The Christians and the French
Playing the victim has been a practice of the Christian Right. Read any publication, or go on to any Web site, of the American Right (including the Christian Right) and you will likely find complaints about Christians being discriminated against for their faith and how the concept of church-state separation is really meant to persecute the religious. From these accounts, it would seem as if American society has become thoroughly anti-Christian.
But how accurate are such claims? Are Christians really being so vociferously vilified? To both questions, the answer is no.
The belief that Christians in the United States have been subject to mass discrimination has been discredited before, and it has been refuted again. But by what? Now, it has been challenged by the American public's hatred toward the French. In other words, anti-Christian feeling (if any) in the United States counts for nothing when compared to the anti-French sentiment prior to and during the second Gulf War that was initiated by the US government.
Hatred for France grew when the French government voiced its opposition to the US government's call for war against Iraq (US President George W. Bush declared the end of "major combat operations" on May 1, 2003). The resentment was quite apparent when French fries were renamed "freedom fries." Furthermore, Web sites such as www.francesucks.net, www.francesucks.com, and www.i-hate-france.comhave sprung up. As a matter of fact, just searching on France sucks in almost any search engine will yield a wealth of results (such as weblog entries, the aforementioned Websites, forum threads, etc.)--all devoted to attacking the French. And there was also a list floating around the Internet disparaging the military history of France; that list can be found on FrontPage Magazine. In short, resentment towards the French has been virtually omnipresent in the US.
And as for anti-Christian influence in the States? Is there even any to begin with? The US is the most religiously conservative in the modern West. When Michael Newdow sued to get the words under God out of the Pledge of Allegiance and won, he became one of the most hated individuals in America. A good part of the general public in the US thinks that the Bible should be taken literally and that the universe was created by the Biblical God. If Michael Dini, a biology instructor at Texas Tech University who refuses recommendation letters to any student who cannot provide a scientific explanation on human origins, had been fired, the American public probably would have applauded such an action. Furthermore, Christian-themed products such as the Left Behind novels have brought in huge profits. The Left Behind books, by the way, became a New York Times bestseller. So much for an anti-Christian, ultraleftist media.
The rise of anti-French sentiment does not necessarily mean that Christians in the US are not being discriminated against. However, since anti-French feeling has lately been very prominent, it makes Christian claims of discrimination look more suspicious. French goods have been boycotted in the US due to French opposition to Gulf War II, but did evangelical Christian products suffer from lost sales when, say, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson blamed 9/11 on liberals, homosexuals, abortion advocates, and a host of other people?
In the US, it has become politically correct to bash the French. It is not politically correct to criticize the religious sensitivities of the American general public, however. Christian conservatives should not complain about discrimination in the US; the French have suffered much more.
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