How Conservatives Define Christian "Persecution" In America

It's a day that ends in "y," which means it's time for another conservative Christian to complain about how he's being oppressed.
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It's a day that ends in "y," which means it's time for another conservative Christian to complain about how he's being oppressed.
Santorum

One of the favorite hobbies of members of the Religious Right is to wax ruefully about their tragic status as a persecuted minority. The country has moved to the left on several important social issues, and this has been reflected in various pieces of legislation and court rulings at both the federal and state levels. In turn, the Religious Right has internalized these developments as direct attacks on their beliefs. While this is implicitly correct, the hyperbolic rhetoric that Christian fundamentalists employ seldom if ever matches the reality.

One of the more recent self-pitying rant about this nonexistent victimhood comes from returning super-Catholic champion Rick Santorum, who last week gave an irony-laden interview with the The Christian Post. After acknowledging that the "persecution" of Christians is nothing like what's going on in the Middle East (presumably at the hands of ISIS), Santorum raised the prospect of a Nazi-esque society taking root in America in which religious freedom has been destroyed:

"Germany prior to the Nazis getting there was a very religious country, was a Christian country.

[...]

"Same thing here. I mean, you think it’s just impossible for that to happen in America. And maybe it is, but maybe it isn’t. But what we do know is, is that if we continue down this path, that things are not going to get better. And that the chance of something really bad beginning to happen, where your faith is really constrained, or your lives are really in danger becomes a possibility down the road."

This is yet another example of conservatives dialing the fear up to 11. When they're not telling us that ISIS is coming up from Mexico and that ISIS is closing in on your front door, they're explaining all the ways we're becoming or could become like Nazi Germany. Of course, that wasn't the only ridiculous thing Santorum said. Consider his rich claim that the government is "going to tell you what your values should be, and they’re not going to be tolerant of any dissent."

No one is trying to prevent Santorum and other Christians from going to church. No one is trying to prevent them from speaking out against the government and its mythical war on Christianity. And no one is trying to prevent Santorum from having wholesome, birth control-less missionary-style coitus with his wife from now until he goes limp. What Santorum and other Christians do to practice their faith is no one else's business.

But ironically, it's Santorum and his ilk who are trying so desperately -- and in some cases succeeding -- into foisting their Biblical worldview on society at large.

Conservative Christians aren't being forced to get gay married, yet they want to outlaw gay marriage.

Conservative Christians aren't being forced to get abortions, yet they want to outlaw abortion.

Conservative Christians aren't being forced not to pray on their own time, but yet they want to force prayer into public schools.

Then on Sunday in Houston, there was a homophobic hoedown called "I Stand Sunday" featuring such anti-gay luminaries as Phil Robertson, Todd Starnes, and Mike Huckabee. At the gathering, which was thousands strong, activists decried their alleged plight, and one woman could be seen with a shirt reading, "We reserve the right to refuse service to homosexuals."

Implicit in this conception of freedom of religion is the freedom to codify some his religion's teachings into law, but that's not how this works. For example, you can't spend years railing against gay people and expressing your outrage at the Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas -- which struck down a sodomy law used to arrest men for having gay sex -- and then claim that if those two guys get married, somehow you're being persecuted.

You can't claim this because it doesn't make any fucking sense. Worse, it's a hypocritical delusion of the highest order.

In other words, it's exactly what we've come to expect from conservative Christians.

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