Column: War on Christianity?

Tim Eggerding

Tim Eggerding

By Zachary Schuster

Movie and politics aficionados probably noticed a conspicuous absence when the “Best Picture” Oscar nominations were released earlier this week. Mel Gibson’s epic film The Passion of the Christ was left off the marquee list. I am shocked that I have not heard some conservative Christians crying that the snub is the latest battle in the “War on Christianity” being waged by godless secular liberals.

The “War on Christianity” is one of those Fox News catchphrases that riles up conservative Christians against American liberals. I find this mythical American “War on Christianity” to be pretty tragic, especially because there are actually countries such as the Sudan and Saudi Arabia where being a Christian can actually get one killed. Instead of focusing their efforts on helping fight injustices such as this, conservative Christian leaders spend their time whining about things such as the Oscar snub of Mel’s mediocre gore-fest.

A recent battle in the “War on Christianity” was the “War on Christmas,” which we all thankfully managed to survive. The basis of this “War” was anecdotal evidence of people not allowing the use of the words “Merry Christmas” and some stores’ refusal to display anything with religious references. In light of these little stories, conservative Christians everywhere vowed to say the words “Merry Christmas” to everyone as an “Up yours, you liberal bastard.” I guarantee that Jesus would have wanted his birthday used in such a spiteful manner.

Even better than the Christian “Up yours” was conservative Christians whining because stores were displaying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” First they complain that Christmas has become too commercialized by these stores; then they complain that the companies that have ruined Christmas refuse to acknowledge it. Not once did I hear a conservative Christian say “I’m going to celebrate the season of giving by volunteering some of my time at the local soup kitchen.” That’s probably just my silly liberal Christian beliefs speaking though, my apologies.

While the “War on Christmas” was a rollicking good time, my favorite battle in “The War on Christianity” was the Ten Commandments statue fracas of Ala. Judge Roy Moore. Readers should remember that a U.S. Appeals Court ordered the removal of the statue from his courthouse, citing concerns about separation of church and state. What ensued was nothing short of hilarity. Hundreds of people came to Montgomery, Ala., from across the country to pray at the courthouse for … a piece of stone? Maybe in between prayers they should have taken the time to read the Commandment that states, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.”

A part of why I no longer identify myself with a Christian church is that I am embarrassed that Christian leaders devote their energies to farces such as the “War on Christianity.” For many American Christians, being a Christian has become all about proving to everyone else that you are a great Christian. I like to joke that when I grow up, I’m going to get a 50-foot cross in my front yard. Then, everyone will say, “With a cross that big, that Zachary Schuster must be one heckuva Man of God!”

The reason why there is this perceived bias against Christianity is because secular liberals and even Christian liberals like myself are getting fed up with the hypocrisy of the Christian Right. Watching conservative Christians hate gays and pray to a piece of stone instead of serving others does not exactly inspire cries of “Get me in on that religion!”

Leaders of the Christian Right would be wise to think about the image that they and their followers are presenting to the rest of America. I guarantee that if all Christians would sit down and read the Four Gospels and then live out Jesus’ message of selfless service, pretty much everyone would be on their side. Until then, my cable news viewing time is going to be spent watching Christians argue about the “War on Christianity” while injustices across the nation and world go unnoticed by those same supposed Christians.

Zachary Schuster is a senior in engineering. His column appears on Fridays. He can be reached at [email protected]