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Posted by on Apr 9, 2014 in Atheism, Christianity, Education, featured, secularism, Skepticism | 4 comments

Christians Persecuted… In America?

christianoppressionpieLook, I understand that in countries like China, Iraq, Egypt, or Israel, it is certainly possible and even probable that a Christian might be persecuted for his or her religious faith, but in America where 80% of the country is made up of Christians and roughly 95% of our government is made up of Christians (including the President), it is extremely unlikely. It is more likely that a Republican would be persecuted in Alabama than a Christian to be persecuted in the United States.

That is why when I saw a story floating around the Facebook about a second-grade girl in North Carolina who had an assignment to write an essay on who impacted her life and was not allowed to write that essay on Jesus Christ, I was suspicious. For starters, we are talking about North Carolina here, not Vermont or California.

Plus, we all know how many Christians (especially fundamentalists and “non-denominational” Christians) have a persecution complex. Because they view Jesus as having been persecuted and the Bible claims that one of the signs of the End Times will be that Christians will be persecuted, they just can’t get enough of the “persecuted card.” In fact, many of these Christians seem to believe that not being allowed to shove their religion down everyone else’s throat means that they are being persecuted just like Jesus was on the cross. The irony of course is that they are often the ones persecuting everyone else.

I should also add that pretending Christians are being persecuted is a great way for Churches and ministries to raise money from the masses who have not yet learned that chain e-mails and anecdotal Facebook posts from strangers without citations are not reliable sources of information.

The story seemed fishy to me, so I looked it up on Snopes. I have found that Snopes is pretty good about debunking crap like this and sure enough this was crap. Not only is it flat out not true, but because the “story” gained so much attention, the Principal of the school issued an official statement. Here is an interesting part of that statement:

“…the student made it abundantly clear that she had never been forbidden to write about Jesus as her hero. As a matter, of fact, we congratulated the young lady on her courage, and encouraged her to continue through life with such a strong Christian faith.”

Not only did the school not persecute this girl, they “encouraged” her in her “strong Christian faith.” I think that last part steps over the line a little bit. It isn’t the school’s job to encourage someone’s faith. It is the school’s job to teach their students the facts about reality. But it doesn’t end there. The Principal ends the statement this way:

“We are a learning community that practices tolerance, where everyone is welcome, and Jesus Christ is still and will always be OUR HERO.”

For the record, the Principal capitalized “Our hero” not me. In a school like this in which Jesus Christ is the “hero” of the school, the likelihood of a Christian being persecuted is pretty much zero.

Contrary to the Principal’s view, I don’t think it took any courage for this girl to parrot her parents to a crowd where everyone including the administration agreed with her. That’s not courage. Courage would be if she wrote about how an atheist was her hero for helping her break away from religious belief. If she had done that, she really would be persecuted. But agreeing with the majority and the power structure? That isn’t courage and no one is going to get persecuted for doing it.

So here is a story of a girl living in a very Christian area where even the public school principal encourages her strong faith and somehow Christians have turned the story around to say that she was persecuted for her very strong Christian faith. For the record, the girl is eight. How strong can her Christian faith really be? The sad part is that this young girl has been indoctrinated into her Christian faith by her parents and her entire community including her school. The real persecution here is on critical thinking and education.

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  • Paul Loebe

    Indeed. I hate these chain email/facebook posts. I can’t see how people really fall for them.

  • CreeElder

    Well said.

  • CatKirch

    If someone were to conclude, like Aristotle did (400BC), that the existence of the universe proves there must be a Creator, in a public school essay, regardless of who their parents are or where they live would you still say that “The real persecution here is on critical thinking and education.” Your bias clouds your ability to admit that highly educated individuals are also theists and Christians.

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      First, that is a really bad example because Aristotle (as smart and wise as he was for his time) also believed that the Earth was the center of the universe and was ignorant of germ theory, the theory of gravity, and a host of other valuable scientific knowledge that we as a species have learned since his time. So okay, Aristotle believed in a “creator,” so what? BTW, he didn’t believe in YOUR creator. He believed in the Greek Pantheon of gods. Zeus was the king of the gods, not Yahweh.

      With that said, do you think the real persecution here is on Christians if a kid were to say the Pledge of Allegiance and replace “under God” with “under Zeus?”

      That brings me to my final point here. No teacher in America is going to fail a student solely for writing in an essay that they believe there must be a Creator because of the First Cause argument. Now, that also depends on what the assignment is and whether or not the student followed all the directions of that assignment, but assuming that the statement fits with the assignment, no teacher would or should fail that student for that opinion.

      If you think this has actually happened in America, then please provide a valid source of that claim. Usually all those alleged persecutions against Christians in public schools tend to be exaggerations. For example, the assignment might be to write a 300 word essay how America won the Revolution and some kid wrote, “America won the revolution because in 400 BC Aristotle proved that God created the Universe, therefore God was on America’s side.” End of essay.

      That kid would and should fail.