About All Those Hate Crimes Against Christians

In Catholic school, every so often the nuns would want to gauge our religious purity by challenging us with ”œThe Test”. Sister Rita Agnes, or whoever that year was in charge of our catechistic upbringing, would ask: ”œIf the Communists came this minute into our classroom and demanded that ten students be selected to be shot on the playground so that all the others could live, who would volunteer?” The Test could only be passed if you were quicker than all the other students to volunteer for martyrdom and instant passage into heaven.

It was always the Communists who were going to invade our school ”“ this was the middle of the Cold War ”“ and The Test was always administered after we just studied the Lives of the Saints, especially the early martyrs who went through grisly tortures in order to receive a palm branch from an angel (at least that’s what the pictures showed ”“it seemed rather sad recompense considering the dreadful tortures the Romans devised).

Catholics, and for that matter most other Christian sects, venerate the early martyrs to such an extent that suffering for your faith is a cardinal virtue of being a Christian. As a consequence, some Christian groups play up what they describe as discrimination against Christians, or more frequently, ”œhate crimes” perpetrated against believers in Christ. Children are still being taught that, at a minimum, they should expect to be ridiculed for their faith, and in some circumstances tortured or killed. Tortured for Christ is a best seller in Christian bookstores, and is published by a group called The Voice of the Martyrs who catalogue crimes against Christians all around the world.

There is certainly a terrible history even today of religious persecution of Christians, in China, Indonesia, the Middle East, and Africa. But do these very real crimes translate to the Christian experience in the US, as some Christian groups suggest? On one hand we are told the US is a Christian nation and that Christians have a right to impose their view of morality on all of society, but at the same time Christians claim they live in fear of ostracism, discrimination, and increasingly ”“ hate crimes. If the overwhelming number of Americans are Christian, who is perpetrating these hate crimes?

According to Dr. Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, it is gay people. Says Dr. Cass:

The rights of Christians to peaceably gather in worship is something that can be abrogated at will by anybody, including these most vociferous homosexual activists who have no qualms coming in and doing the most blasphemous and sacrilegious acts right in the middle of a Christian worship service.

Dr. Cass is referring to the gay activists who protested outside of California churches after the passage of Proposition 8 outlawing gay marriage. Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, decried a recent event in Michigan during which a group called Bash Back invaded a church during mass, carried an upside down pink cross, and shouted ”œJesus was a Homo”! Donohue lamented the fact that none of these ”œgay fascists” was arrested even though the police were called.

Is there some terrible crime wave underway against Christians that isn’t reported by the main stream media? Just how many Christians have been killed this past year in the US because of their faith? To find out, we can turn to a report on hate crimes issued today by the FBI, and covering a variety of hate crimes in the United States in 2008.

The quick answer to the question ”œHow many Christians were killed in the US in 2008 for their religion?” is zero. Not one Catholic, Protestant or any other sect of Christians suffered one member of their religion being martyred for Christ. But seven people were murdered last year in a hate crime: one of them for being black, one for being Hispanic, and five of them for being homosexual or lesbian.

There were 47 aggravated assaults classified last year as motivated by religion. Of these, one was against a Catholic, and three were against Protestants. The rest were overwhelmingly against Jews or Muslims. Compare this to 232 aggravated assaults against gay people, 6 rapes, 501 simple assaults, and 419 cases of intimidation. In every single category of crimes against persons or property (such as arson, robbery, or vandalism), there are at least 5 times more crimes against gay people than Christians, Jews or Muslims.

In terms of the sheer number of crimes, the only thing worse than being a gay person in America is being an African-American, but as gays are statistically a much smaller percentage of the population than blacks, the odds of suffering a hate crime is much, much higher for gay people than anyone else in this country.

And the least persecuted people? Christians. Christians aren’t being dragged out of their homes, hung up on crosses, burned alive, beaten senseless, raped, or dragged behind pick-up trucks along country roads. But gay people are ”“ there are documented cases of these crimes. And every year, blacks and Hispanics are victims of similar horrors.

There were 25 aggravated assaults against Jews in the US last year. There were 822 instances of vandalism against Jewish synagogues and cemeteries. There is definitely a place in American society for the Jewish Anti-Defamation League.

But this country does not need a Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, nor the Christian League, crying wolf over an imaginary wave of anti-Christian discrimination and hate crimes. The mere presence of these organizations not only diminishes unfairly the true suffering that is inflicted every day on victims of hate crimes, it demeans the Christian faith by basing charges of Christian discrimination on lies.

