provides some excellent cites. They have click-throughs so the discerning reader can discover that the real issue was crowd control in a residential area rather than religious persecution. I don’t want anyone here to think that Betty is just making it all up. Someone else is making it up and Betty is listening.

        I have to go through this every time I visit my mom. I printed color copies of the birth certificates and gently explained that, yes, these are reproductions of legitimate government documents. I explained the difference between a stamped, signed certificate and an online Photoshop image that can be broken into layers and still be a faithful reproduction of the original. Then I gather up some of her old copies of “Bible In The News” so I can read what might be worth trying to debunk on my next visit. Like Global Warming. Same-sex marriage. Definitely not evolution. Doesn’t matter enough. Easier if I don’t bring my kids, who go for the “you must be crazy” approach. Except my daughter who became a Mormon a few years back. She’s the new favourite, for not being an atheist like the other grandchildren.

    • Christine

      I remember seeing a news article about this in the Sun (followed a link because I was skeptical about the headline). I read straight through the article and noticed that there was no explanation given of if there were prior warnings, why the man was arrested or anything else that would actually tell me what happened. That article, by its complete lack of information, convinced me that he was in the wrong.

    • Lucreza Borgia

      Here is a story from way before he got arrested:

      The city actually bent over backwards for this guy and told him exactly how he could legally build a church on his property. It wasn’t until he decided that he was above the law that things got to where they were. I highly suggest reading the entire article!

  • Karen

    I used to practice in an area of law related to building codes; there are dozens of cases filed each week for violations of zoning and building codes. The overwhelming majority of these cases are completely uncontroversial matters such as operating businesses in residential neighborhoods or hosting meetings in buildings that don’t have the capacity for meetings of that size. No one cares if the meetings are, say, an excuse for an unlicensed nightclub or barber shop. Because of the great deference we afford religion in this country, the authorities will bend themselves into pretzels to avoid action against religious meetings, usually offering to drop the charges entirely if the group will find a new venue within a stated period of time.

  • Katherine

    It’s hard for me not to scream and pull my hair out when I read stuff like this. In the state where I live, is is perfectly legal for my employer to fire me if they even think that I *SEEM* gay (I’m lucky to have an employer with zero interest in firing me over my orientation, and I get to bring my fiancee to work gatherings). However, employment discrimination based on religion is illegal.

  • Carys Birch

    For crying out loud, I hate that argument against contraceptive coverage SO MUCH. You’d think we were asking Hobby Lobby to build a birth control factory and offer a free packet at checkout whenever you pop in to get a new pair of knitting needles.

    Apparently it needs to be said again: Employers do not provide insurance to their employees as an act of charity. It is not a gift. It is part of an employee’s EARNED compensation package. And the employee contributes to paying for it too. Betty, and everyone else like Betty, butt out of what I do with my paycheck!

    • Uly

      Oooh, knitting needles. Does Hobby Lobby even sell those, knowing the potential?

      • Peaslepuff

        Well, you just won comment of the week, Uly.

      • Uly

        Thanks. I try.

  • Lane

    Oh, but Libby Anne, don’t you realize that you saying those things are false is persecution in and of itself???? :P

    I think it feeds into the whole idea of being privileged to the ultimate truth. That is, Evangelicals already believe they are privy to The Secret Knowledge of the Divine (TM), which of course us poor non-Christians can’t POSSIBLY understand. They’re already conditioned to have the mentality that “we know something that no one else knows / everyone else denies”, so believing that same thing about supposed persecution is only a small step away. And of course, just like non-Christians are completely dismissed when we try to tell an Evangelical something like “you know, the Bible is definitely fallible”, we also hold precisely zero credibility in matters of things like perceived persecution.

    • Lane

      I would just like to point out that Lily’s comment below completely proved my point in the first sentence, less than one hour after I wrote my first comment.

      Like freakin’ clockwork over here.

    • Jayn

      I think this can be mostly traced back to the bible, especially the New Testament. Story after story of “God’s People” being oppressed for who they are and the god they worship, warnings to be prepared to defend your beliefs even under pain of death. They’re so busy trying to figure out the True and Literal meaning of their holy book that they haven’t realised that things changed at some point in the last two thousand years.

