About That Persecution of Christians and White Folks….

Those Christians who are so certain they are being persecuted remind me of teenage girls who are endlessly worried about what other people think of them, and just POSITIVE that everyone is talking about them behind their backs. (The truth, in both cases, is considerably less exciting: most of the time, no one is thinking about them one way or the other, since most people have lives–or at least more interesting topics for discussion.)

I’ve been fascinated for several years by Christians’ assertions of victimization (evidently any erosion of absolute hegemony is destabilizing), and I am completely bemused by an emerging companion phenomenon —the war on white people.

The most recent example is here. I knew Dee Dee Benke “back in the day” and remember her as an enthusiastic Republican, but not a hateful one. If she actually tweeted that she was in the sun trying to “brown up” in order to get “free health care, food, pad, fiestas” either she’s changed or I didn’t really know her.

Then there’s Congressman Mo Brooks, who recently accused Democrats of waging war on white America. (I think that’s called projection…). He’s evidently not the only one. If you really want to get depressed, google “war on white people.” There are some terrifying nut cases out there, and they have internet access.

Maybe all the whining, self-pity and faux victimization is intended to distract the rest of us–to keep us from noticing the racism, sexism and overwhelming fear of modernity that has replaced reason, cognition and elementary humanity in the conservative movement.

Psst..guys…It’s not working. We can still see you.


  1. The white, predminately male, sexist, homophobic, pseudo Christians ruling this country, and their followers, may or may not be aware of the fact that they are waging a cold war on the rest of us. “WE” may or may not be aware that we are in the majority; so how did “they” take control? And, yes Sheila, we do see them and the sad fact is – they are distracting masses of people. But will we call them on their ignorant, divisive tactics and spread the truth louder and further than they spread their gossip?

    For many years I have wondered about the overt racism by whites against all dark-skinned people with no basis in fact. A majority of these white people spend milion on skin care products and vacation in places to sit in the sun and turn themselves dark-skinned. In the words of the King of Siam, “Is a puzzlement!”

  2. Ah yes. The self-fulfilling prophecy in action again. Assert that everyone hates you and then act and say stuff that makes everyone hate you. Sure enough, it happens.

  3. And, incidentally, the guy who is convinced that you are dangerous is a dangerous person. He is more likely to be prepared to “defend” himself from you, so either run, hide or be prepared to defend yourself.

  4. “The white, predominately male, sexist, homophobic, pseudo Christians ruling this country, and their followers, may or may not be aware of the fact that they are waging a cold war on the rest of us.”

    JoAnn, this is siege mentality at work — exactly the kind of the thing Sheila was criticizing in her post. Plus, the party in the White House since 2008 barely fits your categories.

    “The self-fulfilling prophecy in action again. Assert that everyone hates you and then act and say stuff that makes everyone hate you.”

    Stuart, liberals do the same thing. I’m a centrist who tries to steer to the left whenever I can. But honestly, I see liberals doing PLENTY of finger-pointing, and they constantly imagine they’re under a barrage of attacks.

    Not taking sides on this one. Just pointing out the discrepancies. I definitely see the behavior Sheila is pointing out. I just think it’s coming from all over, not just from the loony-tune far-right-wing variety of Christian (which, as a Christian, I would like to distance myself from.)

  5. “Psst..guys…It’s not working. We can still see you.”

    Thought this was funny.

    The perpetrators of this fraud are not working on us but the alleged victims. Nothing is more cohesive than a common enemy, real or imagined. And hate is a powerful motivator.

    If I were smarter and better educated and in charge of research hungry minions working on PhDs, I would try to interest one in researching the correlation between Fox News watching and anger hormones. Bet there is some. Anecdotal evidence certainly suggests one. Everybody I know who’s addicted to Fox News is angry and feeling victimized. They say because Fox is the only source of such news. I say that their anger is a product, a brand, that is distributed through Fox News for the sole purpose of creating the culture most useful to those with a minority of votes and a majority of agenda.

    Just saying’.

  6. If we weren’t still stinging from WWII, watching these people turn into Good Germans might be amusing. But we’ve just seen how fast a modern industrial nation can be taken over by thugs and turned into a military genocide machine, and it ain’t funny. Somehow these mostly-decent Christians have got to get free of the FOX Noise Bubble and realize they are being led away to slaughter by some very cynical people, or we are going to see them dressed up in little military uniforms, drilling and pretending the president is a dictator -oh wait, that already happened.

  7. “More wars have been waged, more people killed, and more evil perpetrated in the name of religion than by any other institutional force in human history. The sad truth continues in our present day.”

  8. @daleb: Name me 10 religious wars.

    You also might want to check the body-count on all wars and ideologies. Especially since the Enlightenment.

  9. Stephen. All wars are fought in the name of god or something like god; that’s how the leaders divide us into allies and enemies.

