Do white evangelicals have a delusional persecution complex? Barna says yes, and provides quantifiable proof

After discussing the limits of the survey research and data supplied by the Barna Group, let’s turn to the merits of it, and what such research can tell us.

Barna surveys may not always help to tell us about how behavior actually corresponds to attitudes or perceptions, but they can be quite helpful in telling us how widespread particular attitudes or perceptions actually are.

For example, a friend of mine dislikes Brussels sprouts and says, “No one likes Brussels sprouts.” That’s quite a sweeping claim, but to what extent is it true? A survey is a useful way of finding out. We can measure what percentage of people share my friend’s dislike,* and thereby see whether her opinion is broadly representative or if she is an outlier — whether she is an exception to the norm or an accurate reflection of the majority view. It might be even better to find measurements of actual behavior — sales and consumption figures, for example, but a survey can still be a valuable tool for putting her comments in context.

Here’s a more concrete example relating to an actual bit of recent research reported by the Barna Group. Libby Anne recently highlighted a comment on her blog that seems to epitomize what many of us have observed as a widespread, delusional sense of persecution on the part of many members of America’s privileged religious majority. The comment provides a remarkable specimen of what I call the “persecuted hegemon” — a person enjoying the rewards of cultural dominance while simultaneously insisting that they are aggrieved and suffering an injustice at the hands of people who are, in fact, marginalized minorities.

Here’s that comment:

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?

As Libby Anne correctly notes, none of this person’s complaints correspond with reality. The examples of her perceived persecution are all imaginary and false. All of them.

Most of these false examples are, in fact, perversions and inversions of the actual facts of the matter. The comment is contradicted by the daily lived experience of the commenter.

This is a picture of Anne Hutchinson being expelled by the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Or, for white evangelicals, this is a picture of the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony being cruelly persecuted by the wicked Anne Hutchinson.

This is delusional, and the delusion is doubly cruel. It is cruel, foremost, to the people who are actually marginalized and disenfranchised — who are being denied full and equal participation in society because they do not conform to the majority beliefs that this commenter insists must be mandatory for everyone else, and who are then, on top of that, being scapegoated and blamed as the supposed cause of the non-existent “persecution” being suffered by the privileged majority.

But it is also cruel to the commenter herself, fabricating a causeless source of misery and aggrievement, unnecessarily introducing stress where no such stress actually exists.

Now, both Libby Anne and I regard this comment as broadly representative of an attitude that we both see as widespread throughout the white evangelical subculture in America. But is that true? It’s possible, after all, that we’re simply cherry-picking data to support our thesis. Perhaps this one comment is not representative of anything other than the views of this lone commenter.

We can certainly demonstrate that this commenter is not unique. Scroll back through the archives of Libby Anne’s blog, or of this one, and you’ll see we both can provide dozens more examples of evangelical Christians exhibiting the same delusional persecution complex. But all of those examples put together still don’t prove that we’ve done anything more than identified what might still be only a small fringe sub-set of deluded white evangelicals. It may be that all of the anecdotes and examples we’ve collected and reported over the years are still just cherry-picked data selected only because they support our thesis of a broader evangelical persecution complex.

Another indicator of support for that thesis comes from the public statements of prominent white evangelical leaders. A single blog comment may reflect nothing more than the opinions of a lone commenter, but if the sentiments it expresses are repeated by a host of prominent white evangelicals in leadership positions, that would seem to indicate that such sentiments are more widely held.

That’s one thing that can be gleaned from a recent post at Homebrewed Christianity titled “On Religious Freedom in a Pluralistic Society,” which cites several such prominent evangelical luminaries echoing the persecution complex described by Libby Anne’s commenter.

Christian at Homebrewed Theology mentions the “Manhattan Declaration,” a 2009 manifesto embodying this same persecution complex which was endorsed by a who’s who of white evangelical leaders. And then he points to a recent column by three of those Manhattan declarers, Robert George, Timothy George and Eric “Call Me Dietrich” Metaxas, in which they lament the supposed persecution of the Christian majority:

They say there are numerous examples, and then pick three:

1. The brouhaha over Louie Giglio and the Inaguration.

2. The contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

3. The demise of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

Of these three, exactly none are “religious freedom” issues.

None.

They are, without exception, religious primacy issues.

None of these impact, in any measurable way, the ability of the Conservative Christian community to practice their faith openly and without fear of persecution in the United States.

In a pluralistic society, there’s a general rule. Your right to swing your fist ends at the other guy’s nose. That means, in a pluralistic society, for the health of the society, there’s a give and take. It’s the essence of the social contract that we live under when we decide to become a society.

When people like the authors above, or the creators of the Manhattan Declaration, complain that, not faith, but that their particular embodiment of faith isn’t given supremacy above all others and cries of “persecution” are heard, it is rightfully interpreted as an innate hatred of the rest of society and disdain for the social contract we all live under.

There’s a name for people who believe they, and their beliefs, should always be kowtowed to no matter what …

… they’re called sociopaths.

Well, yes. But it’s one thing to say that Metaxas and the Georges and the commenter at Libby Anne’s blog are delusional sociopaths who hate the rest of society — that much is obvious. It’s quite another thing to demonstrate that this hate-fueled delusion is more widely present within the broader white evangelical subculture.

And that’s where the latest survey from the Barna Group comes in. Because that survey provides what all those anecdotal examples cannot provide: Quantifiable proof that a majority of white evangelical Americans are hate-fueled sociopaths making themselves and others miserable with a perverse and delusional persecution complex.

Barna doesn’t quite put it as strongly as that, but the implication is identical. A majority of white evangelicals “want Judeo-Christians to dominate the culture,” said David Kinnamon, president of the Barna Group.

“Dominate.” Or, as Christian said, it’s not about religious liberty, it’s about religious primacy.

The findings of a poll published Wednesday (Jan. 23), reveal a “double standard” among a significant portion of evangelicals on the question of religious liberty, said David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group, a California think tank that studies American religion and culture.

While these Christians are particularly concerned that religious freedoms are being eroded in this country, “they also want Judeo-Christians to dominate the culture,” said Kinnamon.

“They cannot have it both ways,” he said. “This does not mean putting Judeo-Christian values aside, but it will require a renegotiation of those values in the public square as America increasingly becomes a multi-faith nation.”

Barna’s survey also found white evangelicals enthusiastically eager to lay blame to others for their perceived “persecution.” Nearly three-fourths of white evangelicals, “72 percent … agreed that gays and lesbians were the group ‘most active in trying to remove Christian values from the country.'”

Again, that’s a direct inversion and deliberate perversion of the daily, felt, known and experienced reality for those very same evangelicals. They cannot be unaware that evangelicals are the group most active in trying to remove LGBT people from the country. In a sense, I suppose, this survey response is an expression of that same desire to rid society of all such unwanted people — a way of restating the emphatic belief that their presence and very existence is a threat to the majority’s “values.”

