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May 12 2013

Teenagers Make Dumb Video About Christianity in America

There’s a new group called Reach America that is peddling the same tired old persecution complex that the religious right clings to like a life jacket in the ocean. They’ve put out a Youtube video with a bunch of teenagers asking questions that are utter nonsense, like “Why can’t I pray in school?” Uh, you can. No one is stopping you, as long as you don’t disrupt class or force others to take part or watch. Millions of kids pray in school every single day. And it goes on and on like that:

“Why do I have to check my religion at the door?”

At the door to what, exactly?

“Why can’t I write about God in my school papers?”

You can. Students do it every day. And if your school wrongly says you can’t, the ACLU will defend your right to do so as they’ve done many times before.

“Why do I have to tolerate people cursing my God but I am not allowed to talk about God and my faith?”

In what alternate reality are you not allowed to talk about God and your faith? Who was the last person who was arrested in this country for talking about God and their faith? The only examples that I know of for this happened before the passage of the Constitution and they happened because those state governments were controlled by a single Christian church.

“Why are they taking God out of my history books?”

Who is “they”? And why would God be in any history book to begin with?

“Why do they teach every other theory in science except creation?”

Because creation is not a theory. It explains nothing, makes no predictions and is entirely untestable.

“What we see in our health classes, ‘sex education,’ 4th grade and up, is pornography.”

No it’s not. I’m sure most of you have seen actual pornography or will at some point. There are some pretty obvious differences.

By the way, this group is run by Gary Brown, the head of the Idaho Values Alliance. Guess who used to run that group? Our old friend Bryan Fischer. Here’s their hysterically overwrought video:

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  1. 1
    raven

    “Why are they taking God out of my history books?”

    Who is “they”? And why would God be in any history book to begin with?

    For the same reason they took out Kermit the Frog, the fairies, and John Carter of Mars.

  2. 2
    jofeljoh

    Holy shit @ video. The ‘persecution’! Make it stop. Cry me a holy river…

    Couldn’t get past the 2 minutes mark. I just can’t take that much unjustified self pity.

  3. 3
    sanford

    I went to you tube to view the video to paste your article. They disabled comments. There have been 87000 views. You would think there would be some positive reviews from people they are reaching out to.

  4. 4
    gopiballava

    “Why are they taking God out of my history books?”

    Because they’ve started listening to archeologists and historians instead of pastors. They’re working to ensure that history books contain information backed by multiple pieces of evidence.

  5. 5
    Kathy Orlinsky

    “Why can’t I pray in school?”

    And by ‘pray’, I mean stalk my fellow students and tell them they’re going to hell.

  6. 6
    democommie

    “What we see in our health classes, ‘sex education,’ 4th grade and up, is pornography.”

    That does it. I’m going back to school.

  7. 7
    Kate Sirls

    It’s interesting how they end the video quoting, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” and yet the entirety of the video demonstrates that they don’t believe that non-Christians are deserving of such. They equate no religious privilege as “persecution”, and yet decry that people would call them hateful or a bigot for wanting to deny fellow Americans equal rights. I would be very interested in hearing these children answer questions regarding what they’d like the natural outcome of this movement to be — just what would would they like to see happen to non-Christians in this country? Is it only less privilege and rights (as they demonstrate in the video), or do they want to follow this to true biblical implications?

  8. 8
    John Pieret

    And, of course, their solution to not being not allowed to talk about God and their faith in school is to talk to their fellow students about God and their faith.

  9. 9
    psweet

    Actually, Ed, didn’t you just report on several people in Dearborn that were (wrongly) arrested for talking about God?

  10. 10
    Ed Brayton

    Yes, but that is an isolated case where they had the support of civil liberties groups from both right and left. That hardly supports the argument that Christians are being persecuted in America.

  11. 11
    Michael Heath

    The lying cowards disabled ratings and comments.

  12. 12
    eyeroll

    This type of Christian would LOVE to be persecuted. It gives them spiritual orgasms. Actually, they only love the idea……..at the first scratch of real persecution, it would be “owie! owie! Stop! Stop!”

  13. 13
    otrame

    …..at the first scratch of real persecution, it would be “owie! owie! Stop! Stop!”

    Yeah, like if the comments on their video were mean. That kind of persecution would be just too much for them.

  14. 14
    naturalcynic

    I wonder how many of these poor persecuted kids are home schooled?

  15. 15
    psweet

    I fully agree with the nature of the case, just pointing out that it has, unfortunately, happened once or twice.

  16. 16
    John Pieret

    Yeah, like if the comments on their video were mean. That kind of persecution would be just too much for them.

    They actually complain that they are called names because they “support marriage the way god designed it.”

  17. 17
    Zeno

    Ha! At the end of the video, the “thaw” causes the cross to topple over. Not very good at symbolism, are they?

