This sentiment turns up on my Facebook feed quite often:
The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.
I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians.
I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.
This Stein “confession” (really a rant) goes on about how it’s okay to question the Bible, but not newspapers (patently untrue, just check the comical stylings of any comment section for any news article), that kids today have no conscience (arguable on any given day), and blah blah blah the world is going to hell because God is being pushed out, etc. Boilerplate rhetoric for a majority posing as minority, because being the minority is “cool” in the way everyone loves an underdog. It’s faintly annoying when hearing such from working people expressing (justifiable) rage at an establishment that’s long sold them out; at least from them, there’s genuine feeling, if misguided. From rich, right-wing Ben Stein, it’s insufferable because it’s so cynically designed to distract people from the real ways their futures are being determined: not by secular humanists, or even assholes like Richard Dawkins, but by businessmen thumping Bibles.
Let’s face facts: in America, Christians are not some oppressed minority whose rights are being trampled on. Christianity, in the grand tradition of all religions, has seeped its way into the halls of power over the course of America’s relatively short lifetime. It’s been made a part of our slogans (“God Bless America!”), it’s been inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance, it’s been printed on our currency, and it’s even made itself a deciding factor on whether candidates are suited for office (That non-issue of whether Barack Obama was Christian or Muslim? Does anyone think he would’ve been elected at all if he was neither, and admitted such?), all long after the founding of the country. Religious interests are so strong in this country, a group from one state can muscle through legislation in another state in order to deny certain people equal rights, as happened with Prop 8 in California. Despite atheists and agnostics being roughly 20% of the American population, only one Congressman (Pete Stark) has ever admitted to being either. But, to hear so many religious folk crying about how they’re being “pushed around,” you would think their interests weren’t being catered to by governments and businesses every year, including the “liberal, godless” media that consistently peddles Christianity to the masses. Except their leaders have their fingers in the pie, so statements like this are baffling:
I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.
Except no one has expressed that. The argument is that America is a secular nation (big difference), an interpretation drawn from the First Amendment (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”). America is a nation for all religious views, which includes not believing in any of it. If you don’t like it, tough shit.
I do have to admire the gall, though. While I’m constantly having to put up with family members expecting me to pray to a god I don’t believe in before eating, or being given some annoying lecture about how I’ll “come around,” I’m also being accused of ramming my beliefs down Christians’ throats just for saying “No thank you.”
Ben Stein is not brave for writing this hooey. Neither is anyone sharing it on the internet. They’re falling in line with the establishment that says “God loves you” with one hand but says “He’s punishing you” if a hurricane demolishes your city and your home with the other. The same establishment that declared lands belonging to the Indians as theirs because God willed it, justifying years of genocide. The same establishment that over centuries has performed witch trials, inquisitions, and holy wars. An establishment that has escalated its arrogance at the same pace as the methods to back them up (swords to guns to bombs to drones) But, clearly, it’s people not wanting the Bible taught as science in schools that are the problem. After finishing his tantrum, Stein closes nonsensically:
Pass it on if you think it has merit.
If not, then just discard it. No one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.
This is the mark of establishment, privilege, and the powerful. Stein, like his fellow Republican cronies, complains his views are being stifled, yet it’s plain in his speech there’s no interest in dialogue. Only the believers are allowed in the circle, and only then if they join hands and pray the rest of us are murdered in fire and brimstone. That isn’t concern for society, or the shape of the world, it’s only concern with not wanting to admit their own callousness.
I’m tired of it.