Mind Games Christians Play: I’m Being Persecuted

It’s not uncommon to hear American evangelical Christians complaining bitterly that they are being persecuted. The circle-the-wagons, us-against-the-world mentality is a tool which religious leaders have frequently used to rally the faithful and whip up a frenzy of righteous indignation, so it’s not surprising that the sheep have bought into this oft-repeated lie. This mindset is bolstered by the biblical admonitions of Jesus and Paul that true believers will suffer persecution, and of course confirmation bias kicks in to prove them right.

The real mind game consists in the fact that these ‘beleaguered’ believers manage to convince themselves of this, while simultaneously persecuting those who they despise. They complain about people being intolerant of Christian beliefs, all the while, preaching and railing against other religions, gays and lesbians, and of course, those damned atheists and humanists. They warn about the dangers of Islam, and Sharia law, while attempting to force their particular religion and god into government, the judicial system, and schools, every chance they get.

Essentially, the fuzziness of the fundamentalist Christian mind allows them to simultaneously play the roles of both victim and oppressor.

Franklin Graham provides a fine example of this lack of self-awareness:
Recently I was at a White House meeting with Vice President Joe Biden and had the opportunity to remind him that our main problem in America is that we have taken God out of our society and out of our government. We need God’s Word and His laws now more than ever.

Disobedience to God’s Word and His laws has wreaked havoc across the political, economic, and spiritual landscape of our country. There is scandal after scandal, and yet our nation’s leaders seem even more belligerent toward Christians.

If we hold up God’s standards, we are accused of being intolerant. “Tolerance” is one of today’s hot buttons, but in reality the true and fast-growing “intolerance” is for Christianity—anything that stands for Jesus Christ.
Never mind the irony that this religious leader is having a personal meeting with the Vice President of the United States. Never mind his chilling desire to enforce ‘God’s Word’ and his ‘laws’ on the American public. One gets the feeling of a playground bully bitterly complaining “But why won’t the other kids listen to me anymore? They need to do what I tell them.” This goes over about as well as Justin Bieber telling the Billboard Music Awards audience that he is an artist and should be taken seriously. What people like Graham don’t get is that, while in the past, Christians have gotten away with a lot of church/state violations, they are not going to have free rein to do so any more. They are so blinded by the assumption that their religion could simply not be anything but true, that they get confused and hurt when special privileges are no longer extended to them.

But what about the case of two Christians arrested for ‘reading the Bible in public.’ Turns out, they were haranguing a captive audience (people waiting in line at the DMV), with condemning Bible verses. I wonder how Christians would feel if, while experiencing the slow-torture agonies of the DMV, they also had to listen to a Muslim reading to them from the Koran, a Latter Day Saint gracing them with selections from the Book of Mormon, or perhaps someone reciting the Satanic Bible? The thought never seems to enter their heads. Despite the “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” command from their beloved Jesus, Christian fundamentalists seem to have a hard time empathizing and putting themselves in their neighbors’ shoes.

Rose Marie Belforti, a court clerk in New York believes that being gay is a sin, so she refused to do her job and sign the marriage licenses of any same sex couples that came her way. Of course, the gays are not being oppressed by her - she is being persecuted for her beliefs!

Republican lawmakers protest the removal a reference to God on the patch logo for the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office… and so it goes, on and on. The endless line of self-made martyrs for the faith.

Here’s news for you, Christians: Your beliefs don’t give you a free pass to be a douche. Your delusional conviction that yours is the One True Faith does not give you the right to seek to impose it on everyone else. Americans are no longer turning a blind eye to your demonization of certain segments of our population (LGBT for example). Keep it up if you like, but we will continue to call you out on it, and you will advance the cause of atheism by driving away the younger generation, and any fair-minded people who can’t stomach your religiously-justified bigotry, hatred, and intolerance.

I’ve heard Christians complain that the so-called tolerant society won’t tolerate them. The one thing that tolerance must never tolerate is a movement which seeks to assert its narrow, exclusive view in dominance over others, like a dictator with world-conquering aspirations. Tolerance is not so foolish as to lay bare its neck to the knife of an assassin. And, tolerance must never turn a blind eye to the oppression of others – simply because of who they are. Here’s a news flash for all you self-proclaimed martyrs: If we don’t allow you to bully us or others with your beliefs, that does not qualify as persecution. If you want to believe something racist, sexist, or homophobic, do us all a favor and stay in the closet with it. Your beliefs are not inborn traits. They are chosen. They can change... you can change! You don’t have to be on the wrong side of history. There is no need to remain a prisoner of fear and hatred. Step into the light. There is redemption for even the most hardened believer.

Written by J. M. Green