Once Again, Christians Mistake Removing a Special Privilege with Oppression

Mention of the Bible makes most of us think “Christianity” – merely one religion out of many. But conservative Christians would have you believe no Bible = no religion. This is all part of a larger landscape of religious privilege that requires that for there to be morality one must have Christianity, as though the world existed for tens of thousands of years in sinful chaos, without law, without any evidence of ethics or human decency. The myth is that Christianity is in some way essential, an endangered species requiring special protections lest society collapse.

Fundamentalist Christianity has infiltrated our society on a number of levels, from local to federal government to all branches of the military, but in particular, the Air Force, which seems to have become a hotbed of Christian extremism. So the possibility that the Bible would no longer be on the Air Force checklist of items (a list of some 1200 items) in lodging facilities on its bases has conservative Christians in an uproar. A new checklist will take effect on October 1.

How can this be? Surely this must be a sign of the End Times? No, it’s just those nasty atheists. And good fundamentalist American soldiers know how to deal with the atheists who do very much exist in foxholes.

CBN alerts the faithful that “The move comes in response to a complaint filed from the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF) that the presence of Bibles was ‘special privilege for Christianity.’

You can almost hear those prayers for breast cancer coming your way, can’t you atheists and freethinkers? Maybe prostate cancer will be next. It doesn’t really matter that the books are placed there by Gideons “at no cost to the government” – the point is that you can’t check into a hotel room without being confronted by a Bible that is required to be there by the U.S. Air Force.

The MAAF, CBN reports, “said their goal is to fight ‘insensitive practices that illegally promote religion over non-religion within the military or unethically discriminate against minority religions or differing beliefs.’” Insensitive is a good term for it. The Air Force, like the government, must not “establish” one religion over all others and that seems to be precisely what the Air Force in particular is trying to do. The litany of Air Force sins against First Amendment rights is a long one, as a perusal of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s (MRFF) archives demonstrates.

Of course you can’t have a battle over Christian privilege without the Blaze, home of David Barton’s BFF Glenn Beck. Billy Hallowell at The Blaze point out that “the Air Force will be removing the requirementthat Bibles be placed in on-based rooms. Whether those who prepare these rooms will follow suite — that is yet to be seen.”

But even the possibility that Bibles might not be there has got the war drums beating.

According to One News Now, Dr. Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former Navy chaplain and the head of The Pray In Jesus Name Project, the guy who got kicked out of the Navy for using his position to promote political causes, the guy who wants Israel to have its fantasy borders of 1500 BCE (why ever not would the Bronze Age be relevant to the 21st century???), and who once issued a Fatwah against MRFF’s Mikey Weinstein and Americans United’s Barry Lynn, is not a happy camper.

Rather than making a move to create a non-discriminatory environment, Klingenschmitt believes the Air Force is merely bowing to the demands of the MAAF, “among other atheist groups”:

“The Air Force is apparently complicit to this. I don‘t know if they’re removing the Bibles, but at least they’re removing [them] from the checklists, [the result being that] whoever cleans the rooms is no longer required to check whether the Bible is in place,” he explained. ”So if somebody steals one of those Bibles or if they’re confiscated by atheist complainers or put in the trash, then sadly Christian people will not have access to read the Bible at night.”

At least he didn’t bring up the Bronze Age or issue a Fatwah. And neither One News Now nor The Blaze will bring up Klingenschmitt’s bizarrely inappropriate behavior.

The claim made by “Bible supporters” (an interesting term don’t you think?) that Air Force officials are bowing to political pressure to create a “religion-free” zone is not supported by the facts. A Bible-free zone would be more accurate. After all, Qur’ans and Avestas and other holy books aren’t on the Air Force checklist of required items, are they? It is the Bible that has attained a place of privilege in the Air Force, not some other holy book. Religion is quite possible without the Bible, unimaginable as it might be to fundamentalists.

And really, what is to prevent the devout Air Force Christians from popping open their own copy of the Bible? Does Klingenschmitt really mean to imply that devout Christians don’t have their own copies of their holy scripture? They have to rely on the Gideon Bible? He certainly doesn’t care that followers of other religions don’t have their holy books handy in the same hotel rooms. It’s always those poor oppressed Christians!

Simply put, if the Bible is going to be on the Air Force checklist, then too should be the Qur’an and every other holy text and to be fair, probably some unholy texts as well. This is not about religion as much as it is about Christian privilege.

Interestingly, a poll on The Blaze shows readers overwhelmingly in favor of the Air Force response and a comment on OneNewsNow succinctly and accurately dissects the problem: “Once again, Christians mistake removing a special privilege with oppression.” It is difficult to imagine announcement that Qur’ans would be removed from lodging facilities would provoke complaints from these same sources that an attempt was being made to create a “religion free” zone. On the contrary, there would be dancing in the streets.

