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to twist a rope of sand

22 December 2008 no comment

Christian thrown to the lions - detail from Roman tileWhen I was a Christian, I was always ready to jump on any attempt to question Christianity or any assertion of one’s civil rights that ran counter to MY interpretation of the intent of the New Testament as “persecution.”  Now, when I see the word “persecution” – especially when used by those claiming to be persecuted – I immediately start forming questions in my head.  It’s pretty rare for them to include examples of what they’re terming as persecution.  Clearly, when you read of Christians and Jews being killed or forced out of their homes in the Middle East, or being jailed for indeterminate spans in China or North Korea, it is evident what “persecution” is.

When I hear, however, complaints about “values” being under “attack” (i.e. the so-called defense of marriage concept, prayer being removed from public school functions, In God We Trust being considered for removal from currency), I really fail not only to understand the motive behind the elevation of fundamentally petty issues, but also why the same claimants of “persecution” are so ready to limit the rights of others (i.e. gay marriage, censorship in the name of “decency,” abortion rights, anything other than a nativity scene on public property).   What appears to be the bottom line:  I perceive MY values to be under attack, therefore I will attack yours.  (After all, Jesus did say that the best defense is a good offense)

I know I will get few, if any, responses to this.  However, I really want to know what goes on in one’s head when he or she thinks they are being persecuted. Can (or will) anybody answer these questions?

  • What does it mean to be persecuted?  Have you ever perceived yourself personally as having experienced this kind of persecution?
  • What rights do you feel are being eroded in this country?  Where, specifically, are those rights guaranteed?
  • Do you perceive your religion/faith/beliefs as being “under attack?”  If so, by whom?  What is the specific target of that attack?  What are the conditions for that attack’s potential success?
  • Do you favor more governmental control of American life, or less?  Do you favor increased legislation to promote decency and morality?

I know these are hard questions – I figure most don’t have answers for them.  I am well aware (and guilty, ofttimes) that it is easier to “feel” than to “think.”  Perhaps thinking is no longer required for citizenship here; since we so often call to remembrance our “Founding Fathers” (the fallacy of historicity?), maybe we are telling the world that the thinking has all been done before us, and all we have to do is agree.

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