Skip to main content

An Open Letter to "Persecuted" American Christians

By Godlessgrrl   
Happy Heathen

Dear "Persecuted" American Christian:

Last week while doing some research for future blog posts, I noticed that many of you feel that you are persecuted for your faith. In this letter I thought I'd explore that belief, and write an open response to your perceived victimization at the hands of your alleged oppressors.

Persecuted For Righteousness Sake (Beatitudes #8)Image by loswl via Flickr

It's very true that your brothers and sisters in Christ who live and work overseas are often subject to real hardships for practicing their faith. Missionaries in North Korea and China face censure and death, Coptic Christians in Egypt are isolated and marginalized, Laotian church workers are regularly arrested, and so on. It should not be denied that religious persecution takes place, that it is devastating to the cause of international civil rights, and that it needs to be curtailed wherever possible. It should not be denied that Christians the world over have been the targets of violence, abuse, oppression, and discrimination. As a firm believer in human liberty and free religious expression, I stand with you in seeing such persecutions as the abhorrent practices they are, and in believing that they need to be halted and redressed.

I understand that many of you also believe that here in America, Christians face dire oppression as well. I can certainly recall my own days as a Christian, when I was taught that believers are beset on all sides by agents of Satan, who seeks to destroy our relationship with Christ wherever he can, using whatever agency he can. Like many of you, I believed that my right to worship was being restricted more and more, and that Christianity was under attack from a sexualized media, increasingly secular education, and a hostile political environment. The Bible told me that I would be persecuted and insulted for my faith, and like many of you, I saw such persecution quite easily.

But was I really being persecuted? Are you? Is there really a systematic, widespread oppression of Christianity permeating American society?

No. There isn't.

Christianity is the dominant religion in America. Most Americans are Christians of one stripe or another. Oh, plenty of you complain about atheists picking on you with our books and our blogs and our criticisms of your belief. Plenty of you cry foul when atheists make our presence known in some way or another, as if our mere existence is a threat to your religious freedom. Plenty of you whine that our assertion of our rights entails a violation of your own. Plenty of you believe that there's a widespread War on Christianity, that enemies such as the "liberal media" or secularization of public schools or the division of church and state are destroying your perceived right to impose your religious morality on the rest of us.

But the real truth is: when you claim that America is a Christian nation, you're right.

I don't mean to say that America is a Christian theocracy, though some of you would like it to become one. What I mean is: Christianity is the dominant religion in America. Most Americans are Christians of one stripe or another. The Founding Fathers were affiliated with Christian congregations, and sought to create a secular government that nonetheless accommodates religious freedom. You're everywhere. Your churches count as non-profit organizations and are exempt from paying income taxes, and you are allowed to educate your children at home or send them to a private Christian school if you wish.

You are not arrested simply for being Christian. You are not fined for it. You are not put to death for it. Your houses are not raided in search of Bibles or Christian propaganda. You are not barred from marrying, owning property, or running for public office because you're Christian. You are not detained and beaten by police because you're Christian. Your women are not systematically raped for being Christian. You are not barred from receiving an education because you are Christian.

You can broadcast your beliefs via any media you like: radio, television, internet, or satellite. You can publish religious books, blogs, pamphlets, magazines, newspapers, broadsheets, or posters. You can release Christian albums and play Christian music on the airwaves, on your very own channel if you like. You can take out ads or purchase billboard space in any major city to advertise whatever religious message you like. You can show up at women's health clinics with graphic images of bloodied fetuses smeared across sandwich boards and protest signs and scream whatever insults you like at the women seeking treatment there.

There are churches on every corner. There are Christian businesses listed openly in the Yellow Pages. You are allowed to pray, preach, or proselytize on any street corner you like. You can read your Bible openly, in public, at school, and sometimes at work. You are allowed to form private Christian clubs which exclude anyone you wish. You've managed to influence science education, sex ed, and medical research by electing officials that will use federal dollars and government oversight to shape public policy as you see fit. You've hijacked an entire major political party, turning its agenda to your own ends.

Under certain circumstances, you are even allowed to use your right to free religious expression as an excuse to discriminate against groups you don't like. You can bar women from serving in positions of authority in your churches if you want to, something that would never fly in either the corporate or government world. You can deny same-sex couples the right to marry, not only by citing your right to be selective about who your church will or won't marry, but also by banding together and contributing millions of dollars to political campaigns to make same-sex marriage illegal. You can deny someone a job in your church or religious organization because they're the wrong religion.

You put god on American money and into the Pledge of Allegiance. You can open sessions of public legislative bodies from Congress to town council meetings with a prayer, and if anyone other than a Christian says the prayer, some of you are rude enough to walk out or boo in protest - and it won't get you impeached. (In some localities, it'd even get you re-elected.) Every President has been a Christian of some sort. Christian displays are allowed in and on government property in many places, despite your belief to the contrary.

Moreover, you can freely insult and abuse atheists for our lack of belief without anybody batting an eye about it. You can convince the courts to deny us custody of our children just because we're atheists. You can force atheists in the military to attend religious services whether we want to or not. You can spread lies about who we are and what we believe, calling us immoral or un-American or questioning whether we're fit to hold public office.

If there's any widespread religious persecution going on in America, then Christians, you aren't the target of it. You are pampered, protected and supported by a nation that considers you the religious standard to which the rest of us must conform. You hold a position of power and privilege, not one of downtrodden disadvantage. Your noise is not the justly outraged cry of an oppressed minority, but the petulant whine of a spoiled child who suddenly finds that he has to share the playground with other kids too.

