There is no “war on religion”

If you turn on the tv, read the news, use facebook or twitter, you’ve probably read all the stories on Phil Robertson and his anti-gay remarks.  You’ve also probably heard the old ‘It’s not happy holidays, it’s MERRY CHRISTMAS’ thing, too.  If you’re friends with any group of christian people on any social network, you’ve likely read the complaints of taking prayer out of schools.  Religious people – specifically Christian people – like to think that there is some governmental, media hyped war on religion and religious freedom of speech.  I’m here to say that this is simply not true.  It’s important to look at facts first, read things in context, and in doing so you’ll find that this so-called war just doesn’t exist.

In this post, I am hoping to take some of the most common christian arguments and not debunk them, but counter-argue them with actual facts.

Argument #1 – the United States is a Christian Nation – False

The United States was founded on freedom of AND freedom from religion.  When it comes to religion, our ‘founding fathers’ (as we like to put it) came here in hopes to escape the European law of religion.  As a country, we are free to pursue our own happiness – this includes whether or not one affiliates themselves with a religion or not.  Therefor, we are NOT a christian nation, we are a nation of diversity built up of many different cultures, beliefs, and standards.

Argument #2 – Business should say Merry Christmas, not just Happy Holidays – False

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas as a holiday, everyone is entitled to freedom of speech; I don’t think Jews will be celebrating Christmas, but I doubt they’re offended one way or the other.  It seems like christians are the only group of people who would actually take it personally should someone say ‘Happy Kwanza’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah’.  Regardless, a business has the right to choose what they display on their own properties.

Because our country is filled with people of different cultures, ethnicities, religions, etc., there is a wide range of holidays spanning from November to December.  Christmas is known to be a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Christ.  A great way to accommodate ALL the holidays, is to simply wish people ‘Happy Holidays.’  We’ve been saying it almost as long as we’ve said ‘Merry Christmas’ – so what’s the big deal?

Argument #3 – Being gay is a choice – False

This is a controversial subject, but I really think it’s important to address.  While the term ‘gay gene’ has been a bit overused, evidence strongly suggests that sexual orientation is inherited genetically.  I won’t dive in too much on the biology of sexual orientation, but here’s an article on Wikipedia that can help you understand it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biology_and_sexual_orientation

Let me give you an analogical example – let’s say you don’t like the taste of carrots.  Did you choose not to like the taste of carrots, or is it something that naturally comes to you?  Do you condemn people who like carrots?  Should we outlaw carrots from being sold in grocery stores because it’s not natural to like carrots?  While sexual orientation isn’t anything like food, it is obvious that there are various preferences and tendencies that we inherit genetically – sexual orientation is no exception.  Again, studies have shown that sexual orientation is inherited genetically.

Argument #4 – Prayer and religion has been taken out of schools – False

While it is true there is separation between church and state, when it comes to school, students can practice any religion they want on school grounds.  Students are allowed to pray, read a religious book, start religious clubs, talk to other people about their religion, etc.  What is NOT allowed is making students practice any religion.  If a teacher was muslim, and he/she made all the students pray to his/her god, how would christian families feel?  The answer is obvious.  Now, turn the tables; if a christian teacher made his/her students pray to his/her god, how would muslim or jewish families feel?  Again, the students can practice any religion they want – they CAN’T, however be forced by a teacher to practice any religion.

And now onto a more up-to-date subject…

Argument #5 – A&E is discriminating against Phil Robertson and Christians for suspending him – False

Phil Robertson has the right to say and do what he wants.  Likewise, A&E has the right to say and do what they want – and both of them did.  Phil Robertson didn’t just say ‘homosexuality is biblically wrong’ or ‘I don’t believe this or that’…what he did do is make a diminishing, disgusting, and offensive analogy comparing homosexuals to people who rape animals – aka, he compared homosexuality to bestiality.  Not only are the two not alike, but the very idea someone would make a comparison like that is just appalling.  A&E’s move to suspend him was a very light punishment for such a derogatory statement.

Interestingly enough, this same person went on to suggest that men marry teenage girls: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/duck-dynasty-phil-robertson-teenage-girls/story?id=21278832

I’ll end this here for now.  I hear a TON of things from religious people, considering the fact my family is extremely conservative and religious, and I used to be involved in religion myself.   Are you religious?  I’d love to hear your response, and address any arguments or cases you may have!  I’ll continue to share and respond to various arguments via this blog post.  This is an interesting and topic – and a multitude of subtopics – and it’s necessary that we discuss it honestly, openly, and factually.