Tuesday, February 23, 2016

#1603: Thomas Farr

It’s important to understand how deeply ingrained the persecution complex is in the religious right (brief but good discussion here) – the idea that Christians in the US is a minority that everyone else is out to get is utterly delusional, of course, but it is rhetorically pretty effective when it comes to rallying the troops whenever any policy, idea or statement they disagree with can be construed as a direct attack on them (and, by extension, on Jesus).

The perspective is needed to understand the otherwise deranged mission of the organization Open Doors, which is dedicated to “serving persecuted Christians worldwide” with a mission to work in the “world’s most oppressive countries, strengthening Christians to stand strong in the face of persecution and equipping them to shine Christ’s light in these dark places,” since the mission would otherwise have sounded rather reasonable. It isn’t.

In 2011, then, Open Doors issued a pledge calling on presidential candidates to promise to protect the right to employ religious arguments, or religiously-informed moral arguments, when contending for or against laws and policies, such as laws designed to protect the unborn and traditional marriage” in the US and to “nominate to the U.S. federal bench judges who” woud defend that right. Of course, the religious right empoys religious arguments all the time, but what Open Doors has in mind are things like the ruling in the Propositon 8 case, which according to pledge co-author Thomas Farr (the other author is Carl A. Moeller) is precisely an example of how Christians are being persecuted in America. “Religious freedom is in crisis” in the US, according to Farr, since lots of people have the audacity to disagree with God him on social issues. So, yes – once again “persecution” means “people, especially lawmakers, disagreeing with them.” And by that definition, there is, of course, plenty of persecution going on in the US. And so it goes.

Diagnosis: It is hard to emphasize strongly enough how abysmally delusional people like Farr actually are. They are also zealous. The combination of delusions and zeal is a common one, but always bad news.

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