Tuesday, September 20, 2005


A Few Examples of Hostility Towards Christians

Howard Dean's stated that the Republican Party is "pretty much a white, Christian party." We all know that Howard Dean doesn't like the Republican Party. It seems a valid deduction that he doesn't care for white, Christians either since he lumps them in the same boat.

In March, 2003 Dean made disparaging, bigoted remarks regarding fundamentalist preachers.

Rod Dreher's article, "The Godless Party" sums up why many Christians are leaving the Democratic Party and other social prejudices against Christians.

At tolerance.org, a web project of The Southern Poverty Law Center, you can read about the evils for how Christmas is celebrated in this country. The point of the article is that Christians should give in to the intolerant demands of tolerance.org and remove any reference to Christmas during Christmas. This is necessary because other religions, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist have celebrations during this same general time period. Additionally, the anniversary of the prophet Zarathrustra falls during this time.

Imagine going to India, the home of Hinduism, and demanding that people carefullyl avoid using expressions that relate to Hinduism or not having Hindu related public displays during times of Hindu celebration. The same for the Asian countries that practice Bhuddism. Of course, I'm sure the the Islamic countries would be glad to discontinue the public references to Islam, as well as allow infidels into the city of Mecca.

I have no problem with people of other religions publicly displaying, publicly celebrating, etc. their religion. Anyone who cannot accept the public display o a religious event is intolerant. Maybe we should insist that the Greek churches quite calling their Greek Festivals, Greek Festivals. After all, this may offend Turkish or Italian people.

Currently, the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court has raised much reaction from those that can't accept a Catholic in a position of authority. Fifty years ago or more, Pres. Bush would have been hailed as a great civil libertarian for nominating a Catholic. It took over 150 years for this country to elect a Catholic president. It seems liberals only believe in diversity when those being diversified fit into the left wing, liberal model.

More to come. Time to go to bed.

Before I go into some of your examples of 'hostility' towards Christians, I must say one thing:

Just because someone disagrees with you is not cause for alarm. Faith is something to strive for, absolutism is not.

And that's the whole difference between Christians and "Fundamentalist Christians."

This is a deeply faithful country. Over 90% beleive in some form of diety or religious system. From my reckoning, about 80% are Judeo-Christian-Islamic. In my lifetime, and amongst all the people I have met, I have run into one, one individual that would qualify as 'hostile' towards a Christian belief system. The handful of agnostics I have run into are a striking minority, and have much more to fear from Christians than Christians will ever have to fear from them. But then again, I'm from the Deep South, so maybe up north you guys have these roving bands of anti-Christian marauders you keep talking about.

Speaking of 'up north,' I'm going to sound like a real piece of poop for saying this, but all this 'hostility' y'all get out of Howard Dean is 'cause y'all are expecting him to act different. Let's do the quick math: he's a well organized fundraiser who gets in trouble becuase he's got a big mouth and doesn't know when to shut up. Y'all may call that 'hostile,' I just call that 'bein' a Yankee.' If he was from Magnolia, Mississippi, and he was acting like that, it would mean he was being 'hostile.' But coming from Vermont? Not so much.

Concernig "Fundamentalist Preachers," I think he got it right on. A lot of us know exactly who he's talking about, and it ain't just the loony birds on the left. There are plenty of red meat eating, truck driving, beer drinking, football watching George Carlin and Dennis Leary fans who are dyed in the wool conservatives who can't stand "fundamentalist preachers."

And just to really, really key in on the difference, those "fundamentalists" are those who don't want to spread the Gospels to those who show up at Church and who are interested. Those "fundamentalists" are the ones who choose instead to try and force their particular beliefs down my throat. (The very thing you consider us 'secular humanists' are doing to you).

Here's a little example. When I graduated from High School, it was well known amongst all comers (my class was big on innocuous troublemaking) that to get out of line, you would not be getting your diploma that night, and would be escorted out of the building. No fights, no booze, no catcalls, no 'black power' fists or 'rock 'n roll' gestures (even the non-offensive ones) were to be allowed.

Thus informed, the whole class was, for once, toeing the line. It was celebration time, why screw it up?

