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Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Religious Persecution

I came across a Facebook post this week from my brother-in-law about a group of gunmen in Kenya who killed 68 people in a mall. What bothers me, and what bothered the original poster, was the fact that these gunmen lined people up, asked them if they were Muslim, and then executed them if they were unable to recite lines from the Qu’ran. It’s a truly sickening story, and even more disturbing to know that the gunmen were my age and that three were Americans.

Of course, this post didn’t stop there. That would make for a terrible story. No, this post went the extra mile and used this tragedy to once again claim that we should not be tolerant of Muslims and the Islamic religion because of these extremists’ actions.

Finding myself aligned with Muslims once more, I naively stepped into the debate to challenge my brother-in-law. He then retreated into the classic and overused debate card: “You can’t say I’m wrong because this is my opinion and you have to respect it.” He then went on to discuss how Christians are the only group in America being persecuted and silenced for their beliefs, and that America is becoming an atheist state under Muslim president Barack Obama.

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Religous persecution meme.

Five hours later, I’m still scratching my head. I don’t even know where to begin to take down this giant mound of male cattle fecal matter while simultaneously resisting the urge to punch a hole in my expensive Macbook.

We can’t have nice things like coexistence because the people in control hate to see power shared with people who disagree with their views. I find it baffling to think that a group which has had political preference since the founding of this nation could possibly be persecuted. I reject and resent the idea that leveling the playing field for everyone can be considered as persecution against Christians. I resent the idea that one should be allowed to use their religious views to justify legislation that keeps other groups down. Doesn’t it defeat the purpose of being tolerant if we also have to tolerate of the intolerance of others? The brilliant writers at The Daily Show put together this segment to highlight just how much of a temper tantrum many evangelical Christians are stooping to in response to the push for gay rights.

That’s enough of my usual passive-aggressive tone. I’ve held back for 390 words now, and I need to break out of character for a moment and persecute the people who feel they ought to have the right to hate whomever they want. In this day and age, you don’t get to use religion to demonize any group of people-be they Muslims, gays, Jews, atheists, women, or even other Christians that don’t fall into your particular denomination. The moment you pick up your Bible to judge another human being is the moment you should wise up and keep your mouth shut. Practice your religion however you want, as long as you don’t physically or emotionally harm another human being. Aren’t those the values the founding fathers built this country upon?

Voltaire was a much nicer person than I am. He was the one who famously proclaimed that “I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” If you ask me, I think that you have the right to say whatever you want-but I have just as much of a right to tell you why you’re wrong. The First Amendment is a two-way street. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of reason.

I was raised Catholic. In my younger years I was always raised to believe that we should never judge someone for anything other than their character. Religion taught me that. To me, this will always be the biggest of the “Christian values” which I could practice for the rest of my life. Now when you hear the term “Christian values,” you only ever hear it used to defend the bullying of gays.

Why do we let ignorant people speak louder than reasonable people? Christians as a whole are not bad people, and they should never be generalized-just like any other group. If we can put these people in their place every time they begin to speak intolerance and instead let the reasonable people have the louder voice, then maybe, just maybe, we can have nice things.