Real Oppression

Sheelzebub’s post about Christian bigots is a good reminder of how detached from reality a majority that feels dispossessed can be. I’m not making any apologies here: people who rant about how the US (or Europe) oppresses whites, Christians, men, “decent people,” and so on are idiots. Plain and simple.

In Saudi Arabia, Christians are not allowed to build churches. The state tolerates their religious practices as long as they’re confined to their homes, but does not allow them to practice Christianity in public. The same applies to any religion but Islam; Indian migrant workers have no hope of finding a Hindu temple to worship in. That’s oppression.

In the US, Christian children are allowed to pray in school iff they aren’t led or dragooned by teachers and pray during recess. Occasionally, when the Christian majority will abuse its powers and find an opportunity to pray that excludes religious minorities, the ACLU will file suit; if the religious minorities in question are lucky, they won’t be harassed or persecuted by angry Christian mobs. That’s oppression, too, but Christians aren’t the ones who are being oppressed.

Portraying one’s group as oppressed regardless of the facts has a long history, going all the way back to countless ancient populist struggles. Hitler didn’t rise to power by promising to abuse non-Aryans, but by promising to protect Aryans from outside humiliation and inventing a communist repression of Germany that didn’t exist. Just because you don’t get everything done your way doesn’t make you oppressed; it makes you less than an absolute dictator.

If you want to convince me you’re actually oppressed, you have to do better than rant about the evil ACLU/patriarchy/hegemony/Jewish conspiracy. If all you can give me is a heartwrenching anecdote, then all I can give you is an “Oh, that sucks” sympathy. Look, women and minorities are at best severely underrepresented in legislatures and routinely discriminated against in employment, and at worst confined to their homes and ghettos respectively. Gays are legally discriminated against and legally harassed. The religious groups that claim to be oppressed are often the ones that are perpetrating those persecutions.

9 Responses to Real Oppression

  1. j4jesus says:

    As an evangelical Christian, I have to say “here, here” and “quite right, old chap”. The evangelical church has done far too much complaining about how it is now oppressed by the government. In fact, the evangelical church has forsaken its true mission in the world and has chosen, instead, to take up the cause of political transformation. As such, most Jesus-followers have equated good Christian behavior with voting Republican and have forgotten that Jesus outlined a whole code of behavior (See Matthew 5-7) that is radically opposed to the political activism so popular amongst so called “conservative” or “liberal” Christians. In fact, I’m even beginning to wonder just how much God cares about which way I vote. Perhaps, when I vote, I am just taking part in perpetuating the same old broken, world systems that just have absolutely no power to really transform the world.

  2. rod. says:

    Alon,

    A bit off-topic, but I have just come a somewhat outrageous article, and I figured you might wanna take a look at it: http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/1150

    cheers,
    rod.

  3. I’ve heard it said that fundie Xians feel oppressed when other points of view are tolerated.

  4. Alon Levy says:

    J4Jesus, it’s always good to be skeptical when someone tells you that a revered work requires you to vote for ___. It applies to scripture first and foremost – in the first century there were no Democrats and Republicans – but even to other works people hold in high esteem, like constitutions. It’s all about which candidate or party you think will do the most good.

    Rod, I can hardly think of a single Western supremacist fiction and lie that doesn’t make the article. Skipping the role of the Enlightenment in changing Western thought? Check. Valorizing the Dark Ages? Check. Pretending the US is a Christian state? Check. Ignoring Scandinavia’s economic performance? Check.

    Hearty Heretic, it’s not just religious fanatics; it’s all radicals. In principle I have a series about radical pathologies, which Christian fanatics, Muslim fanatics, radical leftists of various stripes, fascists, and Objectivists share. In practice, I’ve been procrastinating writing about pathology #5, extremism, for about a month now.

  5. Pseudonym says:

    The thing that annoys me the most about this is that it cheapens the word “oppression”.
    There is real oppression of Christianity in the world. Christianity is, today, the most oppressed religion. (This should not be surprising, since it’s the biggest religion in the world.) But almost exactly none of this persecution is happening in the developed world.
    Saying that you’re oppressed because you have to wait until recess to pray out loud is offensive to the memory of people like Bashir Tantray and Graham Staines, to pick but two high-profile names.

  6. j4jesus says:

    Here, here Pseudonym.

  7. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. thank you

  8. gladiator says:

    How can I insert a tag cloud into my blog @ blogspot? I try using the gadget options but I can’t find a 3rd party one listed. Can someone please show we where to get one and how to install it?….

    How can I keep up with posts made on the Blogspot websites?…

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