The Overlooked “-ism”
The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion – the government cannot stop you from believing one thing or disbelieving another. No one disputes this, and the right to your own thoughts is considered by many to be our most valuable right. After all, without our own opinions, what else do we have? If this is really true, why do we always overlook violence and hatred based on religion overseas? And the slowly increasing intolerance and persecution of Christianity in our own country?
For instance, a worldwide study conducted two to three years ago found that 100,000 Christians are killed for their faith every year. The Arab Spring revolutions that occurred since then can only have exacerbated matters. And it is not only in the Middle East – although they are the worst offenders – where Christians and other religions face oppression. There is the Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe, the government killings of over a million in Sudan and South Sudan, and China, home to one of the largest and fastest-growing Christian populations in the world (Black). How many people in America even heard about any of this?
Which brings us back here to the United States. While we don’t face as dramatic an issue as thousands of deaths per year, intolerance towards Christians is growing at an alarming rate – and freedom of religion is becoming freedom from religion. For years, I have had to deal with “jokes” about Catholics being pedophiles, hearing that I believe in fairy tales, that my religion is mythology, my faith is false hope, and hearing that all Christians are hateful and insensitive. And at the same time, the government is mandating that we Christians must defer on issues like abortion and healthcare coverage of contraception, even if it violates our basic religious beliefs.
But the issue here is not about legislation. It’s about faithism, which deserves the same status as racism and sexism. We say we fight for equality and civil rights, but we continue to overlook atrocities committed around the world and treat people unjustly at home. There is no difference between religious discrimination and racism or homophobia, and it’s about time people stopped acting like there is.
Work Cited: Black, Conrad. “Global Persecution of Christians.” Nationalreview.com. National Review Online, 9 Feb. 2012. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.