  • Hilary

    Christian persecution? Come talk to me after a few centuries of pogroms. Tell me about moving from nation to nation instead of forced converstion by the sword, or death. And let me know when other nations turn you away at the border and set impossible visa limits when your home nations are setting up for massacres. You will definately have my sympathy when someone accuses you of ritually murdering a non-Christian child and using their blood to make communion wafers, and uses that to stir a croud that burns down your churches. But when you’re outnumbered 100:1 at some level you just have to deal. Oh, wait a minute . . . .

    If anybody rounds up a Christian man and publically hangs him for being ‘uppity’ we’ll consider some legal protection – if we get around to it. But I will step forward if a young Christian man gets beaten to death for smiling and making eyes with a non-Christian woman. Beating that boy to death is a little over the top, even if the other guys did have to preserve the purity of their womenfolk.

    Full frontal sarcasm, with a side order of sincere bitterness, thanks but no tip necessary.

  • Lily

    Yeah. Christian persecution. It’s happened: nailed to a cross, stoned, whipped, etc… It’s happening now. Hostile posts like this, slander against the religion– That is persecution. Have you ever even cracked open the Bible?
    Oh, wait a minute… This is an atheist blog. Come talk to me when you actually know what you’re talking about, Hilary.

    • mostlylurking

      <= sound of point going over your head

    • mostlylurking

      And Christians are being stoned, whipped and nailed to crosses *right now* in the US? Really? That should have made the news even here…

      • Lily

        Happened. As in past tense.

      • Ray

        The stoned, whipped, and nailed to crosses non-Christians too. Christianity doesn’t give a free pass. They persecuted other polytheistic, forced converted Jewish folks (and other non Christians) during the black plague, ended up sending people to their demise in their Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, and of course turn on themselves.

        Of course you might go “Oh that are just the Catholics.”
        Salem witch hunts come up to my mind.

        Christianity doesn’t get a free pass on the persecution. Especially since they are all about the gays and Islamic religion the past few years.

      • phantomreader42

        The only example of a christian being stoned on American soil that I’m aware of happened before the founding of the country. It was a man named Giles Corey. He was falsely accused of witchcraft by other christians and refused to enter a plea, knowing that any plea would result in his execution and the theft of his estate, leaving his children penniless. Salem’s just and godly officers of the law murdered him by crushing him under progressively heavier rocks. His last words were reported to be “More Weight!”

        So, the worst act of persecution of a christian ever on this continent, and who were the perpetrators? Other christians, of course! No one with a single functioning brain cell would have dreamed otherwise for an instant.

        But to Lily, of course, falsely accusing people, torturing them, murdering them, and stealing their stuff doesn’t count as persecution. Only snarky posts on the Internet.

    • Lily

      Oh. Rereading it, I can see how my phrasing would be confusing. I meant the hostile posts and slander against the religion is the form persecution takes in the present day, not that Christians are still getting stoned. Sorry.

      • Marta L.

        Lily, I think there’s a legitimate point you seem to be missing: there’s a huge difference between being slandered and being whipped, (literally) crucified, etc. One involves actual death and the other, being embarrassed. When you compare the two and talk about being made fun of online as the equivalent of literally dying for Christ, I find that insulting to the memory of those martyrs. And calling both persecution does that, I think.

        As an aside, I’m a lifelong (and current) Methodist. I read those same online posts and sometimes get insulted by them, but I know that that’s absolutely nothing compared to the historical and current religious persecution.

        I think there’s a legitimate debate to be had over whether the HHS mandate is a problem for religious freedom, or any other number of issues. But paying an insurance premium really and truly doesn’t amount to religious persecution. What happens to religious minorities (including Christians, in some cases) around the world – I’d really like to save that term for those people who are really living under it.

      • Maria Lima

        Lilly, criticism and examination are not persecution! It is disgusting to compare people being stoned, displaced, imprisoned with being publicly criticized! This is exactly what Libby Anne was talking about: people that feel so entitled that when someone say they are wrong they claim that their freedom is in danger.

