Christian Privilege

This post is a contribution to the June Synchroblog: What’s In Your Invisible Knapsack?  The “Invisible Knapsack” is a term coined by Peggy McIntosh in her 1988 essay, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” Her short essay reflected on the unearned privileges that whites could count on each day, but about which they remained oblivious. This month’s synchroblog asks us to peek inside our own invisible knapsacks and discover what’s inside.  I will add a list of other posts to the end of this as they come available.

I come from a conservative, evangelical, Christian background and for many years I spent the majority of my time actively involved in a conservative, evangelical, Christian church.  In all the many times I attended a bible study, heard a sermon, participated in a small group discussion, went to a retreat, attended a conference I don’t remember much (other than the occasional remark about being grateful that we could practice our religion freely without fear) ever being said about the many privileges that Christians in the U.S. enjoy, or the powerful position that Christians in America hold, or how Christian privileges affect those who are not Christians.  In fact, it was not uncommon to hear someone say that Christians in the U.S. are victims and are persecuted and oppressed.

As a Christian, that perspective upsets me tremendously because Christians are one of the most privileged and powerful groups in America and yet the majority of Christians in America seem oblivious to how silly and self centered they appear when they complain about the “war on Christmas” or “not being allowed to pray in public schools” or “the ten commandments not being allowed to be posted in a government office”.  Not only is it insensitive to Christian’s in other parts of the world who are actually dealing with persecution and oppression but it is insensitive to those in the U.S. who are not Christians.  It’s as if anything short of total hegemony constitutes oppression.  And on top of that I am really appalled at the ways Christians go out of their way to find and use “loopholes” in laws in order for them to go on enjoying their privileges and ignoring the way their privileges infringe on others.

My youngest son graduated from high school this year and because he performed so well academically we attended quite a few ceremonies where he was recognized for his achievements.  At every single ceremony we attended, including the actual graduation ceremony, Christianity was front and center.  Whether in an opening or closing prayer, a song sung by a choir, words about God and faith in a speech – the insinuation was that Christianity was the normal thing, the accepted thing, the best thing, the right thing.  Most of the time no laws were being broken because the loopholes were being strategically implemented.  But even if a law was being broken who would push back?  Everyone there was aware that the Christians were in charge.

What bothered me the most was the self centered attitude which allowed these Christians to openly ignore the fact that there were people among them who were present who were not Christians.  These people were there either to be honored or to honor someone they knew and cared about.  It was a special evening for them too.  Yet, they were being treated as if they didn’t matter, as if they were not important, as if they were less than, second class, invisible. 

Is that how Christians should manage their privileges?  What happened to the idea of putting others interests above our own?  Shouldn’t we yield our own rights in order to be considerate of someone else’s feelings?  Do we really think that lording our rights over others is a positive demonstration of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ?

In January of this year Rep. Tim Scott of South Carolina said “The greatest minority under assault today are Christians.  No doubt about it.”

Where does that come from?  Do Christians really believe that?

No matter how you slice it, Christianity is not a minority.  It remains the world’s largest religion and more than 36% of Christians live in the U.S.

Wiccans, Pagans, Jews, Atheists, Muslims are all victims of persecution and oppression in America and yet any right or protection for any of these groups are often used by Christians to claim persecution of themselves.

As a Christian in the U.S.I am determined to become more aware of the unearned privileges that I enjoy in hopes that I will be more aware of how my privileges affect those who are not Christian so that I might act more justly in the days to come by being considerate and respectful of those who are not of the Christian faith.

Would you like to join me?

If so, here are 40 Christian privileges to get us started:

1. It is likely that state and federal holidays coincide with my religious practices, thereby having little to no impact on my job and/or education.

2. I can talk openly about my religious practices without concern for how it will be received by others.

3. I can be sure to hear music on the radio and watch specials on television that celebrate the holidays of my religion.

4. When told about the history of civilization, I can be sure that I am shown people of my religion.

5. I can worry about religious privilege without being perceived as “self-interested” or “self-seeking.”

6. I can have a “Jesus is Lord” bumper sticker or Ictus (Christian Fish) on my car and not worry about someone vandalizing my car because of it.

7. I can share my holiday greetings without being fully conscious of how it may impact those who do not celebrate the same holidays. Also, I can be sure that people are knowledgeable about the holidays of my religion and will greet me with the appropriate holiday greeting (e.g., Merry Christmas, Happy Easter, etc.).

