Here we go again. The series in response to the Fowler essay starts here.

American Christians are not under attack. We are not being persecuted. We wield so much power in this country that politicians pretend to be Christian just so we will vote for them. No one is trying to take your bible away from you. The gay people are not destroying our families — we don’t need any help from them, thank you. We do a fine job of that by ourselves. So stop saying we are persecuted. You sound stupid.

Well, this covers a lotWhere to begin?

Persecution?  On the one hand, of course we are not experiencing persecutionIt is not illegal to be a Christian in AmericaUnlike people in many other countries, we do not risk our lives by walking into a churchIf we want to become Christians, or atheists, or Muslims, or Buddhists, or whatever, our families may disapprove, but they're not likely to kill usWe can be Christians and still get jobs, write books, speak in public, educate our children according to our beliefs, and many other freedoms others are dying for.

On the other hand, I think Christians are right to be vigilant, and concerned. Persecution rarely starts out large and obvious. There's sufficient evidence that in the extraordinarily influential spheres of both academia and the media, there is plenty of intense, deep-seated prejudice against Christians. (Against conservatives, too, but that's a different issue—and the failure of so many to recognize the difference is a big part of the problem.)  If it's not illegal to be a Christian in the United States, there are more and more social and yes, legal restrictions on how we act as Christians, and belief without action can hardly be called faith.

Where does he get the idea that we think people are trying to take the Bible away from us?  He's right; that does sound stupid. But I don't know anyone who believes that. What's more, unlike Islam, in which the Qur'an, the book itself, is considered holy, it's only the contents of the Bible that matter. While it's certainly possible for Bibles to be banned in the U.S.—and it could happen faster than we'd like to believe—I'm far more concerned about the many of us who have Bibles but don't read them, or read them and don't care to apply what we learn. In any case, Fowler is knocking down a straw man again.

"Gay people" destroying families?  Yet once again he's taking a very complex issue and making it something it isn't. A hollow straw man. 

Our local Publix grocery store often gives out samples of products and recipes. The other day I was offered what was called non-dairy chocolate pudding. I'll grant that it was non-dairy, but chocolate pudding it was not. Made of bananas, avocado, cocoa powder, and who knows what else, it did meet the Merriam-Webster simple definition of pudding: a thick, sweet, soft, and creamy food that is usually eaten cold at the end of a mealAnd it wasn't unpalatable, if you like bananasBut it certainly was not that lovely concoction of milk, sugar, cocoa, and cornstarch that said "chocolate pudding" to generationsTo pretend otherwise is disingenuous.

Family—that lovely concoction of husband, wife, many children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, in all its inclusive, complex, and messy glory—is indeed under siegeIt's not the fault of "gay people." The redefinition of the ideal and purpose of marriage and family began decades before homosexual marriage was ever considered an option instead of an oxymoronFrom the misuse of birth control to helicopter parenting, from the worship of sex to the devaluation of single people, from rampant abuse to rampant divorce, from hyper-patriarchy to the exclusion from our families of those who differ from the norm, and above all because of selfishness and the coldness of our hearts, Fowler is indeed right that we are our own worst enemiesBut knowing it's wrong to single out one crack in the dam among many doesn't mean we shouldn't be concerned that the edifice may collapse and flood the valley.

I may have to eat your banana-avocado-cocoa dessertI might even enjoy itBut don't tell me I have to pretend it's chocolate pudding.  And don't try to make me stop promoting the real thing.

Christians in America are not being thrown into the arena with wild beasts, nor used as human torches, beheaded, tortured, stoned, torn to pieces, kidnapped, raped, sold into slavery—at least not solely for their faith. But would you have us wait until it gets to that stage before being concerned?  If you really have no idea how quickly a society can go from mere prejudice to the gas chambers—ask a Jew.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at 8:37 am | Edit
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