I seem to remember the early Xtians as a rather tough lot, most of them anyway. At least in the movies, where they were always being eaten by lions in the Roman arenas, and holding onto their faith with a martyr’s stoicism. I don’t remember them as cry babies. Not that some of them didn’t deserve to be lion food, running around evangelizing that they have found the one, true faith and they were going to bug you with it until you got out those lions. They could be a pain in the ass, but there’s not much record of them whining when they had to pay up. Nary a whimper.
Today’s Xtians are, of course, quite a different lot in so many ways. Can you imagine Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell staked out for lion lunch in the Colosseum? (Hmmm, that’s a pleasant image.) The early Xtians would have wondered what kind of Xtians these were that put chromed little fishes on the backs of their SUV’s and wore “what would Jesus do” bracelets. And they would wonder that happened to the Xtian concern for the poor and the oppressed and that “love thy neighbor” and “blessed are the peacemakers” stuff. Today’s Xtians just seem to love a holy war. I doubt those early disciples would have bought into all the “rapture” marlarky, and what would they have thought of Ratzinger parading around in his brocaded silly suit and acting like he has the Holy Trinity on his cell phone friends and family plan. Early Xtians didn’t whine if they didn’t get their way, despite the fact that they were persecuted in ways that would make a contemporary Xtian try to get a better deal than thirty pieces of silver.
Today’s lot are a bunch of whiners. You can’t get across a radio dial without running into a half dozen sappy psalm-sayers, evangelizing, preaching, and of course, whining about this or that. Xtians are all over K street and pouring the alms into the campaign coffers of their right wing candidates, but they whine that they don’t get their due from government, despite their tax-free status for the likes of Purvis’s Church of Jesus and Brake and Clutch Repair. They hate the courts because they fear that those “liberal judges” are “gonna let those fairies and dykes get married and pretty soon we’ll only have lepers to look down on and they’re getting tougher to find,” and “Hollywood is full of libertines and Jews, ‘nuf said.” And there’s Roe v Wade, and stem cells and they want to take “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance. Bitchy, these fundamentalist Xtian whiners.
Trouble is, these contemporary Xtains want everything the easy way; they don’t want to pay the price the way the early Xtaians did. They want the power and the glory without all the hard work, they want heaven for double coupons. Take school. Why waste all that time learning geology, biology, chemistry and that stuff so that you might be able to understand research about earth science. It’s all there in Genesis, one book of the Bible, all laid out for you by God speaking through some prophet. Heck, you can read that in a day and then get on to some important classes, like alchemy, astrology, phrenology and memorizing scriptures. But there’s resistance to letting those Xtians turn our public schools into institutions of idiocy and credulity. So they whine and whine about how “unfair” it is.
But they aren’t done yet. The latest whine is about admissions to respected institutions of higher learning. The complaint against the University of California is that it has standards for admission that do not give credit for science course that are based on creationism and intelligent design. “Unfair” whine the Xtains, society needs doctors who believe in the efficacy of prayer over surgery, or airline pilots who believe that its really little angels that are holding that 747 aloft.
And now we begin to see that there is some strategy in all this whining: Set up a system of knowledge that is based on belief not science, teach it to your kids, then charge the universities with discrimination because they want the kind of proof for what stands as knowledge that comes from reason and rationality. Then the whiners throw themselves on the mercy of the courts and pray (here’s where the prayer stuff really comes in) that they end up having their complaint heard by Scalia or Alito.
And if you can get the courts to force some of your idiot kids into the university then you join the growing movement to clamp down on academic freedom and lower academic standards. Enter the likes of Andrew Jones, a smirking right wing twerp who actually managed to graduate from UCLA a couple of years ago and now has a web site “exposing” liberal profs in the UC system. Voila! If you can force out these profs you might be able to turn our public universities into madrassas for the right-wing Xtain fundamentalist dimwits.
This is the new martyrdom of the contemporary Xtians. No lions, no blood, no strapping a few pounds of C-4 and nails on your body and walking into a Wal Mart. Just whining and bitching until you get what you want, sapping the walls of church-state separation with a bitchy drumbeat. And if history is at all instructive, when they do get their way, then we’ll really see some persecution.
©2006, James A. Clapp (UrbisMedia Ltd. Pub. 1.22.2006)