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Crosstalk: Are Christians being targeted?

When “Christian Privilege” was suggested as a Crosstalk topic, I laughed: The idea of Christian privilege seemed ludicrous to the extreme. “Your making that up,” was my initial response.

Raised as an “evangelical” back when “born again” was a religious expression of belief rather than a rallying cry for any sort of “moral majority,” the idea of gaining unfair cultural advantage as a Christian — aside from the comfort provided by the faith itself — was beyond belief.

I was a little surprised, looking up “Christian privilege” on Wikipedia, to find an actual entry on the topic. According to the article, “Christian privilege is any of several advantages bestowed upon Christians in societies. This arises out of the presumption that Christian belief is a social norm, that leads to the marginalization of the nonreligious and members of other religions through institutional discrimination and/or religious persecution. Christian privilege can also lead to the neglect of outsiders' cultural heritage and religious practices.”

Fortunately, before I began to mourn the loss of a perfectly good and often accurate encyclopedic reference, I noticed that the article was introduced with the Wikipedia note, “The neutrality of this article is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until conditions to do so are met.”

Thank goodness. I suspect that warning message will remain for some time, given the contradictions and illogical statements that follow.

Of course, suggestions that the whole idea is bogus are expected by the author(s), who, defining the term in the first paragraph, warn the reader in the second paragraph that “exposure of Christian privilege breaks a ‘sacred taboo.’ and that ‘both subtle and obvious pressures exist to ensure that these privileges continue to be the sole domain of Christians. This process is quite similar to the way in which whites and males continue to (consciously and unconsciously) ensure the privilege of their racial and gender groups.'”

Or to put it another way, Christians are discriminating and persecuting all others because “they know not what they do,” and the author is heroically setting the record straight by speaking out.

I'll leave the sociological arguments to the Wikipedia talk page.

In my own experience, having been both a Christian in a secular school and secularist in a Christian school, I can report first-hand that neither those of faith nor those not of faith has the advantage over the other in terms of acceptance of cross-dressed viewpoints: Both groups look at you rather oddly or take great pains to show you where you have gone wrong when you walk counter to the prevailing norm.

Both are prone to “discriminate and persecute” on one level or another, at least in the realm of ideas.

Take the long-standing conflict between the evolutionary scientist and the biblical creationist. Neither are accepting of the others viewpoint: In the world of higher education, the creationist will likely be the loser; in the church, the evolutionist will be the underdog.

For myself, I argue that both rely on a “big bang” of unexplained origin, and that an omnipotent creator would certainly be capable of using the principles of evolution to refine his or her creation, and who am I to protest? Right or wrong, it's impossible to prove one way or another.

That’s human nature. We disagree, and sometimes those disagreements are at the very core of our humanity. Validating or vilifying one side over another is wrong.

Which is where the theory of “Christian privilege” stands. It lacks evidence, and is wrong in suggesting Christianity is somehow unique in its alleged abuse.

Being a member of any religion, minority or majority, is an advantage or a disadvantage depending upon the community you associate with and the society in which you live.

Fortunately, in the U.S., laws are on the books to prevent discrimination “based on race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, physical disability and age.”

For myself, I am perfectly happy to “coexist” within my community, regardless of individual religious beliefs, and have found every religion to contain elements of truth and men and women worthy of my respect.

—Mark Gibson

If you have a Christian faith and conservative values in America today, you’d better start preparing your soul for the persecution that is coming your way. Are you going to be willing to lose everything you own when the time comes for you to stand? And mark my words, that time is fast approaching.

An example of the storm that is brewing against the Judeo-Christian beliefs that are the underpinnings of this nation can be found at the “Christian Privilege” training session last week at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The workshop organized by GWU’s Multicultural Student Services Center demeaned all God-fearing people by asserting that Christians — especially white ones — “receive unmerited perks for institutions across our country.”

The event taught that Christians possess “built in advantages” today that gives them an easier life than their non-Christian counterparts.

According to the center’s website, by the end of the training, participants were asked to identify three examples of Christian privilege and at least three ways to be “an ally” with non-Christian groups.

Interesting choice to trash the religion based on grace and mercy to defend the Islamic faith that condones in many Middle Eastern countries the enslavement, rape and abuse of women. They also kill or persecute “infidels” (Christians) and perpetuate jihad. Where’s the denunciation of this extremely violent form of privilege?

Why should Christians in America think they will be protected from the persecution when believers are being beheaded, tortured and imprisoned around the world? And, in fact, the Bible promises persecution in an increasingly hedonistic world that rebels against God’s rules.

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution,” promises 2 Timothy: 3:12.

If you embrace Christianity, you will be targeted at some point in this madness that has descended on our nation. You can count on it. It has already happened to many: Bakers and a Marion County judge who have been ruined financially for refusing to recognize gay marriage because it violated their religious beliefs.

Are you willing to lose everything you own, to face anger, recriminations and rejection because of what you believe? What will you do when put to the test? Will you stand or will you betray the God you claim to serve?

It is time for churches to start addressing this issue. It is the responsibility of pastors to get their parishioners ready for the next stage in this country’s decline.

We can hold onto this hope from Matthew 5:10-11: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Christians, this is not our home and we must never forget that what we do in this life truly echoes into eternity.

The first stage in persecution playing out on the global stage begins with stereotyping of the targeted group, i.e., workshops on “Christian privilege,” in the name of civil rights and equality.

The second stage involves justifying hatred of a particular group and vilifying their belief system, i.e., portraying Christians as regressive troglodytes who are determined to resist enlightenment.

The role of the targeted group in society is then marginalized, i.e., the immense contributions of Christians are downplayed or scorned.

In the fourth stage, Christians are excluded from places of power and influence and eventually criminalized.

Outright persecution follows in stage five. This may involve forcing Christians to go against historic teachings of the church, having property seized or paying heavy fines (sound familiar?).

In many places, death follows the refusal of the Christian to adhere to directives to abandon the practice of their outlawed religion.

Now is the time for the church to fight for the rights it has held for hundreds of years. Pastors must train their congregations in civil disobedience. They must get parishioners strong enough to face the future with courage and strength.

— RaeLynn Ricarte


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