  18. 18
    brianwestley

    They don’t even see the irony in complaining about “I can’t pray in skool” and having comments disabled…

  19. 19
    feedayeen

    What do you mean by you have to ‘tolerate’? Freedom of speech is a 2 way street; I have every right in the world to mock and insult you, you have every right to do the same to me. As long as you’re not being obnoxious about it, you should be fine in most class rooms.

    Unless you are complaining about not being able to do old fashioned intolerance. Hey, if you think that crude cartoon anatomy is pornography, maybe you stuck in the old ways.

  20. 20
    stever

    In fundiespeak, “talking about God” and “sharing our Faith” are standard code phrases for the sort of obnoxiously aggressive proselytizing that amounts to an incitement to violence. That might even be its unstated purpose. Death-cults thrive on persecution, but in Europe and the Americas there is nowhere where you can be arrested just for being an evangelical Christian. Wannabe martyrs could try waving their crosses around in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or Indonesia, but most of them can’t afford to travel halfway around the world. Instead, they try to goad atheists and lukewarm Christisns (the majority, I think) into swinging a fist.

  21. 21
    thebookofdave

    @raven #1

    No more Barsoomian History? Now I’m pissed! Almost as mad as I got watching the cinematic version.

  22. 22
    Tsu Dho Nimh

    “Why can’t I write about God in my school papers?”

    Well, if the assigned History paper is on the agricultural practices of the early colonists, and you turn in something that is all about God and not about the colonists and how they farmed … you will not get a good grade.

    If the assigned Biology drawing is the stem structure of grasses, I don’t care if your sketch of the Passion of the Christ is of Michaelangelo quality … you are not going to get a good grade.

  23. 23
    Modusoperandi

    thebookofdave “No more Barsoomian History?”
    What, the signing of the Magna Carter isn’t enough for you?

  24. 24
    Modusoperandi

    “No one would dare not to stand, place their hand over their heart, and recite the pledge.” ~ fm the video, approx 2:04

    Hmm. Apparently Jehovah’s Witnesses and Quakers (among others) weren’t Christians*. Who knew? I particularly like the emphasis on “dare”. Take that, unpatriots!
     
    * …even before “under God” got added to the pledge of allegiance by the Founding Fathers in 1954…

  25. 25
    sezme

    It’s not the inane questions that bother me, it’s the trend toward the end to militarianism. “We’re at WAR!!’ “We’re gonna WIN!!” “This is a battle for …”

    I swear these are budding Christian jihadists.

  26. 26
    jayarrrr

    Y’know, if i was a wealthy man, and really MEAN, I’d sponsor mission trips for all these kids to go preach Da Woid in places like Islamabad, Riyadh, places like that. Tell ‘em to get off the plane and start proclaiming their luv for Jeebus to every person they see.

    Then come back, if they let you go, and tell me what *REAL* persecution feels like…

    They have confused “persecution” with “People tell me to shut up when I’m making an obnoxious ass out myself at school, work, or on their doorstep”.

  27. 27
    Stacy

    My grandparents tell me…prayer and pledge to the flag was welcome and appreciated. No one would dare not to stand, place their hand over their heart, and recite the pledge.” ~ fm the video, approx 2:04

    Well, I’m old enough to be those kids’ grandmother, and that’s not true. Public school-sponsored prayer was outlawed right about the time I started kindergarten. As for the pledge, back in the day, I sometimes put my hand over my heart for form’s sake; other times, I didn’t bother, and kept it at my side. Either way, after age 11 or so, I never recited the pledge. It struck me as absurd to be required to recite something that was supposed to come from the heart.

    Nobody really cared, anyway. The pledge was just pro forma ritual. Of course, I grew up in a liberal part of the country (Los Angeles County, California). Maybe some parts of the country had Pledge of Allegiance cops who got upset if the kiddies didn’t stand at attention with tears in their eyes, belting out the words.

  28. 28
    waldteufel

    Gary Brown: Knuckle-dragging moron churning out little brain-dead moron clones.

  29. 29
    DaveL

    What we see in our health classes, ‘sex education,’ 4th grade and up, is pornography.

    If sex ed is pornography, then your annual pelvic exam must be an orgy.

  30. 30
    doublereed

    Hahahahaha, oh man, that video is really lame, but when they yell out “Salt and Light melt ice!!!” I cracked up.

  31. 31
    aaronbaker

    If only pornography HAD been taught in my high school, I would have paid more attention.

  32. 32
    zmidponk

    prayer and pledge to the flag was welcome and appreciated. No one would dare not to stand, place their hand over their heart, and recite the pledge.

    I guess that means it’s entirely justified to put people in a position where they would do something purely because they fear the social consequences of not doing it.

  33. 33
    Ichthyic

    No one would dare not to stand

    Proper little authoritarians.

    when, oh when, are we as a society going to start dealing with the fact that 20-30% of us have this personality type?

    ignoring it has been bad.

    trying to manipulate it for self-gain has been horrific.

    can’t we just deal with it openly and sanely for once?