That survey finding cannot be explained other than, in Christian’s words again, as evidence of “an innate hatred of the rest of society and disdain for the social contract we all live under.”

And it’s not just the attitude of a few outliers nut-picked from comment sections or of a few of the more outrageous pseudo-intellectual posers like Metaxas or the Georges. This delusional sociopathy is the majority view.

An old professor of mine used to say that social science sometimes amounted only to “the statistical approximation of the known,” and this survey may seem like that to many of us who have long observed what it quantifies. But that quantification also serves as evidence, as proof, of what we have been saying.

A great many white evangelicals have a delusional persecution complex. That delusion is an expression of a desire to dominate others and to scapegoat any others who refuse to be dominated.

Thanks to Barna’s survey, we know that’s not just a theory or just an argument, it’s a fact.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

* I suspect those who agree with her are thinking mainly of boiled Brussels sprouts, which is unfair. Nothing is very appealing if you insist on cooking all the flavor out of it.

Brussels sprouts should be broiled — cut in half, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper or lemon, then cooked in an oven, not boiled on a stove. Just saying.

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  • Zorya_EvenStar

    I saw these attitudes over 30 years ago when I was a college student.  The difference is the Christian Evangelical community has more access to the levers of power in the US.

  • monarchos8@hotmail.com

     I don’t know how to reply to the article and not individual posts.  This is not meant specifically for Zorya EvenStar (although I like the name.)

    I read through all of the responses to this article, taking out the suggestions for Brussel Sprouts, most of the comments are debating whether or not Evangelicals are sociopaths or psychopaths (or both).

    Does nobody see any persecution in that trend?

    I am not an Evangelical.  Truthfully, I don’t even know what it means to be one.  That being said, I am disappointed when their opinions are marginalized.  On the internet it seems all too common.

    Also (stupid question), according to the blog, “They cannot be unaware that evangelicals are the group most active in trying to remove LGBT people from the country.”

    Where is this happening?  Is anybody really trying to remove LGBT’s from the country?  Or is that just an exaggeration?

  • Kubricks_Rube

    most of the comments are debating whether or not Evangelicals are sociopaths or psychopaths (or both)

    I think most of the comments are saying that neither term is appropriate here and are taking Fred (the blog writer) to task for misusing sociopathy in a way unfair to both sociopaths and Evangelicals.

    Is anybody really trying to remove LGBT’s from the country? Or is that just an exaggeration?

    I think you are misunderstanding the use of “remove” in this context. Aside from some notable exceptions, this is not about a physical removal, but about the results- both explicit and implicit- that would follow the successful denial of both equal rights for LGBT people and the denial of even their existence (as seen with the language of “lifestyle choices,” “reparative therapy,” “everyone already has the same rights,” “don’t shove it down our throats,” etc etc).

    Whether they recognize it or not, when Evangelicals and their allies fight against marriage rights, employment rights, housing rights, anti-bullying campaigns; when they fight for DOMA and DADT; when they use bad science to conflate gay men with child molesters and deny the reality and experience of LGBT people in general; when they fight to keep LGBT people politically, socially, culturally marginalized (Ellen isn’t even allowed to have a job, fer chrissakes!); they are effectively trying to force millions of Americans back into the closet and keep millions more from ever coming out. That is the sense in which “evangelicals are the group most active in trying to remove LGBT people from the country.”

  • bzeealbub

    don’t forget politicians and religious types who usually pipe up with putting gays in concentration camps… and just when did/will ellen, loose her job 

  • Kubricks_Rube

    I was thinking of the outrage from some Christians when Ellen was chosen as a spokesperson for JC Penney and earlier for her role in Finding Nemo.

  • Rob Marold

    Thanks, I was about to post a similar thought, but I don’t have to now. Lucky I read on further while composing it in my mind ormy comment would have been repetitive and redundant.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     > Does nobody see any persecution in that trend?

    As I’ve said a few times before, I invite you to look at the big picture.

    Is it physical abuse if you shove me into a wall? Sure, absolutely.

    If I’m three times bigger than you are and I have been consistently shoving you around, knocking you down, and walking over you, and I’ve showed no signs of responding to your attempts to talk to me or get me to stop, and you eventually shove me into a wall to get me out of your face, is it still physical abuse?

    Sure, absolutely.

    If everyone then gathers around and chastises you for how badly you treated me by shoving me into a wall, but takes no steps to address how I’ve been treating you and continue to treat you, are they correct that shoving me into a wall wasn’t a good choice?

    Yes, probably.

    Are they treating you fairly or decently? No.

    Context matters. In the context I describe, as long as I keep insisting that we should be talking about how you’ve shoved me into a wall and how bad that is and how abused I am and how abusive you are, and refusing to talk about the larger context of how I’ve been treating you, I’m not actually fighting abuse. I’m facilitating it. And everyone who goes along with me is facilitating it.

    Maybe I don’t realize that.
    Then again, maybe I realize it perfectly well.

    So, again, I invite you to look at the big picture.

  • AnonymousSam

     Short answer: Yes, there are people trying to remove LGBT’s from the country, or at least make any expression of homosexuality punishable by law.

    Long answer: http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/frc-offers-prayer-calling-to-make-homosexuality-and-gay-marriage-illegal/politics/2012/09/14/48999

  • Baby_Raptor

    No. There is no persecution in calling out bad behavior, even if you use not nice words. Nobody here is calling for Evangelicals to be stripped of rights, or murdered, or forced into “therapies” that use abuse to try and change them.

    Which, if you paid any attention at all to the news, you would know that Evangelicals do all the time to LGBTs. It’s not just an exaggeration. There have been multiple cases of pastors calling for the removal of “sexual deviants” from the country, either by forceful emigration or just by murdering us for being non-heterosexual. Try actually researching before you open your mouth and accuse people of lying.

  • formerHACgirl

    Great post! Thanks for your well-thought-out discussion, although I do agree with other commenters that the “sociopath” comments were a little much.
    Also, not to offend you, but the picture you posted is of Mary Dyer being led to her execution, not of Anne Hutchinson on her way to banishment.

  • P J Evans

    It’s still a picture religious persecution. (The people in Massachusetts didn’t like Baptists and Antinomians any more than they liked Quakers – although they’d probably have admitted that Baptists and Antinomians were kind-of-Christians and thrown them in prison instead of executing them.)

  • http://spiritnewsdaily.com/ Donovan Moore

    It’s easier to put the blame on others than to take the log out of our own eye.

  • http://bramboniusinenglish.wordpress.com Brambonius

    I love Brussels sprouts. But then again, I’m a Belgian. 

