Sunday, February 28, 2010

Persecution Envy

Ken Hutcherson, once a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks, is now a minister. He recently posted on the right-wing website WorldNet Daily, the following hateful screed in which he makes the ridiculous comparison between Christians today and African Americans during the days of Jim Crow:


"CHRISTIANS: THE NEW NEGRO

I did not become a Christian so I would have to fight for my constitutional freedoms all over again.

Growing up in Alabama being black, knowing how that felt and the way I was treated in an all-white world of power and control, I had to fight for equal rights under the Constitution. How ironic now as a Christian to have those same thoughts and feelings again and to have to try and wrestle control of my constitutional rights from the secular community.

Many reading this may not understand where I came up with this concept of calling Christians “the new Negro.”

The reason is because there are undeniable similarities. Jim Crow laws were passed to keep me from having my constitutional rights and my rights under the Declaration of Independence of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Even though the Constitution gave me those freedoms, man was smart enough to be able to keep me from living those freedoms by saying I was “separate but equal.”

Today, my constitutional right of freedom of religion is being eroded again by laws such as the Hate Crimes Bill and repeated attacks by the politically correct crowd. Threats that came along as a result of an African American wanting to get out from under Jim Crow laws were formidable and scary and designed to keep African Americans quiet. The same thing is happening to Christians today.

“Speechless: Silencing the Christians,” by Don Wildmon, lays out determined strategy of coalition of liberal secularists, homosexual activists and Fortune 500 companies

Another way secular society is trying to control Christians is by the fallacy of the separation of church and state. That establishment clause was intended to protect the church from the state, not to keep the church from participating in the state. Christians’ ignorance of the meaning of the establishment clause has allowed us to be controlled just like the African Americans were in the 1950s and ’60s.

Many may question why I’m writing this article because they can’t see the fight in our society and world concerning the overt attack on Judeo-Christian values.

If you don’t believe one could be attacked for their stand on Judeo-Christian beliefs alone, take the case of Miss California, Carrie Prejean. Look at her refusal to compromise her Christian values. She has been vilified, demonized and lost her title simply because of her constitutional right to freedom of religion. What is so encouraging is that she will not compromise; she will not give up her values and would rather please God than take what the world has to offer her.

Sarah Palin is another example.

The politically correct crowd has a very difficult time dealing with Sarah because of who she is. Mrs. Palin is a pro-life, pro-gun, pro-traditional marriage, pro-hunting, white, conservative, Christian male who happened to have been born a woman! The politically correct crowd knows exactly what to do with a white male with those attributes, but a woman?

She is the perfect picture of the politically correct woman – strong, beautiful, able to both buy and fry the bacon, take care of the family, run an entire state and still take care of her baby. But because of who she is, and because she does not subscribe to politically correct thinking, she has been attacked for no other reason than her Judeo-Christian values, just as African Americans were attacked for no other reason than their skin color.

If you still don’t think Christians are being attacked for our beliefs, consider Pastor Ake Green in Sweden and Pastor Stephen Boisson in Canada and many other men of God around the world who have been jailed and had their non-profit status threatened because they dare to call homosexuality a sin. The sad commentary is many Christians have backed off our God-given responsibility to tell the truth because secular society has deemed the truth “political.” Marriage is a church issue, pornography is a church issue, homosexuality is a church issue, and divorce is a church issue. The problem is, as soon as the secular elites named them political, the evangelical church – especially the white evangelical church – retreated and held up the cowardly white flag.

If you don’t think Christians have become the new Negro, just look at Christmas! We are no longer able to celebrate Christmas in schools. Even though as taxpayers, our tax dollars help pay for our broken educational system, we are forced to celebrate winter break and the fabulous “holiday tree!”

How about the wonderful greeting, “Happy Holidays!”? Department stores are afraid to put up signs with the word “Christmas” on them. Don’t mistakenly think this is anything new. Secular society began taking Christ out of Christmas when they started calling it “Xmas” – and we let it happen.