8. I can probably assume that there is a universality of religious experience.

9. I can deny Christian Privilege by asserting that all religions are essentially the same.

10. I probably do not need to learn the religious or spiritual customs of others, and I am likely not penalized for not knowing them.

11. I am probably unencumbered by having to explain why I am or am not doing things related to my religious norms on a daily basis.

12. I am likely not judged by the improper actions of others in my religious group.

13. If I wish, I can usually or exclusively be among those from my religious group most of the time (in work, school, or at home).

14. I can assume that my safety, or the safety of my family, will not be put in jeopardy by disclosing my religion to others at work or at school.

15. It is likely that mass media represents my religion widely AND positively.

16. It is likely that I can find items to buy that represent my religious norms and holidays with relative ease (e.g., food, decorations, greeting cards, etc.).

17. I can speak or write about my religion, and even critique other religions, and have these perspectives listened to and published with relative ease and without much fear of reprisal.

18. I could write an article on Christian Privilege without putting my own religion on trial.

19. I can travel without others assuming that I put them at risk because of my religion; nor will my religion put me at risk from others when I travel.

20. I can be financially successful without the assumption from others that this success is connected to my religion.

21. I can protect myself (and my children) from people who may not like me (or them) based on my religion.

22. Law enforcement officials will likely assume I am a non-threatening person if my religion is disclosed to them. In fact, disclosure may actually help law enforcement officials perceive me as being “in the right” or “unbiased.”

23. I can safely assume that any authority figure will generally be someone of my religion.

24. I can talk about my religion, even proselytize, and be characterized as “sharing the word,” instead of imposing my ideas on others.

25. I can be gentle and affirming to people without being characterized as an exception to my religion.

26. I am never asked to speak on behalf of all Christians.

27. My citizenship and immigration status will likely not be questioned, and my background will likely not be investigated, because of my religion.

28. My place of worship is probably not targeted for violence because of sentiment against my religion.

29. I can be sure that my religion will not work against me when seeking medical or legal help.

30. My religion will not cause teachers to pigeonhole me into certain professions based of the assumed “prowess” of my religious group.

31. I will not have my children taken from me from governmental authorities who are aware of my religious affiliation.

32. Disclosure of my religion to an adoption agency will likely not prevent me from being able to adopt children.

33. If I wish to give my children a parochial religious education, I probably have a variety of options nearby.

34. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence and importance of my religion.

35. I can be sure that when someone in the media is referring to God, they are referring to my (Christian) God.

36. I can easily find academic courses and institutions that give attention only to people of my religion.

37. My religious holidays are so completely “normal” that, in many ways, they may appear to no longer have any religious significance at all.

38. The elected and unelected officials of my government probably are members of my religious group.

39. When swearing an oath, I am probably making this oath by placing my hand on the scripture of my religion.

40. I can openly display my religious symbol(s) on my person or property without fear of disapproval, violence, and/or vandalism.

Christian Privileges from Schlosser, L. Z. (2003). Christian privilege: Breaking a sacred taboo.

Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 31(1), 44-51

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Here are the other contributions for this month’s synchroblog:

Rebecca Trotter at The Upside Down World - The Real Reason the Term “White Privilege” Needs to Die

Carol Kuniholm at Words Half Heard - What Do You Have That You Didn’t Receive

Glenn Hager at Glenn Hager - Unjust Justice

K.W. Leslie at More Christ - Sharing From The Invisible Knapsack

Jeremy Myers at Till He Comes - My Black Privilege

Alan Knox at The Assembling Of the Church - Knowing Who You Are and How Others Identify You

Leah Sophia at desert spirit’s fire - backpack cargo

Liz Dyer at Grace Rules – Christian Privilege

Kathy Escobar at Kathy Escobar - privilege.


68 thoughts on “Christian Privilege

  1. General

    How about “You can assume that when you get married, you won’t have anyone refuse to attend/spread rumors about the activities that will take place during your ceremony.” Unfortunately my husband and I -did- in fact, simply elope as such drama unfolded within my family, and we judged it more important to have a ceremony that was of meaning to us and our faith than to those who assumed that our ceremony would be disrespectful, bloody and/or devil-worshipping.

    I practice a shamanic faith system, and I’m open about my beliefs, because I want to promote understanding and acceptance. I encourage that if anyone close to me (friends, family, etc.) has a question, they should feel free to ask me and I will share with them my perspective. However, I don’t feel the need to share randomly or excessively – if someone wants to know, then I hope they will ask. I feel that randomly expounding on what I believe to someone who never asked is disrespectful and assumptive, at the very least. Sadly, most often what happens is that even family members simply make up what I must believe or do, rather than ask me directly.