      • Hilary

        Thanks for clarifying, your post makes much more sense. I’m sure some Christians in America are getting stoned, but I have no problem with responsible marijuana use. :-)

        But as for hostile posts and slander – they’re annoying and nobody likes getting their feelings hurt. But that is is not persecution. What I listed is real persecution that people have endured at the hands of Christians.

        If you haven’t read any of my other posts around here, I am a regularly contributing thiest who greatly admires Libby Ann. I am not hostile to religion that supports people and adds value to their lives. I am extremely hostile to religious fundamentalism and abuse, of all religions across the board not just Christianity. I am even more hostile to religious use and application that enforces limits on women and mens lives through fear, threats, violence and manipulation. Not all religions or denomenations do that, but far too many do and need to be called on it.

        I hope that clarifies where I stand. (said sincerely)


      • Sgaile-beairt

        iirc HIlary is jewish….Lily if you dont know what Christians have done to Jews whenever we have been in charge….then you need to stop bearing false witness (WHEN in the US were Christians ever crucified, stoned, etc??) & google for a while….start with York England, or Spain in the reconqusta, or, hey, pretty much anywhere….thats why religious freedom was such a HUGE deal, in the constitution…. because everywhere christianty has been the state religion (ANY denomination) we have persecuted minority religious….plus minority christian denominations…..bloodily!!

      • Hilary

        Lily, Sgaile-Beairt is right, I’m a liberal Refrom Jew, and I have cracked open the bible, the Torah and Tanakh in both Hebrew and English, and a Red Letter NIV bible and a New King James bible.

        I hold no Christian responsible for historical events before they were born, for most personal action before they reached the age of majority, or for any action of others outside of their control. That said I will not pull my punches about historical reality of Christian anti-semitism and what it has done to Jews and to Christians as well. Just because someone isn’t personally *responsible* for an injustice, does not excuse them from the *responsibility* to adress that injustice, or at the very least be knowledgeable and willing to learn about it.

        I am still willing to listen to a clarification of your first comment here. Were you being so sarcastic about Christians claiming persecution we all just missed it, or are you really claiming that you feel persecuted by social disagreement with the claims of Christianity, particularly American conservative Christianity?

        Sgaile Beairt – cool name! Is there any particular meaning to it?

      • Uly

        Hostile posts are not persecution, not unless they come from a position of power. The government or an agent of the government saying “all Christians are evil” could be part of a campaign of persecution, one that would affect you in real life.

        Somebody on the Internet doing that is entirely different.

        Furthermore, saying “Christians are not persecuted in the US” is not a hostile statement, and you cannot honestly construe it as one. “Christians are intentionally dishonest” might be a hostile statement, but I didn’t see that in the OP.

        You might want to take the following quiz:

        I’ve seen a snarkier one, but this will do.

        There actually are Christians who practice their religion in fear of their lives and well being in this world today. You are not one of them, and to pretend you are is dishonest and deceitful.

      • RobMcCune

        Except criticism and ridicule isn’t persecution, that is if persecution isn’t christian self pity.

      • Sgaile-beairt

        ….hi Hilary glad i remembered right….means ‘ghost in the machine” in gaelic- kind of a joke bc i have a sticky keyboard (typing w a ouija board is hard!!) & arent we all VR ghosts online??

        v glad of yr input & contributions to th blogosphere since the complete blindness to REAL jewish interpretations (all diff sorts) by Christians & ex-christian atheists alike whenn discussing religion based on Jewish scriptures always baffled me!!

      • thalwen

        So any negative speech about Christians is persecution similar to a horrific and torturous form of execution, but it’s perfectly fine for Christians to make hostile, negative, in some cases, disgusting posts about non-Christians, LGBT, women, etc. Free speech right?

    • James C.

      Lily, you’re joking, right? You’re embodying the attitude that Libby Anne portrayed in her post, and you’re doing it so perfectly that I can’t take you seriously at all.

      • Lily

        Why, yes. I enjoy reading her articles just to troll the comments. Which, I might add, were at 15 when I commented and are now at 60. You’re welcome, Libby. What can I say? Don’t feed the trolls.

