The Difference between Persecution and Being Corrected

Help Help I'm Being Repressed

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said:

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.” – Porte, Joel (ed.), Emerson in His Journals (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982), 206 (entry for Nov. 8, 1838).

I’ve said in the past (here and here and here) that “there is a difference between persecution and the loss of privileged status”.

Emerson’s quote echoes the same sentiment, and it applies to everything from conservative Evangelicals bemoaning the enforcement of the separation of church and state, to Muslim fundamentalists bemoaning new secular democracies, to pseudoarchaeologists whining when it is pointed out to them that their claims are completely bogus and factually unfounded.

Put simply:

There is a difference between persecution and the loss of privileged status.
There is a difference between persecution and being corrected of an error.
There is a difference between persecution and being wrong.

Christian "oppression"

U.S. religious breakdown

Demonstrating that a claim is false and suggesting an ulterior motive for the debunked claim is not a “personal attack”. It is the scientific method.

Just because you didn’t get what you want doesn’t mean that you are “persecuted”. It means you can’t have everything.

Just because facts and evidence demonstrated your claim to be untrue doesn’t mean that you are “persecuted”. It just means you were wrong.

Just because you got outvoted by a majority in a democratic election does not mean you are “persecuted”. It means you got outvoted.

Just because you can no longer rely on a previously enjoyed advantage does not mean that you are “persecuted”. It simply means that existing laws are now being enforced and you can no longer pretend they don’t apply to you because you are part of a previously privileged group.

The above situations are not examples of “persecution”. They are simply examples of people who used to get their way, who no longer get their way. Claiming “persecution” in these situations is merely an attempt to invoke victim status against those who previously were victimized.

While persecution (especially religious and ethnic persecution) is very real (like this and this and this and this), most in the American majority have never experienced real persecution. Childhood playground teasing aside, at most they’ve likely only experienced the loss of a previously held advantage.

But that doesn’t mean that the formerly privileged won’t pretend to be victims when they stop getting their way.

"Religious Freedom"

Mitt Romney Loses His Cool Discussing His Mormon Apocalyptic Worldview in Iowa…in 2007!

A video is trending and recirculating this week that shows Republican Mitt Romney sparring with WHO NewsRadio 1040 talk show host Jan Mikelson about Gov. Romney’s Mormon faith’s view on abortion…in 2007!

The conversation briefly takes a detour into Romney’s apocalyptic worldview (as articulated by his Mormon faith), during which he clearly articulates that the second coming of Jesus will come on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, a process that will split the Mount of Olives to such an extent that Jesus will reign during a coming millennium from the two resulting venerable holy sites of Jerusalem and Missouri.

The video is here:

In the above video, Gov. Romney appears to lose his cool when discussing his stance on abortion with Mikelson after the on-air interview is over.

One newsworthy item that is being omitted by many reposting the video is that while the video is genuine, it records an off-air discussion that took place in 2007!

So this is not new. Still, it reveals the underlying apprehension many Evangelical Christians feel about voting for someone that who shares a belief in the existence of God (and a political ideology), but with whom they disagree on the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith, like the second coming of Jesus, the creation of the universe, the role of Missouri in a post-apocalyptic state, etc.

Mikelson asks the (by now well worn) question of why Gov. Romney appeared to be for a women’s right to choose an abortion while the governor of the heavily Democratic state of Massachusetts, and then opposed to it when running for president as a Republican.

Gov. Romney attempts to argue that while he (and his church) are fundamentally opposed to abortion, that there are some Mormon Democrats in Nevada and Utah (like Nevada Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid), who are part of a party that allows others to make personal decisions about abortion, but who may be personally opposed to the practice. However, Romney reasserts that the Mormon faith does not allow a Mormon, to “participate it, encourage, or in any way support abortion.” So, Romney claims that while those other Mormon politicians may align themselves with the Democrats, they are staunchly pro-life and anti-abortion (a position on which Harry Reid has been quite consistent).

This is the point at which the conversation sidetracks into a discussion of the Mormon view of the second coming of Christ. Romney begins by repeating the refrain, “I know my faith better than you do. You don’t understand my faith like I do.”

Romney then goes on to correct Mikelson about how:

“Throughout the Bible, Christ appears in Jerusalem, splits the Mount of Olives, to stop the war that’s coming in to kill all the Jews – our church believes that – that’s when the coming in glory of Christ occurs. We also believe that over the thousand years that follows, the millennium, he will reign from two places – that the law will come forth from one place, from Missouri, and the other will be in Jerusalem.”

Romney then abruptly brings the discussion back to the issue of abortion, articulates his position by stating that while he is personally opposed to abortion, he offered others the choice to decide for themselves (rather than call for an outright ban on abortion) while he was running for Governor of Massachusetts. He then changed his position when it actually came down to signing legislation permitting abortion.

