There are six iterative steps by which religions go from being accepted, to being increasingly persecuted, and finally to being singled out for purging and execution. They follow below.
1) Stereotyping – Develop a negative image of the faith. Assume that it applies to all adherents without loss of generality.
2) Justification of Hatred – Develop a narrative that identifies the faith as as the root cause of some societal evil.
3) Diminishing of Religion’s Role – Find ways to diminish the presence and practice of the faith as much as possible.
4) Criminalization – Make the faith illegal or liable.
5) Punishment – Levy forms of punishment such as banishment, commitment or incarceration.
6) Execution – Kill them.
We see the stereotyping across the entire spectrum of media. I can’t hear the opening few seconds of the song “Dueling Banjos” and not think of the movie Deliverance. It was only recently that a TV network sought to amuse us all with a comedy entitled Good Christian B*tch*s. Mike Huckabee’s Iowa Primary Floating Cross Ad drew greater opprobrium than the Supreme Ayatollah Shouting “Death to America!” ever did. The constant snark of Bill Maher and Jon Stewart only continue to perpetuate the straw man view of the intolerant Christian.
The justification of hatred has become a cottage industry amongst those who are moved by their differences with church. Justification of hatred was the meal ticket for the foul horsemen of the New Atheist Movement. Christopher Hitchens blames all the evils in existence on modern religion even to the point of calling St. Theresa a poverty pimp in God is Not Great. Richard Dawkins argues that religious faith is merely a crutch for the weak and inarticulate in his polemical The God Delusion. But like much of Dawkins’ work it is in no way inspired or original. It was Karl Marx who once derided religion as a societal control mechanism when he called it “the opiate of the masses.”
The Diminishing of Christianity’s influence has been an ongoing refrain of The Obama Administration. His war with the Sisters of Mercy to enforce portions of Obamacare that directly contradicted aspects of Catholic religious dogma were only the beginning of his disdain for much of the Christian Faith. His deliberate command during a National Prayer Breakfast that Christians “get off their high horse” was far more general and sweeping than just a reminder about The Crusades. He has also reminded us that the future cannot belong to the enemies of Islam. Thus, the booing of a minister who offered an opening prayer at the 2012 Democratic National Convention should come as no surprise given the moral convictions of the current administration.
While no specific law currently bans the Christian Faith yet; we are beginning our travels down the road to North Korea. Lawfare such as suits to shut down Christian bakeries that won’t cater homosexual weddings are a new front in an ongoing effort. The Jihad against Memories Pizza and the homosexual kiss-ins at Chick-Fil-A Restaurants are other examples. It was Neurologist Kathleen Taylor that recommended yet another non-statutory avenue to ban religious faith.
“Someone who has for example become radicalised to a cult ideology – we might stop seeing that as a personal choice that they have chosen as a result of pure free will and may start treating it as some kind of mental disturbance. “In many ways it could be a very positive thing because there are no doubt beliefs in our society that do a heck of a lot of damage. I am not just talking about the obvious candidates like radical Islam or some of the more extreme cults. I am talking about things like the belief that it is OK to beat your children.”
The next step in anti-religious radicalization is to directly punish individuals for actually holding these beliefs. China has long practiced this level of depravity as did Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. One direct impact that could result from the mainstreaming of ethical norms such as Dr Taylor’s would be mass institutionalization. Just declare people crazy unless they accept your “true” version of the appropriate faith. This obviously hasn’t happened in today’s climate yet. It just feels like it’s a matter of time and will.
After we punish religious believers as criminals, the next step in the downward spiral into darkness is the train to Treblinka. There are 40 different countries that unabashedly do this to Christians today. Thirty-one of the nations that have given the death penalty for practicing Christianity are Islamic. One-Hundred and Eighty Christians are martyred for their faith every month. The most frequent executioner of Christians is North Korea.
In conclusion, the process by which religions are purged is not happenstance or random. The steps are normally iterative and progressive in nature. The trend is noticeable and may well be gaining momentum towards a very bad place in our own nation. I don’t personally believe we should panic yet, but there is certainly room for intelligent concern and corrective activism. Christaphobia is no longer merely the domain of the puerile and the socially inept.