    As a customer service employee most of my life in retail stores, I’ve also been regaled by strangers as to why my beliefs are wrong and I should accept Jesus as my savior. Not because I shared my beliefs, but because the symbol that I wore at my neck (A celtic tree, at times a pentacle) apparently gave them permission to advise me as to my sins.

    Though I personally don’t have anything against those who practice Christianity, and count many as dear friends and family, I have often felt assaulted verbally and afraid to participate in conversations at my sons school, family gatherings and other events because of my beliefs. I love my Christian friends, with whom I often have interesting exchanges of ideas in a friendly fashion…I do wish that this were true of my experience as a whole.

    Reply
    1. Liz Post author

      Thanks for sharing your personal experience to illustrate how Christians treat people who have different beliefs. I am hoping that the upcoming generation of Christians will be more considerate and sensitive to this issue.

      Reply
      1. apallyon

        Liz, thanks for illustrating how #26 is absolutely false. When a Christian does or says something it is already assumed that they are the standard bearer for all Christians.

        Reply
        1. jkr

          apallyon, has that been your experience? My experience is that that’s sometimes true, sometimes not; and it depends enormously on the context. For instance, among many who identify themselves as Christians, I find that a person who does something positive is seen as a standard bearer, while someone who acts badly (however defined) is said to be “not a real Christian.”

          (And that’s not even including extreme outliers, like the guy who was paging through a magazine and exclaimed, “Now, that’s a Christian car!” at the sight of an ad for a particular luxury vehicle. I asked what made it Christian, and he explained that its luxury made it suitable for Christians because God would bless them and cause them to prosper. I do recognize that this might not be a majority view.)

          More seriously, even non-Christians tend to credit someone who’s behaving in a way they regard as godly with being a “good Christian” and to that extent a standard-bearer and representative. I think (and I read the original poster as saying) that the reverse is often true for “good” members of other faiths, who are often regarded as non-representative and exceptional.

          Reply
          1. apallyon

            jkr, yes it has been my experience, almost without exception. Part of the issue is starting off from different moral foundations. That being said, when a Christian does something the by the world as seen as “open minded, good, rational, etc,” the reply is more often than not, “I wish more Christians were like that.” However, when a Christian makes a mistake, or does something that is inline with their morality but not the worlds such as “have an affair, or express an opinion against gay marriage” the reply applies to universally to all Christians; “see, they’re all hypocrites, or Christians are so unloving and narrow-minded.”

            Liz beautifully showed that in practice by writing “how Christians treat people”. She automatically applied that negative behavior to all Christians and then pined about how the next generation of Christians will be more considerate.

            I’m encouraged that you seem to have had a different experience.

            Reply
            1. Liz Post author

              The idea here was not to represent all Christians – the idea here is to help Christians recognize any unearned and invisible privilege they enjoy and how that affects others. There probably isn’t anyone who enjoys all of these privileges – the idea is for the list to help people recognize the privileges they do enjoy. However, not everyone is interested in doing this and so to those (which I assume includes you) I would say disregard the list.

            2. Trish

              Firstly, I’m the poster that was listed as General originally..I’m not actually sure why it replaced my name with that one, but it did. I’m not sure how much of the replies under my post were directed toward what I posted, since it was directed to Liz, but I did want to make something clear.

              I do not overwhelmingly paint ‘christians’ with one brush, as I am a great believer in giving others the respect that I would like to have for myself. I looked over what I originally wrote to be sure, but I wanted to clarify that I do in fact have good experiences of those of the christian faith being interested in a dialogue and exchange of ideas, not being condemning simply because I am a pagan, open to learning and accepting of the fact that even if we don’t completely share the same beliefs, we can still be friendly, accepting and loving toward one another, not to mention civil.

              The article as I read it was regarding the rights that those of the christian faith take for granted that some of the rest of us do not as a rule enjoy. Things like being able to openly speak from your belief system without being assumed to be evil or at the very least uneducated, or being able to attend school where you can learn about all different beliefs without one being assumed to be the most accepted therefore most credible.

              I would no more recommend someone as being a good pagan, therefore morally superior and trustworthy than I would refer to someone as a good christian – I simply would like a world where that was the accepted rule. For example, I would like for it not to be assumed that because I am not christian, I don’t come from the same moral base. From my perspective, morals are not exclusively christian and the majority of people I know do in fact hold the same truths so far as wrong and right at the basic level. This only differs when one comes down to the more controversial things like sexuality, marriage, religion, eating habits, etc.