  • Leum

     Well,
    since christianity  basically branched off from judaism,
    “judeo-christian”  is not an inaccurate descriptor, and the christian
    holy book includes the jewish holy book.

    Not really. Judaism and Christianity both branched off of what might be called”proto-Judaism,” a religion centered around a Temple and animal sacrifices. Modern (i.e. rabbinical) Judaism is Torah-centered, has canonized the Tanach (while there were other sacred scriptures in proto-Judaism, they weren’t canonized, hence the inclusion of works in the Septuagint not included in the Tanach), and has values that differ in many ways from Christian values. One of the biggest that springs to mind is that Judaism requires you be forgiven by the person against whom you sinned before God can forgive you. Hence murder is an unforgivable sin in Judaism.

  • Rob Marold

    Unless a Jew kills Gentiles. We Gentiles are not “human” to them, and killing a gentile, for as little as touching a Jew,  is considered the right thing to do.

  • AnonymousSam

    What.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    …I’m sorry, would you like to repeat that?

  • EllieMurasaki

    I must not have heard you correctly. I prefer to assume commenters are here in good faith, and no one with that much antisemitic vitriol could possibly be here in good faith.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     That turns out not to be the case.

  • Janey

    Why do you type white in lowercase? It should be capitalized just like every other people.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I am Irish-American. I am European-American. I am white. Go back a few generations and I have ancestors who are English or German, who are also white. ‘White’ is not a specific people, unlike ‘Irish’, ‘English’, ‘German’, which all fall under the ‘white’ umbrella. Therefore it is a common adjective, not a proper adjective, and it is to be capitalized only when it begins a sentence.

  • Madhabmatics

     If you go too far back to find a German ancestor, you totally can’t count them as white. After all, Benjamin Franklin said that they were awful, non-white, swarthy and tan-skinned foreigners who were going to take all our jobs and make us learn German by mass-immigrating into the US!

  • P J Evans

    It was too late for that when he said it – I hope it was Franklin-snark!

  • Water_Bear

    No, he was a big anglophile and monarchist until surprisingly late in the war and was never a fan of the “Pennsylvania Dutch” who opposed his pet project to bring the Pennsylvania Colony under direct control of the crown.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Re: Judeo-Christian – Has it been pointed out yet that the “Old Testament” is not a point of commonality between Judaism and Christianity? For one thing, it would make no sense for a Jew to call their holy book the “Old Testament”, as they do not have a “New Testament” to call the first “Old” in relation to; secondly, as I understand it, the Tanakh doesn’t have its books in the same order as the Old Testament does, and it doesn’t have precisely the same set of books, either. (Then again, not all Christian Bibles are alike in that respect either.)

    I have to agree that I rarely hear that phrase outside of the context of “This isn’t religious! This is just a nod to the Judeo-Christian heritage of America! Never mind that there are more religions in American than Judaism and Christianity, and never mind that the ISwearIt’sNotReligious display is of a Christian cross…”

    The term I hear when the context is an actual good faith reference to shared elements between the faiths that revere/respect some form or set of the scripture in question is, as someone else pointed out, Abrahamic, and that includes Islam.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    I just tried the brussel sprouts with chicken broth/dijon mustard sauce method from upthread. I’m here to say it makes a tastiness out of frozen brussel sprouts which one fears might have a touch of the freezer burn.

  • http://twitter.com/Jenk3 Jen K

    I am so sorry your mom is in this place.

  • MarkInOhio

    When I was a child, I thought that super-religious people were better than the rest of us. (After all, they TOLD us they were.)

    As a young adult, I came to believe that I had been wrong, that religious people were the same as everyone else, but just believed in different things.

    Now as a “senior citizen” I can see that I still had it wrong. Super-religious people are in fact worse than the rest of us. Much, MUCH worse, to the point of being “sick in the head”.

    Even as a child I realized that religious myths and tales of invisible, supernatural beings were all hooey. I have never changed my mind about that. But my opinion of the people who believe in this foolish nonsense AND use it to bludgeon others has steadily declined, finally reaching Absolute Zero.

    Forget the far-off Taliban. THESE people are America’s enemy.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Now as a “senior citizen” I can see that I still had it wrong. Super-religious people are in fact worse than the rest of us. Much, MUCH worse, to the point of being “sick in the head”.

    Do you have an unspoken No True Super-Religious Person line underneath your point, or should I regard that as an official diagnosis?

  • MarkInOhio

    I have no idea what this means.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I believe Sgt. Pepper’s point is that Sgt. Pepper, and/or people around here Sgt. Pepper knows (I forget), identify as ‘super-religious’, and Sgt. Pepper is curious if you therefore identify them as ‘much worse than the rest of us’ and ‘sick in the head’ or if there’s some criterion distinguishing the people you call ‘super-religious’ and ‘much worse than the rest of us’ and ‘sick in the head’ from the people you call none of the above even though they call themselves ‘super-religious’.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    OK, I’ll make it simpler for you.

    Are you calling me evil and mentally ill? My relatives and friends? The fact that I am stranger on the internet you’ve until now never exchanged a word with notwithstanding, because gross generalisations are wise when they come from MarkInOhio. Or will you back down when I, or anyone else, challenges you and explain that, no, clearly you’re not talking about us, just some other people who conveniently aren’t here to defend themselves?

    If we really are America’s enemy, worse than the Taliban, then I need to find somewhere safe to hide before you drop a cluster bomb on my church, nay?

  • MarkInOhio

    As a group, today’s right-wing Christianist extremists pose a threat to America and its citizens much worse than the Taliban. This says nothing about you specifically. I’m sorry if you were offended.

  • Lunch Meat

    “Super-religious people” and “[American] right-wing Christianist extremists” are not the same thing. If you don’t want super-religious people who aren’t American right-wing Christianist extremists to be offended when you insult them, maybe you should be more precise with your words.

  • MarkInOhio

    I have found that the more dedicated a person is to religious thinking in preference to the Real World, the more likely it is that they are a conservative living in the Alternate Reality put forward by the likes of Fox “News”. Of course, all generalities are false, including this one.

    I would LOVE to hear more from super-religious people who are also wise in the ways of the Real World, have an accepting attitude toward those with different views, do not reject science, are not Fox “News” viewers or Limbaugh dittoheads, do not reflexively despise the government, do not think Obama is a Kenyan socialist, etc. Sadly, I have found extreme religiosity to correlate strongly with ALL of these things.

    Exceptions are few. If a person has the characteristics I listed above, they will typically be less religious and more liberal than someone in thrall to these false beliefs.

  • Lunch Meat

    Could it be that the people you know who are super-religious and accept the real world, etc, don’t want to talk to you about it because you’ve said you think they’re sick in the head? Because honestly I’m not all that inclined to explain to you all the reasons why I’m rational and accepting and you should like me right now.

