Ok, let’s be honest; they have several problems. Their desire to cram their religion down everyone’s throats, their constant efforts at blocking gay marriage, their high levels of hypocrisy, their constant ignoring of Jesus’ teachings about the poor, etc. But I’m going to talk about one in particular, and that’s their constant, endless whining about how oppressed they are. How, despite their religion being, by far, the mostly widely-practiced in the country, and despite how powerful they tend to be, they’re somehow still under non-stop threat from someone, somewhere, somehow.
The most recent bits of this that comes to mind are the various attempts at passing laws allowing people to discriminate against gays by saying their religion says they should. This is done under the guise of protecting Christianity from a threat that doesn’t really exist. The fascinating thing is that while Christianity isn’t even remotely under threat here in the United States, there are large parts of the world where it very much is.
Take for example Malaysia. The courts there have just ruled that the Arabic word “Allah” is reserved only for the use of Muslims. Now the word, translated into English, simply means “god”. An English-speaking Muslim might say “Allah”, but they could, and sometimes do, say “God”. But in Malaysia, only Muslims may now use the word “Allah” when referring to their god.
Now it’s worth noting that the God of Islam is the same one as the Jewish God and the Christian God. Islam venerates Moses, Abraham, Jesus and Mary. But apart from any theological ignorance that this ruling displays, it’s also very much an example of actual, real persecution against Christians. And yet, what do you want to bet that if I turned on CNN, and they actually covered this story for more than 30 seconds before breaking away to talk about their documentary series on the 1960s, they wouldn’t have a single right-wing Christian American politician on to condemn Malaysia for their actions?
That isn’t even going into the horrible levels of persecution against Christians in places like China and North Korea, or those against Christians in our greatest ally ever, ever, Saudi Arabia. There, we find two cities that non-Muslims can’t even enter, and Christians are severely limited in how they can practice their faith. Converting from Islam to Christianity, in that country, which I remind you, is an American ally, is punishable by death. I don’t recall hearing any of the right-wing Christian conservative commentators bitching about this lately.
Of course, actual oppression abroad isn’t as “sexy” as fake oppression here at home. Fighting against actual oppression won’t get you votes, for one thing. It also requires actual hard, difficult effort to fix, with sacrifices along the way (ie: if we started really putting the pressure on Saudi Arabia, one imagines problems with the oil supply). Fighting against fake oppression is way easier, because even if you lose, you win. All you have to do is win by saying, “Well, that’s our modern secular society for you! Give us money so we can continue the fight!”
Ultimately the problem with conservative American Christians, is that they care solely about restoring this country to what they view as a bucolic, 1950s-style nation. They won’t, they never can, and the nation they want us to become never existed. But they’ll continue the fight, because if there’s one thing religion is good at, it’s flying in the face of reality.