This is Persecution?

So, while driving to and from Atlanta this week we heard two interviews with David Limbaugh, who is out promoting his latest book, Persecution: How Liberals are Waging War Against Christianity. With a title like that, and with the vocal support of people like Ann Coulter, you can probably guess the gist of Limbaugh’s argument: 21st century America is fast devolving into 1st century Rome, where upstanding, Patriotic Christians (who just happen to vote Republican) are being thrown daily to the lions of liberalism. Here, as in most recent discourse of the like, “liberalism” has nothing to do with traditional notions of freedom and equality; it is, instead, shorthand for secularism or atheism or civil libertarianism or socialism or feminism or political correctness or multiculturalism or any number of other, often mutually exclusive political positions. Whatever.

I only bring this up here because I found it so interesting that I heard Limbaugh level these charges on two different radio stations, one Christian, the other secular, during a three hour drive. In fact, while Limbaugh, the talk show hosts, and outraged listeners railed against those liberals who were limiting their ability to publicly express their faith, we were driving through Chattanooga, where (no exaggeration) one-third of all FM stations broadcast explicitly Christian content. I know that’s not the case everywhere, but come on . . .

I won’t deny that I’m, at best, ambivalent about the wholesale purging of Christianity from, say, public schools. When more than 80% of Americans identify themselves as Christian, it seems unnecessary to me to systematically remove the word “Christmas” from our calendars. But to call this “persecution” — even after acknowledging the inflated rhetoric that is part and parcel of this type of book — is a disgrace. Has the Church in America become so thoroughly synonymous with middle class comfort that we have to seek out charges of persecution in straw man arguments like Limbaugh’s? Is this our proof that we’re “salt and light”? Disgusting.

And speaking of straw men, did you catch Bill O’Reilly on Fresh Air? Be sure to listen to the entire interview. The last few minutes are priceless.