It doesn’t matter that the motivation for the Oregon shooting was probably about mental illness and subscription to violent ideologies. It doesn’t matter that the latest survivor statements indicate that the shooter was not targeting Christians exclusively. No, none of this matters to those up in arms over the media’s coverage of and the public response to last week’s tragedy.
As the Christian Post reports:
Catholic League’s Bill Donohue has criticized several American mainstream news publications for failing to mention in their coverage of the Oregon shooting last week that the victims were specifically killed because they identified themselves as Christians. Donohue also claimed President Barack Obama would have been more outraged if the victims were Muslims.
“If African Americans or Muslims had been singled out, President Obama would have gone ballistic, Al Sharpton would be calling for street rallies, and CAIR would be asking for congressional investigations,” Donohue argued in a statement.
“But because Christians are being cherry picked for murder, there is no call to arms. Indeed, many major media outlets aren’t even telling the truth. It’s obvious — ‘Christian Lives Don’t Matter’ — either here or abroad,” he added.
Outside of this outrage having no basis in reality, the parallels Donohue attempts to draw between the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) and imaginary Christian persecution is nauseatingly offensive, and he’s not the only one spouting it. Journalists, protesters, and zealots on Twitter have been pushing the concept as well, and that’s a problem. Let’s break it down.
As BLM took off last year, there were many who replied that “All Lives Matter.” While a true statement, it was a poor rejoinder to the advocacy taking place. Arguing that black lives matter does not deny that all lives matter. It’s meant to point out that while black lives should matter, that has not socially, economically, legally, or politically been true, and that needs to change. (As we’ve pointed out on this site before, wearing a pink ribbon in support of breast cancer research isn’t subtly implying that all cancers don’t matter.)
That didn’t stop hashtags like #bluelivesmatter from popping up as frustration with police violence mounted and criticism grew louder. These declarations were worse than the all lives matter chants because they targeted a group that is not facing unjust targeting or increasing violence. As Daily Kos explained earlier this year:
Often, people who are sympathetic to police will quote that 83 police have died in the line of duty in 2015. And that is true, but what they aren’t telling you is that 13 of those officers had heart attacks or that 19 died in car accidents or that three died because of 9/11-related illnesses.
A total of 26 police officers have been shot and killed in the line of duty this year. Each of those is tragic and a reflection of the violence in our country. This, though, is not some race-based dramatic uptick in police shooting deaths. Forty-seven officers were shot and killed in 2014 and we are on pace to have fewer than that this year. Comparatively, 662 people have been shot and killed by police in America as of September 1 and a total of 792 people have been killed by police altogether this year.
Not only that, but as the media attempts to blame black activists for these deaths, the truth they aren’t telling you is that half of all police who’ve been shot and killed this year were actually African Americans. That, though, is inconvenient for their narrative.
That’s why the Blue Lives Matter surge misses the mark. Donahue’s attempt to use the rhetoric of BLM is similarly absurd. Christians do not face the same economic and social headwinds. They do not face disproportionate arrest and police violence rates because of their faith. They do not face pervasive discrimination in their communities. Not compared to people of color. Not compared to Muslims. Not compared to transgender individuals.
Christians as a group were not being targeted in Oregon, but even without that event, Christians will still claim persecution. They point to criticism of their beliefs on same-sex marriage. They point to bakeries and Kim Davis and the removal of mandatory prayer from schools. They very clearly demonstrate that they have no idea what persecution actually is.
The whole thing would be laughable if there weren’t actually a large number of Americans who buy this nonsense. Sure, Christian lives matter as much as the rest. They just aren’t in direct danger.
(Image via YouTube)