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Christians on the Warpath

Wednesday, Mar. 29, 2006 11:44 AM

Just what is it with the evangelical Christians? They seem to be declaring war faster than their fundamentalist Islamic counterparts can scream, "Jihad!"

In this case, we're talking about a two-day conference entitled, "The War on Christians and Values Voters in 2006."

Among the speakers was that paragon of ethical behavior, Tom DeLay, denouncing America as a society that provides abortion on demand, and, "... often treats Christianity as a second-rate superstition."

I suppose when one feels compelled to praise God on their money, insert God into the Pledge of Allegiance, and display monuments based on the Ten Commandments, it can be viewed as such.

But I'm not the one doing it, Tom.

Other heroes of the hour included James Klingenschmitt, the Navy Chaplain who was disciplined for offering a sectarian prayer at a memorial service for a fallen sailor, and an artist whose work featuring Christian themes was barred from an art show ... until the city was threatened with a lawsuit.

But, in the end, Klingenschmitt was reinstated and allowed to invoke Jesus' name (though it is still Navy policy to respect diverse faiths through non-sectarian prayer), and the artist's works were put on display.

There is no war. Being asked to respect other faiths and lifestyles is not the same as being told you cannot worship Christ. Nobody's forced you into hiding or secret worship, and the secret police aren't tapping your phones. The Pope is alive and well - you can even send him e-mail.

What is faith? Is it comprised solely of external symbols and practices, or does it run deeper? Can I truly take it away from you by depriving you of material goods and secular marks of status? At what point does faith become something that can be destroyed, and isn't it the faith-holder who has the final say?

To declare that there is a war is to declare that your faith can be taken away from you. That somehow, in this global, interconnected society, it's possible to make Christ and Christianity disappear or fade from memory.

Declaring that there is a War on Christians is the spiritual equivalent of reality television, and about as meaningful.

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