It is interesting that at the same time House Republicans are supporting a “Marriage and Religious Freedom Act” that would allow them to persecute same-sex couples on the basis of religion, Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber turns truth on its head when he claims that the Obama administration holds a “pagan worldview” and that that the administration is discriminating against Christians – particularly those same Evangelicals who are backing legislation that would persecute everyone who does not share those Evangelical religious beliefs.
Acceding to Barber, the Obama administration is the “modern-day equivalent” of ancient Rome, where each citizen is made to worship Caesar with progressivism.
Is there perhaps just a little bit of hypocrisy involved here?
“It’s the same thing; it’s pagan sexual morality. It’s a pagan view of the world that is a secularist view of the world that is inherently hostile toward not just any religion but particularly Christianity.”
Factually, this is absurd, and there are a few points I wish to make:
- Obama is a Christian and his policies prove it. If he were a Pagan he would hardly have continued and even expanded upon Bush’s faith based initiatives. And in keeping it, had he been Pagan, he would certainly have added at least a few pagans to it rather than giving it a monotheistic leadership panel.
No, not much evidence of Paganism in the Obama administration.
- Barber’s claims about ancient Rome are even more laughable, since Rome did not discriminate against Christians outside of perhaps 7 to 10 years in a three century span. As Thomas Jefferson observed, “had not the Roman government permitted free enquiry Christianity could never have been introduced.”
- And Roman citizens were not made to worship Caesar.
- Paganism is not secularist and never has been. Paganism is not hostile toward religion. It cannot be and remain Paganism. Nor was Paganism historically hostile to Christianity, despite all the attempts of historical Christianity to pretend to be persecuted – a pretense that continues today.
This attempt to make everything outside of itself Paganism is a pathetic demonization of the Other as old as Christianity itself.
- Sacrifices were to the genius – guardian spirit – of Caesar, not to Caesar himself. And they were not coerced. For the Romans, sacrificing to the genius of Caesar was much like the Pledge of Allegiance is today for Americans – an expression of loyalty.
Yet in another example of hypocrisy, while denouncing Roman devotion to Caesar, these Evangelicals want to coerce Americans to worship their God through the old “under God” line they got added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954.
Apparently, Barber believes that since Christianity has always – until the Enlightenment – coerced worship of Jesus, that every other religion must also have coerced its believers.
I’m sorry, Mr. Barber, but if that is the only way you can GET believers, then maybe there is something wrong with your religion.
So-called Christians like Barber are busily trying even now to coerce worship of Jesus by legislating his beliefs in violation of the U.S. Constitution. While crying persecution and defending freedom of religion, these conservatives are denying freedom of religion to millions of Americans, demanding that their own beliefs be legislated into law and the rest of us forced to go along with them, giving up our own freedom to have different beliefs of our own.
This is like Republicans saying liberals are both Nazis and Communists, or Communists and Islamists. It’s nonsensical and seemingly meaningful only to a Republican mind.
But without lies and distortion and hypocrisy and invented history, what would the Religious Right have?
Not much at all.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.