Driven From Public Life: The Persecution of Christians

“Persecution — that’s the name for it. Tolerance might be the highest virtue in our popular culture, but it doesn’t often extend to Christians these days. Christians are increasingly being driven from public life, denied their First Amendment rights, and even actively discriminated against for their beliefs.”–David Limbaugh (brother of Rush), author of Persecution: How Liberals are Waging War against Christianity.

Persecution against Christians in America – For those who say it can’t happen here – it is already happening here in America. Christians are being increasingly persecuted for their beliefs and bold stand for Jesus Christ.” (Paul McGuire. Who Will Rule the Future? p. 102)

“Apart from a great revival of true religion, we may expect hostility and persecution from the powers that be in the West.” (Edmund P. Clowney. The Christian and American Law. p. 283)

“We live in an age in which only one prejudice is tolerated – anti-Christian bigotry…Today, the only group you can hold up to public mockery is Christians. Attacks on the Church and Christianity are common.” (Dr. D. James Kennedy. What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? Introduction.)

“With each passing year, people of faith grow increasingly distressed by the hostility of public institutions toward religious expression. We have witnessed the steady erosion of the time-honored rights of religious Americans – both as individuals and as communities – to practice what they believe in the public square.” (Ralph Reed Contract with the American Family. p. 1.)

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The Christian Right loves to paint itself as a persecuted minority. It is one of their most persistent lies.

It is “persecution” not to allow them to use the power of government to establish their twisted version of Christianity as the state religion. It is “persecution” if they can’t tell you when and to whom to pray. It is “persecution” if their bigotry is not the law of the land. They are persecuted. They mention it in almost every speech. Just about every right wing evangelist has thundered at his audience that they are soldiers for Christ and they must fight to defend their religious rights against the onslaught of the Satanic Left Wing Secularists.

It’s the kind of rhetoric that brings them political power and millions of dollars.

How persecuted are they? According to Theocracy Watch The Christian Coalition gives scores of 100% to 41 of 51 Republican Senators and 1 Democrat. To get a 100% rating a senator must vote with the Christian Right on every issue. Only three Republicans scored as low as 60%. This “powerless” minority has the US Senate in its pocket. Seven of the highest ranking Republicans–including Bill Frist–do the bidding of the Christian Right on every issue. Senators who score 80% are considered “moderate!”

If this means they are “driven from public life,” exactly what kind of domination do they want? They are totalitarians. They want it all.

One of the ways the Christian Right is persecuted–according to them–is the lack of school prayer. “Bible reading and prayer in schools have been outlawed,” according to James Dobson of Focus on the Family. This point is nearly always mentioned in Christian Right fundraising letters, rallies and websites. What they hope you do not know is that school-led prayer is all that has been outlawed. Voluntary prayer and Bible reading are alive and well in public schools.

The student prayer movement “See You at the Pole” (http://www.syatp.com/info/faq.html) didn’t get the persecution memo. In their on-line FAQ they say “The right of students to gather and pray outside of instructional time—while at school—is clearly a Constitutionally protected form of free speech. This has been affirmed in regard to “Equal Access Clubs” by the 1990 U.S. Supreme Court Westside Community Schools v. Mergens decision.” The site lists as “Supporting Ministries” dozens of religious groups including–are you ready?–Focus on the Family! (http://www.syatp.com/info/supporting.htm)

Student Bible Study clubs get more constitutional challenges than student prayer clubs for two reasons. First they tend to be more aggressive at proselytizing and second, adults seem to not be able to resist getting into the act. Even so, higher courts generally uphold their right to exist. http://www.crosswalk.com/news/religiontoday/1272487.html

So let’s recap. They lie about not having any political power and about being driven from public life and they lie about prayer and Bible study in public school. Since prayer has not been outlawed, it is clearly the voluntary nature of those prayers to which the Christian Right objects. Voluntary religion is not the goal.

In the end I have to wonder–why lie? If you have the truth on your side you don’t need to lie and if you don’t have the truth on your side, you are on the wrong side.

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