Earlier this week, Doug Bandow penned a piece for The American Spectator that took as its starting off point a recent edition of the Rick Scarborough Report in which Scarborough declared that “the persecution of Christianity in America has begun.” Bandow took issue with Scarborough’s hyperbole, writing a piece about how Christians are being persecuted all over the world, but not in America:
There may even be “growing hostility against religion in America and particularly against Christians,” as Scarborough asserts, at least in the cultural realm. But this hostility does not amount to persecution. After all, America’s outgoing president is an avowed evangelical, the Republican Party’s 2008 vice presidential nominee was an outspoken evangelical, and the new president is a self-identified Christian. The last chose a high-profile evangelical minister to pray at the inaugural. Some Christians may be treated badly, but Christians are not being persecuted … not in America. Cultural and social hostility doesn’t count. Christians still enjoy a privileged existence in America. We should use our advantages here to help believers in other countries who face persecution and sometimes death for their faith. Even if all we can do is pray, we must seek to be our brother’s keeper.
Now, Scarborough has struck back, saying that just because the persecution of Christians in America isn’t as bad as it is elsewhere around the world, doesn’t mean that they aren’t still under attack:
Nowhere have I ever asserted that the persecution of Christians or Christianity in America is equivalent to that in many parts of the world, and I pray that I will never be compelled to say as much, but to summarily dismiss my contention that it has “begun” is to be less than fair with the facts.
Scarborough goes on to recount several of the standard right-wing horror stories they trot out whenever they are playing the victim, before finally rehashing the usual lies about ENDA and hate crimes and threats of worse to come:
Barack Obama has made it clear that a top priority for his new administration is the passage of ENDA and Hate Crimes Legislation including sexual orientation as a special protected class. In fact, while he was holding his hand on the Bible swearing to uphold the Constitution of the United States which guarantees freedom of religious expression, our new “Christian” President’s staff was changing the official White House website to reflect his commitment to pass new laws which if enacted, will limit my free speech as a Pastor and will “ENDA” the rights of Christian business owners from prohibiting “transgendered” people from using the restroom of their choice or choices depending on which sex comes to work in the transgendered’s body that day.
I agree that we are not now experiencing the kind of persecution that many in many parts of the world are experiencing, but ask million of Americans who work for companies who have forced them to attend sensitivity training seminars, if they feel comfortable reading their Bibles during lunch hours or sharing their deeply held Biblical convictions regarding politically incorrect issues, if they think their experiencing persecution. Ask a Christian public school teacher if they feel persecuted during staff meeting when sex education or gay pride events are discussed. Ask the Christian students who are being told every day that what their pastor taught them and their parents believe about creation is a lie, how they feel about persecution in America.
Shame on anyone who would dare to say that the persecution of Christians has not begun in America! And if we refuse to speak out about it now, while we still have the right to speak, we will see the day when we cannot speak out, without experiencing REAL persecution. Mark my word.