As my regular readers well know, I am not religious, and no longer attend church. I despise the deep hypocrisy I see with many who are religious–not just Christians, but Muslims, Jews, and many others. I just don’t see religion as a force for good in this world. Yes, it claims to be, but in practice it isn’t.
Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave and completely disconnected from the news lately, especially here in North America, you’ve likely heard about a county clerk in the US state of Kentucky named Kim Davis. She has refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples due to her “deeply held religious beliefs”. She is one of those Christians who believe that two men or two women getting married and having the same rights as those of us who are heterosexual enjoy would destroy the ‘sanctity’ of marriage. Never-mind that she herself has been married at least three times, apparently. So much for the ‘sanctity’ of her numerous marriages. She is now in jail, where she belongs, because of her refusal to follow the law and do the damn job she was elected (yes, bureaucratic functionaries in the USA are elected) to do. As an elected official, firing her is not a simple task.
If Davis’s imposition of her religious beliefs upon others wasn’t offensive enough, the responses of her supporters takes this behaviour to new heights (or lows). I hear right-wing pundits and even Republican candidates for US president calling what’s happening in the USA a “war on Christianity”, and most offensively “persecution of Christians”. I heard one right-wing blowhard on his YouTube channel rant on comparing it all to the Holocaust (where millions–yes millions of Jews were tortured and actually killed by the Nazis simply for being Jews–along with Russians, Roma, and other ethnic and religious minorities). Also recommended reading for those who want to know about some real persecution, of Christians by the way, is Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Foxe. The first edition was published in 1563. It details the stories of early Christians who suffered actual persecution, torture, and death just because of their beliefs.
Some real religious persecution…
As a youth, I personally knew a survivor of the Holocaust who was a friend of our family. I vividly remember the number tattooed on his arm. He was a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz, and was imprisoned there as a youth, along with his family. He was the only member of his family to survive. Ultimately, he emigrated to Canada and ran a successful business that provided well-paying employment to many other immigrants who came here–many of whom lacked a toolbox of marketable skills–but he gave that to them. He rarely talked about his experience. My father was one of the few he told it to, and the details Dad chose to share with me were horrifying.
In Saudi Arabia (an ‘ally’ of the USA), if you’re not the government’s particular brand of Islam (Sunni), you face severe discrimination–even as a fellow Muslim (try being a Shia Muslim there). No other religion than Islam is permitted to be practised, and the attempt to convert someone from Islam to another religion is punishable by death. There is even a law on the books that calls for the death penalty for anyone bringing in quantities of religious literature intended for distribution. Non-belief (atheism) is also illegal, and there have been well-known cases of non-believers being jailed and tortured for their professions of non-belief. Raif Badawi was sentenced to a prison term of 10 years, 1,000 lashes ( that’s flogging, whipping–in public, by the way, and it leaves deep wounds), and a fine of 1 million riyals ($265,000 US approximately). That’s just for running a website!
I find the cries of religious persecution in the USA to be insulting to Holocaust survivors, and people like Badawi who have faced real persecution. American Christians are like little children who whine and complain when someone tells them they have to share their toys with someone else. They’ve had an inordinate amount of societal privilege for many decades, and now they’re being forced to share it, and like petulant spoiled little brats, they don’t want to. Well, tough! I don’t care if you don’t like it! This isn’t an exclusively Christian world, and you are damn well NOT being persecuted! It is not religious persecution if you’re being expected to share privilege and rights that you have historically enjoyed with others. So, shut the f*ck up! Your whiny rants are deeply insulting to the memories and sufferings of many throughout history and in the present-day who actually do suffer persecution for their beliefs, or non-beliefs.