The right to persecute.

Cectic has a humorous if sad commentary:

http://cectic.com/172.html

I can’t help but think how true this is. How accepted and ingrained in our Christian-dominant society to be openly intolerant to non-believers. There was a recent story of a baseball player breaking a home run derby record and an announcer stating “it’s a bad day to be an atheist!” Obviously he was joking–but we all know not entirely. At the base of his jibe there is sincerity and a belief that it’s permissible to ridicule someone’s (lack of) belief. Normally, I believe that the proper response to this announcer’s joke would be to ignore it. In fact, normally I’d probably even give a chuckle at it as I’m sure in context and in the moment it would have been kinda funny.

But, let’s think about this for a second. What if he’d said “it’s a bad day to be a Catholic” Or, “it’s a bad day to be a Muslim”? Would he have gotten away with it? The player was white, what if he’d said “bad day to be black!” Personally, I think a person has a right to say what they want (so long as it’s not advocating violence and hate) and anyone has the right to be offended. What I have a problem with is the underlying acceptance in this society that non-believers are sub-human and don’t have a right to be offended.

We live in a society where an atheist has less of a chance to be elected president than a gay Muslim (I’d like to see that some day!) despite the fact the Constitution states no one is to be subjected to a test of religious belief to be elected to public office. Every presidential candidate has to fall over themselves to make sure people know without a doubt that they’re a faithful Christian, otherwise they know they have zero chance at getting elected. And like the Cectic comic indicates, this intolerance of non-belief is integral to Christianity. So much so that even Christians who don’t follow scriptural instructions to hate the non-believer and convert or kill them, still accept the hate speech that is a part of Christian theology.

I think the announcer has the right to make a joke like he did. What makes me sad is that the non-believers are the only ones offended–where’s the liberal, non-evangelical Christians who will speak up and say “hey, dude, that’s not cool”?

A recent parable on Friendly Atheist makes a good point, and while I don’t believe in any anthropomorphic sky-daddy, I would like to think if he really existed and was as merciful and loving as liberal non-scriptural Christians believe and could see the intent of people’s heart, he’d be like this:

At the end of their lives two Christians and an atheist came before God. To the first Christian God asked, “What did you do in your life, my child?”
The first Christian said, “I praised your name by driving out sinners from our society. I reviled and shunned and beat and imprisoned and even killed those who did not believe in you as I did, and those who did not live by your word exactly as I did. I made their lives miserable to glorify your name.”
God: “So you used my name to justify your hatred and cruelty to your brothers and sisters.”
First Christian: “I… I thought I was doing your will, my Lord.”
God: “You were doing your own will and misusing my name.”
Turning then to the second Christian God asked, “And what did you do in your life, my child?”
The second Christian replied, “I believed in you with all my heart and praised your name in my prayers.”
God: “And what did you do for your brothers and sisters who suffered at the hands of those who misused my name for their cruelty?”
Second Christian: “I, uh, I felt sorry for them and I hoped that those who were cruel would stop misusing your name.”
God: “Show me the hand you raised to stop the cruelty that was done to your brothers and sisters in my name.”
Second Christian: “I raised neither hand, my Lord.”
God: “Show me the hand you extended to comfort and heal your brothers and sisters who suffered cruelty that was done in my name.”
Second Christian: “I extended neither hand, my Lord.”
God: “So you praised my name in your prayers but you did nothing for your brothers and sisters who suffered from cruelty done in my name.”
Finally, God turned to the atheist and said, “And now you my child, what did you do in your life?”
The atheist said, “I spent no time believing in you or praising your name. Instead I spoke out against hatred done in your name. For that I was reviled and shunned in your name. I worked hard to stop injustice and cruelty to others done in your name. For that I was beaten and imprisoned in your name. I fought against the horrors that were done around the world in your name. For that I was killed in your name.”
To the atheist God said, “You may go inside, my child and join the feast.” To the two Christians God said, “You two will stay out here for the time being, while you consider that your brothers and sisters needed your love and your help far more than I needed you to praise my name.”