    • Carys Birch

      Out of curiosity, Lily, do you consider it persecution when another (not Christian) religion has slanderous things said about them by Christians (or anyone really)? Most of the time, I see Christians claiming things as persecution that are just everyday experiences for me (I am a member of a non-Christian religion). Things like “my views aren’t codified in law” and “someone thinks I should not judge their personal morality” or “someone said something really offensive (and maybe even untrue) about my religion on the internet.” This is the reality of being non-Christian in the US.

      Either these things are persecution for ALL or they are NOT persecution for anyone. I vote not.

    • Kate

      Libel, actually.

      And wow, you must be new here.

    • BabyRaptor

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA–Oh, wait, you’re serious?

      Lily, all christianists do is lie about people who disagree with them, slander them, and do everything they can to keep them down. According to you, ya’ll are the biggest persecutors of all. But I suppose it’s okay when your side does it, because god, right?

      • Lily

        First of all, *Christians.* If you’re going to accuse an entire religion, do it right. Secondly, scroll down a bit and read comment #42, my reply to Hilary. That should clear up a good few things.

      • The_L

        Wow, BabyRaptor, I’m ashamed to share this comment thread with you.

        Just because somebody is mistaken about something doesn’t mean it’s somehow acceptable to be a complete jerk to them instead of explaining the mistake so they can actually learn from it.

    • Uly

      Slander? First of all, slander is spoken. Secondly, and more importantly, slander is false. You said that whipping and being nailed to the cross is happening now. Where? You claim that Christians are persecuted. Persecution means more than “some people disagree with me”, it means “the people in power are out to harm me for my faith”. Who has harmed you?

    • phantomreader42

      Lili, you are NOT being persecuted. I know your cult leaders tell you that not being allowed to set anyone who disagrees with you on fire makes you a victim of horrible oppression, but they’re all lying delusional morons. Christians are not persecuted in this country. They’re just whining that they can’t get away with persecuting whoever they want anymore.

      Is your faith really so pitifully WEAK that it can’t stand an instant’s exposure to the truth? Is christianity really so utterly WORTHLESS that it will crumble to dust at a whisper of criticism? Lily, are you truly so devoid of awareness and comprehension, so willfully withdrawn from all reality, that you think people calling you out when you lie, or insulting you, or DARING to publicly disagree with you is equivalent to MURDERING AND TORTURING YOU? Are you really that STUPID? Or are you lying and PRETENDING to be that stupid?

      If you want people to stop criticizing christianity, then there’s something you can do. First tell christians to stop trying to hijack the government and steal tax money to promote their sick death cult to a captive audience on public property. Tell christians to stop raping children. Tell christians to stop making terrorist threats. Tell christians to stop fighting to deny people basic human rights because the invisible sky tyrant says so. Tell christians to stop trying to murder gay people. Tell christians to stop slandering atheists. Tell christians to stop lying about science. Tell christians to stop whining and lying about how horribly persecuted they are because people dare make fun of them and they’re no longer allowed to set such people on fire and steal everything they own. Tell christians to stop being dishonest, whiny, hypocritical, willfully ignorant, laughably incompetent bigots with delusions of grandeur and a torture fetish.

      If christians would stop spending so much time, energy, and money making it painfully obvious how much they DESERVE to be insulted, then there’d be no need to insult them.

      • Mostlylurking

        I can haz “like” button?

        And no, this is still not persecution. And to call something libel or slander, it has to be actually untrue. It is not libel to accuse the Catholick church of enabling and abetting child-rape, to hold churches responsible for the needless deaths of millions due to spreading lies about condoms, vaccinations and denying women the most basic human rights and healthcare. It is not libel to point out the anti- science and anti-reality politics of the Christian Right, or the corresponding bigotry. Seriously.

    • Anonymouse

      Lily: you ask us to read the Bible? In what delusional fantasy land do you live that you think we haven’t? I suspect reading the Bible has created more Atheists than anything else.

    • The_L

      People saying things that you don’t agree with =/= persecution, by any reasonable standard.