47 Replies to “Once Again, Christians Mistake Removing a Special Privilege with Oppression”

  1. If you want a religious text, dammit, pack it and take it with you. That way, even if you are a Christian, you get the redaction and translation your own sect approves of.

  2. “Congress shall make no law repecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise there of;”
    The Air Force was in violaiton of the Constitution, which every member of the Armed Forces has sworn to “uhold and defend”.

  3. It is the responsibility of the person in the armed forces to maintain his own bible. There is no reason under thew sun that the US military should provide one or require one. Muslims in the military carry their own books of interest, why cant American soldiers? Are they so poorly off they cant have their own personal bibles?

    As noted in a previous post, I watched a show about “Creating” Marines on Parris Island. Part of the show was the young recruits being required to attend church and singing in a frenetic manner. At the same time being told that Marines guard the pearly gates in the afterlife. Sound silly? Does to me but not to people in this environment. What better for a revruit than being told he is protecting his country for his faith

  4. It seems to me that those who cling to this corn pone of religious white privilege status symbol, (commonly known as the christian bible) should be getting very close to the end and are headed for their “forced retirement” age, eh? These political missionaries will loose any if all influence over things they cherish like racism, bigotry, white privilege which seem to go hand in hand with fundamentalist belief systems. I’m sure this push to maintain fundamentalist evangelical “cult” status is about to loose as the browning of America continues and, they become more exposed as delusional fanatics.

    Let them make more waves out in the open…the more they air their grievances, the more effort will be made to expose their efforts to usurp the Air Force to use against any and all non-christian types…which they will if they aren’t stopped.

  5. An insufficiency of caffeine caused me to read, “porn cone”. That’s what fundies have for dessert after their corn pone.

  6. Shiva, you may want to rephrase your comment…American soldiers come from many faiths. So saying ‘Muslims in the military carry their own books of interest, why cant American soldiers?’ is sending a message that American soldiers are of one particular faith. In this case, Christians…When in fact our ‘Amercian soldiers’ are Muslim, Pagan, Atheists, Buddhist, Hindu, etc..Not just Christians.

    The appropriate phrase to have used was ‘Muslims in the military carry their own books of intrest, why can’t Christian soldiers?’, since the way you posted paints the religious diversity of our troops with a mighty broad brush. ;)

  7. “…then sadly Christian people will not have access to read the Bible at night.”

    Really? Wouldn’t those good Christians be traveling with their own beloved well-worn Bibles? The ones with favorite passages underlined and bookmarked? The ones with notes in the margins? The ones with precious notes or cards from loved ones tucked into the pages?

    This argument alone is pure, unadulterated horseshit.

  8. Yes that is true, it is what I should have said. However I am not responsible for posts made prior to the 3rd cup of coffee

  9. “…Christian people will not have access to read the Bible at night.”

    Oh, bullshit. Christians, “Real” christians anyway, would no sooner leave the house without at LEAST one buy-bull on them than I would without a handgun. You know, for the people that think that bit about suffering witches to live also applies to Atheists?

  10. There is no “christian oppression” in the United States. Where in America are hundreds of Christians being brutally murdered, hacked to death with machetes? Where in America are christian churches being fire-bombed? These attacks – with real murders, real blood on the walls, real bodies in the streets, real life-and-death situations – are taking place in places like Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Egypt, Yemen, Iran and Indonesia. There are no bodies piling up in Los Angeles or Chicago or on the plains of Kansas. The noise of christian persecution is that whining caused by the realization that Christian Privilege is under attack, is waning, is being recognized as a detrimental force in American politics. It is the Christian Right’s peculiar expression of fear.

  11. It appears from this article, that the USAF has decided to do the right and remove the requirement that bibles be provided in its transient facilities.

    There does not appear to be any prohibition against groups such as the Gideons from placing bibles in those facilities.

    While one might have some sympathy with soldiers away from home in foreign countries, who also might have recently been or might soon come under attack having the consolation of bibles, in their rooms, it would seem that a quick trip to the chapel or some other such location would provide them the opportunity to obtain a bible if they wanted one.

  12. Well, I suppose we could all start demanding that the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster also not be on the checklist.

  13. A REAL soldier would be out on the town looking drinking heavily & for escorts. Not home reading the bible

  14. And the writer may want to re-title this article…”SOME Christians Mistake Removing a Special Privilege with Oppression.” Not all Christians are conservative fundamentalist extremists. Again, painting with a broad brush. :)

  15. I’m re-posting (preaching to the choir) from the past because I too have wondered where on earth these bible barbarians get the nerve to say they’re “persecuted” in America?