To be fair to Mitt Romney, this was an off-air conversation, after the interview was over, that was recorded on the in-studio camera, and then released to YouTube (a standard procedure with guest interviews. For instance, here is the YouTube video of me when I appeared on KMJ 580’s Ray Appleton Show in Fresno back in 2010.) Romney’s camp stated that they did not know that Romney’s in-studio, post-interview conversation would be recorded (a fact that I haven’t decided helps or hurts the candidate’s perception as one who will say whatever an audience wants to hear in order to get elected).

To see the interview in context (and to see why Romney thought this wasn’t being recorded), view The Week‘s article here.

To see the entire 2007 interview in context, watch below:

So, while the question still remains whether a person behaves differently on camera versus off camera (I’d guess that we all do to some extent), Mikelson does expose (albeit it 5 years ago) the lingering rift between Evangelicals and Mormons when it comes to specific issues of faith.

The video ends with Gov. Romney walking out of the studio.

Keep in mind that he is being interviewed by very conservative WHO Iowa radio talk host, Jan Mikelson, who sparked outrage of his own when he appeared to agree with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s stance on gays.

So this is conservative vs. conservative, which if we look back to the Republican primaries, is precisely where the questions about Romney all began: conservatives questioning whether Romney was conservative enough to represent the Republican party.

why fundamentalist evangelical republican politicians scare me (and should scare you too)

Georgia Congressman Paul Broun

Georgia Congressman Paul Broun, standing in front of a wall of mounted animal heads, tells the Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman’s Banquet that he does not believe in “evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory”, which he defines as “lies straight from the pit of Hell”. Broun is a Republican representative on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

This is the US Congressman from Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, Dr. Paul Broun. He is a member of the Republican Party and the Tea Party Caucus.

He recently gave a speech to the “Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman’s Banquet” (yes, THAT exists, I kid you not) on September 27, 2012, in Hartwell, Georgia. (This explains the WALL OF MOUNTED ANIMAL HEADS that serves as a backdrop for the Congressman.)

Watch a clip of the speech:

Here is the transcript of what he said:

God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.

And what I’ve come to learn is that it’s the manufacturer’s handbook, is what I call it. It teaches us how to run our lives individually, how to run our families, how to run our churches. But it teaches us how to run all of public policy and everything in society. And that’s the reason as your congressman I hold the Holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and I’ll continue to do that.

Now, I’ve come to accept that there are some people on this earth that will NEVER accept science, no matter how logical, rational, or intellectually compelling it is because they are not interested in facts; they are interested in maintaining the beliefs and worldview compiled thousands of years ago by desert nomads. But this is not the problem.

Every American has every right to be religious. And every American has every right to make religious speech (just not in places where others are compelled to listen to it or participate in it, like public schools). And every American has the right, if they so choose, to deny reality. You can argue that aliens created human technology, Santa Claus, whatever – you have that right.

Every American, if they so choose, can choose to deny basic science, facts, and data. That too is OK…foolish, but within one’s constitutional rights. Likewise, every American has the right to elect as their representative someone reflects their skewed, ancient, and defunct worldview – a representative who also denies facts and information that science provides. Therefore, even though such behavior is utterly foolish IMHO, Americans have the right to believe what they want, deny reality if they want, and elect someone as their representative who reflects the denial of science, facts, and reality. It’s foolish, but they have these rights as Americans. This too is not the problem.

The real problem, and what frustrates me to no end, is that the Republican Party would place someone like Paul Broun, who obviously has a disdain for science and the factual reality of the world around us, to THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, SPACE, AND TECHNOLOGY! Forget the fact that he’s been married four times. Forget the fact that he’s a Conservative Evangelical. These aren’t the problem. The problem is that, based upon his fundamentalist religious convictions, he DENIES the fundamental tenets of science. Yet, despite this, the Republicans named him the CHAIR of the SCIENCE SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS AND OVERSIGHT!

The Republicans bring this upon themselves.

While I’m sure the Medical College of Georgia is embarrassed to have Dr. Broun represent them as an alum who rejects the “lies” of basic medical disciplines like “embryology” and other tenets of basic science, they can’t help what he chooses to believe and deny today. But the Republicans can! The Republicans do themselves a major disservice when they promulgate the perception – one rightly deserved – that they are anti-science, and that they are anti-science precisely because they are conservative Evangelicals.

Do you see the problem? The Republicans don’t have to promote a scientifically ignorant congressman to the Committee on Science. Yet, they do. Thus, the Republicans completely deserve to continue to be chided as the party of anti-intellectualism and anti-science, because they continue to elevate people who see no possible compatibility between their faith and the reality of the worldview that basic science has provided. For fundamentalist Evangelical Republicans, faith and science are an either-or choice. And they choose faith. And that’s OK. But that the GOP elevates them and puts them in places of authority over budgets and curriculum for science and technology, this is the problem.