No no, dear American Christians, on this soil, in this land, you are not victims of persecution. The presence of atheists might make you uncomfortable, you might not like some of the more sordid parts of American morality, or you might not get to legislate that everyone else should live according to your beliefs, but such things do not constitute persecution. You inflict all sorts of indignities on nonbelievers, but you yourselves are only victims of your own persecution complex.

So I have just one question for you: what the fuck are you whining about?


Popular posts from this blog

Are You an Atheist Success Story?

By Avangelism Project ~ F acts don’t spread. Stories do. It’s how (good) marketing works, it’s how elections (unfortunately) are won and lost, and it’s how (all) religion spreads. Proselytization isn’t accomplished with better arguments. It’s accomplished with better stories and it’s time we atheists catch up. It’s not like atheists don’t love a good story. Head over to the atheist reddit and take a look if you don’t believe me. We’re all over stories painting religion in a bad light. Nothing wrong with that, but we ignore the value of a story or a testimonial when we’re dealing with Christians. We can’t be so proud to argue the semantics of whether atheism is a belief or deconversion is actually proselytization. When we become more interested in defining our terms than in affecting people, we’ve relegated ourselves to irrelevance preferring to be smug in our minority, but semantically correct, nonbelief. Results Determine Reality The thing is when we opt to bury our

So Just How Dumb Were Jesus’ Disciples? The Resurrection, Part VII.

By Robert Conner ~ T he first mention of Jesus’ resurrection comes from a letter written by Paul of Tarsus. Paul appears to have had no interest whatsoever in the “historical” Jesus: “even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, we know him so no longer.” ( 2 Corinthians 5:16 ) Paul’s surviving letters never once mention any of Jesus’ many exorcisms and healings, the raising of Lazarus, or Jesus’ virgin birth, and barely allude to Jesus’ teaching. For Paul, Jesus only gets interesting after he’s dead, but even here Paul’s attention to detail is sketchy at best. For instance, Paul says Jesus “was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” ( 1 Corinthians 15:4 ), but there are no scriptures that foretell the Jewish Messiah would at long last appear only to die at the hands of Gentiles, much less that the Messiah would then be raised from the dead after three days. After his miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus—an event Paul never mentions in his lette

Christian TV presenter reads out Star Wars plot as story of salvation

An email prankster tricked the host of a Christian TV show into reading out the plots of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Star Wars in the belief they were stories of personal salvation. The unsuspecting host read out most of the opening rap to The Fresh Prince, a 1990s US sitcom starring Will Smith , apparently unaware that it was not a genuine testimony of faith. The prankster had slightly adapted the lyrics but the references to a misspent youth playing basketball in West Philadelphia would have been instantly familiar to most viewers. The lines read out by the DJ included: "One day a couple of guys who were up to no good starting making trouble in my living area. I ended up getting into a fight, which terrified my mother." The presenter on Genesis TV , a British Christian channel, eventually realised that he was being pranked and cut the story short – only to move on to another spoof email based on the plot of the Star Wars films. It began: &quo


By David Andrew Dugle ~   S ettle down now children, here's the story from the Book of David called The Parable of the Bent Cross. In the land Southeast of Eden –  Eden, Minnesota that is – between two rivers called the Big Miami and the Little Miami, in the name of Saint Gertrude there was once built a church. Here next to it was also built a fine parochial school. The congregation thrived and after a multitude of years, a new, bigger church was erected, well made with clean straight lines and a high steeple topped with a tall, thin cross of gold. The faithful felt proud, but now very low was their money. Their Sunday offerings and school fees did not suffice. Anon, they decided to raise money in an unclean way. One fine summer day the faithful erected tents in the chariot lot between the two buildings. In the tents they set up all manner of games – ring toss, bingo, little mechanical racing horses and roulette wheels – then all who lived in the land between the two rivers we

Why I left the Canadian Reformed Church

By Chuck Eelhart ~ I was born into a believing family. The denomination is called Canadian Reformed Church . It is a Dutch Calvinistic Christian Church. My parents were Dutch immigrants to Canada in 1951. They had come from two slightly differing factions of the same Reformed faith in the Netherlands . Arriving unmarried in Canada they joined the slightly more conservative of the factions. It was a small group at first. Being far from Holland and strangers in a new country these young families found a strong bonding point in their church. Deutsch: Heidelberger Katechismus, Druck 1563 (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) I was born in 1955 the third of eventually 9 children. We lived in a small southern Ontario farming community of Fergus. Being young conservative and industrious the community of immigrants prospered. While they did mix and work in the community almost all of the social bonding was within the church group. Being of the first generation born here we had a foot in two

Morality is not a Good Argument for Christianity

By austinrohm ~ I wrote this article as I was deconverting in my own head: I never talked with anyone about it, but it was a letter I wrote as if I was writing to all the Christians in my life who constantly brought up how morality was the best argument for Christianity. No Christian has read this so far, but it is written from the point of view of a frustrated closeted atheist whose only outlet was organizing his thoughts on the keyboard. A common phrase used with non-Christians is: “Well without God, there isn’t a foundation of morality. If God is not real, then you could go around killing and raping.” There are a few things which must be addressed. 1. Show me objective morality. Define it and show me an example. Different Christians have different moral standards depending on how they interpret the Bible. Often times, they will just find what they believe, then go back into scripture and find a way to validate it. Conversely, many feel a particular action is not