Christians Were Not Defying the Judge’s Ruling Today May 6, 2010

Christians Were Not Defying the Judge’s Ruling Today

It’s easy to find examples of Christians playing the victim card when they really have nothing to whine about.

Case in point: I know Christianity Today has a base they have to appeal to, but take a look at how this headline distorts the truth:

Christians Defy Judge’s Ruling and Mark National Day of Prayer

That makes it sound like Christians are standing up for their faith and going against the evil judge’s orders not to celebrate the Day of Prayer!

Except nothing of the sort ever happened.

Christians were not defying the judge’s ruling by praying. They’re welcome to pray wherever they want, whenever they want. I support their right to do that. Judge Barbara Crabb, who issued the ruling in question, supports their right to do that. I would think atheists everywhere would say the same thing.

Judge Crabb only ruled that the government cannot endorse the National Day of Prayer.

That’s it. Church/state separation. She stood up for the Constitution.

She did not rule that Christians cannot pray.

So why are they acting like she said something else?

Because the Religious Right loves to play the “victim” card. It helps with fundraising and it helps feed their own egos.

They’re not oppressed in the least. They should stop acting like it.

Incidentally, the article was posted (though not written) by Sarah Pulliam Bailey of Christianity Today. Sarah also writes for a website called Get Religion, which calls out the press when they get stories about religion wrong.

I’m waiting for a post where she points the finger at herself.

I found out that Sarah did not write the headline in question, so I want to apologize for insinuating otherwise. I still do think the headline is misleading, and that Christianity Today and the Religion New Service ought to admit as much, but this is not her error.

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  • Did I read that Judge Crabb stayed her injunction pending the appeal? If that’s true, there’s nothing to defy until all appeals are exhausted, or the stay is lifted.

  • JulietEcho

    Wow… comprehension FAIL, big-time. There’s that persecution complex in full bloom!

  • Trace

    That pie chart reminds me of a giant PacMan about to swallow the other groups.

  • Jim

    I thought the same thing when I read that article… what rights were lost? They are certainly welcome to organize prayers on their own. Just because it is no longer a holiday does not mean a right was taken away. Similarly: It was also designated a day of reason, but it isn’t an actual holiday. It is just an event organized by some without expectation that it be a government recognized holiday.

  • For the most part, Christians literally cannot help feeling “persecuted.” It’s built into their religion. It was founded by a martyr, whose martyrdom was the entire point of his existence and the fulcrum of everything they believe in. To be martyred, therefore, is the highest expression of Christian spirituality.

    The martyrdom need not be physical or measurable … it can be merely metaphorical. That is, merely complaining about Christianity or a Christian becomes “persecution” in their eyes. And it need not even truly be happening at all: If it’s not, Christians just invent it, and thus delude themselves into thinking they’re persecuted.

    This is a rather pitiable aspect of Christianity, and among its most dysfunctional features.

  • This pretty much sums up Christians in general. Taking what they want from the pool of information, twisting it to suit their purposes, and ignoring anything that contradicts them. Yup, sounds Christian to me.

  • Miko

    @Not Guilty: “Taking what they want from the pool of information, twisting it to suit their purposes” describes 99+% of the population, without regard to religious beliefs.

  • Richard Wade

    The biggest threat to Christians’ religious freedom in the U.S. is from other Christians.

    Every time one repeats either of the lies, “America is a Christian nation,” or “America was founded on Christian values” they lay another stone in the foundation of a tyranny that will dwarf all the rest of history’s despotism. They are child-like in their naivete to think that their particular version of worship will be permitted by the Belief Police.

  • Jeff B.

    Whew…for a second there, I thought your pie chart was going to depict Muck-homo-d. That can get you Van Gogh’ed these days.

  • Citizen Z

    …after military officials withdrew his invitation to speak because his comments about Islam — he’s called it an “evil and wicked religion” — were “problematic.”

    The first thing that struck me was that the fact his invitation was withdrawn had nothing to do with the National Day of Prayer or the judge’s ruling, so it’s hard to have anything less to do with the National Day of Prayer.

    But you know what, it does have something to do with the National Day of Prayer. It gets more surreal and funny the more I think about it. The first victim of the “relentless assaults against our religious liberty” is a guy who calls another religion “evil and wicked”? What this should do is show the potential minefield you enter when you mix religion and government. If you’re going to have one guy stand up there and discuss how a religion is “evil and wicked”, it’d be unfair to discriminate and prevent a retort. You’ve opened the door to any religious figure who describes other religions as “evil and wicked”.

