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Tue Jul 29, 2014, 08:16 AM

Fox News’ “War on Christianity”: How right-wing hacks created a sect of victims

There is a serious agenda behind the paranoia -- and a vision of reality that is truly scary

EDWIN LYNGAR


If you only consumed the Fox News Network or books penned by Fox “journalists,” you could be forgiven for believing that the streets of America run red with the blood of Christian martyrs or that Bibles are being burned in the streets of San Francisco by marauding atheists. The claims of religious persecution are laughable even on cursory examination, but this slice of American self-delusion can no longer be ignored. The manufactured war on Christians provides cover for fundamentalist to perpetrate actual discrimination, against gay people, religious minorities and women. With the latest decision from the Supreme Court creating religious rights for billon-dollar corporations like Hobby Lobby, this wholesale nonsense has gone beyond anyone’s capacity to ignore.

To understand the rise of the Christian victim myth, one must trace it to the source: Fox News and especially its affiliated radio and book empire. Even among the intellectually atrophied, there are a few who stand out for being worse than the rest. At Fox News, I would argue it’s the trifecta of Mike Huckabee, Sean Hannity and my personal favorite (and the main subject of this post), Todd Starnes. To understand the creation of the religious victimization myth, I thoroughly examined Starnes’ latest polemic: “God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values.” Forwarded by Huckabee and promoted by Hannity, this Fox News corporate product captures everything that is wrong, untrue and stupid about this ongoing narrative.

I have spent more hours than I want to admit trying to understand Todd Starnes as a fellow human being. Like me, Starnes is an obese, white man, and we probably share pants sizes and a love of fried foods. Where we differ is that Starnes has spent his entire life dedicated to Southern Baptists, a group that has only recently recovered from its hatred of dancing and interracial marriage. He is a marginal member of the Fox News brand, but is a constant source of misinformation and social discord, regularly featured on Fox radio and the Fox News website.

Starnes might dismiss my criticism with his favorite insult of “elitist,” but that can’t stick to me. I’m a former military enlisted man, was a libertarian for years and have been clawing my own way out of the pit of angry, white America for decades. My own upbringing should make me love Starnes: undereducated, white, rural, gun-toting and fat. Todd and I could be brothers, except that every word that he writes or utters makes me almost ill. In that way, I’ll label his book a “Nauseātus Magnum Opus.” My fascination about Starnes comes from how close I came to accepting his vision of reality.

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http://www.salon.com/2014/07/29/fox_news_war_on_christianity_how_right_wing_hacks_created_a_sect_of_victims/

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Reply Fox News’ “War on Christianity”: How right-wing hacks created a sect of victims (Original post)
DonViejo Jul 2014 OP
tanyev Jul 2014 #1
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Jul 2014 #2
Fortinbras Armstrong Jul 2014 #5
DetlefK Jul 2014 #3
safeinOhio Jul 2014 #6
randr Jul 2014 #4
cbayer Jul 2014 #7
Dark n Stormy Knight Jul 2014 #8

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 08:21 AM

1. Apparently, the Christian victim myth has been around for a very long time.

I recently read The Myth of Persecution by Candida Moss. Great book, but the point I found most interesting--after she neatly laid out her case that virtually all of the stories of Christian martyrs are fictional--is that the stories of persecution were almost all created AFTER Christianity was well on its way to becoming the dominant religion in the West. Even then, powerful church leaders were obsessed with portraying themselves as persecuted.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 08:28 AM

2. It occurred to me this morning, that what the theocratic Christians want

is an American version of Israel - a state with a state religion. And we can see with Israel what happens with state religions. Minorities are persecuted, and are an 'existential threat' to the country because they refuse to accept the state AS a religious state with a religion that is not their own. Hamas' leader was on Charlie Rose the other night, and admitted that they were willing to coexist with Jewish people, without violence, but that the one unacceptable thing from their viewpoint was Israel *as a Jewish state*. And from Netanyahu it is completely unacceptable that Israel *not* be a Jewish state.

The one thing keeping the two sides at odds is a state religion that, if all of the people together were counted, represents slightly less than half of the people in the area.

In America, things would be even more lopsided, with a far smaller percent of the country not being at least nominally Christian. And our own 'Likud' wannabes on he right would demand the elimination of Church and State if they got a state religion, and religious persecution would flourish, including violent incidents thereof.

So they play the victims now, but they want to get to a place where they are the ones doing the victimization for real. America as a Christian Israel. And the rest of the non-Christians would eventually find themselves shoved onto some worthless strip of desert.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #2)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 11:30 AM

5. I would point out that Jews are not simply "those who practice Judaism"

But also are an ethnic group -- or, rather, several ethnic groups. For example, my mother is a Jew. She does not keep kosher, she has only been in a synagogue twice in the last 60+ years, once for a wedding and once for a funeral. Yet there is no doubt in her mind or in anyone else's that she is a Jew.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 08:52 AM

3. It's way older than this. And you know this meme by a different name.

Christians fed to lions? Never happened. Christians made that up after they had come to power in Rome. Christians were considered just one more obscure sect in ancient times, they were not hunted down.

Then there were the unruly british and german tribes on the northern borders of christian roman empire.

In medieval times there were Saracens in Iberia and Arabs in Jerusalem. The Reconquista and the crusades were launched to repel those "aggressors".

Then America was discovered, a faraway land without any knowledge of Christianity. That could not be tolerated.

And today? The same: Those that aren't Christians are instead barbarians at the border, not part of society but something "other". And those that are "other" cannot be Christians.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #3)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 11:31 AM

6. Even if a few Christians were fed to the lions,

Those Christians went on, for the next 1,500 years to put MILLIONS of others to fire, the rack and drowning.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 09:04 AM

4. This puts the nail right on the head

The manipulators at Faux and other places have found that they can create an audience or gain an electorate by uniting them under the "victim" banner. Someone or something is always out to get them, take their stuff, and take their jobs. An us and them mentality that is easily persuaded is created by taking advantage of basic human frailties.
The Tea Party Nation is in reality a nation of whiners.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 06:37 AM

7. Ok, I might read this book just for the comic relief, but

nah, probably not.

It will sell, though. Victimization is a great marketing tool, but it doesn't accomplish much.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 01:56 PM

8. K&R. They claim there's a war on Christmas, meanwhile from October though December,

nearly anywhere you go in America you'll see and hear countless reminders that, "Tis the Season!" While the displays, songs, and celebrations may be labeled with "Holiday" or "Season" rather than "Christmas," the vast majority are clearly in the Christmas tradition.

The supposed victims of the war on Christmas are merely suffering from their intense outrage that everyone in the world does not believe in their version of god and believe that "He" is exactly as they say "He" is and requires the exact lifestyle they espouse, attributing it to "His" word.

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