  • MarkInOhio

    Then don’t.

  • http://willbikeforchange.wordpress.com/ storiteller

     Mark, perhaps you should consider that not everyone who is “super-religious” is 1) American (Stg. Pepper is not), 2) Christian, and 3) right-wing.  I consider myself quite religious – I’m on the leadership committee of my church – and I am Christian and American, but am also extremely liberal.  In fact, my Christian values strongly influence my liberalism and volunteer work. 

    Basically, your framing like that discourages people who are religious and liberal from speaking from their faith because they think they’ll be roundly mocked.

  • Lunch Meat

    So don’t complain that you would “love” to hear more from people like me, but since we won’t talk to you you’ll just have to conclude that we’re all sick in the head.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Man, I’d love to hear from someone on the internet with an amusing food-related handle, but they just don’t exist. If there were any out there I’d be thrilled and welcome them with open arms, but there aren’t. Such a shame.

  • Tricksterson

    First of all define “super-religious”. 

  • Carstonio

     I’ve sometimes used that term for folks who adhere to very strict religious doctrines, and I know that this isn’t fair to religious folks of any kind. I guess I imagined the ultimate in religiosity to be living in complete isolation from the world and suppressing all of one’s emotions and impulses in the pursuit of moral purity.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    First of all define “super-religious”.

    Since I bit first, I should point out that it’s not a term I’d personally choose to describe myself. But in distributional terms I’m certainly more religious than the large majority of my fellow citizens, so it’s probably accurate from that perspective.

    Carstonio’s portrayal (“I guess I imagined the ultimate in religiosity to be living in complete isolation from the world and suppressing all of one’s emotions and impulses in the pursuit of moral purity”)–that I completely reject. It doesn’t even describe the people more religious than I am.

  • MarkInOhio

    Well, you could start with people who (a) go to church 3 or more times per week; (b) sprinkle every argument with Bible verses; and/or (c) believe that the Bible is literally true word for word and that the earth is 6000 years old. You know, super-religious people.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Which means in order for us to communicate with you in any meaningful sense, we must use your definitions, not the local understanding of the terms you’re defining.

    Yeah, don’t want to play that game. There’s more of us and we were here first, so I think we’re allowed to dance to our tune, not yours. I suggest that in order for you to meaningfully communicate with us, you find some other term for the people you object to–‘right-wing Christian extremist’ is probably good–and adopt the local understanding of ‘super-religious person’ as meaning ‘someone who considers themselves highly devout and/or more devout than the local norm’.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Some of the best people I know go to mass 5-7 times a week (a few of them say mass 5-7 times a week), so that’d make them “super-religious” in your book, right? Let’s look at your list:

    I would LOVE to hear more from super-religious people who are also wise in the ways of the Real World

    I don’t know what this means, especially not with the random capitalisation. Moving on.

    , have an accepting attitude toward those with different views,

    Dunno how you measure this, but from observation, yeah, all the people I’m thinking of meet this criteria.

    do not reject science,

    Tick. One of my mass frequent flyer friends is a professional scientist; two are school teachers; one is the proud son of a professional scientist; all are yay science.

    do not hate gay Americans,

    What’s with the “Americans” qualification? Assuming you’re just reflixively using isolationist language, I’m going to give them a tick. I don’t know if any of the people I’m thinking of know any gay Americans, but they certainly don’t hate gay Australians, especially not the three of them who are gay.

     are not Fox “News” viewers or Limbaugh dittoheads,

    We don’t have Fox News or Limbaugh here, but I can recall each of my friends expressing disgust on occasion at our much milder versions of right wing media hackery.

     

    do not reflexively despise the government,

    They do not. Two are paid-up members of left wing political parties that are in government as we speak.

    do not think Obama is a Kenyan socialist, etc

    Well, that’s just stupid. No, and they don’t think the moon is made of cheese either.

    Now, I don’t go to church 3 times a week myself (once a week, although there have been occasions where I’ve gone 3 times in a week, and I do go 3 times each year during the Triduum). But for what it’s worth I fit all your requirements of the extra-special rare religious person too. And I’m not all that exceptional.

    Time to recant, perhaps?

  • MarkInOhio

    If people like the ones you have described spoke up more often in public (somewhere more public than this one discussion thread), folks like me would not form such a stereotype of religious people. The only ones we hear from are the nuts, who seem to have huge megaphones. And the more religious they are, the nuttier they sound. I am referring to people like Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee, who constantly associate “God” with cruel, inhuman republican policies.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    We’ve been around this particular mulberry bush many times before. The problem is at least as much in your inability/refusal to hear than in our alleged reluctance to speak.

    Tip: if your problem is with right wing extremists exemplified by Republican policies, how about focusing your criticism on right wing extremism and Republican policies. You wouldn’t get any disagreement from me, and as a bonus your argument would be stronger by not capturing a huge and diverse group in your net of accusations.

  • MarkInOhio

    “The problem is at least as much in your inability/refusal to hear than in our alleged reluctance to speak.”

    Then PLEASE tell me something to Google so I can read the articles (on big sites like CNN, not personal blogs) where very religious people criticize right-wing republican policies. The ONLY person I know of in this category is Frank Schaeffer, whom we only occasionally hear from. Mostly, we hear about Obama hatred being preached from the pulpits of tax-exempt churches in the name of “Christianity” and we hear dangerous right-wing nonsense from super-religious people like Michele Bachmann. Doesn’t this bother you?

  • Isabel C.

    Sigh.

    First of all: didn’t you flounce like an hour ago? The I HAVE HAD ENOUGH GOOD DAY SIR OH WAIT HERE I AM AGAIN bullshit is even more ludicrous on a site that records posting time. If you’re going to take your ball and go home, you actually have to go home. And take your ball.

    Second: big news sites are pretty much going to gravitate toward the loudest and most controversial opinions out there.  That’s why a lot of people think feminism  involves hating sexuality, being a gamer involves talking nasally about rules minutia, paganism involves a lot of people named “Ravyn” and “Wolfchylde”, and atheism is about acting like you.

    The duty of responsible adults in the modern age is to avoid taking these things at face value.

    Also? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Robinson

  • Isabel C.

    Sigh.

    First of all: didn’t you flounce like an hour ago? The I HAVE HAD ENOUGH GOOD DAY SIR OH WAIT HERE I AM AGAIN bullshit is even more ludicrous on a site that records posting time. If you’re going to take your ball and go home, you actually have to go home. And take your ball.

    Second: big news sites are pretty much going to gravitate toward the loudest and most controversial opinions out there.  That’s why a lot of people think feminism  involves hating sexuality, being a gamer involves talking nasally about rules minutia, paganism involves a lot of people named “Ravyn” and “Wolfchylde”, and atheism is about acting like you.

