In today’s vapid environment it seems certain entities feel a need to declare they are under attack. The evidence these entities cite to prove their claims often careens wildly between fact and fiction. On the list of the self proclaimed besieged are unarmed black men, the police, women, the 99%, the 1%, but, none more so than Christians. To listen to certain factions within media and government is to hear a constant stream of supposed slights and downright assaults on what they deem their religious freedom, their religious identity. And as the talking heads, political entities, and various Christian leaders cry foul at every turn the followers do just that, they follow.
The reality here is that, as of this writing, and ABC poll found that “[e]ighty-three percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians. Most of the rest, 13 percent, have no religion. That leaves just 4 percent as adherents of all non-Christian religions combined — Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and a smattering of individual mentions.” And, while others may dispute the exact figures here, suffice it to say, we all agree that the vast majority of Americans identify as Christian so I will refrain from dragging out a whole series of polls proving thus. This means that the majority held position of Christians, in a society based on Democracy in part, feels they are under attack from a much smaller group identifying as Non-Christian, and further divided into even smaller factions of very disparate beliefs and those lacking belief entirely. Which, on its face, seems a little absurd don’t you think?
As in any good war it is always good to get the potential army of defenders readied for the coming conflict. Often this is done by inciting the faithful with mass quantities of misinformation as reality will serve no one at this point. This war is no different in this respect. To this end the leaders of the faithful cry, “the United States of America was founded entirely on Christianity!” Which leads one to wonder why George Washington would write,
“If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”
~Founding Father George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789
Or, the far more succinct statement by John Adams,
“The Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
~1797 Treaty of Tripoli signed by Founding Father John Adams
which sums it all up nicely. And if we cannot be expected to accept the words of the founding fathers themselves regarding their own intent, as they were there, then who is to be the voice of clarity.
The original Constitution itself mentions religion only once in Article 6, essentially saying no religious test shall ever be required to hold office in the United States. The second reference comes in an amendment, and therefore not original content. But, it is the the 1st amendment to the Constitution basically saying the Government shall not interfere with the religion(s), or lack there of, of the people. Nor shall it establish a religion. And there you have it.
So ask why, if religion is so important to the founding fathers and the dawn of this nation, is it mentioned only two times in the Constitution? And why, if it is so important, are both those references written to prevent religious persecution and establish a free space for the existence of religion separate and away from government? Simply put, if the government is founded on religion why take any time establishing religion as protected from government?
Another piece of misinformation that those that assure us the war exists love to espouse is the War on Christmas. This is a subset of the War on Christians but still an interesting second front. Oft cited as truth here in various forms is that Christians are prevented from saying Merry Christmas during this time of the year. I have asked Christians I know that have asserted this in some form if indeed, anyone, anywhere, at any time, has expressly forbidden them from saying this holiday greeting to anyone. They either do not reply, or say no and then they attempt to add a BUT. The BUT is that others have said that this is happening. those others know this is happening because still others have told them this is happening. You should, at this point, see where this is going.
The Believers are also informed that a part of this war on them and their beliefs is the removal of God from school, and from the halls of Government. Also it is included in the desire of some in this nation that wish to see the term “Under God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, and “In God We Trust” from our money. The believers are told to cry foul, and to recognize this for the repression of their faith that it is. They are left to assume these things are supposed to be this way as they have been from the beginning.
The faithful are not told that these things are not as they seem. “In God We Trust” and “Under God” were added to their particular mediums in 1957. Before this they were not there. They were added in direct response to the Godless Russian menace in the cold war. And as far as God in School and the halls of Government, the first amendment handles that, as Government shall make no laws establishing any religion. To have a public school or a courthouse pick a particular religious belief above all others violates the fist amendment. Requiring that they not promote a particular God or religion is not a war against Christians or on Christianity, it is following the Constitution. And in truth it is actually a protection of Christianity as it is a protection of all faiths because it expressly forbids any faith from being drowned out. It holds all faiths equal in the eyes of the government and should also in the eyes of the people.
