A misguided sense of victimhood, cont’d

A MISGUIDED SENSE OF VICTIMHOOD, CONT’D…. Maybe it’s the season that brings out the worst in far-right Christians feeling sorry for themselves.

A couple of weeks ago, Fox News’ Gretchen Carlson whined that in American society, it’s Christianity that “always seems” to “take the boot.” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), arguably the Senate’s most spirited culture warrior, added that “they always pick on the Christians.” (It wasn’t clear who “they” referred to.)

This week, it’s religious right activist/politician Gary Bauer insisting in print that “in a variety of contexts, American Muslims are treated better than American Christians.” (via BooMan)

By all indications, Bauer wasn’t kidding. To “prove” his case, he listed a series of perceived slights — the National Endowment for the Arts apparently funds anti-Christian art; Six Flags hosted a “Muslim Family Day”; and late-night comics hurt Christians’ feelings — most of which came across as lazy, trying-too-hard whining.

But there were a couple of Bauer’s points that stood out for me. Take this one, for example:

If Christianity were treated like Islam, Christmas and Easter would be publicly celebrated for what they are — the signature events of Christianity, marking the birth and the death and Resurrection of Christ — not stripped of all their theological meaning and transformed into secular holidays devoted to crass consumerism.

Bauer’s confused. It wasn’t non-Christians who stripped these holidays of their theological meaning; it was Christians themselves who stripped these holidays of their theological meaning. Does Bauer really think Jews and atheists got together to ensure that Santa Claus and the Easter bunny replaced J.C. as cultural touchstone of the holidays? That it was non-Christians who made it so that Christmas is celebrated in malls, rather than in churches?

Guess again. Christians did this all on their own. Indeed, part of the drive to secularize Christian holidays came, ironically enough, from those who share Bauer’s worldview — to make it easier for adherents to push these holidays into the American mainstream and grant them official support, Christians had to argue that the holidays weren’t especially religious.

Bauer then concluded:

At a time of the year when intolerance for public displays of Christianity is most acute, it is my Christmas wish that Muslims and Christians would be treated equally.

Bauer really needs to get out more. Take a drive around a typical American neighborhood, and count the Christmas trees, wreaths, and Nativity scenes on front lawns. Then go to a public place and count the folks with crosses around their necks. Then turn on television and count the Christmas specials, or athletes praising God during a game, or entertainers thanking God at an awards ceremony, or TV preachers begging for cash.

If there’s “intolerance for public displays of Christianity,” it’s hiding extremely well.

As for the notion of ensuring that Muslims and Christians are “treated equally,” when Bauer can point to a national controversy over converting a closed clothing store into a Christian community center, I’ll be very impressed.

I continue to marvel at why folks like Bauer wallow in self pity. It’s become part of their religio-political identity, but it’s as absurd as it is paranoid. Christians dominate American society, in large part because they’re a huge majority. The misguided sense of victimhood is getting tiresome.