Purity is the condition of being free from anything that debases, contaminates, or pollutes, and a certain segment of the American population are obsessed with their deluded concept of what is purely American. In the conservative movement, particularly the racist religious right segment of the movement, there is a tendency toward demanding conservative purity, racial purity, and increasingly religious purity that all define their distorted vision of an American Utopia. Much to their despair, and due to the makeup of America’s population, there will never be anything remotely pure in this nation, whether it is in politics, race, or religion. What is curious, is that although America is not, was not, and never will be a Christian nation, there are signs that a religious purity crusade is gaining traction.
As it turns out, just the mention of any religion that does not adhere to American Neo-Christianity’s hate-filled tenets is enough to drive “the faithful” into a violent rage. In Arkansas recently, a local Unitarian Universalist church reached out to the community in a letter alerting the residents that their “church” was all inclusive and welcomed all people regardless of race, religion, or sexual preference; like Jesus Christ preached. The letter incited typically religious right intolerance and hatred that drove some vile human being to shoot out the church’s windows and leave a hate-filled, racist, homophobic, and Islamophobic rant threatening the church’s leader.
In Maryland this past week, in response to several requests for the school board to recognize an Islamic holy day like every Christian holy day, the board voted to strike all references to all religious holidays, including Christian holidays, from the scholastic calendar rather than recognize the Muslim holiday. The Montgomery County Board of Education voted 7 to 1 to eliminate all religious holidays from its 2015-2016 calendar, which previously recognized only Christian and Jewish celebrations. The local Muslim community just wanted recognition of the “Feast of the Sacrifice” as a demonstration of religious equality this country has abandoned with extreme religious prejudice.
The co-chair of the Equality for Eid Coalition, Zainab Chaudry, said, “They would remove the Christian holidays and they would remove the Jewish holidays from the calendar before they would even consider adding the Muslim holiday to the calendar.” According to the school board, recognizing religious holidays on the school calendar was purely symbolic, but they still could not bring themselves to make even a nominal gesture to Muslims in a demonstration of equality. A former Maryland state delegate, Saqib Ali, complained that “By stripping the names Christmas, Easter, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, they have alienated other communities now, and we are no closer to equality. It’s a pretty drastic step, and they did it without any public notification.”
Members of the school board lied and insisted that the vote was not meant to single out the Muslim community, but with a visible increase in anti-Muslim hatred across the nation, board members certainly singled out Islam. The danger is that now Christian devotees can blame Muslims for having Christmas and Easter stricken from the school calendar; as if Christians need more incitement to hate Muslims. Just two months ago in New York City, an anti-Muslim hate group took out “incendiary advertisements” on city buses using images of ISIS extremists to portray Islam as an inherently violent religion. Last month, some “pure Christian” threw a Molotov cocktail at a Mosque in New Mexico, and two weeks ago in California, a gun-zealot fired several shots at a mosque; fortunately, no-one in either incident was harmed. As a prime example of the deep-seated hatred of Islam, law enforcement officials in both incidents are “exploring the possibility of investigating” the California attack as a hate crime.
Throughout the nation, there is a concerted effort to portray any faith other than Christianity as impure. It was reported here a couple of weeks ago that there is a very well-organized movement to incite Christian parents to assail local teachers, schools, and parent-approved history curriculum because it “portrays Islam in a light” members of the Christian religion cannot countenance. In a fairly large California city, every year when religious leaders gather to plan how to help feed and clothe the poor and homeless, clergy from the Christian community refuse to participate because Muslims, Buddhists, Unitarian Universalists, and Jews are involved.
It is revealing that the religious right’s devout hatred for any faith outside of their distorted interpretation of Christianity has effectively debased, contaminated, and polluted the teachings of their namesake Jesus Christ under the guise of Christian purity. However, that is the Americanized version of Christianity, and like every hate group since the election of an African American man as President, the Christian purity crowd is rising and persecuting other faiths. It can only mean there are dark days ahead for a nation that was not founded on any religion; especially this new evangelical version of impure Christianity.