Thursday, June 14, 2018

Anti-Christian Bias

Jimmy Carr
Earlier this month the Supreme Court ruled that business owners, based on their religious beliefs, have a constitutional right to refuse service to persons based on their sexual orientation. Subsequent polls demonstrated how this ruling was viewed by Democrats (generally opposed) and Republicans (generally in favor) as well as by persons of different religious beliefs (only white evangelicals were generally in favor—Roman Catholics were the most opposed to such discrimination).

Another question in the poll was even more revealing. When asked who faced greater discrimination, Christians or the LGBT community, here were the results (click to enlarge):

Personally, I am vehemently opposed to discrimination against anyone, and do not agree that Christians face any real discrimination in this country. But I am sometimes shocked by the amount of hatred aimed at Christians in our society.

The other evening, I wanted to watch something new on Netflix, and I saw a listing for a standup special by Jimmy Carr, a comedian I'd seen once or twice and found funny. So I tuned in. Just a few minutes into the show, he asked if there were any Christians in the audience. One guy (!) said he was, so Mr. Carr asked him if he'd like to buy some magic beans because he was so "f*cking gullible." He then went on to insult what he thought was a major belief of Christians—namely, the virgin birth—and ended up referring to the mother of Jesus as a "slag."

Granted, this show was recorded in England. But it was being marketed to  an American audience (as Mr. Carr acknowledged at the beginning, feeling the need to translate a couple of terms into American English for the people who'd be watching him later). 

One of the criticisms directed toward Christians is our intolerance—a criticism that I agree we've earned. But as intolerant as some among us are, I never witness this level of vitriol from Christians.  But I have several times witnessed it hurled at Christians.

Members of my own church, even those whose faith runs deep and who never miss a worship service, would be a bit confused by Mr. Carr's hatred and his accusations. We don't turn anybody away, and don't insult persons who believe differently than we do. But, strangely enough, I know of no one in my entire denomination who thinks of the doctrine of the virgin birth as central to their belief system. Indeed, the vast majority don't even believe in it. Yet they still consider themselves faithful Christians. 

When Jimmy Carr called the Christian in his audience "f*cking gullible," he got the biggest applause up to that point in his routine. It was not risqué on his part, but a safe joke to insult someone's faith. Personally, I take my cue from my maternal grandmother who told me when I was a little child that Mormon missionaries had visited her husband (my grandfather). She didn't agree with them, but she didn't insult them. "Joseph Smith said he saw an angel," she told me; "who am I to say he didn't?" Christians as a group should be more tolerant. But we're not the only ones who are guilty of intolerance. Others could learn a thing or two from my grandmother as well.


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