Monday, December 8, 2008

Rightwing Roundup: War on Christmas/Christians Edition

1. Persecuted Christians

Perhaps by now, you've seen the "Prop 8 Musical" featuring Jack Black:

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

The gist of this video, if you aren't able to watch it right now, is that there are many biblical rules that we no longer follow so it's strange that so many Christians cherry-pick biblical passages to justify the condemnation of homosexuality.

With hyperbolic predictability, the professional Christian set is declaring this video to be a gross violation of their human rights. The ChristianNewWire, for instance, claims that the musical "defames Christ, mocks Christians and distorts the teaching of the Bible." Gary Cass, of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, says "Jack Black should remember from his days at Hebrew School that homosexual acts aren't funny and are roundly condemned in the Bible."

First off, I think Mr. Cass missed the point. Nowhere did the musical say or imply that "homosexual acts" are funny. What this video does is use humor to observe how the Bible states many rules, such as those who use the services of fortune tellers shall be stoned to death for instance, that are absurd and obviously a product of the culture and times in which the Bible was written. Many people today view condemnations of "homosexual acts" as just as archaic as many other Biblical laws and view Christians who use the Bible to condemn everything gay as doing nothing more than using alleged moral "truth" to justify their own bigotry.

What is far from funny is that people have used, and continue to use, Biblical condemnations of homosexuality to persecute and oppress gay men and lesbians.

For instance, in the YouTube comment section following the Prop 8 musical, some Christians have expressed similar sentiments with respect to the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality. For instance, "doubleslottedflaps" voices his frustration at the musical's Biblical errors in his own special way:

"eat shit and burn in hell you faggot ass jack black i hope you get aids you cocksuckin piece of shit fag,you dont know shit about the bible you devilish faggot ass blasphomous jackass black,the people voted and thats that ,else we should sue to have barak (insane)obama the fuckin house nigger or is it nigga replaced with hillary,faggots are haters,they HATE the opposite sex and are very violent when they dont get there way,hurray for the passage of prop 8,go mormons (morons ?) go,yes on prop 8"
(emphasis added)

And that's the problem with the Christian Persecution Complex. In our eyes, we are criticizing those who use the Bible to justify their bigotry because it often leads to violence and hatred against the LGBT community. In the eyes of some Christians, however, such criticism is unwarranted "mocking."

You know, last week I wrote about the National Organization for Marriage's defamatory "Above the Hate" campaign. I would take that campaign more seriously if it expressed an iota of concern about the hate that so many of their allies express with respect to gay people in the name of the Bible. Sorry, but when it comes to "persecuted" Christians, I can't help but to be reminded of a young boy who calls people names and then runs and hides behind his mother's skirt claiming that people are being "mean" to him when he's criticized for being a bully.

2. Who's the Fascist Now?

In the weeks leading up to the 2008 election, "marriage defenders" complained that some of their Yes on 8 signs were being stolen. Well, now it appears that someone- a "persecuted" Christian perhaps- has stolen an atheist "Winter Solstice" sign that was erected next to a nativity scene outside of a state building in Washington. (It was later reported that the sign was eventually found in a ditch).

Some Christians believe that the sign is all part of the War on Christmas (tm) and that it doesn't belong next to a nativity scene. (For some background, the atheist sign touted the much older yet less-well-widely-observed Winter Solstice). A similar campaign was instituted in Washington DC, much to the chagrin of conservative Christians. CNN reports:

"In Washington, D.C., the American Humanist Association began a bus ad campaign this month questioning belief in God.

'Why believe in a God?' the advertisement asks. 'Just be good for goodness sake.'"

Of this campaign Roberta Combs of the Christian Coalition responded "We will ask our millions of supporters to call the city of Washington, D.C., and Congress to stop this un-Godly campaign."

See, that's the thing about these "persecuted" Christians. It's their world and the rest of us are just living in it. Obviously, there is an inherent tension between atheism and Christianity in that each adherents of each claim the other viewpoint to be false. Yet, the great thing about our nation is that people have the right to express competing viewpoints in the public sphere. For the Christian Coalition to want to restrict the free speech of an organization that has a different viewpoint than its own is, well, fascist.

Contrary to what some believe, that Christians observe Christmas does not give them a monopoly on the winter holiday season. Nor does it constitute a "war" on Christmas for other people to observe their own holidays.

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