Monday, 20 August 2012

The Smug And The Persecuted

posted 8/20/2012 by the Salt City Sinner

Everybody loves an underdog.

Exhibit A:

Now, even if you are not a sports fan, you might have seen and probably enjoyed the movie 'Rudy.' This enjoyment can be taken too far, of course - once upon a time I had a corporate gig where our incoming employee orientation included a screening of the above scene to get us "jazzed up" about locum tenens healthcare staffing.

A very obnoxious trope that is found in a vast majority of American cinema is the "triumph of the underdog" - you know, every movie has to have the third act, where the hero loses everything and we suffer in agony with him as the odds stack up against him. Then, in Act Four - hey, presto! our hero triumphs over the vastly overwhelming forces of evil to win the day!

This love of the underdog has a dark side that has metastasized most odiously in America. You see, not only does everybody love to see the underdog take down the uberdog - at this point, conditioned by American movies, TV, et. al., everybody thinks they are the underdog.

Now, this isn't absurd in all cases - don't get me wrong.

A scrappy kid who starts the first LGTB support club at a conservative high school in a right-wing backwater of Oklahoma (he was in my little sister's graduating class at said high school), the little mom and pop business that thrives despite national chains in its area, the odds-against-'em pick who wins the baseball trophy or the spelling bee or the science fair - these are all great examples of real underdogs triumphing, and we should love them.

However, there is one group in particular whose constant claims of victimhood and heroic underdog striving strike me as ludicrously unfounded, and that group is conservative American Christians.

In the U.S., Christians make up 78.5% of the population. That's not just a supermajority, that's a super-de-dupermajority. Every single United States President in the history of this country has been Christian. The vastly overwhelming majority of all elected officials in U.S. history have been Christian.

Evangelical megachurch rallies draw tens of thousands of followers to Colorado, California, the midwest, etc. etc. - and that's just recently. Don't forget the Great Awakenings, the private religious convictions of the original colonies, the Christianity of the conquistadors, settlers, most original expeditions....*

The fact that I even have to point this out is flabbergasting to me. The idea that conservative American Christians could somehow twist reality so out of joint or foul the discourse and facts so badly that they can wrap their minds around it strikes me as (at best) a form of mental illness and (at worst) a flat-out lie that they KNOW is false.

And yet...

we'll get to a factual slapdown of this in particular momentarily

Outlets like WND build a healthy market share around terrorizing and/or stoking the righteous indignation of American Christians. Just a quick dip into the fever swamps of WND reveal articles like "Jesus to America: 'Why Do You Persecute Me?'" ( here ), and "Christian school 'persecuted' by town" ( here ), and "Half of Americans believe Christians persecuted [Editor's Note: the "poll" that produced that statistic is such a hilarious bald-faced example of push-polling and sample bias that it should be used in every Statistics 101 class as Mr. Bungle's Poll ] ( here ).

WND isn't alone in their bizarre delusion: "Worthy News" is on the case! Worthy News bills itself as "an independent Christian news agency, which covers news from around the world from a Christian worldview." For an example of how warped such a worldview can be compared to reality, read an epic and ongoing series on the subject  here from Wonkette. It's also hilarious.

" Set Theory IS the work of Satan! Wait 'til Professor Leftypants hears THAT!"
Worthy News' latest "Help! We're under attack!" screed is called "Persecution of Christians Growing in the United States" ( here ).

It's worth noting, before we move on, that most instances of "persecution" that WND and Worthy News and the like scream and cry and whine about amount to something like "local school board requires home schoolers to teach biology if they want accreditation from the State" or "local Christian hot dog vendor sues because he claims God does not require a food handler's permit for his Christ Dogs."

A recent lawsuit involved a man who - for realsies - claims he is being "persecuted" because he was banned from a store for requesting that no black person bag his groceries (article  here ). Another involves Christian pastors who had their anti-hate-crime claim slapped down because the judge ruled - quite intelligently - that "Hate Crimes Act Doesn't Suppress Anti-Gay Speech" (link  here ):
The Hate Crimes Act, the appeals court ruled, "does not prohibit Plaintiff's proposed course of hateful speech" and said they "can't quite pinpoint what it is they want to say that could subject them to prosecution under the Hate Crimes Act."
Or as Rebecca Schoenkopf puts it ( roughly speaking ): unless these Christian bigots actually stone gay people to death, they are protected by the First Amendment to urge said stoning. Let me repeat that: even given the right to say gay people should be put to death, Christian idiots still sued and cried and whined that they were being persecuted under the Hate Crimes Act - and it turned they had not a tottery leg to stand on. They couldn't even come up with an example of what they might say to support their argument.

This brings us to the momentous and nation-defining debate over fried chicken sandwiches ( ugh ).

Remember what I said earlier? Christians' mewling about being persecuted represent (at best) a form of mental illness and (at worst) a flat-out lie that they KNOW is false.

I'm fairly convinced at this point that they KNOW what they are peddling is total bunk.

Observe, for example, the following political cartoon from Glenn McCoy - the man who penned "the sickest editorial cartoon in history" ( it's bad ) and in whose canon (according to  Vice ) "the entire species is one huge hate crime."

Here's Glenn's take on the whole Chick-fil-A dust-up:

Let's pause for a moment.

McCoy is widely reviled for his depictions of the human form, as the aforementioned Vice article summarizes thusly:
Viewed in succession, McCoy's doodled humans point to a psychotic misanthropy that springs from outside the human mind. It is the eternal loathing of a Grinch, or a Yeti, squatting balefully on a mountaintop and glaring down at a distant village. What political group would want representation by such a brute?**
Well, it seems McCoy has found his sweet spot. Look at the faces above on those hungry (and surprisingly slender) Christians. Do they look happy to you? Relieved to not be subject to "all the anti-Christian bigots?"

To me they look smug.

"Christian persecution" and the Chick-fil-A stupidity have nothing to do with people actually being persecuted.

It's about playing the victim, engaging in  the flop and working the refs by crying and sniveling until they get their way, as a super-de-dupermajority, and all the homos and heathens get stomped in the face while they smugly gloat and look on.

Well, and I mean this with all spiritual sincerity and literalness - they can go to hell.

* : By this I am not ceding that "America is a Christian nation" or any of that guff, which I have addressed in other posts ( here  for example).

**: I've long thought that the Onion's political cartoonist, 'Kelly,' is either directly based on McCoy or that Kelly's high-flying performance as a satirist of conservative tropes - the weeping Statue of Liberty, the looming Grim Reaper - is a bizarre parallel-universe *actual version* of the inside of McCoy's head.

1 comment:

  1. I agree...... then as a Christian I strongly disagree