  10. Daleb, the idea that “more wars have been waged, more people killed and more evil perpetrated in the name of religion” is a popular thing to say, but in fact, not true. Think for a second about Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse Tung and Cambodia. Not of them were religious by any stretch of the imagination but in the arena of human suffering and death, any one of them has the whole history of religious wars beat. Stalin alone was responsible for 12 to 20 million deaths.

    Religious extremism is responsible for a lot of human suffering and death, but make sure to give credit where it’s due, not just on the negative column, but in the positive one. Lots of people are dying and have died sacrificing themselves for good and fine causes, and many are religious folks. India, for example, holds up two heroes responsible for it’s freedom: Ghandi and an American Christian missionary.

  11. Stuart; how can you possibly say Hitler’s Nazi Germany was not based on a religious war? His primary goal was to rid Europe of Jews and create a white, Christian master race with himself as leader.

  12. “All wars are fought in the name of god or something like god”. I just don’t think that stands up to 30 seconds of historical scrutiny.

    Unless you want to get into a debate about secular religions and secular fundamentalisms. Then I’m open for debate. Otherwise, I just don’t think you know much about history.

    Fundamentalists, whether religious or secular, tend to have no for historical fact.

    “That’s how the leaders divide us into allies and enemies.” Again, a highly simplistic statement, bordering on a martyrology. Leaders divide us based on ideas. Sometimes religion is one of those ideas. But not usually.

    Again, I challenge you to name me 10 wars caused by religion. Certainly not true since the 1700’s. And not even before then.

  13. @JoAnn: I’d love to see evidence that Hitler considered himself a Christian, or was out to set up a “Christian” master race. Considering that he all but shut down the Catholic Church in Germany and sent priests to the death camps in droves, that claim seems a little weird.

    Sorry to be rude, JoAnn, but I think anyone who considers World War II a “religious war” or that Hitler was motivated by Christianity was probably educated in a crackerjack box.

    In any case, the Holocaust wasn’t the cause of the war.

  14. Hate is a necessary ingredient to get people to fight. It must be instilled as a culture to affect large numbers of people. As wars often serve leaders rather than peoples, leaders often are the force behind the enculturation of combatants.

    Leaders can be religious, political, or ideological but will use whatever tools necessary to accomplish what’s best for them.

    Hitler wasn’t religous but used the Jewish religion to instill enough hatred to prosecute his WWII goals but also used hatred/fear of Russians also.

    Was it a religous war? If you were Jewish it was.

  15. On the subject of Hitler, he actually planned to get rid of Christianity. He had a fascination with ancient German pre-Christian mythology. (http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=181116) However, his real love was not toward Thor or other god of the ancient pre-Christian past but in the idea of being German. So it was not a love of God or gods but a kind of twisted patriotism. This is also what we are seeing today in Russia — a patriotism which focuses on a love of being Russian or Slav. And this kind of patriotism is really just self-love. It is the opposite of religion. The self becomes “the god” and there really is no other god. I think you can even trace many so-called wars described as religious back to this self-love patriotism. God become a convenient scapegoat. He is called “Our God” but the emphasis is on “Our” and not “God”. In the end we hate “the other”, who ever that may be, to make ourselves important and ultimately make ourselves the only god there is. That is the origin of war. The U.S. is not an innocent when it comes to this kind of self-love.

  16. I didn’t mean to imply Hitler was a Christian; his attempts to murder all Jews in Europe was against the Jewish religion and anyone connected to it in any way. I guess the correct terminology woud be that he declared an anti-religion war which, to me, is still based in religion.

  17. I don’t think Hitler was interested in religion one way or the other. He was interested in race.

    Hitler killed lots of Christians who had Jewish ancestry. The composer Gustav Mahler was Jewish, but became a Catholic long before Hitler came to power. If he hadn’t died already, Hitler would have packed Mahler off to a death camp, too.

    Again, it’s about ideas and whitewashing your own point-of-view. Plenty of American leftist intellectuals made excuses for the blood lust of Stalin in the 1930s, then tried to wash their hands of it later on, after it was obvious that Stalin was a monster. There were religious people who supported Hitler at first, because they considered him as a lesser evil than Communism (which was doing some really terrible things…..) Well, it didn’t take too long for the truth to come out.

  18. “Plenty of American leftist intellectuals made excuses for the blood lust of Stalin in the 1930s, then tried to wash their hands of it later on, after it was obvious that Stalin was a monster.”

    If there was any real support in America for Stalin, I would have said that it came as a reaction to the failure of capitalism here during the depression.

  19. God! (No pun intended) I love a challenge …

    First of all, no war in history can be entirely attributed to religion. However, the following has heavy religious involvement.

