by Noah Lugeons
I go to church once every two years. That’s a painful admission to make, so don’t go telling anyone.
We swap out years, visiting my wife’s family one Christmas and my family the next. On my wife’s family’s years I’m spared the ordeal, but when I visit my family it’s either spend the whole week arguing about invisible space zombies or just go to fucking church. My dad will be in the play, my cousin will play in the band, my nephews will be forced to embarrass themselves in little blue suits while they stumble through some idiotic praise to Santa Christ.
It’s one of those “95% pseudo-tainment, 5% sermon” kind of churches so it’s not as bad as it could be. The morning’s service lasts about 81 hours, but only about 4 hours of it pisses me off to the point where I feel I should be allowed a rebuttal. I sit there and suffer quietly, leafing through the bible and sketching little flip books where Jesus fights ninjas (it’s their bible, so I always let Jesus win).
I never close my eyes when they ask me to pray. This isn’t some little silent protest. It’s not like I’m crossing my fingers as I say amen or anything, but I can’t imagine closing my eyes for an extended period during a church service and trusting myself to wake back up later.
Afterwards, I rode back to my parent’s house with my dad and my wife and half-listened to my dad’s plea that I give up on the whole rational thinking thing and get involved with a church. I managed the obligatory shrugs and non-committal noises, but I spent the ride pondering the echoing voice of my dad’s pastor.
The parting message from the sermon was stuck in my craw. After three hours of the least spiritual inanity one could possibly schedule under the pretense of a church service, we’re treated to a 20 minute lecture about how Christians need to stand up to the secular world. It was a tirade about how religious people shouldn’t let the government encroach upon their rights. The pastor manages to get there after starting off with a waitress wearing a button that says “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” or “Fuck the Jews”.
As my dear old dad rambled on about how “not that bad” the service was, I found myself reflecting on that peculiar notion that Christians have in which oppression equals having the same rights as everyone else. I wonder sometimes if part of the initiation to be a Christian is being able to pretend you’re being oppressed with a straight face. The group that counts amongst its ranks every president ever elected, the vast majority of every elected body in this country and the heads of the majority of influential businesses in the country says it’s being oppressed and people cover it on the news without then laughing until they cry.
So what is this “Christian oppression” of which they speak? I’ll start where the preacher man started.
Christians are being oppressed when businesses ask their employees to say “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas”. This basic attempt to recognize that an enormous number of people in this country don’t celebrate the same religious holidays as them is seen as a slight against their basic rights. They have the right to impose their beliefs on you.
Christians are being oppressed when their religious beliefs aren’t plastered all over public property. The 10 Commandments should go on every courthouse wall (all 4 in each room) and they can say that without the slightest hint of irony. They can also explain why the tenets of Sharia Law should not be equally displayed. It’s not enough that they have their goddamned holy book profaning the court proceedings to begin with, they also reserve the right to impose their prehistoric top ten list of ethics on everyone else.
Christians are being oppressed when they aren’t permitted to lead classrooms in prayer. It’s not enough that no municipality in the country bans praying, they also have the right to force you or your children to sit through it as well. They have the right to impose their mythological praise on the world.
Christians are also being oppressed if any other group should be given any right like the ones they demand for themselves. If you want to put atheist messages in places that are actually reserved for private displays, you are violating their rights. They have the right to impose silence on every competing viewpoint.
Everything short of total Christian hegemony and immunity from all the laws that other groups have to follow is a violation of their Christian rights.
I have a solution to this, but I fear it might be extreme. Perhaps we should hold a lottery and randomly feed a few of these spittle spewing pastors to lions. We could stick the videos up on You-Tube and stick in a tagline like “Christians be warned”. I’ll admit that it might be overkill, but it seems like the easiest way to remind them what the word “oppression” means.