              That doesn’t mean I believe that christians are horrible people – on the contrary, I simply think that because of the privileges that Liz points out that are taken for granted, many people who are christian simply don’t recognize that they do, in fact, enjoy priveleges that those of us in other belief systems simply don’t. Perhaps Liz should have prefaced her comment as how ‘some’ christians treat people; however, it’s an honest view when that is the majority of the experience (and it has, unfortunately, been mine). Particularly when those not of the christian faith are habitually painted with the same brush assumptively when it is a very, very small minority that perpetrate those behaviors.

              We can say for example all pagans being assumed to be wiccan, all wiccans assumed to be devil worshippers, muslims now being assumed to be extremists who hate americans and want to bomb us, etc. This isn’t simply personal experience..it’s borne out in the media and popular culture. It’s not a stab and condemnation at christians…it’s simply a recognition of the state of things that is necessary if we want to make changes so that everyone can enjoy the same status and freedoms not just with lip service, but in actuality.

        2. The_L

          I think the point of it was that when certain religious minorities pop up, we automatically assume that All Jews/Hindus/Pagans/Muslims are just like that person, which we’re much less likely to assume about Christians.

          Reply
    2. sacredwander

      As a Jew, I just blogged on this topic and it is people like you who make me proud to be American and grateful for my dear friends of various spiritual practices. You are wise and well-written. Blog on!

      Reply
  2. qmommad

    Privilege:

    I was raised a Baptist by immigrants, but also enjoyed the fellowship of EUB Methodist, Episcopalian and Presbyterian before studying comparative religion and converting to Catholicism.
    I have lived most of my adult life overseas in countries where my family and I were indeed the minorities— religious, economic and racial. Our reaction to religious inequalities (specifically) is similar to those comments already made. You say nothing to the disparity, and ultimately, you do \”get used to it\”. In many countries, however, our inaction was for personal safety and protection. We were not allowed to practice our Christian religion, as this was disrespectful and considered diabolically contradictory to the host religion. To speak out is to be severely punished, as is mandated, often to the point of death. There is no discernment or concern for those who think/believe differently.
    America was designed as \”One Nation Under God\”, and to many, that still means Christianity. In the USA, freedom of religion accompanies freedom of speech, which also means freedom to disagree, rights afforded to all under the US Constitution. We celebrate diversity to the point of apologizing for the inapropriate actions of others done long before our own enlightenment. Christians sometimes feel they are being persecuted because their voices and sensitivities are being drowned out by the stronger, more vocal minorities in their locality.
    The fact is, our demographics in America have changed/continue to change—to grow IS to change, thankfully. Change for some is \”all or nothing\”, however. Do we practice diversity by \”watering down\” our heart-felt convictions, or do we pick and choose what religions can be honored simply to be progressive/politically correct? Does \”tradition\” about what was never questioned before trump \”separation of church and state\”? Should we celebrate all religious events of every religion, or mandate no public religious displays at all, in misguided fairness? Who gets to decide for all of us? A slippery slope, to be sure.
    Religion is the personal practice of our spiritual faith and beliefs. It should not be at the expense of another\’s religious freedom. Ultimately we should strive to practice tolerance across the board, to essentially preserve the freedoms others fought and died to secure for us.

    Reply
    1. Dale Toy

      “America was designed as \’One Nation Under God\’”

      A common misbelief and yet another example of exactly what the author is talking about. Even the phrase, “One nation, under God” was not a part of the American lexicon until 1954 when it was added to the Pledge of Allegiance. The pledge should read, “I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Once again an example of Christian privilege rearing its intolerant head and deciding that its agenda of dominionism is more important than the desires of anyone and everyone who walks another path.

      The facts are, for those honest enough to accept them, that the Founding Fathers made it clear in no uncertain terms that whatever their religious beliefs might be, (and before you say it, no, while a majority of them were Christian, many were Diests) their intent was that there be a “wall of separation” between church and state. The origin of that phrase was Jefferson. The 1797 Treaty of Tripoli was read aloud on the floor of the Senate in its entirety, approved unanimously by Congress and signed into law by Founding Father John Adams. Article 11 of said treaty made the following statement, “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” That sounds to me like a pretty clear-cut statement on what the Founding Fathers INTENDED.