    1, Israelite conquest of Canaan
    2, First Crusade (1096 – 1099)
    3, Second Crusade (1145 – 1159)
    4, Third Crusade (1189 – 1192)
    5, 30 Years War (1618 – 1648)
    6, French Wars of Religion (1562 – 1598)
    7, Nigerian Civil War (1967 – 1970)
    8, Second Sudanese Civil War (1975 – 1990)
    9, Lebanese Civil War (1975 – 1990)
    10, Iranian Revolution (1979)

    Don’t rule Adolf Hitler out until you have read Mein Kampf (My Struggle) where Hitler supposedly quotes “Thus, by protecting myself from the Jews, I am doing the Lord’s work”. (Or words to that effect).
    Every German soldier that went into battle had a belt buckle that stated “Gott Mit Uns” (God is with us)

  20. Now we have to deal with Mao, Cambodia and deal much more with Stalin. Either one of them beats all of the religious-based wars, assuming that religion was really the issue in the first place.

  21. Stephen, being Jewish is a relgion, NOT a race.

    Red George; I tried to read Mein Kampf (sp?) but quickly bogged down in Hitler’s self absorbtion and convoluted view of everything. My 2nd husband and I found ourselves on an FBI possible subversive list (provided by a friend of a friend of a friend in the mid-1970’s); I had ordered the book out of curiosity from the Book-of-the Month club. We also subscribed to a magazine “Soviet Life” for the beautiful photography, my husband was an avid photographer and we had seen the magazine in the home of a Russian friend – a survivor of the Nazi regime. My husband worked at the Post Office and I worked for City government – with all of these possible “causes” to be on that list, all we could do was laugh and hope we weren’t arrested after having the coming-out party for three minister friends who were convicted and sentenced for holding a prayer vigil in the draft induction center. Putting it all together, we began to look suspicious to ourselves.

  22. @JoAnn: Judaism is an ethnic religion. Ethnic Jews/religious Jews/atheist Jews: they’re all Jews. It’s not about belief. It’s about ethnicity. Ask any “secular Jew.” Many if not most Americans who identify as Jews today are agnostic/atheist.

    A Jewish friend tells me that the main topic of discussion in Shabat services today is not religion at all. It’s the State of Israel. Israeli nationalism has become the Jewish religion for most Jews, according to him. Not feeding the poor. Not taking care of the homeless. Nationalism. He’s a great critic of this. I agree with him.

    @Red George: And most of those wars would have happened even without religion thrown on the flames. Numbers 1-10 combined probably killed way less than the secular regimes of the 20th century alone, in our great struggle for a utopian secular fairytale.

    I wasn’t claiming that there weren’t 10 religious wars in history. There were. My point is that most people who make the claim that “Religion causes most wars and conflicts” (emphasis on MOST) can’t even name 10 wars, let alone 10 religious wars. Or they have to think about it for 10 or 15 minutes. It’s just not intellectually defensible to say that religion causes most wars and conflicts.

    If people who lash out against religion would spend a fraction of that energy explaining why we don’t need Nationalism anymore, then I’d be on board, and their time might be better spent.

  23. Another History lesson …

    When we ponder religious conflict, we automatically think of Catholics and Protestants. At least I do, since I’m an Englishman.

    The dissolution of Monasteries took place from 1536 – 1541 during the reign of King Henry VIII. I don’t for one-minute think that Henry, at that time, envisioned, that act creating a conflict that would last until the 21 century and that it’s final resting place would be Eire and Northern Ireland.

    It all started with the “Pilgrimage of Grace” in the autumn of 1536, people were outraged that Thomas Cromwell and his lackey’s we plundering and destroying the religious foundation that had been in place for centuries. 478 years later (2014), bad blood still exists between the two religions.

    Henry favored protestant’s and persecuted Catholics.
    (He just wanted to get his “leg-over”, with something younger and produce an heir to succeed). At this point in history the English Monarch became, “Defender of the Faith”.

    Mary favored Catholics and persecuted Protestants.

    Elizabeth favored Protestants and persecuted Catholics.

    James (1st) favored Protestants and persecuted Catholics
    (Refer to the Gunpowder Treasons, he also like the witch hunt’s)

    A vicious circle, all round.

    Then we come the Sectarian violence in Northern Ireland that ran a terrible course of violence in the 20 century and since the economy started to go south again. The violence is once again returning.

  24. @Red George: that’s not true. “Defender of the Faith” was a title given to Henry VIII by the Pope, before Henry left the Catholic Church. Henry was one of the most outspoken defenders of the Catholic faith, until (as you say) he wanted to get the slip in and the Pope said “No. Treat your wife with respect. Find another way around that tribal dynastic war you fear.”

    Nationalism and personal greed (not religion) destroyed the English monasteries, which were probably one of the few good places to live in England in the Middle Ages.