    We could rewrite portions of the article:

    For years, the annual National Day of Prayer observances on Capitol Hill had become almost routine affairs as mostly conservative Islamic groups bowed with legislators to pray for America to accept Allah.

    But this year, after a federal judge ruled the law creating the day is unconstitutional, Thursday’s events took on an air of defiance as organizers accused nonbelievers of threatening their religious freedom.

    “I think it is waking people up across this land,” said imam Abdul Ahmed, the honorary chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, who was disinvited from Pentagon observances because of his remarks on Judaism.

    “Citizens can choose to bow to Mecca or not to bow to Mecca,” he said. “No one is required to participate, despite what the opponents of public prayer say.”

  • EdmondWA

    So, we know that there are a handful of Christians who visit this site, let’s hear THEM comment on this story. THAT’S who I wanna hear from.

    Can YOU hear the grandstanding and propagandizing from Graham? Do YOU feel oppressed by this judge’s ruling? OR, do you agree that it’s UNFAIR and INAPPROPRIATE for the government to endorse prayer for the nation when A) not every citizen here is a believer, B) it’s very clear WHICH religion they mean, and C) religion and the government should stay very far apart, per the FIRST amendment. For BOTH their sakes.

  • EdmondWA

    @PsiCop: Bingo, well said, thanks for summing that up for me, amen.

  • Richard P.

    Wouldn’t it be blasphemy to have a day of reason?

  • keddaw

    [NDoP] accused non-believers of threatening their religious freedom

    [NDoP Task Force chairman] Islam… is an evil and wicked religion

    Who exactly is threatening religious freedom in this scenario???

  • Luther

    Here is another rewrite:

    For years, the annual National Day of Reason observances on Capitol Hill had become almost routine affairs as mostly scientists and humanist groups stood with courageous legislators to reason for America’s most myth overrun land to consider scientific theories and fact-based calculations.

    But this year, after a federal judge ruled the law creating the day is unconstitutional, Thursday’s events took on an air of rationality as organizers warned myth believers of threatening life as we know it on the planet.

    “I think it is waking people up across this land,” said Virginia Jones, the honorary chairman of the National Day of Reason Committee, who was disinvited from Pentagon observances because of her remarks on peace and cooperation.

    “Citizens can choose to reason or to believe in myths,” she said. “No one is required to participate, despite what the opponents of thinking believe.”

  • Bob


    As ‘one of the Christians’ here, I am more than a little critical of the whole ‘Christian nation’ charade. It’s intellectually dishonest in that it misrepresents the writings and intent of our founding fathers to push a religious agenda.

    Furthermore, the whining of ‘persecution’ that goes on is laughable. Persecution is forcing you to hide in your homes, to risk bodily harm when you drive like a self-absorbed arsehole whilst displaying your Jesus fish on the back of your car, to be thrown in prison, stripped of property, tortured … NONE of that is happening. (And even if it did, is your faith vested in material displays? Or is it more deeply held and understood?)

    Sadly, the kind of mindset we’re talking about, the Christian who believes they’re being persecuted because of mere contradiction, won’t ever listen to someone like me.

  • numsix

    It seems to me that other than grandstanding; perhaps if prayer is not legislated, the number of “True Believers” may drop.

  • stogoe

    “Taking what they want from the pool of information, twisting it to suit their purposes” describes 99+% of the population, without regard to religious beliefs.

    There you go with your false equivalences again, Miko. You really should try to rein that in.

  • Bob


    I doubt that. There is a vested interest in control through faith – if you fear damnation, of ultimate judgment from the invisible overlord, well, I can make you jump through hoops if I have you convinced that I am speaking for that invisible overlord.

    Also, because faith is absent an empirical component – it’s not measurable, testable, etc. under scientific principles – we’re left with other means of self-validation. It’s no different than the school kid who wants you to play lookout as they shoplift or rifle the teacher’s desk for the quiz answers – even if you understand that it is wrong, there’s a social pressure to play along and be accepted. (But, once you’ve done so, now you’re on the hook for having been an accomplice.)

  • Jen

    I have already solved this. No question in my mind. Persecution = donations. Think of how much money the Christians are going to get because of this, whereas the FFRF will get probably a slight uptick and not much more than usual.

