When I wrote the book "Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity," secularists panned the notion that Christians, being in the majority, could be the subjects of systematic discrimination. I found that an odd argument, especially from people who routinely argued that women are victims of gender discrimination.
Their argument may have a superficial attraction, but it does not square with the evidence. I marshaled 400 pages of proof to substantiate my case. Since the time the book was published in 2005 this pattern of discrimination and mistreatment of Christians has continued unabated. I could write an update with twice as many pages.
Our universities are teeming with atheist professors, many of whom express their antipathy toward Christianity as anti-science, superstitious, bigoted,and Neanderthal. The same message permeates our culture, from Hollywood to popular music to the mainstream liberal media.
President Barack Obama himself, while touting his authentic Christianity, doesn't miss an opportunity to ridicule Christians as Bible-toting bitter-clingers whose Scripture contains many horrific divine commands and whose ancestors during the Crusades were every bit as evil as modern Islamic jihadists. He has also gone out of his way to promote the very secular cause of abortion-on-demand and to trample the conscience rights of faith-based institutions.
Yet with all this "progress," the appetite of militant secularists cannot be satiated. The most recent example is an editorial by Susan Jacoby in The New York Times, "Sick and Tired of 'God Bless America.'" Contrary to the liberal criticism of my book, Jacoby argues "the population of nonreligious Americans -- including atheists, agnostics and those who call themselves 'nothing in particular' -- stands at an all-time high this election year." She cites a Pew poll showing that the numbers of nonreligious Americans have exploded since 2008. It's hard to deny that the secular culture's bombardment of Christianity is having an effect.
Jacoby is particularly annoyed that despite the supposed cultural shift away from Christianity, presidential candidates still campaign "as if all potential voters were among the faithful." Even Democrats, she says, "are only a trifle more secular in their appeals." Well, if you say so.
Jacoby doesn't criticize nonreligious Americans who vote for these candidates, because no candidate "who full-throatedly endorses nonreligious humanism" is on the ballot. But she's not happy that the "candidates themselves ignore the growing group of secular voters."
She admits -- shockingly -- that "America is still predominantly a Christian nation," but that's not, in her view, why Christians are more powerful. Christians, she argues, are no more homogenous or monolithic in their views than secularists. Indeed, only evangelicals, as a group, are larger than those Americans "who don't belong to any church." The "unchurched," she says, at 22.8 percent, "make up a larger group than Catholics, any single Protestant denomination and small minorities of Jews, Muslims, and Hindus."
Instead, she thinks secularists are politically weak partly because they are not "joiners" and they reject labels. Many of the religiously unaffiliated would rather not identify with any group than label themselves as atheists or agnostics. Without joiners, she says, you can't create a lobby.
This is all rather bizarre, though, when you consider the inroads secularists have made in our society. In the first place, let's not forget that the Democratic Party booed God at its last convention. And though its presidential candidates may be unwilling to overtly appeal to secularists, they clearly pay homage to goddess Gaia in their quasi-pious adherence to the catechism of climate change. They bow to abortion rights as if abortion were a sacred ritual mandated by a pagan god of child sacrifice.
More important, secular values are in the ascendancy in this nation, not just in our university and culture, but also in the outworking of our laws. Almost overnight, militant secularists have imposed same-sex marriage on society through the super-legislature formally known as the United States Supreme Court. Tyrannical liberal policy makers and judges have forced the federal funding of abortifacients. Formerly free private bakers can't refuse to sell their product for a ceremony that violates their religious beliefs. Secularists own the curriculum in our public schools and universities. They expel prayer and symbols of Christianity from the public square, our schools and our military institutions. Don't dare be caught voluntarily praying to the God of the Bible in your private time in school, but the school will teach you how to practice the Five Pillars of Islam. Secularists are infringing, selectively, on the freedom of association of Christian groups on campuses. And much more.
Don't misunderstand. I do not seek to portray Christians as victims, but for all her concern, Jacoby has nothing to fear from Christians, who would not suppress secularists' liberties. On the other hand, it is undeniable that militant secularists command that society extend tolerance toward everyone except Christians. As hard-nosed secularists have been caught admitting, they simply refuse to tolerate ideas they find intolerable. They have no interest in applying their adage "live and let live" to those odious Christians.
Jacoby is sick of hearing "God bless America" at the end of every major political speech, and longs to hear Thomas Paine's observation that "the most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is Reason."
With all respect to Thomas Paine, I'm not as worried about errors as encroachments on our liberties. And I'd far rather trust one's commitment to the Constitution and rule of law than abstract reason. Christians embrace reason as much as secularists, but as jealous adherents to constitutional liberties, we are much better guardians of liberty for all.
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