In my wonderful state of Washington just last year, Gov. Christine Gregoire and the state legislators allowed an Atheist Manifesto to be put up right next to the Nativity scene of our Lord Jesus Christ! I have to say straightforward: the state of Washington is the armpit of the United States, and our lovely legislators are supplying the odiferous scent to the armpit.

Because 2008 was such a disaster, this year there will be no Christmas or religious displays in the Capitol rotunda, period. Oh, except they will put up a huge holiday tree.

Can anybody tell me where common sense is? Everyone in the world knows it’s a Christmas tree. This nonsense is all in the name of tolerance toward whom? It’s certainly not toward those of us who hold strong Judeo-Christian values. As Christians, it’s an attack on what we hold dear. But just like the Negroes, Christians should understand they are not equal under the Constitution’s right to freedom of religion.

The only difference between Christians and African Americans is that Christians put up with this intolerance while standing behind the false disguise of humility and love. We are obsessed with showing the world our love when our primary job is to tell them the truth. The Bible does not say, “Sensitivity shall set you free.” It says, “The truth shall set you free.” Are we not the truth-tellers?

When are we as believers, like the African Americans that came before us, going to say, enough is enough? No more “separate but equal!” Our battle cry is “We are the salt of the earth, onward Christian soldiers and to God be the glory! For in unity we will stand and we will not be stopped!"

******

The idea that somehow Christians are in a position analogous to that of African Americans in the days of Jim Crow is patently stupid and offensive. There were more than 4,000 documented cases of African Americans hanged, tortured and burned to death in the Jim Crow South between the 1880s and the 1930s. The actual number, experts agree, was much higher. The whites involved in these crimes never faced a day of imprisonment and were praised by the segregationist leadership of Southern states. Show me something comparable experienced by Christians in America.

Under eugenics laws passed in several Southern states, more than 35,000 African Americans underwent involuntary vasectomies and hysterectomies in states like Alabama in the 1920s and 1930s. These procedures became so common in one state that they became known as "Mississippi appendectomies." Have Christians undergone treatment by the medical and scientific communities remotely similar to this?

In South Carolina in the 1950s, white schools had water fountains but black students had to use a dipper to scoop water from open buckets. The school systems provided white students with buses but black students living far from campuses had no access to transportation. Each white campus employed a janitorial staff, but black teachers and students had to serve as uncompensated custodians at Jim Crow schools. White schools providing seating for every student while at one black school, an investigator for the NAACP found, did not possess a single desk. Do Christians today suffer from discrimination even remotely approximating this?

In Liberty, Mississippi on September 25, 1961, a member of the Mississippi state legislature, E.H. Hurst, murdered an African American man, Herbert Lee, in broad daylight for his participation in a black voter registration drive. A jury no-billed him and a black witness to the crime was later assassinated with impunity. Are Christians today subject to such legal injustices?

Regarding all the tired claims of a "war on Christmas," I have no idea what people on Hutcherson's side of the political divide are talking about. In my Catholic family we said "Happy Holidays" forty years ago and there was no pressure for political correctness in Garland, Texas, in the 1960s. What the Rev. Hutcherson claims is "political correctness," I call manners.

When I know I am speaking to a Christian during the holidays, I say, "Merry Christmas." I don't do the same to people I know are Jewish or Muslim, or members of a non-Christian faith, because to do so is rude and obnoxious. "Happy Holidays" is a polite way to greet people when you don't know their religious beliefs.

The irony is that Christmas celebrations once were banned in New England by zealous Puritans who considered the holiday too "Popish." It's the Christians in New England who declared war on Christmas until the late 1800s.

Trying to make saying, "Happy Holidays," the modern-equivalent of Jim Crow schools and lynching is insulting to those who have suffered real injustice. And by the way, Hutcherson was a child during the worst period of segregation. By the time he was 18 he could vote and Alabama, though still poisoned with racism, had come a long way from the low-point of Southern race relations.

