On July 9, 2022 Sophia A. Nelson writes within the New York Post an article that is titled “Christians are sick of being punished for their views in America“.
Is this really true, are Christians being “punished” for their views?
Let’s take a brief tour through her article and see what we find.
(prepare to be unsurprised).
The Picture at the Top – Joe Kennedy
The picture at the top of her article is of Joe Kennedy, the football coach from a recent SCOTUS case. The description under it is a lie. It claims that he was “fired” after conducting prayer sessions at the 50-yard line. The truth, a concept rather sadly alien to some Christians, is this – He was put on paid leave. Later, he opted to not reapply when his fixed term contract expired.
- Fact Check: See here, Page 14 – ” When his contract expired in the spring, Kennedy did not reapply to coach the following year. “
The SCOTUS judgement, decided by the Christian Nationalists that have been packed into the court, was also a rather blatant lie. It read …
Petitioner Joseph Kennedy lost his job as a high school football coach in the Bremerton School District after he knelt at midfield after games to offer a quiet personal prayer.
“Quiet personal prayer” is not what was going on. The Justices that dissented put photographic evidence into their dissent that verified it was indeed a lie and that there was nothing “quiet” or “personal” about his performative religious theatre.
Opening her New York Post article with a rather blatant bit of modern mythology is not the best way to make her case.
If curious to learn more about that SCOTUS case – I wrote about it in detail here.
Let’s move on.
Claim: America is a nation founded on Judeo-Christian values
The opening paragraph opens with a Barton like myth as follows …
It may seem radical to say it these days, but it’s true: America is a nation founded on Judeo-Christian values. Words from scripture are inscribed on our money and our most hallowed institutions, including Congress, the US Supreme Court and state capitols everywhere. Our Declaration of Independence acknowledges our “Creator” as the being from whom all our rights flow.
One ever so small flaw with her “it’s true” claim is that it is not actually true at all.
What is true is that many within the new nation would have adhered to some form of Christianity, but it was not founded upon Christian Principles. As John Adams famously wrote in 1797 …
“The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”
Regarding the “In God We Trust” bit, that was adopted by the U.S. Congress in 1956, replacing the original E pluribus unum. This is not simply a “view”, it was religion imposing itself in a manner that violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
To be honest, these days most simply roll their eyes and don’t kick up a huge fuss about it.
OK, so back to the claim. What exactly are these “Judeo-Christian values” that the US is founded upon?
She does not explain that, but instead runs with a reference to God being on the currency, a motto added long after the founding of the nation.
Expressing Judeo-Christian views
Once we get beyond that opening we dive right into what is really going on here. She lays it out like this …
we are no longer a nation that fully supports the right to hold or express Judeo-Christian views.
I have experienced this first-hand. When I was the scholar-in-residence at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va., I proudly and openly identified as a Christian woman of color. In October 2021, I criticized DC Comics for making Superman’s son bisexual, saying in a tweet, “I don’t get why this is necessary. I don’t! What if Christian parents of children reading comic books don’t want their kids exposed to bi-sexual characters? This is being pushed on kids.”
I’m confused. How exactly was her right to hold or express her views hindered?
She held that view when she tweeted it and I believe she still holds that view. She is broadcasting that view yet again within this New York Post article. Nobody is hindering that or even attempting to hinder that.
So here is what is really going on.
She tweeted opposition to LGBTQ and as a result, she got a lot of flack for doing that because she pissed off rather a lot of LGBTQ people.
She still retains the right to hold this view and to broadcast it. What she does not get to have is the right to avoid all public criticism for broadcasting it.
She might indeed claim her stance is a “value”, but it is not. Instead, it is the complete opposite, an anti-value, an embrace of intolerance and bigotry. There is nothing moral or ethical about her supposed “value”.