    And, correct me if I am wrong, Judge Crabb did not suspend this year’s activities pending appeal. So, more than ever, they were not forbidden to participate.

    Incidentally, there is a petition on the FFRF’s website and you can call the White House at 202-456-1111 and register your displeasure at Obama’s response to this. I called yesterday to complain and I think I will call again today.

  • edwords

    We agnatheists should have a Day of Reason.

    How about having it on the first Thursday in May each year?

  • Jonas

    Yesterday I could have gone down to the Common and watched the organized Christian Prayer. I could have gone down and mocked the prayer. I could have stood with some “free-thought-ish” group in ‘protest’ alongside those praying. However I did none of that — precisely because of what Barbara Crabb actually said.
    Let those who want to hold their prayer meetings today, yesterday whenever they feel like it. — But allow me the freedom to not participate.
    As to the rest of the ruling, it sounded like the State House spent their lunch hour in prayer. Not certain if it was optional for the individual representatives or not, I would hope optional. — or that it becomes optional.
    Again if my congressman wants to pray during his lunch break, that’s fine with me.

  • Anonymous

    Ok, fine. Technically this IS off-topic, but since that pie chart takes a huge amount of space, I did have to point out that, yes, Christians may be in the majority, but you’re still on pretty shaky ground ridiculing their claim of being oppressed with the pie chart since there are major examples of how a majority can be oppressed (all you need is a gun). Apartheid in South Africa? European colonialism…anywhere? Occupied Europe under the Nazis?

    My comment is anonymous only because it’s so easy to distort the point I’m trying to make. I ain’t playing that game.

  • muggle

    Think the hypocrites (I’m into differentiating these days between them and the live and let lives who happen to be Christian) will ever get that subtle difference?

  • cb88

    I was pointed to this site by an atheist friend of mine… I happen to be a Baptist (No specific association I merely believe the Bible to be infallible disregarding translation errors of course) but that is beside the point.

    I just wanted to point out that many of our founding fathers were in fact religious … and it was for this fact that church and state were separated. They desired to have *more* religious freedom and freedom as a whole and made it so by disallowing the government/state to promote any specific religion I think this has been wrongly interpreted in recent years as a mandate that the state must not acknowledge God. Children in schools do in fact retain the right to bring their Bible’s to class and pray in school (disallowing this would actually be a violation of the separation of church and state IMO and the state would be persecuting religion thereby no longer separate from it)… and The Ten Commandments removed from many courtrooms recently… though it is religious law and nigh impossible to actually keep I can see how even many atheists could and probably do find them good reminders of morals and ethical standards. Personally I consider Evolutionism/Darwnisim (aka modern science) and Atheism etc… to be religions in their own right however secular they may be. Are creationists not persecuted/ignored in the scientific community even though their theories are technically valid as everyone else’s? No theory should ever go ignored as even though a train of thought may not be fully valid (Probably none are anyway) there may still be some insight to be gained from it…for instance I do not believe the *big bang* actually happened but I believe such theories valuable in understanding physical science as it exists (ie was instantiated by God IMO)

    All sorts of freedoms are being limited these days freedom of speech, right to bear arms, freedom of religion (mostly in schools) and it becomes increasingly difficult to find a job that doesn’t force you to work on your religious day.

    I hope you find my comment revealing into what at least some Christians think and feel about this.

    BTW real statisticians *NEVER* use pie charts (Or so says my highly esteemed math professor) as they direct your attention to the big chunk instead of showing the data in an unbiased manner ie histogram or bar plot.

  • plutosdad

    If they wanted religious freedom, then explain why it is ok for a government sponsored event to promote christianity over other religions? If you think it’s not about christianity, then check out Troy Michigan, where they refused to allow a Hindu to pray at their prayer event.

    Note, buddhists don’t even pray in the first place, so a “day of prayer” automatically freezes them out. Unless you want a day of chanting and meditation also.

    The day of prayer is not about freedom of religion, it’s a government sponsorship of christianity over all other religions.

  • Marie

    Are you saying Christians aren’t persecuted in America or at all?

  • Marie

    So is government going to take out Christmas as well? It’s a Christian holiday. A day to celebrate the birth of Christ. What about Easter? It’s a holiday to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. They are both national Christian holidays as well..

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