    The duty of responsible adults in the modern age is to avoid taking these things at face value.

    Also? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Robinson

  • MarkInOhio

    “Flounce”? WhatEVer.

    (* sighs heavily, rolls eyes *)

  • Isabel C.

    Is there something inaccurate about that description?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    That’s why a lot of people think …
    being a gamer involves talking nasally about rules minutia

    I really hate this stereotype. I talk about rules minutia in a deep baritone.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    (shrug) If the only thing that influences your opinions of very religious people is articles on big sites like CNN, and you ignore the behavior of the very religious people you meet in your life, you’re going to have a distorted opinion of very religious people.

    The same thing is true of pretty much every other group.

    That’s your choice, of course, but a consequence is that your opinions about group behavior won’t be worth terribly much. I invite you to reconsider it.

  • MarkInOhio

    I have no “very religious people” in my life, so I have to rely on what is said and written in the public space.

    I have a wide circle of friends (I am a musician and play in two local bands) and I am sitting here trying to think if even one of them has EVER mentioned going to church or anything about God or Jesus, even once. I’m drawing a blank.

    To us, people who are “churchy” are difficult to relate to because this is all they talk about. Perhaps you would like to criticize me for this, but that’s the way it is.

  • Lunch Meat

    To us, people who are “churchy” are difficult to relate to because this is all they talk about.

    So here’s another part to your secret personal definition of “super-religious people” that you didn’t mention before: Super-religious people aren’t allowed to talk about anything other than religion.

    I really really think it would just be easier for you to use a more precise word for American right-wing Christianist extremists than to continue trying to defend the notion that super-religious means evil.

  • MarkInOhio

    I didn’t say they weren’t ALLOWED to talk about anything else; I said that when people are religious to the point of obsession, they tend to dwell on the topic. I didn’t say that “super-religious means evil” either. (Do you have a reading comprehension issue?) I said that in my experience, super-religious people tend to be extremely conservative.

  • Lunch Meat

    I don’t have a reading comprehension issue. You seem to have a changing-what-you-originally-wrote issue. You said:

    Super-religious people are in fact worse than the rest of us. Much, MUCH worse, to the point of being “sick in the head”. … Forget the far-off Taliban. THESE people are America’s enemy.

    You also didn’t say “tend to dwell on the topic.” You said “that’s all they talk about,” which pretty plainly means that in order for you to designate someone “super-religious, they should only be talking about religion.

    You have a problem with exaggerating and making generalizations, and instead of apologizing and trying to be more precise, you’re making fake-apologies (“I’m sorry if you were offended”) and defending your right to continue having/spreading a false perception of a group, despite the fact that your perception has been shown to be false. Yes, obviously, if all you see of religious people is that they are conservative jerks, it’s understandable that you would think they are all conservative jerks. That doesn’t change the fact that by now you have seen many counter-examples. The sign of a mature person is that when their initial impressions contradict reality, they attempt to correct this, instead of defending their initial impressions as reasonable.

  • MarkInOhio

    I won’t be responding on this topic any more. I’m doing you a favor! Now you can stop wasting your time.

  • Isabel C.

     There are two possible explanations for this:

    1) Religion is one of those things–like sex and politics–that you traditionally don’t discuss in mixed company.  Hell, most of my extended family is near the devout end of the spectrum, and they don’t talk about it much outside of weddings, funerals, and the occasional time when my grandfather says grace.

    So if your definition of “super-religious” means “devout enough to violate general rules of etiquette”, then you’re naturally going to get a lot of dicks in that circle.  But if that’s your definition, then that’s your problem: you can’t just define words to be whatever you want and expect the rest of us to magically intuit your meaning.

    2) Considering the way you talk on this board, I wouldn’t mention religion around you either.  The slight possibility that I might change your mind about religious people is not worth the other possibility, the two-hour argument and the constant sneering and so forth, and you come off as much more likely to be the sort who’d go for the second.

    Short version: if any of your friends are religious, they’re not going to mention it around you, because you are, in that regard, a dick.

  • MarkInOhio

    If you ever actually talked to me instead of the made-up version of me in your head, you would immediately notice that I NEVER “sneer” or behave unpleasantly in conversations. I NEVER have “two-hour arguments” with anybody.

    You seem to consider only two possibilities: (1) you will successfully “change my mind”, or (2) I will sneer and argue and be a jerk. This is a false dichotomy; neither would occur. You are, in this regard, a dick.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If you ever actually talked to me instead of the made-up version of me in your head, you would immediately notice that I NEVER “sneer” or behave unpleasantly in conversations. I NEVER have “two-hour arguments” with anybody.

    But you’ve been behaving unpleasantly in an argument that’s lasted more than two hours. I’ll give you that it probably hasn’t been two continuous hours and I can’t point to anything I am certain is a sneer, though.

  • Isabel C.

     Right, this.

    Assholes don’t generally know they’re being assholes. Therefore, when you say “I’d NEVER blah blah blah”, and your behavior shows otherwise, I’m likely to believe your actions, not your words.

    Mark, you jumped onto a thread to talk about how super-religious people are horrible folks and worse than the Taliban, expected everyone to know what super-religious meant in your own headspace, stated multiple times how very very tireso0me you found this conversation and how you’re done with it only to come back five minutes later, and otherwise acted like an ass.

    I have no problem, therefore, believing that you actually do get in lengthy arguments with people whose worldview you disapprove of, and that you actually are prone to sneering.

    In fact, I’d bet cash money that at least two of your friends have had a conversation that could be roughly paraphrased as:

    “…well, I’m really looking forward to setting up the Easter decorations at my church this weekend, but don’t mention that in front of Mark. You know how he is.”
    “Dude, I know, right? It’s a shame, because I heard the coolest thing at my temple the other day…”

    And so forth.

    Seriously. I’ve had similar conversations myself, from time to time: there’s that one guy you don’t talk about Star Wars in front of, the girl around whom you don’t mention religion, and let’s not even get into sex.  We all work around them, because they’re okay otherwise, but most of us think somewhat less of them as a result.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    (shrug, again) I criticize you for creating a category in your head, attributing various behaviors to that category, and then talking about that category in a way that might lead people to think they know what you mean when in fact they don’t.

    That said, you have by now clarified the membership criteria of the group in your head enough that I’m no longer misled, so I don’t really care much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    I have a wide circle of friends (I am a musician and play in two local
    bands) and I am sitting here trying to think if even one of them has EVER mentioned going to church or anything about God or Jesus, even once. I’m drawing a blank.

