Christians may be a super majority in the U.S. They may control the U.S. Congress and, as we all were reminded recently, the Supreme Court. But that hasn’t stopped Bible believers from preparing their children for martyrdom. Web resources abound for church youth leaders who want to make sure their young charges are ready when the lions come for them. Titles include, “Expect to be Persecuted” “Persecution Equals Reward” and “Adventure Game—Persecution of Christians and Paul of Tarsus.”
Stuff Fundies Like is a blog by and for people coming out of the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist tradition. Recently one former Baptist told how his high school youth group had been divided into two groups, assigned to play the roles of persecutors and martyrs. In 2012 a youth pastor in Pennsylvania made international news by staging the kidnapping of his young charges to help prepare them for the horrors to come.
The Christian persecution complex is absurd. Modern American Christians are not persecuted or under attack. But for Christians who are truly concerned about hostility toward their faith, I have a bit of advice: Don’t be evil. And don’t let your co-religionists get away with being evil either.
In the book of Matthew, Jesus gives his disciples a lot of contradictory advice. Modern day followers pick and choose, but one piece that often gets ignored is this: Be harmless as doves. This advice is not only profoundly moral; it is profoundly self-protective. Far fewer people would be entertaining themselves with fantasies about lions if more Christians took this little nugget seriously. A huge part of the antagonism that even moderate Christians face from outsiders is due to the fact that too many devout believers claim a righteous mandate to say and do things that are truly horrible.
Let me spell it out.
1. Opposing protections and rights for children is evil.Thanks to the influence of biblical Christianity, the U.S. stands alone with Somalia in failing to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Why? Because the Bible instructs parents to hit their children, among other things. Laws that give rights to children go head to head with biblical texts which say in no uncertain terms that children are the property of their fathers, to be punished or even killed in accordance with the father’s religious beliefs and other priorities.
When a Muslim father in Tunisia recently burned his 13 year old daughter to death for walking home with a male classmate, Christians were rightfully appalled. What many fail to acknowledge is that their insistence on elevating religion above universal ethical principles, human rights, and secular laws regularly costs children their lives, not just children with Muslim parents governed by Muslim theocracies, but also children with Christian parents in towns across America.
2. Denying young people accurate information about their bodies is evil.The U.S. government just spent a decade and a billion dollars on failed abstinence-only education programs concocted by Bible believers who live in some delusional world where prohibition works and virginity is next to godliness. Thanks to their influence, straight-faced educators tell teens that a girl who has had sex is a licked lollipop. Instead of medically accurate information and thoughtful conversation about intimacy and childbearing, teens get promise rings and slut shame.
The result? Here in the U.S., more than one in four girls gets pregnant before she turns 20, often with heartbreaking multigenerational consequences for women, children and whole communities.More than half of girls who give birth during high school drop out, permanently. Only two percent ever graduate college.
3. Demeaning and subjugating women is evil.When it comes to dignity and equality for women, instead of acting as moral torchbearers, Bible believers have been at the back of the pack for generations, along with conservative factions from other Abrahamic traditions ranging from Islam to Mormonism. The American Quiverfull movement, “complementarianism,” theexpulsion of Southern Baptist women who were making inroads into the clergy, the Mormon Patriarchy’s threats to excommunicate women who seek equality, the Vatican’s decision to crush nuns who thought poverty was a bigger problem than abortion . . . Need I say more?
4. Obstructing humanity’s transition to more thoughtful, intentional childbearing is evil.“If a woman dies in [child]bearing, let her die; she is there to do it.” So spoke Martin Luther. But beyond the horrors of women dying after days of labor or bleeding out after unwanted childbirth, lies the incontrovertible evidence that children, families and whole communities do better when parents can plan their families. As one medical student put it, “The failure of any sect to support the benefits to humanity that could be obtained through the use of contraceptive technology is blasphemy.”
If evidence-based compassion—the intersection of truth and love—was at the top of Christian priorities, hunger and destitution would be vastly diminished because millions of mothers would be able to plan and prepare for their babies. But for two generations, Christian patriarchs have been fighting against public health advocates every step of the way. In June alone, Christians in the U.S. congress voted to slash family planning aid by 25 percent, and the five Catholic men on the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the “religious freedom” of corporations is more important than the right of working women to care for their health and their families.
5. Undermining science is evil.Science has been called what we know about how not to fool ourselves.The discovery of empiricism and falsification—a method of inquiry that forces scholars to ask the questions that could show them wrong—is what has differentiated modernity from the Middle Ages. It’s the reason most of our children don’t die before hitting the age of five. It’s the reason broken legs heal straight, sky scrapers don’t collapse, and our houses are warm in the winter. It is what alerted us to the fact that our carbon consumption has become an existential threat.
Culled from: http://www.salon.com/2015/07/14/9_horrible_things_the_christian_right_does_because_god_said_so/