reappropriate

Monday, December 20, 2004

The Religious White

Gotta love some harmless joking at the expense of the religious. Check out the Church Sign Generator. The people over at YW, made a couple funny ones.

And here are my own:

Okay, apologies to the religious readers who are offended. ...

One more fun link for the boys 'n girls of my generation: the Smurf Name Generator. I somehow came out as Cleft Palate Smurf -- don't ask me how that happened.

Alright, on to the topic of today. There's been a sudden mad increase in religious musings since Bush got re-elected to the presidency. Forget the finger-pointing about who started the discussions, but it really has reached the point of saturation.

Well, what really bugs me is the religious indignation of the JudeoChristian right-wing when it comes to topics of religion in the American political playing field. At times like these, when the influence of the Religious Right was an unabashed factor in Bush's reelection (especially given the increased force of the shitstorm when it came to topics of gay marriage and abortion), topics like prayer in school and separation of church and state quickly come to the forefront.

Those who know me know my background when it comes to religion. I am not an atheist, but I'm not Christian. I'm sort of like an undecided religious vote, except the presidency isn't at stake, my spirituality is. I haven't completely written myself out of the system, but I'm not really ready to dedicate myself to the two big parties... instead I'm sort of a third party girl, forging my own way and basically making it up as I go along, generating all sorts of wrath from both sides in the process.

My distrust of organized religion stems primarily from the racist, sexist history of the JudeoChristian mainstream and my general opinion that one should willingly and consciously go to matters of spirituality, rather than have it essentially forced upon them at birth. If you decide to join an organized religion, than more power to you -- just think about your spiritual choices instead of blindly following Scripture. That and I don't believe that religion should be state-funded and state-sanctioned, and that there's too much God in the government, as it is.

But, what really pisses me off about religion in the post Bush re-election talking head circuit is the indignation -- people who whine about secular America's religious oppression of Christians and who celebrate a return to 'good moral values' now that we have a modern-day wannabe-Jesus in the White House: a man who invokes God now more than he snorted then. Let me make it plain and simple; secularism does not oppress the religious. The increased popularity of 'Happy Holidays' instead of 'Merry Christmas' does not tread one little bit upon the rights of the Jesus-worshippers.

First of all, I simply fail to understand the argument that a lack of reference to God or any other religion is an oppression of religion -- it is, in point of fact, an attempt to keep the freedom of religion that is guaranteed to all Americans in the First Amendment, by preventing the development of a state-sanctioned religion. There is no school prayer in class -- but that doesn't prevent Christians from praying after school and on their own time. It was for a short time (1950's until now) frowned upon for a politician to invoke God when they were campaigning for public office -- but is that really an oppression of religion? Or, as I would argue, merely a discouragement of blending church and state? Well, I'll leave it up to you to decide because this isn't the real thrust of my point.

My main point is this: some form of Christianity can be found in almost every part of America. It is the most prevalent, most dominant American religion. It not only outnumbers all other religions, combined (a link from the opposition, but it has the numbers) -- Christians make up approximately 75% of Americans -- but also outnumbers American atheists by more than 3 to 1. So to me, given a definition of oppression ("the act of oppressing; arbitrary and cruel exercise of power"), the atheists, the non-religious, or thenon-Christians simply don't have the kind of power necessary to oppress the Christian right.

So what is this whining all about? Well, to me, the outrage of the Christians can only be likened to one thing -- the 'reverse racism' backlash of the recent few decades. Whites have started revolting against the typecasting of minority communities that they are the 'inescapable badguys' (which, incidentally, both minorities and whites are doubly guilty of doing) in any racialized incident. 'Well, people of colour can be racist, too!' they intone, but then go one further and claim that all this stereotyping is an oppression of whites.

