February 21, 2014

Conservative Christian persecution fantasies

A couple of postings on conservative Christian persecution fantasies. First, what these Christians do--namely, play the victim card:

Why the Christian right’s persecution fantasies are so dangerous

Religious conservative groups invest an insane amount of energy in the myth that they're an oppressed minority

By Amanda Marcotte
Christian conservatives feel aggrieved and they want to be heard. The problem is that their specific grievance—that everyone else hurts their feelings by not admitting we’re inferior—kind of sounds, well, hard to sympathize with. They need something snappier, a reason to claim that they are being oppressed by “anti-Christian bigotry”. The only problem with that is that in a majority Christian nation, most people are actually pretty accepting and even admiring of Christianity. Even if they disagree with right wing Christianity, they don’t do so because it’s Christian but because it’s conservative. Being a Christian is a privileged position in American society; that makes it really hard to claim you’re being oppressed.

Inevitably, then, the temptation to fudge starts to seep in, to exaggerate slights or invent paranoid conspiracy theories about how not getting enough praise and accolades for being Christian is an attempt to shove them out. But when that doesn’t work, well, sometimes it helps to deliberately provoke a situation where someone pretty much has to confront you, so that you can lie and say it’s because you’re a Christian. Indeed, it’s starting to become a pattern that goes something like this:

1) Enter into a community that is, by its nature, inclusive of people of various faiths and beliefs.

2) Break some common rule everyone is expected to follow.

3) Get corrected or punished for breaking the rule.

4) Squeal about how it’s because you’re a Christian and they’re bigots and oppressors.

5) By the time the truth gets out, your story will be an urban legend spread far and wide, and your fellow conservative Christians will never really know the facts.
And:Time and time again, Christian right stories of oppression turn out to be bunk. A kid who was disciplined for fighting is turned, in the Christian myth machine, into a kid who was punished for quietly praying to himself. A track athlete is disqualified for disrespecting a teacher, but the Christian media says it was because he thanked God. A Southern Baptist website is blocked for accidentally distributing malware, but in the hands of the conservative press, it’s oppression. They need to be victimized. No one can really bother to do it for them. So they have no choice but to do it for themselves.Second, why they do it:

A Common Thread Among Young-Earth Creationists, Gun Enthusiasts, Marriage Exclusivists, and the 1%

By GrafZeppelin127That's been the recurring motif on issue after issue, in speech after speech, in Fox News segment after Fox News segment, ever since. We are the Good People who have done everything right and believe in all the right things, They are the Bad People who wrongly benefit at our expense and don't deserve our help. Not only that, but We are not getting the respect and admiration we deserve [from the Bad People] for being the Good People, indeed We are Being Attacked for it [by the Bad People]. They "hate" Us, when They should admire Us.

I couldn't help but notice a connection.

What these young-earth creationist folks were basically saying is that they feel insulted by the idea that Man is not as unique and special as the Book of Genesis would have us believe. Quoting Darwin, "Man ... thinks himself a great work, worthy of the interposition of a deity." There was even some talk in the documentary about pride; paraphrasing, Man should be proud of being Man, of being God's most highly favored earthly creation. That's the self-congratulation part. The resentment comes from being told that perhaps that feeling might not be entirely justified.

Pride is supposed to be one of the Seven Deadly Sins, after all. But, quoting Darwin again, "Man may be excused for feeling some pride at having risen--though not through his own exertions--to the very summit of the organic scale." Yet somehow, in some people, that pride has grown into a sort of grotesque and exaggerated sense of self-admiration. There are those who admire themselves so much that even an idea that might undermine the basis of that self-admiration becomes profoundly threatening.
Comment:  As I've said many times, these debates are all about maintaining white Euro-Christian power and privilege. The methods include creating a perpetual "war on terrorism," deregulating Wall Street, pushing mining and drilling projects, cutting taxes on the wealthy, slashing the safety net, blocking bills and nominations, demonizing the black president, opposing healthcare reform, curtailing voting rights, denying global warming, and on and on. If conservative Christians have done anything that doesn't benefit the rich white captains of industry first and foremost, I must've missed it.

For more on conservative Christian hypocrisy, see Conservatives Dream of White Christmas and Christian Conservatives Play Victim Card.

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