      What has actually happened is a different story entirely. Christianity as it’s taught by many denominations is really no different than the Manifest Destiny policies of our earlier years…the, “If you ain’t Christian, you ain’t s#!t,” approach, with the goal of converting every human being on the planet to its beliefs. It leaves no room for diversity or difference in beliefs. Islam is exactly the same, which has and will continue to be the cause of hatred and war. This is a sad legacy for belief systems that claim to provide a “moral compass” for their followers. When your religion’s greatest teacher taught love, compassion and forgiveness, especially for the dregs of society, and all his followers can get out of it is hate, intolerance and an actively encouraged sense of superiority, each and every Christian should take a seriously long and hard look at what they really believe.

      Here’s a challenge for all Christians. Take a Red Letter edition of the Bible and just read the parts in red and whatever immediately preceding lines may be necessary to understand the context. I did this, and that’s when I realized how much I’d been misled. I walked away from the church right after, having realized the hypocrisy and corrupted message it was sending. Not that I had a major issue with what Jesus said, but the majority of the things most denominations teach are contrary to those things.

      I won’t fault anyone for being a Christian, but I will fault you for not even understanding your own religion. I’ll fault you even more for rewriting history when it comes to my country.

      Reply
      1. Dale Toy

        One slight addendum to this. A good friend of mine who passed away last year was a pagan. He was found of a truism he created. “We have religious freedom in this country. You’re free to be whatever kind of Christian you want to be.”

        That about sums it up.

        Reply
          1. Liz Post author

            Dale, Thank you for your reply and for setting the record straight about “one nation under God” and how our founding father’s did not favor Christianity over any other religion. Like you, in recent years I have also been appalled at how far some of the ideas and attitudes of Christians are from what Jesus taught. The truism you shared really hits the nail on the head!

            Reply
      2. qmommad

        WOW, Dale. Agree or disagree, you certainly have a right to your opinions. My intro was purely biographical, specifically about a desire to further tolerance, reflecting my own experiences and background. I appreciate the historical lesson of America and Christianity (I admit I learned a few things I truly didnt know).
        I will, however, respond directly to your ire, which appears to be focused on one statement that I made (“one nation under God”), NOT gleened from my religion (as inferred). I humbly stand corrected. You were right to make the correction for others to benefit from your research, but I take issue with your judgemental attitude that presupposes my lack of historical knowlege makes me and my belief system inferior to your own.
        My opinion was simply that…my opinion. I sincerely regret that your personal experiences reflect your intolerance of religion, but I have no desire to “convert” you anymore than you could convince me that my faith is flawed. Isnt that the point of this exercise, NOT to impose judgements or practice intolerance?
        In a seach for commonality and support, my comments were clearly misunderstood, but they were no less innocently made and truly supportive of the author’s overall premise.

        Reply
        1. AQ

          How about this:

          I used to be Christian. I left (indeed, ran screaming) because of the culture of intolerance that is so prevalent within Christianity–a culture that is based on a book that paints the Abrahamic god as an abusive and petty individual who can only gain and keep followers through threats and intimidation.

          I don’t think your comments were “misunderstood” at all. Your comments were in exactly the same vein as those of other ecclesiastical bullies who don’t like that those that they bully are fighting back.

          Reply
        2. Liz Post author

          qmommad – your sentence stating “America was designed as \”One Nation Under God\” sounds like you were stating it as fact and not as opinion so I think it was reasonable for Dale to respond to it – especially considering the fact that many, many, many Christians in the U.S. believe and state that America was designed to be a Christian nation.

          Reply
  3. Robert

    I take exception to number 24. All too often ‘Christians’ who are ‘talking about their religion’ or ‘proselytizing’ ARE attempting to impose their ideas on others.

    Reply
    1. Dale Toy

      Robert, you completely missed the point. “24. I can talk about my religion, even proselytize, and be characterized as “sharing the word,” instead of imposing my ideas on others.” The author simply stated that most others, being Christian themselves, will not see any of these actions for what they really are. Instead, they’ll see them as simply “witnessing,” not grasping that that very act is “…imposing my ideas on others.”

      Reply
    2. Liz Post author

      I agree that they are attempting to impose their ideas on others. The point is that most Christians won’t be perceived as that in a Christian culture. In a Christian culture they will usually be seen as “sharing their faith”.

      Reply
  4. Suz Just Suz

    There are seven states in the country in which atheists and agnostics can not, by state constitution, hold office. In some of those states, by the same articles, they can not testify in court.

