No Equal Protections

It is a Truth that politics makes for strange bedfellows. More and more I find that I, a Pagan, feel the need to come to the defense of Christians and their organizations in these increasingly bigoted times. People, fueled by both secularists and horribly biased media seem to jump at any chance to attack and persecute Christians in America these days.

Gary Khera, a Sikh was refuse entrance into a Christian chapel when he refused to abide by their restriction of only entering bareheadedThe latest outrage is the false and biased coverage of an incident – which should never have been considered an incident in the first place – in Halifax County, NC. Gary Khera who is a Sikh went to the Union Mission – a Christian church and charity – this week to donate cash or food. Mr. Khera was refused entrance into the Mission’s consecrated grounds because he refused to abide by their restrictions and remove his turban before doing so.

The media – in their knee jerk reaction against anything Christian and most things representing Americana – jumped on this non-incident and gave it biased national coverage. The entire tenor of the MSM’s coverage – and the resulting commentary on news services’ websites, news aggregates such as Digg and the blogosphere – has been that the Union Mission was not only the wrong, but actively evil and un-American.

According to AP (via CBS News):

The mission has a rule – explained in large lettering on the mission’s door – asking all males to removed headcoverings inside the facility, and mission directors asked him to remove the turban. Khera refused to do so because he wears it all day as part of his religion.

So essentially Mr. Khera went to another faith’s religious site and refused to abide their rules on their sanctified property. When he was refused entrance he was outraged and went to the media to vent his spleen. That biased media was more than happy to give him the chance to do so and to give him a national spotlight while doing so.

One has to wonder what would happen if the tables had been reversed and a Christian – had gone to a Sikh temple – called a Gurdwara – to make a donation and refused to abide by the Sikhs’ restrictions. Everyone is required to take off their shoes before entering the Gurdwara and keep their heads covered at all times whilst in the Gurdwara.

I’m fairly sure that the media would have described it as bigoted insensitivity on the part of the Christians if they refused to follow the edicts of the Sikhs in their holy place.

As far as the media is concerned their is no equal protections for Christians when it comes to any clash or conflict of cultures or ideology. This is why I – a Pagan with little love for the Churches of the Christians – side with those persecuted Christians.

The media and the masses they control through disinformation have come for the Christians. If I and other Theists do not stand by those Christians now, who will be left to stand by me and mine when they come for us?

Related Reading:

The Story of Christianity, Vol. 2: The Reformation to the Present Day
Politics For Dummies
Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years
Politics
Religion: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It Matters

Tags: | | | | | | |

16 Responses to “No Equal Protections”

  1. Christy Says:

    First I’ve heard of this. Always look forward to visiting your blog and catching up.

  2. jonolan Says:

    It’s fairly recent, being only a day or two old of a story.

  3. Somebody Says:

    Big difference. Removing your shoes or covering your head is not against your faith beliefs. Removing your turban is.

    Second big difference – even Jesus wore a turban. Orthodox Jews, Muslims and Christians still wear turbans. So today’s Christians are a little off the path.

  4. jonolan Says:

    Not a big difference, a technical difference.

    Do you honestly believe that the coverage is unbiased? More importantly from my point of view – do you believe that that Christians should have to accept other faiths’ restriction within Christian holy places? If so, do you believe that those other faiths should have to accept Christian proscriptions and behaviors within their own holy places?

  5. bumpkin Says:

    i reject the turn-the-tables argument. union mission is not a church, and even if it was, most places of worship have areas for general transactions with the public. khera was reminded that he was in the united states. what does that mean? – that turbans are insufficiently american?

  6. jonolan Says:

    If you had read the comments in the Digg post I linked to you would have seen that people other than myself noticed that the local article changed over the course of the last day or so. In the original WRAL article is was Khera that said, “This is America,” in response to being told he could not enter with his head covered. This was changed last night apparently.

    Tell me, bumpkin, why you are so eager to believe that the people at Union Mission are bigots. Also tell me who you are to say what is or isn’t a church? I could easily say the same thing as you but direct it at a Masjid or Gurdwara since both function as more than just places of worship.

  7. HS Says:

    Would they refuse donation from a Nun? They also keep their head covered.

  8. jonolan Says:

    HS,

    There’s one problem with that thought / question – the restriction on headcoverings within the premises is only upon men. This has been the case in many Christian temples for a long time. They may even – as the Catholics used to – have rules requiring that women cover their heads / hair when entering.

    Also, Union Mission didn’t refuse Khera’s donation; they simply wouldn’t let him enter their mission without his abiding by their strictures on their property. Khera chose to no longer donate to their cause – as is his right.

  9. Prudie Says:

    Good grief. Property owners have the right to require anything legal as a condition of entrance to their premises. If a certain church required that all people who enter dance the Hokey Pokey first, then people would have to put their left foot in and shake it all about if they wanted to enter their church.

    I’m also a Pagan, and I spend a great deal of time defending Mormons. It’s not necessarily because I expect them to reciprocate. It’s just because they’re given such unfair coverage in the media and I know that much of what is written about them is nonsense. I also remember what it was to be Mormon, and how frustrated I felt that all of Christianity was constantly under attack.