How it played out
Straight away, my private tweet was brought into my public university workplace, and my Christian faith was attacked as a “cover for my homophobic views.” I was deemed “homophobic,” “unsafe” and “violent” by an openly bisexual faculty member, who then incited colleagues, university officials and students against me. Students at my college protested and demanded I be removed from my post, and despite the fact I deleted my tweet, wanted to hold a campus forum to discuss the matter, and twice expressed regret for causing offense, I was sidelined for the remainder of my tenure, and was told I would not be invited back to teach or otherwise.
A couple of key points.
There is nothing “private” about a tweet. If you put something on twitter then you are in effect standing on a soap box in the public square and shouting loudly to any who will listen.
It was not her “faith” that was attacked. It was her promotion of intolerance and bigotry.
What she has now discovered is that broadcasting obnoxious views really does have a consequence. Others on campus no longer wished to work with her and so they let her go.
In other words, this New York Post article is not about “Freedom of Religion” for all, which remains unchanged, but rather is actually about her being more than a little bit pissed about the pushback she got in response to her bigotry.
The Kennedy Case
After explaining what happened, she then moves on to the case football coach Kennedy and tries to utilise what happened to him. She rather dishonestly leans upon that as “evidence” that SCOTUS takes her side on this …
The thing that bothers me most about how people of faith, like Kennedy and myself, are treated is that we are just cut off. Thrown out. Removed. As if we are these hateful, bigoted religious cultists who just want to push our faith on others. That is simply not true. We have a viewpoint. We have a faith that informs how we live and think. A lens through which we process, just as I also have a specific perspective as a black female in America. I do not want to tell others how they should live and think. I simply want to be heard as every American should be.
Kennedy was not just cut off, and neither was she. Remember that this is her writing in the New York Post, that’s not exactly being “cut off”.
Mr Kennedy was offered an accommodation by the school. He refused. He was also put on paid leave, not because he was praying, but because he was not doing his job. He was still on the clock and was supposed to be looking after the kids, not pressuring them into joining his performative religious theatre that he also happened to invite the press to come watch. He was literally forcing his faith upon the kids. Parents confirmed that this is what was happening. Court filings reveals that some of the kids did not want to join his circus but reported that they felt pressured to do so.
She also rolls out this claim …
Academics need to read Title IX more closely: religion is a protected class, just like race, gender and sexual orientation (including heterosexuals). Giving the rights of some groups priority over the rights of religious persons is not America. If “woke” Americans are starting to wonder why there has been such a big pushback on “cancel culture” or “viewpoint diversity” lately, it is because people of faith are tired of being attacked, labeled, isolated and treated as if we are not allowed to express opinions, too.
The truth is that she herself needs to read Title IX more closely. It says nothing at all about religion or race.
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
She tweeted the rather weird claim that exposing kids to a fictional LGBTQ character in a comic would corrupt them.
That’s utter bullshit, your don’t become gay by being exposed to the knowledge that gay people exist, nor is it a choice, it is the way some are born.
When criticised for this, she then rolls out “religious freedom” as a banner to hide behind. For her, and many others like her, criticism of her intolerance and bigotry is then declared to be an attack upon her faith.
It is pushback against her homophobia.
Nobody, not one single person, has critiqued her for being a Christian.
There are specific things that society in general will not tolerate. Namely, racism, and now also homophobia.
If somebody expressed a rather blatant racist view and then attempted to duck by using “It’s my sincerely held religious belief” as deflection for the resulting criticism, then that is really not going to fly. In exactly the same way, she is now discovering that the same is becoming increasingly true regarding homophobia.
Given her latest New York Post article it is rather clear that she has learned nothing from the pushback she got.
There are specific human attributes that are rather key to leading a good life. For example, decency, tolerance, kindness, love, compassion, empathy, and much more. If your “faith” leads to the short circuiting of any of that, then you need to hit pause and seriously consider the thought that your “faith” is corrupting you, not bettering you, and that a “faith” upgrade to a far better version might be well worth considering.
As Jesus famously put it …
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you, except the gays, you must remember to hate the gaysRepublican Jesus, John 15:12
For those unfamiliar with that verse, yea, Jesus never said that second part, I made it up. Sadly, for some, that second part is embraced as “religious truth”.