Why do some Christians feel compelled to assert their alleged superiority? It’s not enough to have freedom of worship and live according to their beliefs. Instead, they have a pathological drive to shove their faith down everyone’s throat, while co-opting the power of the state to force non-Christians to bow at their feet.
The latest arrogant and self-righteous ode to Christian supremacy oozed from the pen of British Prime Minister David Cameron. In an article for Church Times, a weekly Anglican publication, he said that he wanted to “infuse politics” with Christian morals.
He went on to write: “I believe we should be more confident about our status as a Christian country, more ambitious about expanding the role of faith-based organizations, and, frankly, more evangelical about a faith that compels us to get out there and make a difference to people’s lives.”
I’m sure prime minister is a busy job, but I suggest Cameron step outside, get some fresh air and stroll about Piccadilly Circus. He might notice that London is a diverse, cosmopolitan city where people pray to hundreds of deities, as well as to no God at all. So, what is the point of needlessly inflaming sectarian tensions and elevating his preferred faith above others? And, why alienate non-believers with the false claim that Christianity offers a better version of morality?
Cameron wrote that more Christianity in government would promote “responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility and love.” Is the Prime Minister suggesting that Muslims, Hindus, Jews, or Atheists don’t know the value of hard work or love their families as much? And, what evidence does he possess that these universal virtues are unique to Christians?
Perhaps, he’s referring to the lovely values of the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy that allowed pedophile priests to roam wild in Ireland. Or, the “leadership” of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, who said last week that keeping his church unified is more important than raising his voice against the torture and murder of gay people in Africa. Welby’s cowardice certainly puts the “can’t” in Canterbury.
(To be fair, there are some Anglican leaders that place morals before membership and money. The Bishop of Buckingham, the Rt Rev Alan Wilson, replied to Welby’s gutless comments by saying, “If it is true that the cost of keeping the Anglican Communion together is that people keep getting murdered in nasty ways around the world, I say, what do you mean by keeping the Anglican Communion together?”)
Coming under heat for his comments, Cameron defended himself by saying, “being more confident about our status as a Christian country does not somehow involve doing down other faiths or passing judgment on those with no faith at all.”
Actually, it is a slap in the face to all of the hard working non-Christian British citizens. The message it sends is that Christians are in charge and other people with lesser beliefs are to be merely tolerated. What is puzzling about Cameron’s comments is that only 15% of British citizens attend church once a month. (Just 58 percent of people in Britain identify as Christian)
Meanwhile, in Louisiana, a proposal was introduced to make the Holy Bible the state’s official book. I had no idea that people who live in the “Bible Belt” needed a reminder from lawmakers about the Bible. I’m unsure why they think this law would be helpful. Having Bibles in New Orleans motel rooms hasn’t succeeded in keeping bar flies from becoming bedfellows.
Fortunately, Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, dumped his bill this week before it could go to the full state House of Representatives for a vote. The bill had become a distraction, he said. But wasn’t deliberately creating a disturbance so his preferred religion could get free advertising the entire point of this unconstitutional exercise?
I’m sure that Rep. Carmody and Prime Minister Cameron consider themselves “people of faith.” But, it seems that maybe they lack faith and are so insecure about their views that they have to foist them onto others. The attention-seeking gaudiness of how some promote their God (and careers) speaks more to public relations than actual piety. Individuals who are truly at peace with their beliefs would be content to pray privately and without showy fanfare.
If God is ubiquitous and omniscient, then why are these leaders needed as His publicity agents?
Religion is a private matter to be experienced alone or in a community of likeminded believers. Governments that represent pluralistic societies should stay out of the God business. It only makes believers look like insensitive zealots that don’t respect the feelings of their neighbors. If certain Christians don’t get this concept, maybe they have less humility than Prime Minister Cameron thinks.
Wayne Besen is a columnist and author of the book “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.”