God Wants You to Force People to Pray

The New York Times [unfortunately not a permalink] has a nice article about the Dobrich family and goes into some more detail about what they have endured. Of course their lives have been threatened.

A homemaker active in her children’s schools, Mrs. Dobrich said she had asked the board to develop policies that would leave no one feeling excluded because of faith. People booed and rattled signs that read “Jesus Saves,” she recalled. Her son had written a short statement, but he felt so intimidated that his sister read it for him. In his statement, Alex, who was 11 then, said: “I feel bad when kids in my class call me ‘Jew boy.’ I do not want to move away from the house I have lived in forever.”

Later, another speaker turned to Mrs. Dobrich and said, according to several witnesses, “If you want people to stop calling him ‘Jew boy,’ you tell him to give his heart to Jesus.”

Immediately afterward, the Dobriches got threatening phone calls.

God wants that, you know. He wants you to threaten women and children. Especially Jews. It’s in the Bible. You have a right to force people to be Christians. Doesn’t it say that? I don’t remember it in any of my copies of the Bible, but surely it’s in there.

The Dobrich and Doe legal complaint portrays a district in which children were given special privileges for being in Bible club, Bibles were distributed in 2003 at an elementary school, Christian prayer was routine at school functions and teachers evangelized.

And you know they knew it was illegal. Mrs. Dobrich suggested they use generic prayers rather than specifically Christian ones. She would have been satisfied with that. That would have been illegal also, but it would have been less mean and arrogant. No dice. Mean and arrogant or nothing.

A homemaker active in her children’s schools, Mrs. Dobrich said she had asked the board to develop policies that would leave no one feeling excluded because of faith. People booed and rattled signs that read “Jesus Saves,” she recalled. Her son had written a short statement, but he felt so intimidated that his sister read it for him. In his statement, Alex, who was 11 then, said: “I feel bad when kids in my class call me ‘Jew boy.’ I do not want to move away from the house I have lived in forever.”

Later, another speaker turned to Mrs. Dobrich and said, according to several witnesses, “If you want people to stop calling him ‘Jew boy,’ you tell him to give his heart to Jesus.”

Mean arrogant and cruel. It has become the face of Christianity in this country. It’s not the Christianity I am familiar with. It is Christianism. It is no different at all from Islamism. In fact, it is worse because so many Islamic countries are totalitarian dictatorships and the citizens have no choice. This is America where the constitution guarantees freedom of religion. If you have a free religion, why do you need cruelty, arrogance and bigotry?

Why do they need to use the power of government to force their religion on innocent children? Their churches are inviolate. The government can’t go there, can’t regulate or tell them what to believe or what prayers to pray. Why do they need to force people to conform to their religious views? What is the point? I don’t understand it, but I am bitterly opposed to it. As you can see by the threats and the horrendous behavior of the Christianists, this need to force religious conformity has corrupted the Christian message into something Jesus of Nazareth would find horrifying.

via Pharyngula

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