That explains it. That glow coming through the window as I got out of bed this morning is the full moon. Since this is the first full moon after the vernal equinox, that means Sunday’s Easter. If Sunday’s Easter this is Good Friday. That brought to mind an article my wife sent me from The Atlantic, “Most American Christians Believe They’re Victims of Discrimination.” In this piece Emma Green explains that Christians of a certain stripe believe they’re under threat. Most people express surprise at this outlook, but having grown up in a Fundamentalist tradition I can say that this is hardly new. The narrative of persecution among conservative Christians has been around for a long time. They have a mandate, you see. A mandate to make the entire world like themselves.
Hearing the many cries of legitimate oppression doesn’t help, of course. In this linked world of instant communication and news 24/7, we’ve become perhaps too aware of just how widespread oppression is. Christians have felt persecuted from the very beginning, and they don’t like now being cast in the role of oppressor. Forcing other people to conform is no longer considered right or desirable, but Christians have a mandate. What strikes me as odd here is that we have a means of learning about this—of arming ourselves with knowledge—but we’d rather be surprised at the polls and pay for it with years of actual oppression. What is this mysterious means of knowing? The Bible. If read, this viewpoint can be understood. And if handled carefully, disarmed.
The Roman Empire, after which, tellingly, American politics is modeled, oppressed Christians. At least for a while. Then the faith became establishment. And it began oppressing. An ocean away, Christians fled here because they wanted freedom of religion. They didn’t always want to share that freedom with other groups experiencing discrimination. Especially, of course, if they could be compelled to do heavy labor without pay. Now these groups feel they’re being judged for saying “Merry Christmas,” or for declaring loudly that Sunday’s Easter. They can’t point to behaviors that in their understanding of the Bible are bad and tell people not to do them. They don’t understand that Allah is the same deity they worship, only in monotheistic form. And they get all this news while the moon is still in the sky. I look at the puddle of light on my bedroom floor and head for my writing nook. It may be Good Friday, but I’ve got to work today, getting Bibles ready to sell.