  34. 34
    eric

    “Why do they teach every other theory in science except creation?”

    They don’t teach every other theory; they teach the scientific theories in science class. Of which there is currently one. They don’t teach creationism in biology for the same reason they don’t cover how to sing in Math class or Freud’s impact on Psychology in State/Local government class: because its not part of the subject. If you want to teach creationism, start an elective.

    The real irony here is that when fundies do this the legal way, its an abject failure for them. The only kids who sign up for it already believe, and these classes typically fail to make the 20-30 person minimum after a couple of years (i.e., once the families pushing for it have had their kids take it). Fundies know this; they know that the (nonsectarian) student body is largely unwilling to listen to their crackpottery when its voluntary. That’s why they pursue teaching it in biology class; because state governmensts and colleges care so much about science that the classes are actually or practically mandatory, and fundies need this power of the state to get anyone to listen to them.

    ***
    @21 – if you thought the Disney movie was bad (personally was okay with it), then you should absolutely NOT look up the Syfy version they put out a year or two ago. It makes Megashark look like Citizen Kane.

  35. 35
    iknklast

    Stacy:

    Well, I’m old enough to be those kids’ grandmother, and that’s not true. Public school-sponsored prayer was outlawed right about the time I started kindergarten.

    Sounds like you’re about the same age as me. And trust me, where I went to school, no one would dare not say the pledge, or participate in the school sponsored prayer every morning. (Yes, I grew up in Oklahoma; no one in that town would dare point out that this was illegal behavior).

    I moved from Maine to Oklahoma in 1970. In Maine, they followed the law. I’d never had a prayer in school In Oklahoma, we had prayer every morning, mandatory, led by the teacher. We had religious music in vocal music. It was all very pious. And of course, no one would dare teach human reproduction in high school biology, so we spent our time on what? I can’t quite remember. I do remember that there was not a smidgeon of sex education in any school I attended through high school – and I was unfortunate enough in college to have the one instructor in Personal Health that also avoided the topic. Fortunately I can read, and figured a lot out on my own, but a lot of kids weren’t so lucky.

  36. 36
    kylawyer

    This fundie Christian persecution complex is nothing new. I’ve heard for the last 40 years from sitting in fundie Christian churches as a kid and from my fundie Christian relatives how persecuted Christianity is, how it will soon be outlawed, blah, blah, blah. It’s always the same thing. The reason is these folks are fed a mind numbing diet of Christian persecution by examples from the early Christian history through Revelation where all the Christians remaining will be driven underground or killed. They of course literally believe this and fail to see the periods of history from the Roman Empire through today where Christianity was the supreme power and authority.

  37. 37
    robb

    i don’t think they should talk about creating an army and a C4 community. sounds like they want to become a terrorist cell.

  38. 38
    Bronze Dog

    It struck me as absurd to be required to recite something that was supposed to come from the heart…. Nobody really cared, anyway. The pledge was just pro forma ritual.

    This got me thinking about the power of ritual. I think the intended purpose of the mandatory pledge ritual as well as mandatory prayers is to normalize extreme nationalism and Christianity, respectively. Add “under god” to the pledge and you’ve got a twofer. The ritual exists to show that all your peers are doing it, and the adults who have power over you are making you do it, and thus you’re a sinful rebel if you don’t jump off that bridge like everyone else. Remove the ritual or even just the “mandatory” part, and the intimidating facade of lockstep conformity will gradually break down, making it easier for dissenters to stand up for themselves.

    Of course, I doubt all fundies see it that way. Many of them probably think there’s a magical force behind the rituals instead of cynical manipulation of our social human nature. To them, it’s god-sanctioned witchcraft that will put a binding geas on the children, warding them from being similarly swayed in a different direction by invisible devils.

  39. 39
    mistercripple

    The section about no one daring to not say the pledge of allegiance stuck out to me particularly. I’m 29 now and when I was in the 11th grade (2000-2001), I was given a prime example of what happens when you don’t acknowledge the pledge in the South.

    A girl in my English class chose not to observe the pledge. Our principal, who patrolled the halls every morning before 1st period, slid into the classroom so she could face the flag (which hung in every class) during the pledge. She noticed a student not standing or covering her heart and proceeded to berate the student who rightfully refused to bend under pressure. The student was forced to accompany the principle to her office for the rest of the period.

    Over ten years later, I still vividly remember this as an example of what happens when you make nationalism the expected norm. It frightened me then and it frightens me now.

  40. 40
    dingojack

    robb – ‘a C4 community’? Perhaps they want to be a prairie.
    :) Dingo

  1. 41
    FYI | Foster Disbelief

    [...] Until then, here are some poor, persecuted Christian teenagers, courtesy of Dispatches from the Culture War. [...]

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