There is no better country on earth in which to be a Christian than the United States. That is an undeniable fact.
Christian organizations own tens of billions of dollars worth of property here, and they don’t pay a single penny in taxes for any of it. Bibles are available in every single hotel room in America, and are given away on street corners. On any given day, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and members of multiple other Christian denominations are free to knock on your door and proselytize. There are churches of all sizes everywhere; there are shabby little strip mall affairs, old-school classic suburban churches with steeples, and enormous mega-churches complete with gift shops, amphitheatre seating complete with rock band-level sound systems, and video arcades.
There are thousands of state and local regulations that exist for no other reason than to please the sensibilities of Christians. There are counties and even entire states where the beer has to be watered down so much that it might as well not be alcohol. There are states where it’s completely ok to mention in school textbooks that evolution might be accurate, but also might be crazy Satan talk.
Religious groups in America have universities, radio stations, television networks, and all manner of political action and lobbying groups, which technically they aren’t supposed to have (their tax-exempt status, almost as dear to them as the Gospel, depends on their complete political neutrality). This little pothole is bypassed by code-wording everything they do. For instance, it isn’t “The American Christian Association.” It’s “The American Family Association.” It isn’t “The Coalition for Christian Values.” It’s “The Coalition for Traditional Values.” This is just window dressing, and to be honest it’s not even necessary, because they just ignore the tax-exempt rules anyway. No American politician has the balls to call them on it.
And thanks to the recent Hobby Lobby decision of the Supreme Court, business arrangements (aka Corporations) are now free to declare Jesus Christ as their lord and savior, and can require their employees to adjust their lives and preferences according to the beliefs of the corporate board, particularly when it comes to things like having birth control covered on their employee health insurance policies.
It should also be mentioned that the entire Republican Party either agrees with them entirely, or is at least pretending to believe so they can keep their jobs. Republican candidates loudly and proudly declare their Christian fealty wherever and whenever possible. They often deny that evolution exists, even if they know damn well that it does. For instance, here is Representative Paul Broun. He is an MD. And here is he at a town meeting calling evolution “lies from the pit of hell.” As Bill Maher put it, “Fuck, even the deer are rolling their eyes.”
All American currency is inscribed with “In God We Trust.” The words “under God” were slid into the Pledge of Allegiance about 50 years ago with nary a whimper from the public. Americans are hit with the Christian religion on a daily basis, whether they want it or not.
So, to recap, Christian organizations pay no taxes, Christians are free to proselytize unencumbered, religious literature is available everywhere, corporations are free to force their employees to adhere to the religious beliefs of the owners, Christian dogma is often cheerfully inserted into both laws and official state school textbooks, and the majority party in both the House and Senate is chock full of people who either entirely agree with or are pretending to agree with Christian beliefs, which ultimately means that they go along with said Christian beliefs when it comes to legislation.
American Christians have freedom falling out of their asses. They sneeze, and freedom comes out. They are up to their hips in freedom. If freedom were dollars, Christians would be billionaires, much like the guys who run the corporations, who are now tripping over themselves to declare Jesus as their lord and savior, particularly if it will save them a buck or two.
But if you ask any American Christian about the state of his freedom in 2015 America, you would think that he was living under communist rule. You would think that he lived in territory controlled by ISIS. And as far as his perspective goes, he may as well be. American Christians have had things precisely the way they like it for so damn long that not getting what they want truly seems like tyranny to them.
Whenever Christians are not given what they want, the cry of “Religious Liberty” can be heard far and wide, from coast to coast, and particularly on Fox News. “Liberty” does not in any way mean what you think it means when used in this context. When used by Christians, “Liberty” is basically a code word meaning “The Right of All Americans to Worship Jesus Christ in a Manner That Pleases My Sensibilities.” For instance, the group that led the charge against permitting gay marriage in the US was called, ironically enough, “The Liberty Counsel.” I’ll give you a moment to think about how a group called “The Liberty Counsel” is adamantly opposed to letting people do what the fuck they want to do.
Sometimes “Liberty” means howling in agony over stupid little things, like when people say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” or when a city council somewhere decides that it might not be cool to put a Nativity Scene on public land, or when some batshit chick out in the hinterlands is convinced that Harry Potter books in public libraries causes kids to practice witchcraft. But sometimes shit can get pretty real, too. Sometimes “Liberty” means that Christian business owners want the official right to discriminate, like when Christian bakers fight for the right to refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding. And sometimes “Liberty” means letting people die. About 15 kids in Idaho died over the past few years because their parents decided to pray rather than give them professional medical care. Some of these kids died over stuff that could have been handled by making a quick stop at Walgreens. And during the W. Administration, stipulations were made to all African foreign aid that required abstinence only sex-education. Funding for condoms was mostly cut out entirely. As you might recall, this was at a time when Africa was completely on fire with AIDS.
The condom and sex education stuff is in keeping with the idea of “life,” which basically means being not only anti-abortion (which is fine, I suppose,) but also being anti-birth control (which sure as fuck ain’t fine,) and of reinforcing the idea that the only sexual experience humans should have is after they are married. You know, traditional Christian stuff. And honestly, I don’t have a problem with someone deciding to live their lives in that fashion. But I do have a problem with that being mandated, and believe me, there is nothing the “Liberty” guys would like better than that.
Conservative Christians are not stupid. They know damn well that expecting the teen pregnancy and abortion rate to drop while mandating abstinence-only sex education and removing access to birth control is like expecting the fire rate to drop if you remove sprinklers, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. The idea is that they aren’t fans of unmarried teen pregnancies, but they are definitely fans of examples. To their minds, nothing scares the pants back on to the average teenager more than having a 16 year old in her third trimester wandering the halls of a high school. And hell, they don’t even have to go through the bother of sewing a Scarlet A for her to wear.
I do want to make it clear that nobody is actually suggesting that we turn high schools into Bacchanal Fuckstravaganzas, but I certainly remember what it was like to be a teenager, and I can’t think of anything crueller than officially reinforcing the notion that pregnancy is some sort of punishment for having sex in an unapproved manner, and I believe that’s what these folks want to do.
See, this is what you guys need to understand: Conservative Christians in American are not the live-and-let-live sort. They are not at all content to let God sort it out. It isn’t enough for them to simply live their lives and their faiths. They view it as their duty to bring souls to Christ, by hook or by crook, and they feel absolutely no compunction about adjusting the laws to make their jobs easier.
And you should also realize that it is entirely their right to do all this. This is a democracy, they are citizens, and they are participating in the process just like everybody else can. But the thing is, everybody else is watching American Idol and spanking it to Pornhub. And if every Christian in America is absolutely convinced that their “Liberties Are Being Taken Away,” who do you think is going to organize and show up?