Sunday, March 24, 2013

Stomping on Jesus and the Myth of Christian Persecution

A post yesterday looked at the legislative effort in Kentucky that would have allowed far right Christians - the real folks behind the bill's introduction - to ignore any law or regulation that conflicted with their allegedly deeply held religious beliefs.  Thankfully, Governor Beshear vetoed the batshitery, but do not expect these types of efforts to cease.  More and more we hear professional Christians and hate group leaders like Tony Perkins, Brian Brown and many others claim that Christians are being persecuted in America.  In reality, they have it all backwards.  It is the Christians who continue to be the persecutors and the Bible has been used to justify countless horrors both in America and elsewhere (the images above from Civil Commotion recall the Bible's uses as a justification for segregation).  What's happening is that finally the victims of their bigotry and hate are simply say that they are not going to stand for it any more and are successfully convincing legislators, courts and the general public that the days of allowing the Christofascists to ride rough shod over everyone else need to end now.  It's this ending of their right to bully and persecute and inflict their toxic religious beliefs on everyone else that has the Christofascists in such an uproar.  Their self-centered nature and utter contempt for the rights of others is increasingly be exposed and they are livid about it.  An example of the Christofascist desire to trample on the rights and beliefs of others while demanding subservience to their beliefs cropped up in a story out of Florida where a self-centered right wing Mormon was suspended from his Intercultural Communications class.  The Miami Herald has these highlights:

A junior at the university’s Davie campus says his professor threw him out of a course for refusing to “stomp on Jesus.”  Ryan Rotela, of Coral Springs, told CBS12 in West Palm Beach that three weeks ago, the instructor in his Intercultural Communications class asked everyone in the class to take out a sheet of paper, write “Jesus” in bold letters and put the piece of paper on the floor.

The instructor, Deandre Poole, then told the class to stomp on the papers.  Rotela refused, and told Poole he was offended by the instruction. 

"Anytime you stomp on something it shows that you believe that something has no value. So if you were to stomp on the word Jesus, it says that the word has no value," Rotela told CBS12. Rotela, who describes himself as a devout Mormon, went to Poole’s supervisor two days later to discuss the incident. He was suspended from the class since the incident. 
It goes without saying, these folks have no problem burning Korans, depriving gays equal civil rights, and seeking to control the ability of women  to make health care decisions affecting their own bodies.  Rotela and those like him won't "stomp on Jesus" but they will happily treat others as disposable trash and/or less than human.    Again, these folks are not the victims of persecution.  They are the ones that seek to persecute others and trample on the rights of anyone and everyone who does not subscribe to their hate and fear based religious beliefs.

Civil Commotion also looks at a book that debunks much of the Christian persecution myth all the way back to the early days of Christianity:

Which brings us to the smartest book I’ve read in a good long while, Candida Moss’ The Myth of Persecution.

Moss demonstrates convincingly that much of what tradition says was Roman persecution of Christians was in fact prosecution for refusing to obey the law. Except for a very brief period of about 2-years, that is, Christians were very rarely singled-out as Christians per se. Rather, they flipped-off the civil authorities and declared that they were beholden to only some other law. 

The early Christian movement was no different than any other; it needed a devil in order to cultivate a shared sense of urgency, and so it invented devils when it was useful — as it does today. The overwrought Pious folk are being played, just as dishonest imams provoked ignorant mobs to outrage and murder over the forbidden Muhammed cartoons a few years ago.

This is an important history, and immensely timely. When we hear moderns complain of religious persecution before ‘ObamaCare,’ and racial integration, and psychiatric care of homosexuals, and the expectation that they learn something of the world outside Podunk, we are reprising a very old dispute driven chiefly by the same careless thinking and intransigent movement-behavior that made the first few centuries such a tumultuous time.
It is far past time that the public learn the truth about the myths and lies disseminated daily by the Christian Right and that the rest of us rise up and say "No" to continued special rights and privileges for those who wrap themselves in religiosity while persecuting and bullying others.

Read more here:

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