    Gee, I wonder why no one ever mentions it to him. Couldn’t possibly be his open and prejudice-free attitudes on the subject…

  • MarkInOhio

    My friends and I are simply not interested, that’s why we don’t discuss religion. (The only reason I know they don’t go to church is that we practice Sunday mornings.) We never discuss guns either. Nor gays. I am simply not part of “right-wing culture” and don’t feel comfortable around people who are. So I have selected people who aren’t for my friends. Is this so strange really?

  • EllieMurasaki

    I have no “very religious people” in my life, so I have to rely on what is said and written in the public space.

    And you previously ruled out nearly all the public spaces. (There’s a lot more blogs than there are reputable news sites, and blogs are much better than reputable news sites at getting self-identification data on the person(s) writing the blog.)

  • Lunch Meat

    Here’s one talking about nuns disagreeing with the Vatican (and really, how much more “super-religious” can you get than nuns?). This is just one article but it’s a big story so there are many others you could google. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/02/us/nuns-speak-about-vatican-criticism.html

    Here’s one about Shane Claiborne, one of the higher profile young evangelicals challenging traditional views: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/29/evangelical.campaign/

    Here’s one about Rob Bell, who stirred up controversy two years ago by publishing a book challenging hell. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/11/26/121126fa_fact_sanneh

    Here’s one about Rachel Held Evans, who is frequently quoted on this very blog:  http://www.today.com/id/49477743/site/todayshow/ns/today-books/t/living-through-year-biblical-womanhood/#.UQ0luKXC34YThis one quotes some of my friends about trying to get Christian schools to acknowledge and accept their gay students: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/19/us/19gays.html(Oh, and as a bonus, here’s one about me: http://www.reporternews.com/news/2010/nov/11/students-letter-contests-school-beliefs-on-gays/ Sorry I couldn’t get it on CNN, but that wasn’t exactly my goal.)

    This is just what I could think of off the top of my head.

  • Lunch Meat
  • MarkInOhio

    Thank you for the many citations. I had never heard of any of those people or stories before, which is kind of my point. (I’ve heard a LOT about religion from the likes of Bachmann and Huckabee, by comparison, because they have a national platform.)

    Honestly, this whole conversation is becoming tiresome to me. It was kind of fun to stir up discussion, but now I’m bored. I have no religious people in my life, so none of this is important to me, really. My original thought, that today’s extremely religious Christians tend to be extremely conservative politically as well, seems to have been lost. But I stand by it anyway.

    I’m surprised so many people have spent so much time researching and typing things in for me, an anonymous stranger on the Internet. Are you sure it’s worth it? What if I’m a “troll”?

  • EllieMurasaki

    I’m surprised so many people have spent so much time researching and typing things in for me, an anonymous stranger on the Internet. Are you sure it’s worth it? What if I’m a “troll”?

    Feeding trolls is a spectator sport around here.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I’m surprised so many people have spent so much time researching and
    typing things in for me, an anonymous stranger on the Internet. Are you sure it’s worth it? What if I’m a “troll”?

    The local convention is to treat anonymous strangers on the Internet like real people, and to feed trolls while complaining about them. As I understand it, the theory behind the latter is that the resulting conversation may prove useful to third-party observers.

  • MarkInOhio

    Thank you for the many citations. I had never heard of any of those people or stories before, which is kind of my point. (I’ve heard a LOT about religion from the likes of Bachmann and Huckabee, by comparison, because they have a national platform.)

    Honestly, this whole conversation is becoming tiresome to me. It was kind of fun to stir up discussion, but now I’m bored. I have no religious people in my life, so none of this is important to me, really. My original thought, that today’s extremely religious Christians tend to be extremely conservative politically as well, seems to have been lost. But I stand by it anyway.

    I’m surprised so many people have spent so much time researching and typing things in for me, an anonymous stranger on the Internet. Are you sure it’s worth it? What if I’m a “troll”?

  • Lunch Meat

    sprinkle every argument with Bible verses; and/or (c) believe that the Bible is literally true word for word and that the earth is 6000 years old. 

    So you’re saying that (P)pagans, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jedi and Zoroastrians are not allowed to be super-religious, by definition?

  • MarkInOhio

    That’s enough of this for me. Have a good day!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    So you’re saying that (P)pagans, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jedi and
    Zoroastrians are not allowed to be super-religious, by definition?

    Or Christians like the Friends General Conference, which does not have churches. And our meetings would almost certainly not fulfill Mark’s definition of “attending church.”

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    First of all, no you wouldn’t.

    Second, maybe get out of Ohio?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    Second, maybe get out of Ohio?

    Funnily enough, I live in Ohio. I am a very religious Christian, and yet I am liberal, understand science, and am committed to social justice issues like marriage equality because of my religious beliefs, rather than in spite of them. And I know plenty of similar people.

    But I’m sure Mark is being honest about not knowing any people like me, because we quickly learn how to recognize and avoid the type of asshole he represents.

  • MarkInOhio

    When I hear far-right conservatives speak they are often talking about religion. When I hear very religious people speak, they often espouse far-right conservative views. How can I not associate the two?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Similarly, when my mom hears about queers it’s often because they are violating various social norms, and when she hears about Muslims it’s because they’re being violent, and when she hears about blacks it’s because they’ve committed some crime.

    So of course she associates queers with norm-violations, Muslims with violence, and blacks with crime.

    The fact that most queer folk are pretty conventional, most Muslims are peaceful, and most blacks are law-abiding doesn’t change her beliefs.

    Neither do her beliefs change those facts.

    It’s kind of like the old joke about the guy looking for his lost keys by the lamp-post, rather than down the block where he actually lost them, because it’s easier to search in the light… the set of easy-to-hold beliefs and the set of likely-to-be-true beliefs are different sets, and ultimately it’s her decision whether to look for her keys where they’re likely to be, or where they’re convenient to look for.

    Yours, as well.

  • MarkInOhio

    I acknowledge your insight. That’s exactly what is happening.

    There have been many calls for “moderate Muslims” to speak out, condemn the extremists in their midst, and establish balance in the public mind. I guess that’s what I’m asking for here from non-extremist but still devout religious people. For some reason, I’m not seeing it happening.

    In the case of gay people (I don’t care for the term “queers”), we HAVE seen a growing acceptance of gay rights in America, largely because TV shows like “Will And Grace” and “Queer Eye” (there it is again), combined with more beloved gay celebrities and more gays “coming out” to their friends and families, have shown the non-threatening side of gay people. If there are highly religious people who espouse a liberal, tolerant, sophisticated viewpoint, I would love to hear from them.

    I am only reporting my personal observation that the voices I hear from people who are very “into” religion tend to be those of people like Michele Bachmann rather than people like you.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Yup, I understand that you’re reporting your personal observations, and I understand that you grant the voice of, for example, Michele Bachmann more weight in your model of what religious people are like than you grant the voices of, for example,  commenters on this blog. (Not me personally; I’m not actually especially religious, and am in any case not Christian.)

