There is a popular myth that Christians are persecuted in America. Some, such as Fox News pundits Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Todd Starnes go as far as claiming there is a war of Christianity in America.
Every time there is a perceived slight, it is labeled a war and a vicious attack. Take, for example, Todd Starnes article last year where he claims that SNL’s skit ‘Djesus Unchained’ was NBC declaring war on Christians. He also goes on to describe Newsweek’s Christmas essay ‘The myths of Jesus’ as anti-Christian bigotry.
Really? Questioning the historical accuracy of your religion is anti-Christian bigotry?
He later goes on to complain about Christianity being singled out. He is correct, there is more ridicule of Christianity in American media than any other religion, but that’s because Christians are the majority. A fact they only bring up when it’s convenient to them.
For example, when Fox News Host Dana Perino complained about the campaign to remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, she said, “This is a Christian country, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to live here.”
What was interesting was her co-host who added, “Does anyone know if ‘under God’ was added to the Pledge of Allegiance?”
Seriously? You are a grown-ass man, on an alleged news network doing a segment on the Pledge of Allegiance, and you don’t even know the history? “Under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 during the Cold War when this country was paranoid about Communism.
Also amusing was the comment by the other co-host, who said, “it was added, but that’s irrelevant.” Well, not really. Your argument is that this is the way it is supposed to be, but “under God” was added only 60 years ago.
The sad thing is, it’s not just Fox News who suffer these collective delusions of persecution.
Rick Perry said back in 2011 when he was trying to run for president “There’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly pray in school.”
This is factually inaccurate, and it is shameful for a man who wanted to be president to say something so demonstrably false.
It never has been illegal for children to pray in school. What is illegal and unconstitutional is for individual teachers, or for a government-sponsored institution to promote one religion over another. When a teacher tells you it’s time to pray in Jesus’ name, what about a Jewish child, or a Muslim child or even (God forbid) an atheist child?
It seems that these Fox News Christians (and I call them Fox News Christians, because there are many Christians that are nowhere near this ignorant) only care about freedom of religion when it’s their religion being favored. And they also seem to have taken freedom of religion to mean freedom to push it on others by any means necessary even the government.
The complaints of Christian persecution in America are numerous, but let’s look at it rationally (something Fox News and their fan base seem allergic to).
There are seven states in this country where to this day it is illegal to hold public office if you are an atheist. It has been proven that atheists are one of the most hated and distrusted groups in America, and many popular Fox News hosts have suggested that America would be better without them.
But why? All atheists have ever asked for is the same rights that everyone else in this country enjoys when it comes to the freedom of religion.
Fox News Christians feel entitled to their special privileges. Anytime their dominance in this culture is questioned, they perceive it as an attack.
Meanwhile in countries around the world, Christians are literally being attacked, not for trying to push their religion on others in a public government funded setting, but for simply saying the name of Christ.
Do you seriously want to compare that time we politely asked for you to treat people with the same common decency and respect they treat you with to the systematic killing and torturing of Christians that goes on around the world?
Yes, sometimes people will make jokes. Yes, sometimes people will think less of you without good cause and yes there are unfair stereotypes of Christians.
But don’t you see where those stereotypes come from? Fox News and the wave of never-ending Fox News Christians. These are the people that should upset you — not atheists.
Sometimes atheists unfairly lump the good decent Christians in with these nasty, hateful and spiteful people, but it’s not their fault that this is the face of Christianity in the media.
It’s people like Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Todd Starnes that create the negative stereotypes of Christians. These people aren’t bravely reporting consistent persecution of Christians in America; they’re perpetuating it.
There isn’t any war on Christians in America. Christianity is not being persecuted. These delusions are harmful not only to American Christians, but to the whole of the American people.
Mike Rauser is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]