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The Telegram
  • Kent Bush: Church is last acceptable target

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  • If you want to gain support, attack an unpopular idea. If you want to gain notoriety, attack a popular institution.
    The formula is simple and it plays out every day. Politicians hate taxes. You know why? Voters hate paying taxes.
    Anti-tax politicians grow more popular every time they open their mouths.
    People also almost uniformly hate political correctness. There is often a fine line between speaking freely and saying incredibly bigoted things.
    As that line blurs, more people see valid opinions as bigotry and bigotry as expression of valid opinions.
    But the beauty of political correctness is that it only controls sharing unpopular beliefs about minorities.
    If you want to attack popular institutions or people, there are no boundaries.
    No group is more open to attack than the church.
    Christianity is considered the belief system of the majority of Americans. The principles of Christianity are the basis of many of the laws of this country.
    Thanks to the predominance of those beliefs and the number of people who attend churches on a weekly basis, anyone can openly mock them with no fear of social repercussions.
    If you openly mock a homosexual, you are justifiably called a homophobe. If you mock a black person, Hispanic or any other person based on the color of their skin, you are appropriately called a racist.
    But if you mock or attack the church, you become known as a champion of free speech.
    I know the church earns a lot of the criticism it receives. I have never found the perfect church and, if I did, I would never attend it. Because, like Charles Spurgeon said, I would just mess it up.
    But there is a growing movement that believes the best way to “cure” people of their religious beliefs by mocking them until they keep quiet about their beliefs.
    Deconverted bloggers extol the virtues of those willing to mock and ridicule them until they finally gave up on their belief in a magical invisible friend.
    A newly elected town councilman in New York took his oath of office wearing a colander on his head because he is a member of the Pastafarian Church that is also known as “The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.”
    It is called a statement about religious freedom. But it is actually an attack on a group that is not protected from discrimination.
    Atheists asked for a Flying Spaghetti Monster alongside Christmas displays at the Wisconsin state capital. Satanists hope to get a goat-headed statue placed alongside the Ten Commandments at the Oklahoma State Capitol building.
    In major cities around the world, atheist “churches” are popping up to recreate the culture of the Christian church without all of the discussion of a deity.
    Page 2 of 2 - If you make an off color joke about a minority group, you can lose your job, your standing in the community and all respect you may have earned.
    But if you attack the right targets, you can mock them openly and no one will say a word.
    The only hope we have as members of a local church who are not ashamed of the beliefs we share is for our response to reflect the higher power in which we believe.
    As an approved target, you have to expect shots to be taken. Rather than responding – which only results in more charges against the victim - or even deflecting – which results in accusations of being out of touch with reality as it is defined by the attackers – the only acceptable defense is to absorb the attacks.
    The best response is to try even harder to let our beliefs be defined by our actions.
    Turning the other cheek is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign that you are strong enough to withstand an attack without the need to retaliate.

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