In response to the opinion article titled “Leave Christians Alone Already!” by Logan Howe, published in The Prospector, Vol. 15, Issue 2, Winter of 2011.
“You won’t believe what he wrote.”
I didn’t think too much of it when my friend passed me a copy of The Prospector as we were riding in his van towards my place. I was used to some unusual things showing up in that paper; after all, I had worked on it for two years, spending one semester as the editor of web content. I casually flipped through the first few pages. Unremarkable. Bad drivers. Breast cancer. The usual newspaper fare. Then I came to the page my friend had warned me about; it was a wall of text built around some scrawl of a 15th-century Templar in full raiment, a zweihänder in the grasp of his gauntlet, and altogether looking rather fearsome. The title sprang into my ears with the sound of a child’s whining: “Leave Christians alone already!” It was shrill, screeching on the page. While I could feel bile rising, I couldn’t help but let out a chuckle.
I have never been a fan of Christianity; it has caused far too much contention in my world. All these people around me feeling the need to exert their Christian “love” upon me in the forms of corner street-preaching, door-knocking, and televangelism. I had lost friends and lovers who felt themselves caught up in the sweeping wave of unreasonable Christian faith, taking them far beyond where I could even begin to reach them. Of course, this could just be because I’m a little island in that sea. An atheist, one of a handful I know personally. Where I don’t see reason in a person, I see hypocrisy. When I see neither: delusion.
Delusion was all I saw when I read through that wretched article. It was full of veiled promises of persecution, and an utterly wrongful belief that he, himself as a Christian was the one persecuted! You see, good reader, you may or may not know that Christianity is rife in our culture, boasting an impressive 76% (as of 2008) share of our nation’s collective insanity. Almost every single elected official and representative in our country, our entire country, claims Christianity as their fiction of choice. Compare this to roughly 16% of this great land who claim no religion (boiled down to finer numbers, that gives us about four percent who actually identify as atheist or agnostic). And Mr. Howe also seems to take exception to Muslims, whom he feels are overprotected. They don’t even get a whole percentage point to themselves in the US, weighing in at a measly 0.6%. With these numbers in mind, we see how irrational his fear of persecution really is. A hefty and undeniable majority in fear of such a small number of us? It is as if an elephant were feeling a flea hop up its backside, fearing rape.
And the college. This demonic, Christian-hating, nowhere-to-run, nowhere-to-hide college. Yuba College is an innocent victim in this matter (though guilty in so many others…), dragged in and ravaged by the persistent pen of this uninformed and impressionable man. Any student can say what they want about religion; it’s called free speech. Any professor can say what they want about religion; it’s called academic freedom. In the end, they can’t stop you from being a Christian, even at school; the free practice of religion is as protected at that college as it has been at any point in time since its construction, and perhaps even more so now. The Free Speech Zone has been host to several of my (heh-heh) friends spouting their religion like so much sewage. Never once did they find themselves at the mercy of some bloodthirsty mob or the end of a gun at the campus. Mr. Howe would be hard-pressed to even find a way to land himself in such a predicament. Unless he brought his crusader’s sword to school.
Gay marriage. He lost right away on this one. He thinks marriage is a religious institution. It’s not; it’s a public institution, and all citizens must have free and equal access to it under the law. Were marriage solely under the guidance of churches, they could be as discriminate as they pleased with regard to who wound up in holy matrimony under their roofs. But it’s not, and the church-folk don’t have the authority to steer our legal system to their preferences.
I didn’t read the full article that day in my friend’s van. I couldn’t; I slipped it into my computer bag, hoping to summon the fortitude to finish it later. We joked about it a bit, because that’s what It was to me at that moment: a bad joke. I didn’t laugh, and neither should you. Why? Because, as I realized when I finished that article, for every one of us who saw that article as a warning, there are a dozen more like Mr. Howe who would see it as battle standard, reassuring each other that the faith has honed their blades and tempered their armor, and that they are ready for the clarion call.
Now, dear reader: you must think this terribly rude of me, but we must part here so that I may have a private conversation with Mr. Howe. So please, turn away. Put down your paper or close your browser. Don’t worry; we’ll talk again soon.
Yeah, that’s what we call you. The back row from Burgeson’s World Religions class. You remember, right? I certainly do, and I remember the way you held your middle finger aloft after our little “conversation.” You are truly the pinnacle of Christian benevolence. I certainly hope that you didn’t think your article would go unanswered. Your false persecution complex is as pathetic as it is entertaining, as is the biggest and most obvious contradiction in your article. You cry and whine so much for others to leave you poor little powerless Christians alone, while claiming to revel in any challenge to the virtue and veracity of your faith and your god. If I may quote: “Bring ‘em on! A crusader is always ready to do battle for the Lord!”