Well, let's not all jump on the oppression bandwagon, folks. Despite programs like affirmative action, and the general social taboo of racism and discrimination, it's not much fun to be an oppressed party (y'know, with all that messy lynching and glass ceilings and stuff...), and yet it still makes for a fairly effective political playing card. No one wants to be oppressed, but everyone looks at reparations of Japanese Americans and the (what some would call) coddling of gay and minority activist groups, and they suddenly feel denied because they are 'no one special'. So... along comes the oppression without the actual act of oppression.

Let's face it, though: doesn't matter what colour you are, Christians are the mainstream, the dominant, the ones in control not only of the religious sphere but, because of this still haphazard separation of church and state and the 'i-wish-i-were' Messiah in the White House, in control of the political sphere, as well. The sheer numbers of Christians, alone, are reason enough to doubt the claims of the Religious Right. As far as I'm concerned, it sounds to me like nothing more than a desperate attempt to paint 75% of Americans as helpless victims of the other hedonistic, inexplicably uber-powerful 25%.

Well, it's time to come out of the closet, my friends. It's not oppression -- you're simply a member of the Religious White.

11 Comments:

Blogger phillyjay said...

I don't get the whole oppressed christian in america thing.I know it happens in other countries (real oppression) but in america?
The only ones who say that are the type that want ot make america more christian then it already is.They want more religious(christian)influence in america and all forms of government.Any other normal christian does not complain.

"There is no school prayer in class -- but that doesn't prevent Christians from praying after school and on their own time."

Even in the public schools I attened, the subject of God came up many times in class.Hell I remember I had to defend my lack of belief by damn near the entire class AND the teacher.

12/20/2004 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Well, I didn't really have too huge a presence of God in my school -- I went to a secular semi-private school in Canada, so I'm several degrees removed from American public schools.

And, I think the overt religiousness in public schools is in many areas on the decrease.

Still, I think people should really stop acting as if Christianity or religiousness in general is an oppressed norm or something... Like, I find the whole 'save christmas' movement of this year completely laughable.

12/20/2004 09:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very well thought out and cogent argument and I agree with you 100%. I was very disgusted to hear on NPR this morning that President Bush has been funding many missions in the last few years with Federal money by justifying them as historical institutions rather than religious ones. He affirms that since they are an integral part of our history and that they have American cultural value that they are eligible for funding. While I agree that they are a part of the American history, so is slavery and bigotry, and you don't use federal money to fund those things anymore (although a case could be made about tax breaks for corporations that outsource to slave wage environments, but I digress). This is a disgrace and I like many other Americans will not be satisfied until there is a complete seperation of church and state.

Also in regards to the reverse discrimination thing. I used to sympathize with the whites as well when I was a misguided republican, but moving to America has shown me the great disparity between the races in America and this cry of reverse descrimination is exactly the crock you have described it as. Affirmative action is present in a system that needs it. I would oppose it as reverse discriminatory in a system of equal opportunity, but in contemporary American society, it is at best a weak defense against the inadequacies of the society we have built. If anything, Affirmative Action programs need to be strengthened and rich white socialites who wipe their asses with dollar bills need to stop crying oppression.
Tarek

12/22/2004 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

re: "Affirmative action is present in a system that needs it. I would oppose it as reverse discriminatory in a system of equal opportunity, but in contemporary American society, it is at best a weak defense against the inadequacies of the society we have built."

I couldn't've said it better myself. No offense to our recent convert, but the main problem that I see with the Republican party when it comes to affirmative action and matters of reverse discrimination is its idealism. Jim Crowe wasn't that long ago, and neither was internment. My grandparents and parents are old enough (had they actually immigrated to America) to have been targets of America's no Asian naturalization laws -- it's simply ridiculous to suggest that in the course of approximately three decades, racism and the effects of slavery could have been so eradicated as to render minority communities on the same footing as whites, culturally.

12/22/2004 09:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would I be offended. I hate Republicans :)
T

12/23/2004 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

you... kinda used to be one, darlin' :)

12/23/2004 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Exhomeless-Guy said...

http://www.customsigngenerator.com has many more dynamic text-to-image making fun widgets.

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