  10. jonolan Says:

    People’s rights under the law sadly have little to do with how the media will choose to portray. In the current climate, Christians are both presumed guilty of various anti-social – really anti-Progressive – behaviors.

    As I mentioned in the post above, it worries me. What if we Pagans someday have the numbers to draw the attention of the secularists and their media?

  11. idyllicmollusk Says:

    This incident has some interesting implications. Right now it feels a little “he said, she said”, so I’ll reserve my unsolicited 2 cents until I’ve read up on it more.

    I’m more interested in responding to the statements in the post that christians are the targets of persecution in the US. In 2002 the Pew Research Council conducted a survey and determined that 82% of Americans identified as Christian. So what religious minority is persecuting the 82% majority? The 1% of people who identified as atheists? Questioning the actions of a certain group of christians surely doesn’t amount to persecution.

    Every US president has been a christian save one, Abraham Lincoln. Christianity’s biggest holiday, Christmas, is celebrated as a federal holiday, a distinction no other religion enjoys in this country. Not only is christianity not under attack, it is the dominant religion of the country, and certain christians often do a considerable amount of persecution themselves: pushing through Prop 8, erecting the 10 commandments on government property, trying to force prayer in schools, trying to force creationism in science classes, etc.

    When you’re in the overwhelming majority, with political, social and economic power unrivaled by all other religions combined, posing as a persecuted minority isn’t going to fly.

  12. jonolan Says:

    idyllicmollusk,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I understand your premise, but I feel as though the media and the growing secular community “fed” by them is persecuting American Christians. Just Google for this incident and read the articles and the comments associated with them; decide for yourself.

    Perhaps this is because – as you correctly state – Christianity is “the overwhelming majority, with political, social and economic power unrivaled by all other religions combined.” If so, then my fears are unwarranted. But with the growing sentiment of secularism and the idea that our Constitution meant Freedom From Religion, what if my fears aren’t unwarranted?

  13. idyllicmollusk Says:

    I do appreciate that you are approaching this article and this issue as a non-christian who is simply interested in robust freedom of religion in society.

    On that basic point, we agree. I believe that everyone should be able to practice their religion, or practice no religion, without unwarranted impingements.

    There are those that are uncomfortable with our country having one grossly dominant religion that sometimes bullies the others and occasionally seems to get special treatment from the government. So that could well be why the media are hyper-vigilant regarding christianity’s over-steps.

    Given Christianity’s overwhelming dominance in America, I am unconcerned that christians are the targets of a greater amount of persecution than other minority religions or the non-religious. I think we have plenty of evidence that if anything, christianity is the most protected religion in America.

    Re: persecution of the non-religious. Check this one out.

  14. jonolan Says:

    We differ in opinion. You see this as vigilance on the part of the media and I see it as persecution, especially when situations like the one is this post are involved. No “over-step” by a Christian was performed, yet it was reported that way repeatedly.

    I’ll grant you that Christianity has more protection from out government than other faiths, but that is declining as there is a growing push to silence all religions and remove them from “public space” or political thought.

    As for your specific reference to persecution of the non-religious, the billboard in question was offensive on a variety of levels to a variety of people. “Imagine No Religion” is fine, but that slogan captioning a billboard showing an INTACT World Trade Center is in very poor taste.

    The sign was also voluntarily removed in response to the numerous complaints about it. I’m not sure if that qualifies as persecution. Plenty of other – including Christian sponsored – billboards have been removed do to complaints in the past.

  15. Rich Bordner Says:

    It’s interesting that you are making the argument you are making, jonolan. As a Christian, I appreciate the hat tip, of sorts.

    I do have to make one comment, though: if this passes for “persecution” in the west, then Christians are doing pretty good in that department. In some countries, you get the slow boil in oil. I think “persecution” is being called a dork. That shows how coddled I am. Being a Christian in other areas of the world will cost you a great deal more…perhaps that’s why Christians in those parts of the world are so much more “on fire” than Christians in the West.

    I hasten to add that events like this do concern me, though; the current climate, while I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as “persecution,” still exerts a considerable subtle negative influence on people’s openness to Christ and the Christian worldview. It’s all about the “plausibility structure” of a culture. If a certain worldview looks foolish (“irrational,” “blind faith,”) or wicked (“narrow-minded,” “bigoted”)–whether or not foolish/wicked in reality doesn’t matter, all that matters is the *look*–then fewer and fewer in the culture will consider it a viable worldview for belief and trust. In the west, its getting to the point that many are simply blinded by emotion–they have such a negative visceral reaction to Christianity that their minds can’t even begin to consider the truth claims of Christ.

    Will events like this add to that already large snowball? Time will tell.

  16. jonolan Says:

    Thanks for stopping in, Rich. 🙂

    You make a valid point in your comment. What passes for persecution in modern America – and much of Europe – is a much softer and more easily tolerable form of persecution than what can be found in other regions of the globe. Few if any have to fear execution or lynching for practicing their religion.

    Still…the West’s – especially America’s – growing trend towards belittling and marginalizing theists’ views is very disturbing. It’s currently aimed almost solely at Christians because they are the dominant religious grouping in America, but I will hazard the guess that it will expand to all theists if not checked reasonably soon.

Leave a Reply