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Thursday, May 10th, 2012 09:57 am
How to win a culture war and lose a generation:
When asked by The Barna Group what words or phrases best describe Christianity, the top response among Americans ages 16-29 was “antihomosexual.” For a staggering 91 percent of non-Christians, this was the first word that came to their mind when asked about the Christian faith. The same was true for 80 percent of young churchgoers. (The next most common negative images? : “judgmental,” “hypocritical,” and “too involved in politics.”)
Emphasis in original. The article is written by a Christian who is denouncing the evangelical-political factions; she asks, "Is a political 'victory' really worth losing millions more young people to cynicism regarding the Church?"

I expect this to be a popular article--and I expect the standard flood of "there are lots of good Christians too!" responses.

Count me nonplussed. )
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Friday, February 3rd, 2012 05:09 pm
[livejournal.com profile] thnidu points out in What First Amendment? that the PA House of Reps has declared 2012 to be The Year of the Bible in a supposedly "noncontroversial resolution."

Text of the bill is short and about as overtly theocratic as you could imagine )
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Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 01:32 pm
The British Humanist Association is running a campaign to encourage people who do not practise any religion to tick the "no religion" box in our forthcoming census, rather than either ticking a religion that they identify with culturally, or writing in a protest answern such as "Jedi" (as happened last time, when the question was first asked). A comparison with other surveys suggests that because of the phrasing of the question, "cultural Christians" who do not actually practise may have accounted for around half the people ticking "Christian" last time round, which in turn was used to justify anti-secular policy decisions. I'm posting the link here because I think it's an excellent campaign site and provides a good illustration of how thinking of "Christian" as the default category can disadvantage others. There is also some allusion to the problems caused by trying to fit Jews and Sikhs into neat boxes marked "ethnicity" and "religion" (given that "Jewish" is used with both ethnic and religious meanings within the Jewish communities themselves as well as by non-Jews, and "Sikh" is often understood as an ethnic label by non-Sikhs in the UK, although I don't think that Sikhs themselves commonly use it in that way.)

(This particular census question is optional. As a Christian whose current practice is drawn about equally from Christianity and a yogic practice that has a strong Hindu influence, I'm unsure whether the best course in order to avoid giving further ammunition to discriminatory policies is not to answer, or to tick "Other" and write in something that covers my situation more accurately - which may still show up as just "Christian" in the data - or whether I should just grit my teeth and tick "Christian" anyway. I realise that no-one here has any obligation to help me sort out my thought process on that, but if anyone does feel like sharing any thoughts, it would be welcome.)
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Monday, February 14th, 2011 04:48 pm
Robert Flynn has a more-or-less political blog at Open Salon. And he posted, a few days ago, about The UnChristian Right, and how Jesus was all about helping the poor and needy, and praying in private, and paying taxes, and not fearing each other, and so on.

On the one hand, it's nice to see Christians speaking out and saying, "hey, those fanatics who claim to be following Jesus? Have seriously missed the point." On the other, it's a nuisance that it's widely believed that anyone at all, outside their religion, should be concerned what Christianity says about politics.

I try not argue on political forums that this-or-that sect is "more correct" than another. Try not to argue what Jesus said vs what the Paulines insist on. Because it doesn't matter, shouldn't matter, which version is closest to what the bible really said, really meant.

Not my holy book; laws I have to follow shouldn't be using it as a reference.

I like seeing the hypocrisy pointed out. I don't like the hidden assumption that non-hypocritical Christian politics would be reasonable and good.
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Monday, December 20th, 2010 01:27 pm
Someday, I may have to do a huge linkspam roundup of lawsuits related to prayers at the start of city council meetings. The US has plenty of towns with a strong majority of citizens who think that "since we've used Christian prayers to start our meetings for many years, it must be legal and okay; anyone who objects is just trying to cause trouble."

Town du jour: Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, where a Jewish woman filed suit over starting the meetings with the Lord's Prayer and the sign of the cross. (They tried to avert the lawsuit by agreeing to a moment of silence instead--but refused to penalize the crowds who interrupted the silence with, surprise surprise, loud readings of the Lord's Prayer.)

The comments are a breathtaking array of antiSemitism and Islamophobia. That's kinda new for me; I'm used to seeing the anti-Wiccan versions. Apparently, they just recycle the same hate-rhetoric with different labels in the religion slots. (Of course, since Islam was mentioned--why, I have no idea--there are people screaming about the foreigners trying to take over the US.)

Occasionally, a comment or an article offers alternatives like, "Downtown churches could offer a place for local officials to pray before their meetings or could offer to host a weekly session in which the city -- or elected officials from anywhere -- could come and pray or be prayed over. They could host an event in a place that would be common to many to allow prayer to be said before public meetings." These tend to be ignored--how dare those heathens suggest that Christians do their praying somewhere else, not at government meetings?

The issues of prayers at graduation ceremonies and school functions held in churches are related, and inspire similar lawsuits, and similar backlash.