      When church services are being broken into by police because someone falsely accused all of the congregants of being out practicing human sacrifice, then I’ll consider Christianity to be persecuted in the U.S.
      When parents lose custody of their children specifically because they are Christians*, then I’ll consider Christianity to be persecuted in the U.S.
      When people lose their jobs specifically because they are Christians*, then I’ll consider Christianity to be persecuted in the U.S.
      When the average person equates Christianity with devil worship or child/animal sacrifice, then I’ll consider Christianity to be persecuted in the U.S.
      When a person’s belief in Jesus, specifically, is used against them in campaigns for state, local, or federal office, then I’ll consider Christianity to be persecuted in the U.S.
      When a person is accused of being a dangerous terrorist simply by virtue of being or even looking like a Christian, then I’ll consider Christianity to be persecuted in the U.S.

      All of those things have happened to members of minority religions in the U.S. within the past 20 years. None of them have happened to Christians. Christians have a lot of privileges in this country that members of other religions don’t. To insist on fair treatment from the majority religion in this country is NOT persecution.


      * As opposed to being annoying or hostile about being a Christian, or belonging to a particular, unpopular denomination.

  • Hilary

    Lily, would mind explaining the point you were trying to get across, calmly with no sarcasm, insinuation or hyperbole? I have a feeling with nothing to go on but words on a screen, no tone of voice or body language, the potential for one flustercluck of misunderstanding is brewing here.


    • Lily

      I’m sorry, yes, that was a little overstated. What I’m saying is that I think Christians get the most shite for things like this. I’m not comparing getting made fun of by other faiths to getting nailed to a cross. I’m simply saying that in the civil, evolved world, that’s how they pay their dues as Christians or something; they have to turn the other cheek. Which is I guess, what you’re supposed to do. And I’m not saying some Christians aren’t completely crazy, like that guy, just do us a favor and don’t judge us all by him, or the crazy rapist that calls himself a Christian, or the crazy homophobe that calls himself a Christian. And to phantomreader42: Nothing’s wrong with exposure to the truth. In fact, if Christianity was exposed to the truth over and over again and didn’t hold up, I’d be kinda stupid to believe in it, wouldn’t I? And I think your confusing the, uh, “sick death cult” with someone else’s.

      • Lily

        *You’re. Ugh! I hate that!

      • phantomreader42

        Lily, since you apparently couldn’t be bothered to read my post for comprehension, I’ll try (most likely in vain) to explain it to you AGAIN.

        If christians are “getting shite” in this country, it’s because they’ve spent CENTURIES giving shite to everyone who isn’t christian and also to most other christians. Christians have gone to great lengths to EARN the shit they get, it’s only a tiny fraction of the shit they’ve heaped upon others for hundreds of years. You’re not being persecuted. You’re being criticized for your LONG history of persecuting others.

        Christians whine that they’re being persecuted when they aren’t allowed to hijack the government and steal tax money to force their delusions on a captive audience on public property. Yet those same christians screech in horror if any non-christian message is even allowed to EXIST, even on private property. Christians are not being persecuted. They’re whining that they’re not allowed to burn non-christians alive anymore.

        The catholic church is both the worlds largest christian church, and the world’s largest syndicate of child rapists. The vatican shields rapists from justice and supplies them with new victims, and catholic leaders whine piteously when their child-raping cult is criticized for this. Catholics are not being persecuted. They’re aiding and abbetting known felons, and the only reason they’ve gotten away with it this long is by hiding behind your imaginary god. And that’s leaving out their constant lies about condoms, their attacks on women and gay people, and the large number of people they murdered and robbed for heresy or on false accusations of witchcraft.

        When christians are asked to obey the law, they whine, scream, and threaten to rape, murder, and torture people, including teenage girls. I am not making this up, christians actually did that, they made terrorist threats against a teenage girl for daring to suggest that they obey the same laws as everyone else. And that is NOT an isolated incident, it happens again and again and again, every time there’s a church/state case there are death threats from christians. Christians are not being persecuted. They are threatening to murder children for daring to suggest that they obey the law!