    …They have never been massacred, put in concentration camps, or been subjected to a genocide against their souls; they have never, ever suffered from a real battle because of their religious beliefs–EVER! They have never been cannon fodder like the Indian Sikhs, never thrown out of their country in order to “modernize” as Nasser did to the Muslim, never been imprisoned or tortured for writing their toxin fairy concoctions as absolute truths…

    Tell me when, where, how “socialist” have killed Dominionist for being “christian”, or an evolution (science) teacher murdered “scriptural” children before their parents eyes, or bombs fell on them in order to wipe them and their mega-churches out of existence…

    Tell me what contributions to ANY civilization in the arts, sciences, technology, cultural, or industry the above groups have made? Less their frivolous law suits claiming reverse “discrimination” because they were too stupid to get promoted/pass an entrance exam, they haven’t contributed a damn thing to society/culture but a cult branding of religious authoritarianism. Fundamentalism of all stripes are all about no changes to anything ever; it is their duty to ensure that progress never happens. And, these fanatics “prophetically” believe it is their “time”, their time to stop the clock and take the world backwards.

    Hell yes, these people are “itchin’fur a fyght”! They want a “battle” just so they can artificially pump up some kind of evangelical martyr in order to “prove” their religious “VIP” status amongst the others sky-god groups…yeah, just like centuries of Jews, Muslims, Native Americans genocide, they wanna’be “important” too, don’tcha’know! And yah, these people just can’t get heaven credit if they ain’t got no martyrs to worship or pull out of their arse every time one’em screams “Them non-christians hates us pure peeple doin’ the lords work”.

    Mark my words, they desire, lust for violence to justify their existence as way to promote their “big league” status. Without the violent death of one of their leaders, they got nothin’ to hold their revenge fantasy together…

  16. Anybody else still laughing at the twisted irony of someone stealing the Bible as this guy in the article suggests? I mean, a “true Christian” knows .”thou shall not steal”. Right? And as mentioned in previous comments, “true Christians” have their own copy of the Bible which is worn and tattered or they have their Bible passages on their iPod for easy listening.

    I used to work in a hotel in high school. You had to make absolutely sure there was a Bible in every nightstand in fear of getting those pesky Gideon folks after you. The resort had to make sure we didn’t piss off the Christian guests, but nevermind the high tourist rate of middle eastern families. Many who were Islamic. Nope. Nevermind them… that is you’re oppression folks. Making one religion superior over another rather then it’s equal. Or making the religious superior over the nonbelievers.

  17. I am all for getting a large dresser in every hotel and telling Gideon to put a book of every religion in it. THEN listen to these whiney crankers go at it

    My god I have to pray with a Qur’an in the room?

  18. no kidding… make it all available via a DVD or like a PPV. Insta-religion! Pick you’re religion on a touch-screen and sit back and listen… No books! Lol housekeepers wouldn’t have to lug all those books around, room to room then. :)

  19. I’m sure that sure that someone of a different faith would have to bring his own scriptures to read. Is there some kind of rule that prohibits a serviceman from packing his own Bible in his bags?

  20. When i was sworn into the navy I did not put my hand on a bible I stood there raised my right hand and took an oath. Period So get your facts straight before shooting off your mouth!

  21. I went to Paris Island. They do not force you to go to church. You can actually sit in the squad bay and polish your boots, clean your rifle or watch the old B&W movie, Jack Webb in THE DRILL INSTRUCTOR (they play it every Sunday). Going to church gives you a few hours away from the drill instructors.. and a few hours where you are not fearing getting punished for making small mistakes.

    They may sing frantically because its their ONLY time to relax and have a little fun. In this way, there are a lot of atheists that end up going to church to get away from the extreme stress.

    And as far as being ‘told we guard the pearly gates’. Not true. This is part of the MARINE CORPS HYMN (last verse):

    Here’s health to you and to our Corps
    Which we are proud to serve
    In many a strife we’ve fought for life
    And never lost our nerve;
    If the Army and the Navy
    Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;
    They will find the streets are guarded
    By United States Marines.

    This film you saw sounds absolutely off.

  22. Since I gathered not a single one of you have spent the night in an Air Force Base’s VOQ (Visiting Officer Quarters) I would let you know who provides these Bibles you’re bitching over. The Gideons provide them free of charge, just as they do to hotels and hospitals. Now the reason Qurans are made available doesn’t have a damn thing to do with a Christian bias in the USAF it has to do with an infidel bias among Muslims. Christians want nonbelievers to read which is why the Gideon’s spend millions, Muslims do not! Now if Athiest want to provide a blank book as their religious text, or even copies of Mad Magazine I’m sure the USAF would comply under religious pluralism regulations.

    So don’t bitch cause Christians actually give a shit enough to provide bibles in hopes of reaching people. Don’t you have real problems like helping people find work?

