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Atheist Perspective: Religious Persecution

“At the bottom of religious persecution is the doctrine of self-defence; that is to say the defence of the soul.”
-Robert Ingersoll, February 5 1892

Ingersoll was speaking of the motivation of those who persecute the members of one religious by another religion. In this respect he was talking about the laws and punishments inflicted on one Christian by another Christian of a different stripe. The self defense he speaks of is that of the follower who believes their soul is at risk because another person has the nerve to display their sincerely held belief. Because person A is not constantly reminded that theirs is the true belief, they feel the need to make sure that only their faith is the one that anyone sees.

Today, in the US, it’s different, but not by much. Today, instead of trying to persecute they instead claim that they are the victims of persecution. The cry of “liberty” is never so loud or shrill as it is when it flies from the mouth of a person who is not losing it. Their privilege is what is being lost and this is conflated with liberty. Religious liberty is the freedom to practice a religion, it is not the freedom to make sure that everyone else has to act underneath someone else’s moral guidelines.

No one is trying to remove the Nativity Scenes from churches they just should not be sponsored by the government. Any claim that this persecution is hyperbolic and false. Ask them to point to where they need to make these displays, what doctrine is being violated and they will be unable to answer the question. Ask where the persecution, the actual war on their religion is happening, and again they will be unable to answer since it does not happen. What is happening is their ability to look everywhere and be reassured that no foreign thouhts or doubts will occur to them.

What they actually desire is total domination of the thoughts of every person who thinks differently than they do. They need to know that an antiquated set of rules, that they themselves barely follow are allowed to be put in a courtroom where only two of those rules can actually be enforced (maybe three if you count he false witness thing). They need to make sure that a holiday season worships Jesus along with its actual divinity: consumerism. It is all sound and fury signifying nothing. They can cry all they want but too many of them will rush for deals on televisions and the like while at the same time complaining that no one remembers what the holiday is about.

Despite this hypocrisy, no one is trying to deny them anything. Their right to practice has never been under threat by non-believers. The only thing that ought to be taken away is their ability to remind everyone else what the true religion is.

What harm does it do if the baby Jesus is a few blocks down the street in front of a church rather than in front of city hall.? Is it the knowledge that not everyone believes dangerous to their faith? Is their grasp on their god so tenuous that not seeing the decalogue on a court wall will cast them into hell? Or is it their desire to be persecuted, to be a martyr that they drum up false controversies?

The idea of a world where everyone believes the same thing is an unrealistic goal. Claiming that this is persecution trivializes places in the world where real persecution is actually happening.

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