        Once again, Lily, since you refused to get the message the first time, if you want people to stop insulting christians, then tell christians to stop being dishonest, whiny, hypocritical, willfully ignorant, laughably incompetent bigots with delusions of grandeur and a torture fetish.

      • Lily

        And once again, phontomreader42, don’t judge us all by the dishonest, whiny, hypocritical, willfully ignorant, laughably incompetent ones. I have not once done any of the things you listed, nor earned any shite, and pardon my “bigotry”, if you will, but I’d like to know what blinkered authority you have to to just make blanket statements like that, assuming that all Christians are the same. Condecsending agression complex much?

      • Uly

        Lily, people in power – which generally includes members of the majority religion – will tend to blithely step on others toes. Those toe trodden people pushing back isn’t “getting shit”, it’s an attempt to rectify an unfair situation.

        Yes, even if you yourself are a wonderful person who would never dream of infringing on others rights in any way.

      • Lily

        Blinkered, mate. Down Havering for “narrow-minded”. And you’re proving the blooming point all the time!

      • Lily

        (Facepalms) Okay, okay, you know what? I’ve just realized that these people have completely lost the plot and that I am, in fact, fighting a losing battle. Obviously, everyone here has some odd hostility towards any sort of Christian, so I’m just going to leave to another forum where the people talk even a minute amount of sense. All I’m saying is, leave your judging to someone who actually knows their onions, alright?

      • Uly

        Yeah, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. You want people not to judge you on your more insane coreligionists, but you don’t make even a token attempt to learn something, which, let me tell you, has got to be the most frustrating part about those Christians. Not so different from them then, are you?

      • Lily

        Aaaaannd I’m back. Right, let’s get something sorted, shall we? There’s a difference between a token attempt to learn something, which would imply that you are offering a valuable bit of true information that I’ve never before heard, and sitting still while some daft cows make insults on my religion, the people that believe in it, and most infuriatingly, a person you’ve never once had the pleasure to actually meet, myself. If I made these rubbish comments to you about your atheism or whatever it is you believe, there would be an uproar about freedom of religion or whatever, and people would track me down and throw dirty laundry and tomatoes at my house. So you’ll pardon me if I don’t exactly gobble up every word you’re typing. Sod off, the lot of you.

      • Lily

        (Door hits me on the way out)

      • Lily

        (Swings back and hits you)

      • Andrew Kohler

        “If I made these rubbish comments to you about your atheism or whatever it is you believe, there would be an uproar about freedom of religion or whatever, and people would track me down and throw dirty laundry and tomatoes at my house.”

        Actually, if you were to make rubbish comments about atheism, the atheist commenters (and probably several theist commenters also) would tell you you’re wrong and (in the case of the atheists) defend the atheist, or secular humanist, position. Freedom of religion does NOT equate to freedom from having people say things that aren’t nice about your religion. Even nasty, hateful, ugly comments about religion are protected under free speech. The downside of free speech is that others have the right to insult you, but trust me, on it’s an entirely worthwhile trade off. And when you’re insulted, you have the right to respond in kind (with words, never with violent actions). What people do not have the right to do is prevent you from practicing your religion as you see fit, excepting when doing so would cause harm to third parties (denying your children blood transfusions, for example).

        The First Amendment is totes awesome.

  • Marta L.

    Hilary, what is your blog here at Patheos? Or are you saying that Libby Anne shares guest posts you write? I’d like to keep reading your thoughts.

    • Hilary

      Not guest posts or a blog, I just comment here a fair amount. Theology is a hoby of mine, and studying religion, particularly the interplay between Judaism and Christianity. I’ve never considered athiesm much until comming to Patheos and hanging out in the A. channel, figuring anything I believe should be up to a challenge, and I might as well learn something. I like Libby Ann in particular. I know I left comments on the “Power of introverts” post, and her last “CTBHHM” if you are interested in my thoughts about religion (blushes at the compliment).



  • Amethyst

    Most of the countries in which *legitimate* religious persecution takes place persecute LGBTQ people the same way.

  • Kate Monster
    • luckyducky

      That man (and his staff) is a treasure!