    And with a name like Red George O’Malley, you might want to read the Irish side of history. The sectarian violence in Ireland obviously sucked religion in. There’s no denying that. But do you forget that the Protestants were originally greedy English and Scottish invaders who kicked the previous inhabitants off the land and gave their land away to settlers? The Palestine of the 17th century. Lest you think they only did this to Catholics, look up the history of Scotland, the forced eviction of the crofters in the 19th century. Protestants there. Also kicked off by the liege lords.

    There was more food in England to feed the starving Irish peasantry during the Famine than anybody could dream of. And the English kept that food, to have an excuse to depopulate Ireland and give the land away to English people. Good Victorian Protestant “Christianity” at work there — I’ll take this as a huge black mark against religious people.

    You think that kind of cruelty doesn’t live in on popular memory?

  25. The monarch’s coffers were empty, Cromwell saw an opportunity to fill the coffers and advance his own position. Unfortunately, the general public only recognized the fact that their Catholic religion was being pulled down. Which turned into (for Cromwell) a deadly mistake. He, lost his life to a drunken headsman with a blunt axe.

    I also have not forgotten, when it comes to Northern Ireland that vast financial support from the second, third and forth generation Irish/Americans who hail from Boston and the surrounding areas were given to the IRA “for the cause”. Also, the fact that IRA terrorists were allow political asylum in the United States to escape the English judicial system.

  26. Oh, I almost forgot … The greedy invaders?

    You mean, like the American Whites who stole the Native American Tribal
    Lands and herded them onto the various reservations?

    Quietly swept out of the way.

  27. And you think old Thomas Cromwell and the IRA were doing this because they were paying attention to the message of Jesus of Nazareth?

    How is this damning to religion? Seems to me like we need more of it.

    Also, another fact check: unless you’re talking about someone else, Cromwell was not killed by Catholics. Cromwell was killed by his boss, Henry VIII, for revealing his sexual preferences to Anne of Cleves and/or for being a generally slick-dick politician.

  28. Didn’t realize what time it was, It’s Cocktail Hour.
    A Gin on the Rocks with Olives, is calling my name.

    Bye everybody, Red George is signing out for the

  29. I haven’t swept the English invaders of America out of the way at all. Just under a smallpox-infested blanket they gave to the Indians as “trade goods.”

    Thanks, also, for introducing slavery to this country, English friends. An institution finally swept out of protection in our deist/rationalist/Enlightenment-inspired Constitution by…. guess who… Evangelical Christians. (Of which I am not one. But gotta give credit where credit is due.)

  30. Further evidence of the last gasps of the patriarchy! Folks don’t give up power easily. When threatened by the empowerment of Others, they of course fight back. It is totally predictable. On good days, I have much hope for the future. If there wasn’t pushback, it wouldn’t be CHANGE!!!

  31. Red George and Stephen—Excellent, civil give-and-take. I don’t know where you are geographically, but please consider being guests on our podcast, “Civil Discourse Now.” We stream live on Saturdays, 11 am to 1 pm, with archived show on FB. We are on Live365 under our station 7bitsofinfo.

  32. These retorts are as amazing as they are inane. Tell me just how the writers can so easily separate their religion from their daily lives? You are your religion. When you go to war, it is always a religious war simply because that is what you are. (Brevity is the soul of wit. W.S.)

  33. Isn’t the current GAZA strip a religious war? I really don’t know for sure, but for outsiders like me, it looks like the Jews against the Muslims to me. Or visa versa. ???

  34. Just saw photos of the ISIS beheadings going right now in Iraq. Yep, that’s definitely a religious war. Some of the worst stuff I’ve ever seen. So trust me, I totally get why some people are disgusted with religion. Especially after seeing footage of this stuff.

    Don’t want to get into a polemic, really not in the mood after seeing headless children. And to be fair, I’ll say to the Christians in this country: you don’t have any idea what persecution is until you’ve been crucified by “freedom fighters” in Mosul, Iraq, which is something that’s actually going on in 2014. This week, in fact. Crucifixions. Forced conversions and beheadings. Do not Google this stuff if you want to eat or sleep tonight.

    And yet, what do people in the US say? More sniveling about the dangers of Christianity, and reminders that Christians brought us the Inquisition, like, 500 years ago. You want to talk about persecution, let’s talk about ISIS in Iraq. These folks are evil incarnate.

    Not trying to demean the suffering of people everywhere, including the victims of Israel in Gaza. But don’t forget the thousands of Christian civilians, from Nigeria to Iraq, who were slaughtered this week or sold into slavery, by people who LITERALLY and unabashedly want to take us back to the Middle Ages — and are actually doing it. Tonight.

  35. In Indianapolis (Marion County) this year
    87 homicides
    1 yellow 1 black suspect
    3 brown 2 black suspects
    24 white 8 black suspects
    59 black 57 black suspects 1 brown suspect

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