    Arkansas, Article 19, Section 1
    Maryland, Article 37
    Mississippi, Article 14, Section 265
    North Carolina, Article 6, Section 8
    South Carolina, Article 17, Section 4
    Tennessee, Article 9, Section 2
    Texas, Article 1, Section 4

    I think it’s fair to say that as a Christian you have the privilege of knowing that you can testify in court and hold office in every state in the country and will not be denied same for your beliefs.

    Reply
  5. Annie

    I do think Christians overplay the sense in which they are persecuted in the US–which is to say I’m with you in thinking it’s somewhere between silly and insulting for Christians to assert that they are actively persecuted here. But there are a number of things on this list that strike me as flat false. At the least, they seem largely dependent on one’s community and the form of Christianity one practices. These things may be more true of a certain kind of middle of the road mainline protestantism. Wander very far from that, and it gets trickier. I think if there’s a Christian privilege, it’s being able to fly under the radar and let everyone assume whatever they want about your Christianity.

    But that doesn’t mean I wanted to tell just anybody I was leaving an academic conference for half a day to venerate the body of a dead saint. And that means #2, not so true for me all the time. I am very careful who I tell about some of what I practice religiously.

    Reply
    1. Liz Post author

      Annie – I agree with everything you said – there are some on the list that wouldn’t apply in my case either. I probably didn’t make it clear enough but what I had in mind is that a person would read through the list and identify the privileges that applied to themselves and maybe even think of something that is not on the list. The point would be for anyone interested to be more aware of their unearned privileges and how they manage their unearned privileges. I should have explained better. Thanks for pointing this out.

      Reply
  6. ckuniholm

    I’ve lived all my life in the Northeast, and know plenty of Christians who complain of being oppressed because they can no longer display Christian symbols in public places, or assume everyone will welcome a “Merry Christmas” greeting.

    Your list of questions is a good one. I find myself puzzled that Christians who claim “we’re being persecuted” do so little, and care so little, about Christians in other parts of the world who face REAL persecution – the kind you identify in many of your questions (churches burned, jobs lost, lives in jeopardy).

    Reply
    1. Liz Post author

      It is puzzling and yet very common to find faith communities that are not involved with much outside of their own community.

      Reply
  7. Pingback: privilege. | kathy escobar.

  8. leah

    “These people were there either to be honored or to honor someone they knew and cared about. It was a special evening for them too. Yet, they were being treated as if they didn’t matter, as if they were not important, as if they were less than, second class, invisible.”

    Exactly so and very sad. I do believe that’s far more prevalent in TX and other southern/southwestern states, but it happens all over the country and Christian are so used to being a demographic majority, they do tend not to notice. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Liz Post author

      Leah – I also think that it is worse here in Texas where I live. I was talking to one of my son’s close friends (he and his parents are atheists) about the way Christianity was involved in all the ceremonies we attended and his remark was that he noticed, thought it was wrong but was used to it. I thought it was sad that he was used to being so blatantly disregarded by Christians who are supposed to care about others.

      Reply
      1. A_Pickle

        As an atheist former student, I can confirm that you do indeed “just get used to it.” When I went to the SkillsUSA national competition in 2005, it opened with a prayer (after the head honcho felt obliged to tell us “his 9/11 story”). When I attended Tae Kwon Do tournament after Tae Kwon Do tournament, they opened with prayers. When I went to the Laramie County Republican Convention, it opened with a prayer (following the chairwoman’s declaration that, “because God comes before country.”). I’ve even been to Speech and Debate competitions that open with a prayer – have you ever met Speech kids?

        It’s not that I’m opposed to prayer, I’m not. But maybe I am, because I feel it’s the sort of thing that should be relegated to its proper house – either in the privacy of your homes or in a church, where you can reasonably assume that all those present are like-minded or, if they aren’t, at least know what they’re getting into. I wouldn’t expect a church NOT to pray just because I’m in attendance – it’s a church!

        But prior to a political convention? Or prior to a sporting event? Or prior to academic events or competitions? Why? I feel that prayer is unnecessarily divisive in those settings. I sure don’t say anything, though, because as I said – I’m used to it.

        Reply
        1. Liz Post author

          A_Pickle, I am so sorry that you have endured such unchrist like behavior from Christians. I agree with what you said about prayer belonging in church or at any “Christian” gathering – but not at gatherings that are about something else. I hope that things are different in the future.

          Reply
  9. Pingback: Unjust Justice | Glenn Hager

  10. Pingback: Link List – June Synchroblog: What’s In Your Invisible Knapsack « synchroblog

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