      It is hard to lose privilege… but you’d think adherents of religion that (supposedly) prioritizes turning the other cheek would be a bit more diligent about distinguishing between persecution and following the democratically established rules regarding the role of religion on the public sphere — democratically established mostly by professed adherents of said religion.

  • Rob F

    Many of these claims of faux “persecution” are due to whining about having to follow the same generally applicable laws that everyone else must follow. Those who think there should be a religious exemption from such laws ought to be careful what they wish for.

    Consider this case, where the exact same justification Christians use is being used here:

    Muslim medical students are refusing to obey hygiene rules brought in to stop the spread of deadly superbugs, because they say it is against their religion.

    Women training in several hospitals in England have raised objections to removing their arm coverings in theatre and to rolling up their sleeves when washing their hands, because it is regarded as immodest in Islam.

    Or this case, where someone did exactly what certain Christians claim not allowing them to do is persecution:

    A mother of six claims a pharmacist refused to fill her prescription for an emergency contraceptive and berated her as a baby-killer, leaving her so traumatized she didn’t seek out another pharmacist and ended up having an abortion.

    Read more:

    • Basketcase

      That first case, wowsers.
      Totally agree with: “These students are being trained using taxpayers’ money and they have a duty of care to their patients not to put their health at risk.”
      Wondering if: “No practising Muslim woman – doctor, medical student, nurse or patient – should be forced to bare her arms below the elbow” means that the women should not be having invasive surgery that requires them to be bared / naked? I would assume this could mean no heart transplants, endometriosis removal via laproscopy, hip replacements, cesearian sections, IVF treatments…
      I’m sorry, you go in to nursing or surgical training KNOWING that cleanliness is essential. And just putting on gloves is NOT enough – I watched a nurse clean a pair of small wounds on my Dads leg today. She washed her hands, then sanitised, then set everything up, sanitised again, put on gloves, cleaned that side and threw away the gloves before starting again at the first sanitiser. All because gloves are not perfect.

    • Sophie

      As someone who was a nursing student in the UK until recently, and had a lot of Muslim colleagues, I have to say these women are in the minority. In the three and a half years of my training I never saw any of the Muslim women I worked with refuse to roll their sleeves up. In the hospital where I trained there was a specially adapted uniform tunic for the Muslim students and nurses, which was longer and looser and had long sleeves, but they were only allowed to have the sleeves rolled down when not undertaking patient care. And in theatres the Muslim nurses wore scrubs like the rest of us, and if they left the theatre department they wore surgical gowns on backwards as a coat in order to protect their modesty.

      On the other hand I am not entirely surprised that it’s the doctors that are causing the problem, doctors are notorious for not washing their hands properly! On a more serious note, the issue may be due to mixed sex groups. Whilst this is changing, nursing is still a predominately female profession whilst medicine is mixed. The case may be that these female medical students are uncomfortable exposing their forearms in front of their male colleagues, which in my opinion is easily solved. The male medics should wash first and then enter the ward and then the female medics can do the same. Scrubbing in would be much more difficult to do that way, and I would have to say that a female Muslim medical student who felt that way would be unable to become a surgeon. As for the elbow length sterile gloves, good luck getting those on! It’s hard enough getting the wrist length ones on without contaminating them.

      Gah just noticed the date on the article, which was the year I started my training! Well I can assure you that the problem was resolved.

  • Switchhttr

    I’m not sure this problem will be resolved, especially so long as some varieties of Christians pick a particular cherry: the Great Commission from Matthew 28:16-20. As far as I can tell, the groups I have in mind don’t think of this text as merely instructions for the disciples who were (supposedly) there at the time; rather, they take these instructions as directed to them in the here and now. Never mind how intrusive they are on the rights and privacy of others; they’ve been told by their deity they have an obligation to “teach” and that’s what they believe they’re doing.

    Meanwhile, the cherries “Render therefore unto Caesar…” and Romans 13 (obedience to earthly authorities because God established them) are left on the tree.

    My thanks to Greta Christina for the cherry-picking metaphor. For more on it, go here:

  • jwall915

    I would love to see a post taking Betty’s original comment and dissecting it piece by piece. Also, I’m in total agreement with many commenters here: someone disagreeing with you is not persecution!!!