Rev. Hutcherson also dismisses gay rights as political correctness. Actually its a matter of the Constitution. The 14th Amendment states clearly, "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Gay citizens are systematically denied equal protection under the law regarding their families, their relationships, their contracts with employers, and so on. The Christian right who, in spite of their huge numbers and their political power want to pretend they are a persecuted minority, are the ones who have fought to deny gays the right to serve in the military, to be protected from job discrimination and summary dismissal, to be able to visit dying loved ones in hospitals, to be the presumed heirs of their deceased partners, etc.

Show me where the Constitution gave Christians the right to deny others equality. Since Hutcherson claims Christians are the "new Negroes" can he show me laws that deny Christians the right to marry, that deny Christians protection from housing discrimination, which ban Christians from serving in the military, etc.?

The anti-gay hostility generated by bigots like Hutcherson are a life and death matter. According to the FBI, "there were 1,265 hate crimes based on sexual orientation in 2007, up from 1,017 two years earlier and 1,239 in 2003. That compares to 3,820 racially motivated incidents in 2007 and 1,400 in which the victim's religion was a factor." As just one sorry example, in February 2008 a 15-year-old boy in Oxnard, California was shot to death by a 14-year-old classmate who had harassed and bullied him after he revealed he was gay.

I can't recall that Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson ever devoted much effort to condemn violence against gays. Certainly not as much time as they did slandering gay men and women as pedophiles and dangers to America. Perhaps Falwell, Robertson and the likes of Hutcherson believe that gays deserve suffering for their alleged sin and therefore don't deserve any legal protection from verbal or physical violence.

Hutcherson, as an African American, should be especially sensitive to the issue of hate-motivated violence. Instead, he is a cowardly bully. His rant is one of uninformed resentment, anger that the country is more diverse, that it speaks with many voices, including non-Christian ones, on religion, and that the Christian right can no longer dictate the politics of this country or translate their bigotry into public policy as easily as they once did.


Michael Phillips has authored the following:

White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity and Religion in Dallas, Texas, 1841-2001 (Austin:  University of Texas Press, 2006)

(with Patrick L. Cox) The House Will Come to Order: How the Texas Speaker Became a Power in State and National Politics. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010)

“Why Is Big Tex Still a White Cowboy? Race, Gender, and the ‘Other Texans’” in Walter Buenger and Arnoldo de León, eds., Beyond Texas Through Time: Breaking Away From Past Interpretations (College Station: Texas A&M Press, 2011)

“The Current is Stronger’: Images of Racial Oppression and Resistance in North Texas Black Art During the 1920s and 1930s ”  in Bruce A. Glasrud and Cary D. Wintz, eds., The Harlem Renaissance in the West: The New Negroes’ Western Experience (New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2011)

“Dallas, 1989-2011,” in Richardson Dilworth, ed. Cities in American Political History (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2011)

(With John Anthony Moretta, Keith J. Volonto, Austin Allen, Doug Cantrell and Norwood Andrews), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips. eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume I.   (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Keith J. Volanto), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips, eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume II. (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Carl J. Luna), Imperial Presidents: The Rise of Executive Power from Roosevelt to Obama  (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2013). 

“Texan by Color: The Racialization of the Lone Star State,” in David Cullen and Kyle Wilkison, eds., The Radical Origins of the Texas Right (College Station: University of Texas Press, 2013).

He is currently collaborating, with longtime journalist Betsy Friauf, on a history of African American culture, politics and black intellectuals in the Lone Star State called God Carved in Night: Black Intellectuals in Texas and the World They Made.

2 comments:

Eldee said...

Well said! Please tell me you also posted it on his site for him to see (not that I think he would understand).

Michael said...

I sent him a copy of the post. Someone named Rachel Whaley replied and said nothing more than, "You are entitled to you opinion, as is he." He didn't have the guts to respond to respond himself or to address the issues I raised. I'm not surprised he was a coward.