THE BLOG
07/31/2014 02:18 pm ET Updated Sep 30, 2014

War on Christianity?

When Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, was asked how LGBTQ couples could form a meaningful relationship in a country often hostile to gay people, he responded without a sense of irony that "The bigotry question goes both ways. And there is a lot more anti-Christian bigotry today than there is on the other side."

Hearing elected officials alleging U.S. based Christian persecution is surprisingly common given the prominent position of Christianity in all walks of American life. It used to be that just the unelected extreme religious right that would use the tactic of pretending the majority was an embattled underdog. The early darling of ultra-conservative Christianity, Ralph Reed, was famous for saying in 1991: "I do guerrilla warfare ... I paint my face and travel at night. You don't know it's over until you're in a body bag. You don't know until election night." But it seemed that despite the Christian Coalition's departure from the political scene, Reed and others were ultimately successful as their ideological colleagues now walk the halls of Congress. With the blaring megaphones of politicians, they assert false claims of a U.S. "War on Christianity."

Failed GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum may be the right-wing champion in the War on Christianity. Santorum believes Christians are fighting a war against extinction, referring constantly to what Ronald Reagan said in his 1967 California governor's inaugural address, "Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction." Santorum points to his own claim that Christians discriminating against those in the LGBT community will be forced into re-education camps as "proof" of Christian persecution and part of this war on Christianity. Santorum's fervor is so intense that his film company, EchoLight Studios, will soon release One Generation Away: the Erosion of Religious Liberty - a documentary-style film focusing on the disintegration of religious freedom across the country.

According to Right Wing Watch, Texas Representative Louie Gohmert made a statement that President Obama and his administration has "gone to war with Christianity" because, according to Gohmert, "you can't practice what you believe... this administration will tell you what religious practices you can participate in and what you can't." And previous Republican Party nominee for Vice President, Sarah Palin spoke at Liberty University in December of 2013 saying, "Those who want to try to abort Christ from Christmas... these are angry atheists armed with an attorney, they are not the majority of Americans..." Only in this supposed war against Christianity are attorneys considered artillery.

However popular the War on Christianity may seem, it is simply a fallacy in the United States. When it comes to holding office, since 1869 "every [American] president has been affiliated with a Christian church," whereas an atheist has never been president. A Pew survey conducted in 2013 revealed overwhelmingly that the American Public is still much more likely to vote for a Christian candidate as opposed to an atheist, and generally, as opposed to atheists, Americans feel more favorably towards Christians. Amidst all the talk of religious persecution, Christmas is still the only religious holiday that is federally recognized with a holiday. Political humorist Bill Maher pointed out that when Eric Cantor leaves after being booted from office, there will be "no non-Christian Republicans in Congress."

The truth is, Christianity is not under fire in the United States and it is ridiculous to think it is. Sarah Palin was right on one point, atheists are not the majority in this country, Christians are, and they are over-represented on Capitol Hill and in other positions of influence. There is no American war on Christianity and masquerading the fight for religious imposition as a fight to protect Christians from this fabricated war is offensive to those truly suffering prejudice and persecution. Fundamentalist Christians should stop subverting religious freedom for all by dropping the religious war metaphors and ceasing their efforts to use the power of government to impose their faith on others.

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