The fact is, the United States is indeed overwhelmingly a Christian nation. Every neighborhood has a church, and all of them operate tax free, even if they try ”“ as many do ”“ to influence voting in the US. Christian broadcasting is to be found any time of the day and any day of the week on television and radio. Christian leaders like Bill Donohue are given enormous amounts of free air time to broadcast their views on news and opinion shows. Victims of hate crimes barely get a mention in the newspapers, and even the FBI admits their reporting process picks up only a fraction of the hate crimes committed in this country.

What these Christian churches need to do is stop pretending to be victims of a crime wave that doesn’t exist. They should stop teaching their children to expect to be victims of discrimination and hate crimes. They should pick up their Bible and ponder carefully what Jesus taught them ”“ it is the despised and weak in society who are the victims of discrimination and oppression. It is for them he undertook his mission, not the wealthy religious leaders who proclaim their personal virtues and suffering at every turn while ignoring the plight of others.


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Numerian is a devoted author and poster on The Agonist, specializing in business, finance, the global economy, and politics. In real life he goes by the non-nom de plume of Garrett Glass and hides out in Oak Park, IL, where he spends time writing novels on early Christianity (and an occasional tract on God and religion). You can follow his writing career on his website, jehoshuathebook.com.

18 CommentsLeave a comment

  • That little exercise is just crazy. Good grief!

    You’ve done something that risks a reservation in the 9th circle – present facts that confound the driving force behind the cult of suffering. This type of imagined threat and persecution is essential to justify the aggressive acts sanctioned by some Christian churches, e.g., war, assaults on abortion clinics, neglect of the poor, refusal to oppose the death penalty. These are clearly inconsistent with the Gospels so there has to be a special circumstance that overrides “The Good News.” Being under attack helps. Stopping “murder” also goes a long way to justify aggression.

    An outside enemy is essential in order to maintain discipline. Apparently Satan isn’t enough anymore.

  • How else could he torment Christians so?

    Of course, I think South Park was the first to notice this, in an episode featuring Saddam Hussein in Hell.

  • They should stop teaching their children to expect to be victims of discrimination and hate crimes. They should pick up their Bible and ponder carefully what Jesus taught them – it is the despised and weak in society who are the victims of discrimination and oppression. It is for them he undertook his mission, not the wealthy religious leaders who proclaim their personal virtues and suffering at every turn while ignoring the plight of others.

  • “And every year, blacks and Hispanics are victims of similar horrors.”

    You do realize that most of those Black & Hispanic victims are Christians…

    And so are most of the gay victims…

    Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives. John Stuart Mill

  • Gays may wish to be Christian or call themselves Christian, but they are not necessarily practicing their religion in a church. They simply aren’t made to feel welcome in many churches.

    Nonetheless, these minorities are the victims of hate crimes, not Christians.

    Another interesting fact is that there exists Black-on-Black crime, Hispanic-on-Hispanic, and to a lesser extent gay perpetrators acting against gay people. The FBI may not include such activity because they do not detect a hate motive based on race or sexual orientation. For a crime to get on the list, there has to be a hate motive, not just criminal behavior.

  • The legislation governing these crimes has recently been expanded to include sexual orientation.

    But there are no penalties for vilification or pernicious speech. Fred Phelps can say whatever he wants and does so. He just has to be a certain number of yards away from the church or event he is protesting.

    His outrageous comments get a lot of publicity, especially if he is protesting a military funeral (God killed the soldier or marine in Iraq/Afghanistan to punish America for its tolerance of homosexuality). His whole family joins in on these escapades – I don’t know how he has time to make any money to fund all the travel involved.

    After what we’ve seen with all these ministers and Republican congressman who are anti-gay, it would surprise absolutely no one if it were discovered that Fred Phelps was a closet homosexual.

  • Christian community building through fear that’s what I say. Don’t listen to other people’s lies because they hate you and want to hurt you. Forget the forgiveness crap! Jesus and the golden rule bah! No they all want to hurt you, that’s the new message. Anyway, here is something else for Christians to fear:

    We need a NATION WIDE STRIKE for Real healthcare reform

  • New FBI statistics on hate crimes show a nine percent increase in crimes against religious groups in 2008 and an almost 25 percent increase in reported hate crimes against Catholics.

    Last year there were 1,519 incidents classified as hate crimes based on a victim’s religion, USA Today reports. Anti-Jewish attacks made up nearly two of every six incidents, but there were 75 such crimes against Catholics. This is an increase from 61 in 2007.

    Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights told USA Today that he had never seen the country so culturally divided and polarized.

    Speaking in more detail with CNA, he remarked that increased outspokenness among Catholic bishops and laity may have caused some retaliation.

    “Lay Catholics are following the energy from the bishops who are becoming more vocal than they have been,” he commented.

    In Donohue’s view, same-sex “marriage,” abortion, and protections conscientious objections are particular issues of public controversy.

    “Proposition 8 in California last November led to violence against Catholics – many who were Latinos,” Donohue commented, referring to the successful California ballot measure which restored the definition of marriage to being between a man and a woman.

    “You have to accept that there are some nasty things done, but you can’t let that scare you. They want to intimidate people of faith.”

    Donohue said he thinks the culture is “at a turning point.”

    “I see no way around it than to continue speaking out.”

  • that the media never mentions.

    The media reports the details of hate crimes against women and girls when they are very gruesome and horrible because that will increase readership. But they avoid reporting the violence is a hate crime because the media is extremely male dominated, thus they promote male domination which is threatened when the public is informed about the enormous damage sexism causes. So they’ll write things like: “…Sodini wrote rambling messages about his hatred of women and how he was tired of being rejected by them” without actually stating he was sexist.

    They’ll write, “a gunman walked into a fitness center near Pittsburgh, firing up to 52 shots only at women” without actually using the term hate crime.

    Earlier this year Marilyn Ferdinand wrote an article for Feministing criticizing the media for generally ignoring the fact that the German school shooter targeted women and girls (Gender “disappeared” in Albertville school shooting). Here

    When a man went to an Amish schoolhouse, separated the boys from the girls, bound the girls and shot them the media avoided calling it a hate crime. I read many articles about the shooting but none of them stated the man was sexist, and they apparently never contacted feminist groups for a quote and they framed the story as a revenge crime for something that allegedly happened to the shooter 20 years earlier but all the victims were age 13 or younger. Here

    Complaining to the media will help motivate them to stop being prejudiced against half the population of the world. If the new hate crime bill gets passed that will also help to increase awareness of hate crimes against women and girls because it would protect victims of violence based on hatred of a person’s gender as well as other demographics. Currently the law only protects people who are victims of violence motivated by hatred of a race, color, national origin or religion. Here

    A fair press is essential to democracy so citizens have the knowledge necessary to rule. If a gunman had targeted blacks then this would be reported as a racist incident and black leaders would be constantly on the news talking about racism in America. But when there’s a hate crime against women and girls the media does everything in their power to block out the feminist community from speaking out in support of our own. Source

    Tolerating prostitution is tolerating abuse and torture of women and children.

  • This is one of Catholicism’s loudest victims. He has the whole routine perfected. First, you create a theology around abortion, homosexuality, birth control and other sex issues that not only is different from centuries of Catholic teaching, but is so extreme that it paints the church into absurd and dangerous territory (abortion is murder at any stage of a pregnancy, hence church fanatics find it justifiable to kill doctors).

    Second, you demonize people who disagree with you or, even if they are Catholics, who are “intrinsically evil” just by who they are.

    Third, when these people at long last start protesting publicly, you cry discrimination and accuse them of violence against Catholics.

    Donohue is doing, by the way, exactly what the FBI says should not be done with their statistics. He is making year to year comparisons and with some really low numbers, coming up with dramatic percentage increases. He ignores the real meaning of these statistics: year over year, hate crimes against Catholicism’s enemies far outnumber any hate crimes against Catholics, by number and by severity.

  • and may I impose, just to maintain objectivity, a question: how many “church fanatics find it justifiable to kill doctors”? I sincerely hope that it is less than one a year?

  • to scare the rest of potential saviors of women faced with unwanted pregnancies.

    Tolerating prostitution is tolerating abuse and torture of women and children.

  • Whatever Dr. Tiller’s murderer thought about justifiable homicide, an added effect of this murder was the intimidation of other doctors who might consider performing late term abortions.

    The murder of an abortion doctor may be a rare occurrence, and indeed 7 murders a year of gay people may be considered unnewsworthy by many people, but what they do have in common is that they are all murders resulting in incitement by the Catholic Church. I mean indirect incitement, since the bishops I am sure who preach against abortion and homosexuality incessantly would never even recognize that their words might be cause for violence (they are after all preaching the word of God, so what evil could come of that?) In the realm of culpability, this sort of preaching ranks with the type of antisemitic comments that German priests used to preach before WWII.

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