US Politics

Christianity: A Third Rate Superstition

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I’ve written before about the pervasive martyr complex of the Right, but trust ol’ Tom Delay to ratchet up the hyperbole on the subject:

“Our faith has always been in direct conflict with the values of the world,” DeLay said. “We are, after all, a society that provides abortion on demand, has killed millions of innocent children, degrades the institution of marriage, and all but treats Christianity like some second-rate superstition.”

It’s interesting that Mr. DeLay didn’t mention that we are also a nation that fights offensive, immoral wars or steals from the poor to benefit the rich in his critique of our non-Christian values. There is nothing more sickening than listening to a political leader evoke Christ in the midst of a justification of war, and yet, that is an all-too common image in our modern ‘debate.’
Here’s a sincere thought. If Christian evangelicals want to be taken seriously, maybe they should act more like Christ. Maybe they should stop demonizing gays, promoting war against other faiths, acquiring vast treasures, divorcing at higher rates than non-Christians, and passing judgement against others, when their faith specifically forbids it

For DeLay and other Christians with a martyr complex, Christianity is under attack in the United States. This, despite:

  • A 1999 Gallup poll that asked If your party nominated a generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be a ‘X’ would you vote for that person?” “X” is Atheist, Baptist, Black, Catholic, Homosexual, Jewish, Mormon, and Woman. The percentages were: Baptist 94% Black 95% Catholic 94% Homosexual 59% Jewish 92% Mormon 99% Woman 92% and Atheist…. 49%
  • 83% of Americans identify themselves as Christians

Given the importance of the Christian faith in the United States, why the desire to paint themselves as victims? To reframe the debate. Instead of discussing the very real concern many Americans have with George Bush funding religious programs with federal dollars, the growth of religiously driven anti-gay/anti-womyn initiatives, or the troubling influence of religion on public education, the public discusses the victim status of a majority religion. Christians are from from under attack in this country, but as long as that canard is debated, fundraising and the politics of distraction will prevail.

Andrew Sullivan makes the point, quite clearly:

People have this strange idea that Americans are much more secular today than they once were. In fact, the kind of religious fundamentalism we see today, while always part of the American fabric, has rarely been as dominant. The faith of the founders’ was a drier, more Enlightened type; and it’s fair to wonder whether some of them were believers at all in the modern sense of the term. That’s why a defense of secularism is by no means un-American. It is the essence of what made the United States such a radical experiment in its time

On one count, I suppose DeLay is right about his Christian ideology. Christ did counsel forgiveness for crooks and thieves.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

1 Comment

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  • Dr. Lawrence Britt, who studied numerous fascist regimes pointed out that intertwining religion and politics is a common characteristic of such regimes. Obviously it is possible to be Christian and not fascist, it is nonetheless scary to think about.

    But I must say that I agree with him. The Ten Commandments ought to be posted in the schools. Haha. Right. By the Ten Commandments, I mean the First Ten Amendments.

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