We got up, noone had a problem with the Pledge of Allegiance or the Non-Demoninational Invocation. We had all chosen to be there, after all, and been assured that because we were not allowed to disrupt, no one else would either. ('Cause we were such pranksters, we could have wrecked it for everyone...but we chose to be classy and not to.)

Now, the parade of valedictorians and speakers wound their way to the podium, and low and behold, every one of them had a short, meaningful prayer to offer. Most importantly, they kept the prayers meaningful in deference to those of other religions in attendance. Our Jewish classmates were not excluded, nor were our few Muslim classmates (this whole group totalling maybe four out of 150). Our cadre of agnostics (another group of about 4 folks) were not offended, because these prayers were expected, and were kept by these classy Christians to praise and thanks and celebration: the mood of a graduation.

Quite reasonable.

Then our fundamentalist Christian speaker took the mic. Instead of the speech that she had prepared and submitted to the folks running the ceremony, she proceeded to call all of my class to reject the sinful ways we lived our lives. She gave examples of classmates' and their sins. In front of the whole group.

She did not stop there, no she pounded the pulpit, tears in her eyes, asking all of us to come up to her and accept Jesus as Lord and beg forgiveness, because if not, we would be condemned forever to the depths of Hell.

This little diatribe was greeted with shock from most of the audience. The Administration, who had orchestrated the whole event so carefully, was unable to move, they were so astounded. Then, we were greeted with catcalls of "Amen" and "Preach it," from some of the parents who thought, on our graduation night, we ought be reminded where we would be spending eternity if we didn't show up on Sunday morning.

I later found out one of the Administrators, a very high ranking memeber and another "fundamentalist," had known this was going to happen. He had encouraged the submission of the false 'first speech' so she'd be allowed at the mic. Later, they used this 'subterfuge' as the only way they could get a 'Christian' message into the ceremony, because of the 'persecution of Christians' in the school system. They used the tight content control as their 'evidence.'

That was after the entire student body and their families had said six prayers.

This does not take into account that the tight content control was used against me and mine: us pranksters were mostly Christian as well, but of the rock and roll variety). The controls were there not to keep Christians from offending us, but to keep us from offending Christians.

Things like that drove me away from the Church and from God for a long time, and I had to realize that my faith is not determined by anyone else. But this example, along with countless others in my own personal experience has shown me the stark contrast between Christians and other people of Faith, and "fundamentalists" of any religion, who would force their beliefs down our throats if allowed.
Wow! I live in Ohio now, but grew up in Tennessee. I never ran into a situation like the one you described. My brother, sister and I were the only Catholics in a high school of about 1,300. No one ever tried to convert me but lots of fundementalist think Catholics are beyond redemption.

When I was growing up fundamentalist didn't have much power where I was. Fundamentalist don't have much power where I am now.

I think EVERYBODY should be more tolerant. To me, tolerance.org's definition of tolerance is very lopsided.

Maybe you're right about Dean. However, you want to recruit voters you should be more careful of what you say. Perhaps Vermonters are that way that would explain why he is so clueless in that respect.
My high school graduation was in a Baptist church. I survived without damage.

There is funny thing about those who take it upon themselves to tell everyone else they are sinners. They ignore this: "1: "Judge not, that you be not judged.
2: For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.
3: Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
4: Or how can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye?
5: You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Matthew 7.1-5.

I'm no expert but I take this to mean to especially not judge someone's worthiness, sinfulness, etc. in the eyes of God. But, once again, this goes both directions. We need much more tolerance from the extreme left as well as the extreme right.

The Boy Scouts and Catholic have been under constant and sometimes vicious attack because of their stance on belief in God, homosexuality and abortion. If you don't like these groups join a different one or start your own. Freedom of association and freedom of assembly are Constitutional rights. That is what the Boy Scouts practice. The religious freedoms are obvious.
Tennessee eh?

That would explain the URL "bornavol," would it not? I calculate my age in Dawg years, for what its worth.

You are completely correct, and there does need to be more tolerance on both sides. But I've lived the life on both sides of that tolerance fence, rhetorically speaking.

As far as the Boy Scouts are concerned, I disagree with their stance and I voted with my feet. I left that organization and never looked back. But I know more than a few folks of the highest character who were Scouts until the reached the age limit and left for college or the Army. Many of them remain very good friends.

