You may have noticed there is a rebellion brewing among those Christians in America who believe their faith is under attack. Every day there’s another story in the news about someone standing up for their Christian right to discriminate biblically or pray openly. Government and school officials across the country are taking a stand for Jesus with public demonstrations of their faith, and followers are cheering them on through social media.

It isn’t hard to see how this will backfire, but I guess too many Christians think “pray good” and stop processing information after that. In an environment that has mastered the art of propaganda, social media stories spin everything to what will trigger emotion and gain our attention. A nod toward Christian persecution achieves that effortlessly.

Many battles are being fought as a challenge to what has already been happening for years. For example, maybe a city council meeting has always opened up with a Christian prayer. Others are realizing that city officials should not take it upon themselves to violate the law in favor of their particular religion. So they are given a choice: allow all religions equal opportunity, or eliminate religion entirely from public meetings. Because what other options would there be?

If you are outraged by those options because you believe Christianity is the only religion that should be recognized and MUST be recognized at city council meetings, then you are not being persecuted. You are acting like a bully who demands favoritism.

Most alarming are the teachers and coaches in our public schools who are “making stands for Jesus” and then spinning it as if the students are not being allowed to pray. I’m sure everyone has seen at least 500 different memes about how we need to bring god back into our schools. Well, if he’s not there then it’s your own fault, Christians. Students are free to read their Bibles, pray, and even form Christian clubs at school. The success of those endeavors is up to them.

A popular trend that is making the rounds right now is group prayer at school sporting events. It doesn’t matter how many times we attempt to explain it, I will still open up my Facebook to see some Christian who is outraged that someone is trying to stop such a wonderful thing. Again, “pray good” is creating a force field that prevents any other information from getting in.

Earlier this week the Freedom From Religion Foundation asked some Illinois coaches to stop praying with students at their basketball games. They did not ask the students to stop praying, only the coaches and any staff members.

From the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s website:

 

It has recently come to FFRF’s attention that coaches and staff of Altamont High School, Dieterich High School and Pana High School have prayed at competitions with their teams. A photo confirms this practice, which has been reported to be recurrent. In the case of Pana High School, the basketball team’s Facebook page (apparently school-endorsed) states, “We are thankful for God giving us the opportunity to show others His love. Win or lose, we are all victorious because of His love.”

It is illegal for public school athletic coaches to lead or participate in prayers with students. FFRF is asking for assurances that this won’t be repeated.

 

It seems like some of the students want to pray. So wouldn’t the easy answer be to let the students keep doing it while the coaches and staff step aside? In fact, go ahead and publicize it far and wide as a victory that the FFRF cannot do anything about. But that doesn’t go along with the persecution story very well. I don’t know what these Illinois high schools will do, but I can tell you what many other schools have done. They have dug in their heels in the name of Jesus. But why?

Unlike students, when it comes to coaches and teachers in our public schools the answer has been to eliminate religion entirely. Let’s not confuse kids with what the people in authority around them believe. To allow coaches and teachers to influence our children with their brand of religion would be to open the door to equal opportunity; and that includes the right to indoctrinate our kids with any possible religious belief.

If you are familiar with The Satanic Temple, this is the point they are attempting to make every time they show up alongside these coaches and teachers to offer an alternative. They do not believe in Satan, they have simply noticed that some Christians do not understand why violations of separation of church and state matter unless it is demonstrated in a way that specifically offends them.

There is absolutely no reason we should not be on the same page when it comes to separation of church and state. It is the compromise that benefits us all. So what’s the problem?

Matt Walsh, a popular Christian blogger, recently offered us a glimpse into how that Christian thought process works when he said this about the Super Bowl halftime show:

 

Give me a break. The halftime show was a black liberation-gay rights sermon set to music, nothing more. And those who say “big deal” probably wouldn’t be that dismissive if the stadium was adorned in crosses and crucifixes while a gospel choir sang about Jesus and the audience held up placards reading ‘One Man One Woman.’ If the NFL did something like that, the outrage would be deafening. There would be boycotts and probably acts of terrorism at NFL headquarters in New York. Millions of progressives would file lawsuits claiming emotional trauma. Roger Goodell would be brought up on hate crime charges. The NFL would cease to exist. And we’d never hear the end of it. Seriously, never. They would build a monument somewhere in San Francisco commemorating the tragic event, and for the next 14 decades liberals would make pilgrimages to pay their respects to the millions of people catastrophically offended by what would then be called The Great Anti-Gay Emotional Massacre of 2016.

 

Sounds like we have some catching up to do.

Christians will argue that America is a Christian nation and that our history supports a belief in god. They brag that most Americans are believers. We are expected to swear oaths on the Christian Bible. Our politicians are only accused of not being a Christian…. because they could never actually admit it and be elected. There are churches everywhere. Sunday mornings when I turn on my television I find worship programs on my network channels.

Government and school representatives are praying to the Christian god openly at government meetings and school-sponsored events.

My dear Matt Walsh, even Christians admit that we have been living in a Christian-dominated society for a very long time. And it seems to me that the rest of us have been far too dismissive about that exact scenario of “if the stadium was adorned in crosses and crucifixes while a gospel choir sang about Jesus and the audience held up placards reading One Man One Woman” playing out not at a football stadium, but in every corner of our country. And not only once, but every day for longer than any of us have been alive. How dare you pretend as if Christians are ever the underdogs in America.

The Christian complaint is that they are losing popularity. Who granted them the right to be most popular…. The Constitution? God? Now people are even starting to question whether or not Christianity should be illegally promoted as an official religion in government and public schools. There are Christians who find this challenge to be disturbing because they have enjoyed preferential treatment for so long that removing it feels like an attack.

With all the freedom Christians have to spread their message, they can only blame themselves. If they want to remain relevant they are going to have to prove themselves on a level playing field. And being offered a level playing field is not persecution.

 

One thought on “A Level Playing Field

  1. I love the way you crush Matt Walsh’s comments. I remember reading his blog when he wasn’t very popular, and he sometimes had reasonable views to express. It seems either popularity made him more extreme, or being extreme made him more popular.

    Of course the big error in his argument is that even if gays and blacks were being treated equally in his society the half time show he refers to would be nothing more than an expression of that fact. The fact that all races are equal and that different sexual orientations are both natural and cause no harm to society are demonstrable and have the support of evidence. Thus it’s not controversial in a factual sense only because it goes against someone’s beliefs that are discriminatory by nature. Such beliefs have no place in a free, pluralistic society. And I don’t think anybody who sees the fact that those discriminatory beliefs are harmful and without support need apologize for making sure that those beliefs remain private and out of the public realm. Our only responsibility is to make sure that we are compassionate and not discriminatory ourselves. And you said it very well, and it’s something I’ve been saying for sometime. While loss of privilege feels like an attack, it’s really not. And if you really believe in the Christ that you claim to, then you should be willing to lower yourself to raise up the oppressed.

    Another thing that Christians don’t seem to understand about FFRF and other people who fight for the separation of church and state is that it’s not Christianity in particular we are fighting. We would fight against any religion that was purporting discrimination to a particular group. We fight for a preservation of structure should, as you said, Christianity not become the dominant religion in the future. Atheism, secularism, they are not religions. Whatever dogma we develop, if discriminatory we would be persecuted under the law. Christianity has had a free pass to do many acts of harm in this country’s history and so it’s not surprising that they feel hurt now that the justice system can no longer look the other way as it has done in the past.

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