I often hear my Christian friends state, without irony or sarcasm, that there is an ongoing war on religion aimed at Christianity. Starbucks cups, “Happy Holidays,” lack of prayer in schools, baking cakes for same-sex marriages, and other flimsy arguments are used as “proof” of this supposed war on Christianity.
While all of this is going on, we have an actual problem with treatment of Muslims. Donald Trump, a front runner for the US presidency, wants to not only shut down all US Mosques but also ban any and all Muslims from entering the country. Jeb Bush, another presidential hopeful, wants refugees to “prove they are Christian” in order to obtain sactuary in America. In other parts of the world, Muslims are victims of random attacks while waiting on train platforms, walking down the street, or engaging in religious practices.
After the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Islamophobia and anti-Muslim rhetoric hit fever pitch but they have been long sizzling in our society. Prior to these attacks in France, there was a policy enforced which forbids outward displays of religion which was specifically created to target Muslims, more specifically females wearing head scarves. Muslim women use head scarves to cover their hair, and after this policy in France was inacted many Muslim women shaved their heads in order to keep from showing their hair, others chose to wear wide bandanas in replacement of their head scarves which then led schools to ban bandanas as well. Also in France, full facial covering by Muslim women is banned in public space. (All of this info may be found via NPR.)
Of course, religious persecution is nothing new. Mormons were driven from the United States, into what was then Mexican territory, and it was legal to kill a Mormon in Missouri until the 1970s. JFK was told to downplay his Catholic faith during his presidential race because Americans would never elect an open Catholic. And of course, arguably the worst case of religious persecution is The Holocaust and continued anti-Semitic behavior worldwide.
What is the real war on religion? Is it stripping human beings of their ability to worship, or not worship, whichever deity they believe in? To subscribe to any theology that fits their needs and soothes their souls? Or not allowing humans to believe in no religion and worship no deity at all? Verbal and physical attacks based on surnames, skin color, wardrobe, and outwardly displays of religious devotion, etc.? This is war on religious freedom.
War on religion is not coffee cups, sending out Holiday cards that don’t say “Christmas” on them, saying “Happy Holidays,” using the shorthand of “Xmas,” political correctness, and so on. It is important for us as human beings to recognize our privileges and see outside of ourselves to the real issues of our society. For these are the issues that keep us from becoming a true human family based on Christlike love.