Or is it Bibles and guns? The two now seem so inexplicably linked it’s difficult to know.
For example, many of the nation’s leading Bible-thumping states also have the largest percentage of gun ownership. And although I know of no studies on the subject, these same states would seem to rank high on a paranoia index.
It all seems intertwined.
Many churches quote the Bible to justify their hatred of gays, abortion rights activists, minorities and other faiths. When the government defends the civil rights of minorities and the right of women to control their own bodies, the faithful are given to paranoid delusions of an “attack on Christianity,” of a loss of “family values” and of a tyrannical government. That, in turn, leads to more gun ownership in order to fight the “jack-booted” (whatever that means) thugs who, according to the faithful, are coming to destroy their churches and take away their right to hate whoever they want.
All of this leads to despicable demonstrations such as those by the Westboro Baptist Church. Even worse it leads to violence against gays and minorities, and murders of abortion providers.
Hallelujah and pass the ammunition!
Although the faithful will be furious at my characterization, it has become reality. Moreover, such actions of the faithful are nothing new. Early Christians turned on the Jews who initially supported them (especially surprising given that Christ was a Jew). Christians fought Crusades against the Muslims. Catholics spawned the Inquisition to torture and murder anyone who displayed the slightest independence from Church teachings. Catholics also slaughtered the Cathars, Huguenots and more. Hitler claimed spiritual guidance as he exterminated Jews, Russians, Poles and Hungarians. And the Japanese believed that they were Divinely protected against all outsiders.
In our own nation’s history, the KKK toted Bibles and quoted scripture as they tortured, hung and burned African-Americans. Neo-Nazis have aligned themselves with “Christian” churches. So have many other militias and hate groups.
Even our once secular military has embraced Christianity to such an extent that it has trampled on the rights of soldiers who practice another religion or no religion at all. According to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, there have been numerous cases of religious discrimination at our military academies and at military bases around the world. The organization is understandably concerned about “a rapidly expanding and unconstitutional influence of religion over military operations and affairs that must (for both national security and service member civil and human rights) remain strictly and forever secular.”
I am not opposed to religion, but I am opposed to religious discrimination and Bible bullying. And I see absolutely no value in allowing religious zealots to push their beliefs at the end of a gun!