    You’re far from alone; lots of people do that. The result is that their views are more shaped by mass media than by the actual experience of people.

    In the 80s, those people had very distorted views of queer life (I use “queer” to describe myself and my community, rather than “gay”, because I want to include bisexuals and trans folk and various other communities) because mass media portrayal of queer life was highly distorted. Of course, here in 2013… well, they still have distorted views of queer life because mass media portrayals are still distorted. (Which is fine. It’s not actually the job of the producers of “Will and Grace” or “Queer Eye” to create accurate portrayals of queer life in America.)

    They have similarly distorted views of Black life, Chinese life, musicians’ lives, religious people’s lives, etc. etc.

    So, anyway, if your goal is to report your personal observations, your goal has been achieved. I’m merely pointing out that there do exist other sources of information you could choose to avail yourself of, if you wished.

    If there are highly religious people who espouse a liberal, tolerant, sophisticated viewpoint, I would love to hear from them.

    Awesome. Perhaps you can start with some of the people on this thread who have been describing themselves as highly religious and politically liberal, and to whom you could listen if you chose.

  • EllieMurasaki

    they still have distorted views of queer life because mass media portrayals are still distorted. (Which is fine. It’s not actually the job of the producers of “Will and Grace” or “Queer Eye” to create accurate portrayals of queer life in America.)

    It is actually the job of the producers of any show you care to name to not erase people and to not fuck up their portrayals. Succeeding at this is not always possible, but they are required to try.

    And yet somehow the only people who get portrayed constantly and not in a manner that fucks up perceptions of their demographic are straight white cis men, usually Christians with no disabilities and some substantial amount of money. Funny that.

  • Madhabmatics

    Yeah, and the people who whine about ‘moderate’ (hahaha this is a dumb measure) Muslims “not speaking out” are assholes with an agenda. The majority of violence perpetrated by extremists is against normal Muslims – terrorists have killed way more everyday Muslims than westerners, and Muslims die all the time struggling against them

    they totally don’t count though, where are the ‘MODERATE MUSLIMS’ at ya’ll

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    So you did have an unacknowledged “No True Super-Religious” line to your argument.

    You stated, from your grand experience and reasoning, that religious people are evil and mentally ill. When called on it you reiterate that right wing Christian extremists are very bad. Those two groups are not the same thing.

    Plus, some basic logic, for God’s sake: any group of extremists that exist in meaningful numbers in America are a greater threat to you than the Taliban, which does not exactly have a large, politically active base in the US.

    Back to debating class for you.

  • Madhabmatics

     This is probably the same type of dude that would lump Tolstoy in with the fox news crowd because he was religious, why even bother with him?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    This is probably the same type of dude that would lump Tolstoy in with the fox news crowd because he was religious, why even bother with him?

    Every now and then I like to call people like him on their crap, so that when they keep pulling it out they have to do so in the knowledge that they look foolish.

    Aside: I’ve been lumped in with the Taliban twice in one day (the other time was for supporting a price on carbon). Is the Taliban the 21st century Hitler: hyperbole of choice for the poor rhetorician?

  • Dont Touch Me You Fruit

    hahahaha

  • DavidCheatham

    The problem with calling them sociopaths is not just, as was pointed out, that they are _not_ sociopaths, and in fact we’d be in a hell of  lot of trouble if 25% of the population were sociopaths!

    The problem is that what those people actually are are Othering, and Othering back is not a good way to talk about them.

    The dirty little secret of humans is that we have empathy and compassion…_for people we know_. Empathy for _those_ people is built in. (Except for sociopaths, which is why they are sociopaths, although I think the medical establishment is changing that diagnostic.)

    What is not built in is empathy in an abstract sense. Empathy for ‘those people’, empathy for that random guy over there, empathy for the person on the other side in a war. 

    This is why the demographics are shifting so much. People are no longer talking about denying rights to those weird homosexuals, they’re talking about denying them to _Jake and Terry_.

    All of human civilization has basically been us forcing our children to stop Othering. It’s not _just_ your family, it’s your village. It’s not just your village, it’s your region. It’s not just your region, it’s your religion. Etc, etc. And now we’re at a..a…global community. (Ha!)

    If you were to take a human being who had no exposure to the civilization (Let’s not question how they can interact with us.), they would, for example, never donate to charity. They wouldn’t be bad people, they’d probably be _more_ helpful to an actual homeless person if they ran across one (Because they don’t filter down their empathy…if we felt ‘full’ empathy for every single person, or even just everyone we caught a glimpse of in a large city, we couldn’t function.) but they wouldn’t have any _abstract_ empathy for ‘the homeless’.

    We automatically build mental models of people and ‘simulate’ them inside our heads, and if those people hurt, we hurt. (Unless we are actual sociopaths, who apparently have the trick of running simulations that do not affect them at all.) But we have to be trained to build hypothetical mental models of people we have never met and can’t see…we don’t do that _automatically_. Failure to do that doesn’t make us a sociopath.

    It’s worth pointing out that Jesus rather explicitly pointed out that we should think of everyone as our neighbors.

    This is probably why the entire Evangelical bubble exists at all.

  • mountainguy

    The ones defending “judeo-christian” values remind me of those who used to fight against “judeo-marxism”

  • EllieMurasaki

    What is this ‘Judeo-Marxism’? Just a way to be anti-Semitic and anti-Red Scare at the same time?

  • Madhabmatics

     The idea that Communism and other forms of leftism are the results of Jewish conspiracy are a super popular strand of anti-semitism even today. Karl Marx’ family was ethnically Jewish but non-practicing and nominally Lutherans, so a lot of racists attribute his philosophy to his ethnicity instead of, you know, him and his buddy seeing a bunch of people suffering because of this new and monstrous “industrialization” thang.

  • billwald

    Every religious and ethnic group in the US has been disliked by the majority at one time or another. Over the long run, some religious/ethnic social contracts do better than others at blending in with the majority. In the US where money and education rule, our people with Japanese, Chinese, Jewish,  Korean . . . ancestors have a higher median income than the general population. It is not because white protestants “like” them better than white protestants “like” white protestants.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    If “Queer” is not palatable, how about the lovely snuggly QUILTBAG? :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Katherine-Harms/602268732 Katherine Harms

    You
    named three examples of things you call issues of “religious primacy.”

    1.
    The brouhaha over Louie Giglio and the Inaguration.

    2.
    The contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

    3.
    The demise of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

    You said,
    “Of
    these three, exactly none are “religious freedom” issues.”