  23. Ah Christian soldiers? isn’t that an oxymoron?
    How can you possibly be a true christian if are part of an army ready and trained to kill other human beings?

  24. why are some people foolish enough to fight for the muslim religion? do you think muslims allow athiests, hindus, wiccans or buddhists to organize in thier own countries? do you know that it is illegal to carry any religious book other than the kuran in most muslim countries? if somebody is found guilty of witchcraft in saudi arabia the penalty is beheading. most muslims support the sharia law, even the moderate ones. so please stop directing your hate against christians. christians are no less of human beings or no less smarter than athiests. Isaac newton, albert einstein and many others were believers in god. Western civilization had christianity on its side almost throughout its course. do you see christians killing and forming terrorist groups at the present time? do you see christians killing their daughters for honor like muslims do? it would make sense if you directed your hatred to something else other than Christianity

  25. If they are going to have bibles then they should also have parmesan cheese, the Flying Spaghetti Monster requires condiments.

  26. _____,

    Your comment is so poorly written, that I honestly am having trouble figuring out where to start deconstructing it. Yes, the bibles are provided free of charge by Gideons International – an evangelical organization dedicated to “reaching the lost”. That’s a blatantly religious objective, which is only furthered by the requirement that all hotels have copies of the bible in every room. This is a blatant violation of the First Amendment of the constitution, which states that the government is not allowed to establish a state religion, or favor one religion over another. The requirement that a bible be in every hotel room that meets Air Force spec, then, is the government (the U.S. Air Force, a part of the Department of Defense and thus clearly a governmental agency) favoring one religion (Christianity) over any other and is thusly a violation of the First Amendment.

    As to your second claim, cite your sources. Please show me some studies that show that “Christians want nonbelievers to read” while “Muslims do not!” – I’ll make a bet that you can’t, because this claim that you’ve made is coming straight out of thin air. Moreover you’ve forgotten other religions – What about a copy of the Tanakh (the Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim) for Jewish service members? What about a copy of the Quran, Sunnah and Hadith for Muslim Service members? What about a copy of the Vedas, Upanishads and various other books for Hindu service members? What about a copy of the various Pāli and Sutras for Buddhist Service members?

    Finally your last argument is a blatant Non Sequitur (logical fallacy) – How does placing bibles in rooms help people find work? Gideons already pays to have bibles printed and placed in rooms, because this is not going to affect that, it won’t help people “find work”. How does discussing something prevent people from finding work?

    Honestly, please think before you post something like this. All is does is show poorly upon you.


  27. FYI, if you want to know why a lot of people dislike atheists, it’s because of articles like this one. I actually agree that the Bible should not be included on the list, but the condescending, arrogant tone of this article was quite off putting. Atheists, if you want to be more respected and better liked, stop being jerks. I feel bad for the friendly atheists out there who get lumped together with you people.

  28. I am not an atheist. I am a polytheist. I believe in more gods than you do. Honestly, I don’t see “condescending” or “arrogant” – just a recitation of the facts.

  29. The issue, as I said in the article, is not about Gideons but about an AIR FORCE LIST that REQUIRES the presence of the Bible Gideons provides free of charge. I didn’t think this was too difficult to understand.

  30. You may want to reread what was written. He said that those in the military took an oath to uphold the Constitution, which he is claiming is being violated by allowing one religious text to be promoted over another when the Air Force previously required it to be stocked in the rooms.

  31. In addition to mistaking removal of a special privilege for ‘oppression’, apparently some Christians consider a desire for religious equality to be ‘supporting Muslims’.

    Removing the requirement to have a Bible in the hotel rooms of ‘transient airmen’ is not discrimination – it’s an END to discrimination. Equating the Quaran with the Bible in this instance (it’s not required to be in the rooms either) does not indicate that the Air Force supports Muslims over Christians. On the contrary, it proves that the Air Force is treating members of all religions equally.

    Wake up, fundies – the rest of us are done pandering to your fantasies of Christianizing the world. The playing field just got ‘leveler’. Suck it up.

  32. The word “Christians” in no way implies all Christians. Had I meant “All Christians” I would have said “All Christians”

  33. If you’re in the Armed Forces you can’t criticize the President. A right which is guaranteed by the First Amendment. But you can promote religion, which is illegal under the same First Amendment?

  34. “or prohibit the free expression thereof” could mean “or prohibit reading the Bible” so not providing them is “prohibit the free expression”. Technically the “prohibit” part says that people can pray publicly (“expression”) and there is nothing anyone can do about it, if one actually follows the constitution. And “separation of Church and State” means the “State” can make *no* rules about the “Church”, they cannot even (legally) define what a ‘Church’ is. Yet the ‘State’ makes many laws that govern Churches, even (legally) suppressing the Freedom of Speech in Church.

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