The Catholics' worst critics are other Catholics. Always has been, always will be. Dirty jokes and locker room talk, snide comments and burning criticism is just something that comes with the territory.

The evening news is generally a glorified tabloid and only reports the sensational; especially on the opinions page (cause opinions are like you-know-whats: everyone has them). The only sure fire way to get someone to read something is to say something unreasonable.

Run this test, for every media outlet you have, sit a conservative and a liberal down in front of the same news program. The conservative will think the media is liberally biased, the liberal will think the media is conservatively biased. Me and my friends stick to Sportscenter.

As someone who has borne the brunt of comments such as 1) you're not really a Christian (from other Christians) and 2) you're not really a Catholic (from other Catholics) I just let it slide off my back. "Shake the dust from your feet" is the verse, but I can't remember which Gospel it came from. If all Christians and Catholics agreed on all things all the time, there would be no Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox Churches. And no town would have more than one place of Christian worship and there wouldn't be a hundred different 'versions' of the Bible in English.

People disagree, even over sacred truths. The conversation can heat up.

The Boy Scouts and the Catholic Church are private organizations responsive to membership. I just think they should be less concerned with what other people think of them.

And when any organization takes a stand on something, they are going to be attacked by the organizations who have taken the opposite stance.

I wish the debates were a little less emotional (on the left and right) but I remember how I acted back in the days when my faith was weak. Every issue I spoke on, I had an absolute opinion, and if someone disagreed, I could whoop 'em in a debate. These would often escalate into screaming fights with my parents and preachers and friends...and it was all worthless. No one's mind was changed, no knowledge was gained, and I acted in a way that didn't reflect well on my American, Southern, Christian (or liberal) heritage.

It took a long time to unlearn all of that, and I'm still a work in progress.

But I can understand how the attacks can become viscious quickly. On either side. 'Cause I've been there, done that.
The one thing I've gotten from this discussion is that things must have been better 40 years ago in some ways. I once had a girl refuse to date me because I was Catholic but that was the only overt incident I ever encountered. No one ever told me I was a bad Catholic or a horrible sinner, etc.

Similiar to you I let things slide easily. I believe once a person reaches a certain level of confidence and happiness all this other stuff isn't that bothersome.

I tried to discern if there was a difference in the percentage of Christians in the states that went for Bush vs those that went for Kerry. Using the best figures I could find, the U.S Census doesn't ask for religious affiliation, Bush's states were about 6.4% more Christian.

Going back to Dean, I don't see that fundamentalist preachers have that much influence and control in our country. But Dean is at best foolish for using such harsh words. While I don't agree with fundamentalism, I strongly support religious freedom.

As far as Boy Scouts, having homosexual leaders makes little difference to me. My Phd social work professor (Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL.) sister tells me that gays are actually less likely to be child molestors than heterosexuals. Once again, I don't like how so many are trying to force the Scouts to change. If you don't like it walk away like you did but dragging them into court, etc. begins infringing on their religious beliefs and right of association. My 12 year old son is in Scouts, a very good troop. The subject of homosexuality never comes up except in the usual adolscent joking that kids do between themselves.

When I was a kid it was polite not to discuss religion in "mixed" company in order not to offend. I had friends of Jewish, Greek Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant denominations and never had a problem. As I said, maybe, in some ways, things were better 40 years ago.

BTW - I noticed you have a link to the Florence County Democratic Party. Is this the county that Florence, S.C. is in? While I was in college I worked at a summer camp in Alabama where several guys from Florence, S.C. worked. Long haired hippies in rural Alabama in the Seventies, now that was scary at times. But as soon as I turned on my good ole boy Southern accent everything was OK.
Yup. That would be the Florence, South Carolina Democratic Party, where one of my best friends is helpin the Mayor run for Governor of South Carolina.

Strange about how small the world is, more on that is attached to your 'born a Vol' post above.
There is no more a conspiracy of secular humanist than there is a conspiracy of fundamentalist preachers as Howard Dean seems to think.

For lefties, virtually any religion to the right of Unitarians seems to be a target because of the supposedly outdated, antiquated, provincial morals they profess.
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