  • sylvia_rachel

    Wow. That’s really amazing.

    Mind you, I hear this kind of stuff all the time from my in-laws. They’re what I guess I would call “culturally Christian” (like, they wear little gold crosses on chains, they have a Christmas tree and a big Christmas dinner, and they do the Easter Bunny, but I’ve never seen any of them darken the door of a church except for a wedding or something), and they are third-generation white English-speaking Canadians living in what I think has been called the world’s most multicultural city. The loss of their automatic privilege leads them to say some very stupid and occasionally very ugly things that I’m sure would outrage them if the situation were reversed, even though they are in fact perfectly nice people.

  • lolnope

    Come oooon, gaaaaiz, only 51.3% Protestant , 23.9% Roman Catholic, 1.7% Mormon, and 1.6% other Christian in the US in 2011. Come oooon it’s not faaaaaair :(

  • Lee

    From Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp:

    “You don’t like the Goths?”
    “No! Not with the persecution we have to put up with!”
    “Persecution?” Padway raised his eyebrows.
    “Religious persecution. We won’t stand for it forever.”
    “I thought the Goths let everybody worship as they pleased.”
    “That’s just it. We Orthodox are forced to stand around and watch Arians and Monophysites and Nestorians and Jews going about their business unmolested, as if they owned the country. If that isn’t persecution, I’d like to know what is!”
    “You mean that you’re persecuted because the heretics and such are not?”
    “Certainly, isn’t that obvious?”

  • Azura

    Yeah, you think you’re persecuted, trying being a pagan, witch or satanist. I get yelled at and followed in public occasionally. I got death threats when I visited the bible belt. There are entire countries I cannot visit, and I unfortunately count the USA among them though more because I’m a disabled woman then just because of religion. People make fun of my beliefs all the time, and that is fine. Being screamed at at work for 20 minutes because my pentacle fell out of my shirt? Not so much. I’d like to hear Lily or Betty say that they were honestly scared the first time they walked in public with a religious necklace on. I live in Toronto and I deal with this. It was much worse in the hick town I grew up in. Christian persecution my pagan ass.

    • Hilary

      Azura – sorry to hear that, getting death threats – FWIW, I think pagans are cool.

    • Carys Birch

      Azura – yes. :( Sometime I was totally blind to while I was still Christian.

    • Sophie

      Azura – completely off topic but why do you consider the USA somewhere you can’t visit as a disabled women? I live in the UK and I am a wheelchair user, my partner and I are considering a holiday to the USA. My American friends have assured me that most places are wheelchair-accessible particularly places that are frequented by tourists, has that not been your experience?

      • luckyducky

        Sophie, while not perfect by any means Americans with Disability Act is, as far as I know, considered the gold standard in terms of mandating accessibility. There was a recent flap with right-wing politician flipping out over the UN making recommendations based on ADA this and Jon Stewart had fun pointing out the UN recommendations were less than what has been law in the US for 20+ years.

        My husband is an engineer for the public sector (does plan review and design) and takes ADA compliance seriously. I am not saying all engineers do as seriously as he does, he realized its importance in part thanks to a friend of ours who had a stroke at 40 and was in a wheelchair full time for a couple of years. This friend is an advocate by inclination and took it upon himself to document and publicize where people had failed to comply with ADA and where ADA could be improved. He definitely educated a local circle of engineers, planners, and inspectors.

        I don’t think I am indulging in American exceptionalism to say I think you’d have less trouble getting around here than almost anywhere else except possibly Canada.

    • Lily

      That sucks, I’m sorry. I don’t have a problem with pagans, and I’m sorry that the psychos in the bible belt were thretening you. Nobody deserves to be treated like that because of their faith.

  • Anna

    I just wrote an article about the persecution complex that some American Christians seem to suffer from. I guess great minds think alike, if I may flatter myself so much? Haha! This is what I had to say on the matter if you are interested. Keep blogging… I love to read!

    • Hilary

      That was awesome – a pleasure to read.

      • Anna

        Glad you enjoyed it! =)

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