The folks at DefendChristians.Org asked their readers to list their top 10 “anti-Christian acts of 2011”. The list is filled with the usual right wing “religious liberty” outrages including the shutting down of Bible studies and people being fired from their jobs for supporting “traditional marriage.”
Gays and lesbians round out the top two “anti-Christian” acts of the year:
- President Obama declared June “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month” and hosted a White House celebration by homosexuals.
- California Governor Jerry Brown signs a bill forcing public school curriculum and textbooks to “celebrate” homosexuals, transgenders and bisexuals.
The list is not shocking, given the ultraconservative bent of the Web site, but it does beg the question of what kind of acts should be considered “anti-Christian.” In my study of the Bible and its portrayal of the life of Jesus, I can’t seem to find any passages where Jesus talks about gay people, or public schools, or any of the things this group is up in arms about. Instead, I find a dirt poor homeless preacher traveling from town to town telling people to love their enemies, give to the poor and needy, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and find ways to unite with each other instead of constantly bickering about who is God’s favorite.
So, in that spirit, I present my own list of “The Top 10 Anti-Christian Acts of 2011”, in no particular order.
- The poverty rate in America rose to 15.1% in 2010, its highest level since 1993. In 2009, 14.3% of people in America were living in poverty.
- While the Iraq war may have officially ended, at least 10 wars are ongoing around the globe, causing more than 1,000 deaths per year.
- There are 925 million people in the world who are going hungry of those, 17.2 million are Americans.
- While overall crime rates have dropped around the U.S., hate crimes continue to be a problem. Despite the noise being made by the religious right that they are the victims of religious persecution, it’s Jews who top the list of victims of religious hate crimes. Nearly 72% of religiously motivated hate crimes are directed at Jews with
- Protestants being targeted 2.7% of the time. In the race category, the religious right’s favorite scapegoat, Latinos are the most popular, but gay men are the target nearly 60% of the time for sexual orientation hate crimes.
There was a 3% rise in the number of homeless people from 2008 to 2009, while “31 of 50 states and the District of Columbia – had increases in their homeless counts. The largest increase was in Louisiana, where the homeless population doubled.”
- Statistics show that 9 out of 10 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender children are bullied at school. That bullying has caused numerous suicides of gay teens over the past two years. Religious organizations have been out front in defending the bullies and opposing measures that would specifically name sexual orientation in anti-bullying laws. In Michigan, religious groups almost got an exemption for religious beliefs, which would have given them unbridled power to bully LGBT children in the name of God.
- The income gap continued to grow in 2011 with the richest 10% controlling two-thirds of America’s net worth.
- The unemployment rate fell to 8.6% in December, the lowest since March 2009, but 13.3 million people remain jobless. The real unemployment rate, however, could be as high as 11%.
- The Catholic Church claims a right to discriminate against LGBT people in matters of adoption, while one Catholic Cardinal compares gays and lesbians to the KKK.
- The vandalism of a gay-inclusive nativity scene at a church in Claremont, California and a Christmas-themed billboard at St. Matthew in the City in Auckland, New Zealand continues to show that Christians of all stripes can’t seem to understand Jesus’ command to love each other. The billboard in Auckland, which showed the Virgin Mary gasping over a positive pregnancy test, particularly incensed Catholics, who made a public display of their vandalism.
Whosoever founder and Editor Emeritus Rev. Candace Chellew (she/her) is the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians. She earned her masters of theological studies at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, was ordained in December 2003, and trained as a spiritual director through the Omega Point program of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. She serves as the spiritual director of Jubilee! Circle in Columbia, S.C., and blogs at Motley Mystic.