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Nov 22 2012

The terrible burden of religious persecution

Part of the reason I have such a difficult time taking complaints about the “persecution” of Christians in North America (and indeed, most of the world), is because by degrees they demonstrate again and again that they have simply no fucking clue what persecution looks like. To wit:

Jamaica’s public transport authorities have banned lay preachers from addressing commuters in public buses. Jamaica is a predominantly Christian country, but many passengers have complained about the noise and disturbance. Drivers have been instructed to politely warn religious ministers that they are no longer allowed to evangelise fellow passengers. Preachers say the decision infringes freedom of speech and religion.

No, Jamaican dickhole priests, your rights are not being infringed because people are telling you that you’re not allowed to push your superstition to people riding the bus, on their way to actually doing something worthwhile in the world. Your rights are intact. You can still say whatever you want, you’re just not allowed to do it with absolutely no regard for the feeling or comfort of other people. You know, like a non-sociopath.

I am reminded of this comic:

A 4-panel comic contrasting two very different views of what "religious persecution" looks like: one from the PoV of a Christian from the Middle East where religious celebration is punished with violence, and another from North America where minor inconveniences are elevated to the status of "persecution". In the final panel, the Middle Eastern Christian tells the North American Christian to go fuck himself.

Of course, I’m also reminded of this image:

A footballer dramatically fakes an injury at a slight tap

So maybe I’m just mean-spirited.

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12 comments

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  1. 1
    composer99

    Your rights are intact. You can still say whatever you want, you’re just not allowed to do it with absolutely no regard for the feeling or comfort of other people.

    Heresy! ;)

  2. 2
    comfychair

    You not allowing me to nail you to my cross is an infringement of my religious freedom! How dare you. Do you have any idea how much effort I put into building this cross? Years and years of research finding just the right species of Dogwood, then I had to grow the thing from seed, and carefully prune and trim to make sure that when mature it would yield enough lumber for the construction. I even went out and gathered the iron ore myself for the nails, and don’t get me started on the trouble I ran into in getting a permit to build the forge in a residential neighborhood! And do you even show the tiniest shred of appreciation for all that? No, of course not. The least you could do is climb up there, stand still, and quit whining. It’s for your own good, you know. Why are you always so selfish?

    See, this is why society’s falling apart these days, no one is willing to do their part and take personal responsibility. Sheesh.

  3. 3
    sharoncrawford

    Comfychair, the world’s a better place because you’re in it.

  4. 4
    dsmccoy

    There are a lot of jerks out there who misconstrue freedom of speech with freedom to annoy people whenever and wherever they feel like it.

  5. 5
    csrster

    If I disagreed with everything you ever wrote, I’d still subscribe to your blog just for the animated gifs.

  6. 6
    smrnda

    This is a case where the rights of passengers to be free from becoming the captive audience of a preacher outweighs the guy’s right to preach. Yes, a bus or train is public transportation, but you don’t have a right to turn people who just want to get from point A to point B into your captive audience.

    Lots of behaviors are banned on public transport because people want to travel in peace and quiet as much as possible. I can’t recruit people for a pyramid scheme on a bus, so why should someone be able to recruit for a religion? At least in several cities I’ve been in you can’t request money of any kind on a bus for the same ‘captive audience’ reason.

  7. 7
    lirael_abhorsen

    Hmm. I have little sympathy for North American Christians whining about persecution, but the cartoon smacks of nonsense like Dawkins’ “Dear Muslimah” BS. The issue isn’t that persecution of Christians in (for example) the US pales in comparison to what they face in the Middle East. It’s that they aren’t persecuted at all, and in fact benefit from a Christian supremacist system.

    Which might be what the cartoon is actually trying to get at, with my read on it being not quite right. *shrug*

  8. 8
    lirael_abhorsen

    Oh, and in the Jamaican situation, I think the response should be determined by standards for other speech on public transit. Here (Boston) we sometimes get people begging for money on subway cars, and anti-austerity protesters spoke and passed out information on transit cuts/fare hikes to fellows riders while riding the subway, so I wouldn’t want preaching to be treated differently than those. Whether the captive-audience thing should affect how speech is treated on public transit to begin with is a different question.

  9. 9
    im

    Not to mention sexual harrassment.

  10. 10
    comfychair

    If a panhandler is asking for money and threatening eternal damnation in a lake of burning sulfur if you don’t hand it over, then I’d agree, the panhandler & the preacher should both be held to the same standards.

  11. 11
    comfychair

    Awww, thank you… ;]

  12. 12
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    The issue isn’t that persecution of Christians in (for example) the US pales in comparison to what they face in the Middle East. It’s that they aren’t persecuted at all, and in fact benefit from a Christian supremacist system.

    That’s the joke.

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