Disclaimer: As I have mentioned before, I am not anti-Christian. I am opposed to a number of Christian beliefs, but I fully support Christians (most of whom, in my experience, are wonderful people) and their right to practice their faith.
I say that as a religious minority with many friends who are non-Christians, whether of minority faiths or non-religious. But I also say that as an American. Something like eighty-percent of US citizens are Christians; only about one-third (I say “only” like one-third is not terrifying) of US citizens would like to see the US adopt Christianity as its official state religion. So, the majority of US Christians are reasonable people who do not want the government imposing their beliefs upon their fellow citizens.
The terrifying video is made starring conservative Christian teenagers. Their message? That public schools are godless dens of debauchery where Christians are oppressed for their faith. That young Christians across the nation need to rally and, basically, that the country needs to backtrack in terms of religious freedoms by about sixty years.
It’s easy to look at this video and, after ignoring that a few of them set off your gaydar (they’re going to have some internal struggles in a few years), say “Oh these kids are horrible.”
But they aren’t. They say some scary things and they say some awful things. They also say some untrue things, of course. But you know that most kids at that age repeat the values of their parents—particularly when they are raised in households where differences of opinion are not accepted. This is not a representative sample of Christians or Christian teens or even conservative Christian teens. This is a representative sample of fringe-right evangelical statements, spoken through the mouths of teens.
Hate the message; pity these particular messengers.
So let’s just get a few things straight:
No one, including the Supreme Court, has banned students from praying in schools. Teachers and administrators are not allowed to lead students in prayer. Students are not allowed to disrupt class for any reason, including leading others in prayer. If a student wants to pray before eating or at any other moment of free time during the day, that has never been forbidden. They can pray privately. So long as they are not disruptive, they may pray in groups. There are multiple afterschool clubs dedicated to various Christian groups.
Creation is not a scientific theory. If you have that as a religious belief, then you have that as a religious belief and you presumably believe that either your God or the devil has planted a false trail of evidence to lead scientists to other conclusions. While I do not equate the two as beliefs, as educational topics, Creationism has as much of a place in a science classroom as Ancient Aliens has in a history classroom.
Images shown in sex education (for those students lucky enough to receive actual, comprehensive sex education rather than counterproductive abstinence-only drivel) are not pornographic. You see drawn cross-sections of people’s internal genital organs within a vague silhouette of human bodies. You might see some thermal images in video if you really get the whole story. That’s it.
Much like your right to swing your fist, your right to religious freedom ends at another person. Protecting everyone’s religious autonomy is not oppression, it’s . . . stopping some people from oppressing others.
I really wish that we could rescue young people from growing up in these kinds of mindsets. I think that everyone deserves more of a chance than these kids have. Perhaps, one day, when I give this wretched world the queen it deserves.
PS: They describe themselves as an army, which is horrifying enough. But I snorted with laughter when they said that Christ was their commander. If you want to express your faith by saying “Christ our king” or something like that, that’s fine. But I didn’t picture that. I just pictured Cobra Commander. Not the image that you want.