Friday, October 30, 2015

The Myth of Christian Persecution Meets Chi Square and the Founding Fathers

By Bob Ferris
When I took my first class in Statistics one of my favorite statistical tests was the one called Chi- Square.  The test involves some calculations, but at its core it asks the question whether two populations are the same or different based upon the observed and expected frequencies of a particular factor.  I think about this now as I look at all the rhetoric surrounding our purported founding as a Christian nation as argued by the Dominionists, Christian Reconstructionists and others of similar ilk and this whole manufactured myth of Christian persecution.

This simple test comes to mind when looking at the personal writings of our Founding Fathers, which mention God and the Bible fairly frequently, and trying to reconcile those documents and that thinking with the US Constitution which does not mention either even once in its 4,400 words.    A Chi-Square analysis of these personal writings versus the Constitution would indicate that they are in a word: Different.  In point of fact (and a little irony), those holding up more and more God and Bible-laced documents indicating the personal Christianity of those who wrote or signed the Constitution are only exacerbating this difference and further building the case that the Constitution was different than these personal writings and therefore not written to create a Christian state or even one ruled primarily by Christian laws.  It is as simple as that as it neither walks like a duck nor quacks.

Mike Huckabee (here with Kim Davis) is one of the biggest boosters to the idea of Christian persecution.
If you see Statistics as some sort of mumbo jumbo then how about thinking about this:  What are the chances of any body of folks founding a form of government based on Christianity not mentioning God, the Bible or even Jesus Christ in the foundation document?  You would think that one of the 49 signers would have raised alarm bells and called for edits that included mention of these figures or this text as well as the Ten Commandments.  But they did not and there are good and obvious reasons for that.  So please stop with these specious arguments that we were founded as a Christian nation, because we were not.

And once one crosses this we-were-founded-as-a-Christian-nation Rubicon then other untruths and miss-characterizations seem easier and easier with one being the idea of Christian persecution.  When one looks at this idea of Christian persecution and the examples given it is really, really hard to not see that all the examples of “persecution” seem tightly tied to Christians attempting to force their values on others essentially denying the others their Constitutional rights.   This myth appears more based on persecution by Christians rather than persecution of Christians.

Bobby Jindal awarded a sword by Louisiana Family Forum President Gene Mills.  Governor Jindal is evidently one of the ambassadors of Dominionism.  
I think that I would see this transparent action to protect the Christian "brand" in a better light if we saw the likes of Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal and others arguing for the US to become a theocracy, if they balanced their Christian persecution rhetoric by also condemning the varied abuses of Christianity such as the beating death of the teenager in New York, the abuse to young women handed out by Warren Jeffs’ twisted sect, the avoidable death of the child in Oregon denied medical treatment, and the constant violence and other abuse ladled out liberally by the KKK and other Christian-based hate groups.  It is hard to balance the headliner “tragedy” of Kim Davis’ near-country-club-like jail experience with being whipped by a rope, raped at an early age, dying when you shouldn’t or being lynched or dragged behind a truck for the “sin” of being black.   To stand up and make a big deal of one while ignoring the other strikes me as decidedly un-Christian.
Climate change is not science, it’s religionSenator Ted Cruz on Glenn Beck 
In closing, I look at the above quote by Senator Ted Cruz as telling and another nail in the coffin of this revisionist group’s credibility.  For the good Senator and others of his sort climate change is all about religion as their opposition to the idea that it is caused by humans or that it needs regulatory attention is clearly based on faith rather than evidence or logic.  But for the rest of us we live in the land of logic and evidence and those indicate that our country was founded purposely as a country that separated religion from governance, was against persecution from all quarters, and if it embraced any Christian principles per se they are embodied by the ideas of tolerance, broad charity, and looking after the welfare of our fellow citizens which—ironically—seem to be some of the first victims of this crowd.  Go figure.

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