Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christian Oppression Turns Deadly?

No, this is not an article about the real oppression Christians experience in some parts of the world where they are in the minority and discriminated against by members of another majority faith. This is an article about the imaginary oppression that certain Christians claim to experience right here in the United States, and how some of them believe that in response to said oppression God's only recourse is to act like an unbelievable asshole.

Meet Bryan Fischer. Fisher is a right-wing evangelist known for his firm embrace of the Poor Oppressed Christian mindset. In response to the recent Connecticut school shooting, he explained without a trace of irony that his Christian God decided to let a bunch of kids die because schools no longer hold public prayers that favor Christianity over all other religions. Fischer explains:

In 1962 we kicked prayer out of the schools. In 1963 we kicked God's word out of ours schools. In 1980 we kicked the Ten Commandments out of our schools. We've kicked God out of our public school system. And I think God would say to us, 'Hey, I'll be glad to protect your children, but you've got to invite me back into your world first. I'm not going to go where I'm not wanted. I am a gentlemen.

In other words, Poor Oppressed Christian Fischer apparently also follows a Poor Oppressed God - a butthurt deity with the power to lift a finger and save lives, but who willfully decides not to simply out of spite. While the problem of evil has been debated for centuries by Christian theologians, I've never heard a more appropriate description of a Demiurge in my entire life. Maybe those first millennium Gnostics were onto something after all. Here's a God who demands special treatment, and if he doesn't get it a bunch of children are going to die.

What's even more bizarre about this idea is that these children had nothing to do with prayer being taken out of school in the 1960's - they were only born this last decade. In effect what Fischer is saying is that God has a beef with activists who rightly pointed out that Christian prayer in schools violates the Constitution, so instead of raining fire down on those particular activists he contents himself with allowing the deaths of innocent children. You would think that an omnipotent divine being would have a panoply of other options at his disposal for addressing his grievances, so that means God must have carefully examined the situation and decided this one was the right course of action. If that doesn't make Fischer's God evil according to the very tenets of his purported faith, I don't know what will.

Actual, sincere Christians need to start denouncing clowns like Fischer much more forcefully and loudly. Loud voices generate a lot of media attention. A lot of people still don't know, for example, that the extremist Westboro Baptist Church has only about 20 members and they're all part of one family. It's hard to believe that their group is smaller than the Twin Cities body of Ordo Templi Orientis with all the press coverage they get, and it's time more liberal Christians started generating a bunch of their own. Fischer is not alone, either - Mike Huckabee and James Dobson have also chimed in, only in their opinion it's also gays, contraception, and legal abortion that God is butthurt over. Clearly the lack of coherent opposition to these claims has emboldened these fools who present a completely distorted picture of the Christian faith.

Unlike a lot of occultists I've never had any real problem with Christianity as a religion or spiritual system. I considered myself a Hermetic Christian along the lines of John Dee for many years before I came to the conclusion that Thelema was a better fit for my beliefs and wound up joining OTO. However, I can easily imagine that a lot of the people who have big problems with the religion have only ever been exposed to sanctimonious whiners like Fischer. In that light their negative attitude is much more understandable. In fact, Jesus did not admonish his followers to meddle in state affairs. Far from it - remember "my kingdom is not of this world" and "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's?" He also said nothing about homosexuality, abortion, or contraception, but mysteriously those issues always wind up at the top of the Poor Oppressed Christian list of offenses.

Simply put, there is no Christian oppression in the United States. America was founded on the Masonic ideal, which recognizes an abstract concept of God that transcends any particular sect or religious denomination. The establishment clause flows directly from this idea - that all citizens should be free to practice their religion as they see fit without government pressure or interference. Our nation was never intended to be a Christian society in which non-Christians are regarded as second-class citizens, and it's high time we made sure that the strawman of imaginary Christian oppression is never used to turn it into one.

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