One of the newest fronts in this seemingly endless affront to Christianity has been marriage equality. This is something that has gone into effect which, too the best of my knowledge, unless you are actually a homosexual, has zero impact on your life. To be clear, that impact on your straight life, even your married straight life, is absolutely zero. No one has mandated you change sexual identity. No one has demanded you attend gay weddings or funerals or any function you do not want to attend. No one has demanded you like any of this, or approve of it, nor are you required to explain to your pets and farm animals that gay marriage is good and right. It effects you not at all. And yet, this is one of the more rabid skirmishes of the war.
We cannot discuss this part without a nod to Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who has seen fit to become noteworthy by denying marriage licenses to LGBT peoples on the grounds of her faith. The Politicians, talking heads, and various religious leaders have seen fit to label her a martyr and a beacon in the dark as they assert that she is being persecuted for her stand against the Godless throng assaulting her beliefs. The reality is, she is a clerk, elected by the people, that took an oath to do her job. She then said she will not do her job. Most people get fired at this point. She is elected so that isn’t an option. Because of this steps were taken to force her to either do her job or step out of the way and let others do it for her. This is not religious persecution, this is a workplace dispute.
If Bob was hired by me as a crane operator because there was stuff that I needed raised from a lower level to a higher one, and, upon entering the crane to raise the stuff that needs raising to a place it needs to be raised up to Bob refused, I would inquire. I would ask Bob, “whatever seems to be the difficulty Bob? it seems to me that I have hired you to raise stuff and you are not doing the stuff raising. I require an explanation.” To wit Bob replies, “I am sorry but my beliefs are such that violating the law of gravity is offensive to me and I feel, if this stuff was meant to be raised, it already would have been raised by divine means and thus I cannot intervene in good faith.” It is at this point where I, shaking my head, say “but Bob, when I hired you as a crane operator it was under the understanding that crane operating requires lifting stuff.” Bob might respond, “I know.” I would then add, “Bob I am going to need to replace you as you cannot seem to do what we are paying you to do and appease your strongly held belief.” Bob acquiesces, stepping down from the crane and sadly leaving to find work more suitable to his situation.
Bob does this after our discussion because Bob is a reasonable human being. Bob understands that if he cannot perform the tasks of the job he has been hired to do then it is not fair to anyone that he continue to occupy the position. Instead Bob knows he should find a position which works for him and let someone else take over as lifter of stuff. Bob doesn’t get any organizations involved. Bob does not cry Gravitational persecution. Bob does not do this because I invented him. I did not invent Kim. She and her legion are not reasonable and have attempted to turn a simple case of an employee not wanting to do her job into Jesus’s crucifixion as it better suites the larger narrative which is religious oppression, which is a War on Christians.
I wish it were as easy as explaining rationally why the misinformation supplied by those fueling this imaginary war has led to misconceptions about how things really are. I wish then that the followers would look and say “wow, it is clear to me now that we have been led astray and now that I see how far this has been blown out of proportion to reality I will adjust myself, my beliefs, and my actions, accordingly.” It would be so very nice if something like this could happen. After all, fragments of four percent of the nations belief systems; fragments that do not even communicate with one another, do not join with thirteen percent of non-believers. They do not join with one another at all. They do not even mingle. And they certainly do not start a war on eighty three percent of the population. The eighty three percent that holds almost all public office, and high ranking military leadership. The eighty three percent that holds almost all the CEO positions of powerful corporations and make up the the law enforcement agencies serving this nation. The eighty three percent that run the country from top to bottom.
So please, let us STOP THE WAR before it does something like actually exist.
Disclaimer: In the sources I list some, or all, are links to websites. I assert that the information I took from these websites, whether I took a whole piece, or bits from different spots on the page, were as I represent them in this article. As websites are subject to change, and I have no control over that change either in time or content, I cannot be responsible if the source looks different in whole, or in part, when checked at a later date.