Thursday, May 9, 2013

Religion in America, Part Two


Maybe it's my fault.

By opening my last post by warning that it would offend, some people took offense.

Even though, as I re-read the post, I realize that there really isn't much there that anyone should take offense at.

                    (With the possible exception of my use of the phrase "mewling pussies.)

Especially when compared to some other things that I have posted in the past.

But, from one direction or another, take offense some of you did.

The post got comments.

Unfortunately, most of those comments were not shared here in the blog's comment section. With one exception, the comments were posted on my Facebook link to the post. (And a couple, face-to-face, in person.)

Which... (dramatic pause)... makes coherent conversation on this blog very difficult.

(Seriously, people! It's not that hard. If you don't want to sign on as a "Follower/Member" which simplifies the whole process from that point on, at least take a minute to type in the "anti-'bot" code and post in the comments section. Thank you.)

Where was I?

Oh, yeah.

But, where do I start.

Okay, I got a couple of comments that are summed up by "Unknown" in the comments section, where the comments belong.

"Can we just agree that you're talking about the extreme American right-wing, nutty, hurtful/hateful group that only CALL themselves Christians?"

While it is true that I have, in the past, used the word "Christian" (in quotation marks) to describe the sort of not-really-Christian hypocrisy that gets me frothing at the mouth, in this particular case...


The half dozen or so people who posted the graphic referenced in that post are not extremists, not nutty, not hateful.

They do tend to lean to the right, but they are, every one, decent, normal people. And, for the most part, they have the whole "following the teachings of Jesus" down. 

There is not a Westborough Baptist among them.

And, that is why I got so riled.

If you haven't read the last post, go read it. If you have read it, go read it again.

(I'm not going to link to it here. It was the last post before this one. Just go find it yourself. I'll wait.)

Okay. Did you read those statistics?

70% of Americans identify themselves as Christian.

In political jargon, that's a super-majority.

Never mind the ubiquitous presence of the Judeo-Christian God in our everyday lives.

"In God We Trust." "One Nation Under God." "Thank God!" "So help me God." "Have a blessed day!" And, if you sneeze, "God bless you!"

A completely non-scientific survey of my Facebook newsfeed puts the ratio of inspirational references to God and Jesus to photos of food, photos of cute cats, George Takei "shares" and Dr. Who memes at about 10 to one.

The problem isn't right-wing, pseudo-Christian extremists.

The problem is the decent, average Christians who have been sold a ginned up "Culture War" mentality by the charlatan hucksters like Bill O'Reily, Glen Beck and Ben Stein.

(Ben Stein is Jewish. But, he knows a good, commercially viable source of outrage when he sees one and is more than willing to jump on board.)

Yes folks. There is a culture war in America! A war on Christianity! Circle the wagons and gird your loins for battle with the evil anti-christian, atheists, Muslims and secular humanists! We have books, magnets and bumper stickers for sale at our web store. 

Is anyone getting my point here?

Be honest with yourselves.


If there is a "War on Christianity" in America, then the Christians are winning.

And the pundits, politicians and preachers are profiting.

But, let me move on to a comment by one of my friends who is one of the folks who posted the meme that started all of this.

I will call him "T.J."

"I see many posts that are VERY anti-christian. they laugh and make fun of Christians and our belief in God.....I have never seen those same people post anti-budhist, or anti -muslim posts....only anti-christian posts. I don't think I have ever posted an anti-atheist post. Those people don't apologize for being Atheist....I don't apologize for being christian...make fun, berate all you wish...I believe what I believe, nothing will change that. come to think of it, I don't ever recall making fun of atheist...I accept that is your belief....why do some atheists take great delight in making fun of me?"

Let's call this "an open letter to T.J."

 Dear T.J.,

I acknowledge and respect your Christianity. We disagree on a lot of things, but I know that you are a decent guy. But, I have to wonder about your Facebook friends, if they are posting "VERY anti-Christian" posts. Are they really anti-Christian? Or are they anti-Christian hypocrisy? If that is the case, then I am, certainly, guilty of that. But, if you have friends that are actually posting anti-Christian sentiments, or laughing at your belief in God, well, they are assholes and you should probably think about "unfriending" those people.

You will probably never see an anti-Buddhist post. Because, really, Buddhists have never pissed off anyone. It's just their nature. They have never, in their history, gone to war to defend their beliefs. Buddhism is, actually, not so much a religion as it is a philosophy. One of my very best friends is a Buddhist Jew. That is not an oxymoron. Buddhism can be applied, comfortably, on top of pretty much any religion. Except for the ones that are so extreme that they won't acknowledge anything outside of their own extreme orthodoxy.

As for anti-Muslim posts, we can count on the political far-right to take care of that.

I don't think that you have ever posted an anti-atheist post. You don't have to.

Every time I come out of the closet and publicly proclaim my atheism, a half dozen of my well meaning friends, family and acquaintances waste no time jumping on my ass, to explain to me why I am misguided.

And "God help me" they usually insist on praying for my soul.

"God bless their hearts."

It's getting late, so it's time to wrap this up.

So here it is in a nutshell.

Are you a Christian? Well, good for you! You are a member of the largest religion in the world and in the company of the majority of Americans.

I am not criticizing you, disrespecting you or making fun of you.

I am encouraging you to grow a set and stop buying into the Culture War, victim mentality that you are being sold. And start standing by the courage of your convictions. Or, maybe more accurately, the strength of your faith.

Stop refusing to apologize for your faith.

Because no one of any importance is demanding that you do so. 


Tomorrow night...

God Damn! A whole lot of crazy shit has gone down in the past few days.

The Blog will host a round-up of commentary about current events.

Come on by, won't you?


  1. So I can only make of this that those decent, normal people who lean right (which is fine if that's what you're into) feel they need to post about never apologizing for being Christian is because the extreme American right-wing, nutty, hurtful/hateful group that only CALL themselves Christians have given those poor decent, normal people a complex. Time for them to give the complex back.