Tina Dupuy: The diminishment of religious persecution
Sorry, my fellow hyperbolists, slavery is not being required to pay income tax. Also, gun control is not what Hitler did to the Jewish people. And the religious right is not being persecuted for their religious beliefs in America in 2014.
In order to be persecuted, American Christians would have to endure more than just their own overstatements about their anguish.
The problem with the overuse of hyperbole is it spurs amnesia to the horrors of history by making atrocities seem relatable. For example: Saying someone disagreeing with you is a Blood Libel is akin to saying almost getting a paper cut is like having all your limbs amputated sans anesthesia.
A Blood Libel was the widespread slaughter primarily of Jews (with a few exceptions) because of false rumors of cannibalism. On the other hand, someone disagreeing with you is Every Day of My Professional Career.
Dubbing our twice-democratically-elected president a “socialist dictator” gives a pass to real monsters like Kim Jong Un. And saying the religious right in America is facing persecution because of their faith is essentially saying every person who has ever sacrificed themselves for what they believe — emulated Christ himself by bravely dying for the cause of righteousness itself — is akin to not having the legal right to deny homosexuals equal protections.
Yeah, it makes modern people of faith look pretty small and petty.
Faith isn’t under attack. But martyrdom has been shrunk by exaggeration.
Are we really supposed to feel bad for American Christians for having legal hurdles in order to ostracize people they perceive as sinners? Really? Out of all the hardships human beings are subjected to, does having to make a cake for a lesbian wedding actually register?
Religious persecution is the maltreatment of a group FOR their religious beliefs. It is not — not now, not never — the state refusing to grant people of faith the ability to marginalize others. The Puritans didn’t make the dangerous trek across the Atlantic because they longed to be cruel to others not like them. That’s not religious persecution— that’s religion persecuting.
Last week the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held a screening of the low-budget feature “Persecuted” by filmmaker Daniel Lusko. (Full disclosure: Like everyone else I have not seen the movie, I read the POLITICO article about it.) The story follows John Luther (subtle), a lawmaker who refuses to endorse a bill which would give equal time to all faiths. And because of this hero standing up against inclusiveness and (gasp) multiculturalism, he’s framed for murder and spends the rest of the film trying to thwart government efforts to assassinate him.
Is this really how the evangelical community sees themselves? The evangelical wish-fulfillment fantasy is that they’ll be forced to go along with other faiths or else become the target of a vast government conspiracy? The government is nefarious for suggesting one faith should not be the arbiter of the entire country and their champion is the guy who says, “No way — only our way!”?
That’s what’s construed as persecution?! The faith equivalent of taking all your toys and going home? That’s now referred to with the same word used to describe the widespread torture and murder of heretics? The slaying of the Huguenots? The tens of thousands of Christians massacred during the Boxer Rebellion? It’s just like the mass executions of Jews, gypsies and homosexuals in Germany during WWII?
If I’m clear on the rhetoric, what used to be burning at the stake is now just having to tolerate others.
Really. As they say, get off the cross.
Tina Dupuy is managing editor of Crooks and Liars. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.