I shake my head.

so, rick santorum, what you’re saying is “be conservative: don’t go to college”

Don't wanna be conservative anymore so I went to college

Rick Santorum’s real beliefs on education are finally frothing up and boiling over. Unfortunately, he’s saying them aloud in public.

Kyle Munzenrieder wrote a brilliant response for the Miami New Times to Santorum’s most recent comments, as did The Hill‘s Daniel Strauss. Allow me to offer my own.

Rick Santorum finally said aloud what many fundamentalist Christians have felt for a long time: “be conservative: don’t go to college. And if you do go to college, make sure it’s a Republican party-approved private conservative Christian college. (I’m looking at you Liberty University, Bob Jones, Oral Roberts, Regent University, BYU, and Pepperdine.)

Listen to what Santorum told a Florida audience:

“It’s no wonder President Obama wants every kid to go college..the indoctrination that occurs in American universities is one of the keys to the left holding and maintaining power in America. And it is indoctrination.”

Evangelicals would prefer that students either attend schools with the words “evangelical,” “theological,” and “seminary” in the title (preferably all three) or not at all. Because according to Santorum’s and other evangelicals’ line of thought, when the nation’s top colleges and state universities educate students, it’s liberal indoctrination. But, when private conservative evangelical schools educate students, it’s not indoctrination; it’s a simple dissemination of facts (and by facts, I mean faith claims that are often contrary to scientific facts).

It’s almost comical: Evangelicals don’t want kids to go to America’s top colleges because they might actually learn something besides a fundamentalist, conservative, literalist, theologically-laced worldview, which often leads to a biblically defended suppression of the civil rights of groups that don’t look and/or think like they do. So, from a very early age, they encourage like-minded people to isolate and insulate their kids from any point of view other than their own by placing kids in home schools, private (approved conservative) Christian schools, conservative Christian colleges, and if they do attend graduate school, they often receive some fantastic degree in education, physics, and applied scripture from Southern Evangelical Theological Seminary (I made this title up. If it does exist, my point has only been further underscored.)

So just to clarify:

Public school: Liberal indoctrination
Home school: NOT indoctrination

Public High School: Liberal indoctrination
Christian High School: NOT indoctrination

Public or Ivy League university: Liberal indoctrination
Christian College: NOT indoctrination

R1 Research Graduate School: Liberal indoctrination
Evangelical Theological Seminary: NOT indoctrination

I shake my head.

HT: Jim West

texas only wants christians in the state legislature? really?

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. (AP Photo)

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. (AP Photo)

The conservative Christian right is getting desperate, and in Texas, their white hoods are peeking out from beneath their Sunday best.

According to a Fox News article by Judson Berger, there is a call from conservative Christian leaders to replace Jewish Republican Speaker of the Texas House, Strauss, with a conservative Christian:

“…several of Straus’ critics have noted how important it is that a Christian be named to take his place. These discussions have been made public by a series of media reports, drawing condemnation from some corners and making others in the GOP more than a bit uncomfortable.

In one e-mail conversation between two members of the State Republican Executive Committee, official John Cook stressed the need for a Christian to lead other Christians in the legislature.

“We elected a house with Christian, conservative values. We now want a true Christian, conservative running it,” Cook said in the Nov. 30 e-mail.”

Really? There is a Christian litmus test in order to hold elected office in this country? It’s not enough to be a conservative Republican, you have to be a Christian as well to be Speaker?

The article continues:

“At least one conservative activist has directly referenced Straus’ religion. Peter Morrison, who publishes a newsletter, wrote in a recent dispatch that Straus’ rabbi sits on the board of San Antonio Planned Parenthood. Morrison wrote that Straus lacks the necessary “moral compass” to hold his office and called his competitors “Christians and true conservatives.”

Asked about the column, Morrison said in an e-mail that he was “simply making factual statements” about Chisum and Paxton.”

This is yet another black eye for conservative Christians in Texas, who apparently advocate against Jewish Texas House candidates for Speaker in favor of conservative Christians. I wonder if they’d let Jesus serve as Texas House Speaker? Or is he too Jewish?

how the tea party cost the republicans the senate

Here’s how the Tea Party hurt the Republican party in the US Senate. The Tea Party candidates won in both Florida and Alaska, but they unseated moderate Republicans (Crist in Florida and Murkowski in Alaska), who would have won anyway.

However, the Tea Party cost the Republicans in Delaware (O’Donnell) and in Nevada (Angle), where any other moderate Republicans, caucusing with the Republicans, would have easily won. Two seats in a 49-51 Senate is control of the Senate.

The Tea Party helped the Republicans win local, district elections and take the House, but cost the Republicans in some larger, statewide races in the Senate, including two key victories in Delaware and Nevada, and perhaps ultimately control of the Senate.

(I write this with Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, and Colorado still undecided.)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,121 other followers

%d bloggers like this: