Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Recycling an implausible narrative of persecution

The New York Times profiles a group called the Seekers which are infiltrating NY high schools. The group promotes a "Jesus day" at the schools, the main purpose of which is evangelism.

The rather long article quotes many of these Jesus promoters about their feelings of persecution, about how in the past pushing their religion on others received no official sanction and how some people laughed at them and treated them with contempt. No actual critics of the group or the change in policy allowing them to evangelize on campus are ever quoted or even named, as apparently is required by the Times new style sheet.

It would of course be too impolite to note that the overall narrative of overcoming discrimination just isn't very plausible in a nation that is overwhelmingly Christian and hyperreligious. Christians love to wrap themselves in the lie that they are a persecuted minority and to paint the attempt to convert others not as a form of psychological assault, but as a right of free speech. Whenever someone pushes back, they squeal persecution. But does the newspaper of record really have to uncritically regurgitate this pathologically self-centered tale of woe?

And to top it off, here is how the Times treats rising Christian hostility to science:
"There are a lot of people who respect that you're religious and you're involved in Seekers," Miss Chan said. "And there are also a lot of those who just kind of see you as someone who's a religious fanatic, that we don't care about science, that we're ignorant."
And that's it. Without evidence, we are expected to draw the conclusion that these people who feel compelled to witness to their fellow student and try to colonize their personalities are not fanatics. Without evidence, we are expected to believe that Christians do in fact care about science, never mind all the evidence to the contrary we see around us every day.

Heck of a job.

1 Comments:

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