    I am prepared to respond to your comments about these
    issues:

     

    When you use the term “religious freedom” you seem to
    mean something different from the terms used in the First Amendment. I have not
    seen an official definition of “religious freedom.” I have used the term myself
    to be equivalent to the words of the First Amendment, but clearly you do not mean
    that. Two of the three issues you list do represent issues surrounding the “free
    exercise” of religion, the right protected by the First Amendment. Every time I
    have heard people use the term “religious freedom,” I have understood them to
    mean the right of “free exercise” protected by the First Amendment, but perhaps
    you meant something else. The people you so scornfully dismiss certainly meant
    that when they used the term “religious freedom.”

    The subject is the First Amendment. Here are the relevant
    words:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
    religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

    The first two issues are very much about the free exercise
    of religion. The third is simply protection of the human institution of
    marriage. People certainly have religious views about marriage, but The Defense
    of Marriage Act is not about perpetuating any religious view.

    The definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman
    is a definition that grows out of human understanding since the first humans
    and permeates all cultures. There are both biological arguments and cultural
    traditions growing out of the natural social nature of human beings that have defined
    marriage as the union of a man and a woman for as long as there have been
    humans. You may argue with my position, but you cannot argue that this position
    is an issue of “religious freedom” or “religious primacy.”

    With regard to Louie Giglio, there was apparently a lot of
    angst about him among people who choose to be homosexual and among people who
    support the political and social agenda of those who choose to be homosexual. Louie
    Giglio expressed a view of homosexuality that included his religious conviction
    that a) homosexuals choose their lifestyle, b) they can change their lifestyle,
    and c) Christ died for them as he died for all human beings. Louie Giglio did
    not say that homosexuality was worse than any other sin. He simply said that
    homosexuals can be forgiven and transformed by the grace and power of Christ,
    just like any other sinner. Louie Giglio expressed his religious convictions in
    a sermon, and when the homosexual community learned of it, they became upset
    about it. It is easy for me to understand why he withdrew and why the president
    would have been glad he did so, because the president obviously was unaware of
    Giglio’s position on homosexuality when he invited the man to pray at the
    inauguration.

    The president has a right to invite anyone he wants to the
    inauguration. It is his party. Giglio has a right to his Christian convictions,
    which do not, by the way, appear to be an attack on homosexuals or an attempt
    to eradicate anyone.

    With regard to the contraception mandate in the Affordable
    Care Act, this controversy is completely rooted in the First Amendment right to
    “free expression” of religion. When the administration became aware of the
    problem with this mandate, it was necessary to evaluate whether an objection to
    the contraception mandate was the expression of religion or not. The fact that
    the administration attempted to write a definition of religion for the purpose
    of consistently identifying those who qualify for a conscience exemption says
    that the administration acknowledges that there actually are people for whom an
    objection to contraception, abortion and sterilization is part of their “religious
    expression.” If the administration had not reached this conclusion, no
    exemption at all would have been granted.

    The problem was not solved by the definition they used,
    because their definition limits this sort of “religious expression” to people
    in what some would call the “business” of religion. The exemption applies only
    to “religious employers” and it limits a “religious employer” to organizational
    support for a church. The words of this definition make it appear that the
    administration believes that only those who lead worship for and teach doctrine
    to existing adherents engage in “religious expression.” This concept does not
    fit any religion I ever heard of. Every religion teaches theological, moral and
    ethical principles that every adherent is expected to live by. The First
    Amendment protects much more than a citizen’s right to attend any church or no
    church.

    As documented at http://www.hrsa.gov/womensguidelines/
    this is the federal definition of those who are entitled to a conscience
    exemption from the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act:

    A religious employer is one that: (1) has the inculcation of
    religious values as its purpose; (2) primarily employs persons who share its
    religious tenets; (3) primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets;
    and (4) is a non-profit organization under Internal Revenue Code section
    6033(a)(1) and section 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii). 45 C.F.R.
    §147.130(a)(1)(iv)(B).

    As you can see, this definition completely excludes every
    member of the church who is not employed by the church. The First Amendment,
    however, applies to every citizen who is an adherent of any religion
    whatsoever. The First Amendment means that the government is prohibited from
    imposing the purchase of contraception on any citizen who believes, because of
    his/her religion, that contraception is a sin.  If an employer in a church that teaches this principle is expressing a religious conviction, then everyone else who holds adheres to that teaching is equally eligible for exemption according the First Amendment protection of “free expression.” The employer mandate imposes
    that purchase on a person, and requires that the employer also purchase it for
    other people, who may or may not have the same religious conviction. Every
    individual who is an employer, and every private person who must buy his/her
    own insurance is faced with the requirement to pay for this coverage, regardless
    of his or her faith convictions that make participation in such services a sin.

    As we all learned during the 2012 presidential campaign, a
    person can be accused of participating in the activity of anyone to whom he
    provides money. During the campaign season, if a candidate had given money to
    any cause, the cause was subject to intense scrutiny to see what the candidate’s
    participation revealed about the candidate. By the same token, an employer who
    must spend his money on something is being asked to be complicit in the purpose
    for which that money is used. People who believe that contraception is a sin,
    because this conviction is part of their faith, a faith that is rooted in 2000
    years of teaching and practice, must not be required to participate in the
    underwriting and use of contraception.

    Your post appears to limit religion to worship, and you seem
    to believe that people have religious freedom when the churches are not locked
    by the government. That is a much more limited view of the meaning of religious
    freedom than the authors of the Bill of Rights. It isn’t about one religion
    dominating the culture; the same liberty applies to every religion. Until such
    time as the citizens choose to amend the Constitution to mean something else,
    the First Amendment freedom is the right to the “free expression” of religion
    in faith and life, the sort of religious expression every religion expects.

    I anticipate that your first reaction will be to say that a
    conscience exemption for any employer at all is unfair to female employees who
    do not share the faith convictions of their employers. You may even try to tell
    me that those employers are trying to prevent their female employees from
    exercising their own right to possess and use contraception. This argument does
    not hold water. Contraception is readily available in the US, and it is very
    cheap. It is available free through many channels. A woman who feels that this
    is what she wants and needs would have no difficulty obtaining contraception in
    any form that suited her. A conscience exemption for her employer deprives her
    of nothing. It does appear that the federal government will do something to
    assure free contraception for all, no matter who receives an exemption, so it
    cannot be said that protecting the First Amendment rights of the employer
    deprive anybody of anything.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Somebody hasn’t been reading Fred’s Chick-Fil-A Biblical Family of the Day posts. Marriage as defined throughout most of the Old Testament is one man with all the women he can afford. For Jacob, that was four. For David, dozens. For Solomon, a thousand.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    With regard to Louie Giglio, there was apparently a lot of
    angst about him among people who choose to be homosexual and among people who
    support the political and social agenda of those who choose to be homosexual.

    And with that, we no longer have to give a damn about anything you say.

    You’re entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts.


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