Thursday, February 02, 2006

Why I believe conservative
Christians are not the enemy

I used to think the Christians in San Francisco were paranoid when they complained about feeling persecuted. Since the city was filled with left-wing atheists, it was only natural that they would disagree with Christians, and there is nothing wrong with that.

But over time, I came to see things differently. I didn't WANT to see things differently, but if I was honest with myself, I had to admit that there was indeed a creeping sort of ... totalitarianism being directed at Christians.

As an example, consider the Mt. Davidson Cross. It's a large cement cross on the highest peak in the city, erected by christians in the 1920's. Every year, at Easter morning and I think New Years day, Christians would gather there to sing as the sun rose.

The trees on the mountain grew so high, that only the tip of the cross was visable from most places in the city. There was a portion of land that extended out in front of the cross; a cleared viewing area where you could see most of the city on three sides, and also see the sunrise.

The atheists wanted the cross removed, because it was on municiple property. They cited separation of church and state; it was religious, on a city park, and had to go.

I thought that was nonsense; it was also historical, and a part of the city's history. There are Spanish Missions all over California; are we going to start removing them from state parks? Where would it end?

It was argued about for quite a while. Then, at last, a fair and just solution was found. The city auctioned off a half acre of land that the cross stood on, to a private buyer, an organization I think that was related to the Armenian Church. They would be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the cross, which would no longer be on city land.

I thought it was a fabulous solution. When I first came to the city 25 years ago, it was an eclectic mix of people who disagreed about all sorts of things, but often, people would work together and come up with wonderful, creative and fair grass-roots solutions to disagreements. I thought this was one of those situations.

But it wasn't. The atheists argued that the cross STILL had to go, because it was a symbol of a majority religion and was therefore, oppressive and offensive to people of other religious faiths. Especially to Muslims, who considered it a symbol of war and death. And of course, offensive to atheists, who sued to have the the sale negated.

That is when I first noticed the STINK; people were not being honest about their agendas.

It started even before that. I remember working in downtown San Francisco, when the anti-christmas crusade began. People were told that they were to no longer call a christmas tree a christmas tree. Hence forth, it must be called a "holiday celebration tree". No one should say Merry Christmas, but say "Happy Holidays" instead. Many companies even issued memos' to their employees with these instructions.

Most of the San Franciscan's accepted it without question. But many of the people who lived outside the city and commuted to work there, were upset. The didn't like being dictated to, or having their religious expression demeaned. Even the non-religious resented the political correctness. But the Thought Police soon informed them that by objecting, they were not being inclusive, and were therefore demonstrating racism and intolerance. That silenced most of the objections.

I did hear complaints from some San Franciscians; religious people of non-christian faiths. Some of them thought it was worrisome that Christians, who were a majority religion in this country, were being told to repress expression of their faith on Christian holidays. If Christians weren't allowed that freedom, then how long would it be before other faiths would be told to repress theirs as well? It reminded them of the repression many of them had experienced in the countries they came from. They recognized totalitarianism when they saw it.

And that is the crux of it for me. No one has to be a Christian, agree with Christians, or even like them. People can be atheists if they want to. But disagreeing with a Christians views does not entitle anyone to FORBID them.

Christians are not hijacking planes and flying them into office buildings, or chopping the heads off of school girls. Yet much of the left in this country talks about them as if they are the worst, most intolerant totalitarians in the world, and I find that really... warped.

San Francisco is full of people who insist they are completely open minded and non-judgmental; that it is really important that we all remain completely open minded to people with other points of view... unless of course, they are happen to be Republicans, who are Nazis, or conservative Christians, who are worse than the Taliban.

When our accountant actually asserted such views in a business meeting with us, we actually had the nerve to disagree and say "Christians are not hijacking planes and flying them into office buildings, or chopping the heads off of school girls."

That sounds obvious to most Americans, but in San Francisco, it was a heresy. Our accountant was so upset that he refused to return any of our phone calls, and completely abandoned us, right in the middle of a big financial transition in which we were very dependent on him for help. He also would not return calls from our new accountants we were forced to hire, who needed to ask him questions about the work he had done. We had sided with the evil Christians, and that was just unacceptable.

So when I hear people going on about how important it is to be open to all other peoples beliefs, but then make an exception to that for conservative Christians, and they start going on in an exagerated way about the dangerous Christians who shouldn't be allowed to believe what they do... well I get that stink under my nose again. I have to wonder if they have an agenda they are not being honest about, or if they are doing something in their personal life that they feel Christians would judge them for, so they villify christians with characterizations and overgeneralizations that most of us can see as... out of proportion to reality.

We are all judgemental, even if some of us have trouble being honest about it. But even so, not all of us are hijacking planes and flying them into office buildings, or chopping the heads off of school girls. That really is an important distinction worth noting, and I get impatient with people who disregard that in favor of exagerating their own predjudices for dramatic effect.

I recently read some comments by someone warning against the dangers of Christian Dominionists in America, who want to subvert the American constitution and create a theocracy. He claimed to have visited hundreds of websites by such Christians, who advocated violence against homosexuals, the establishment of a Theocracy, Old Testament Laws, ect.

Like him, I could never agree with such people. However, he questioned wether such people should be allowed to express such views, and kept expounding on the dangers of Dominionist Christians in American politics. I disagree with such people, but object to the idea that they need to be silenced. WHO get's to decide who may speak, and who may not? And too often, I have seen how the Christian Lunatic Fringe is used as a boogie man to smear conservative Christians generally, in an attempt to silence them all.

Any fool can make a website or blog, and any fool does. Talk is cheap. When you have free speech, you get those looney websites. They can talk Dominionist crap, but if they try to DO anything illegal about it, then at least you know who they are, and what they are up to. They can be watched.

Most Americans don't listen to crazed lunatics, wether they are shouting from soap boxes on street corners or posting their lunacy on the internet.

Arguments about the dangers of Dominionists would be of real concern IF the Dominionists were a majority, or even a significant minority. I don't believe they are either.

Many of the evangelical and fundamentalist Christians I've known vote according to their beliefs, but they also understand and APPRECIATE that there is a separation of church and state; they appreciate that the separation protects their religion from being tainted by power-politics.

The secular left in America, who hate religion, have been trying to re-define freedom OF religion as freedom FROM religion.

The religious right is reacting to that. So what? It's their right to.

If the majority of the religious right were as intolerant as many seem to think, they would never have let things change as much as they have.

People came to America seeking religious FREEDOM. Religious TOLERANCE is a big part of American culture. I do tire of hearing people run American Christians into the ground as the most totalitarian bigoted people on earth. Certianly you can find some fringe lunatics for whom that would be true, but it hardly describes the Evangelical/Fundamentalist majority, who are also a minority in this country. They also don't all agree about everything, there is dissent and discussion, except for a few creepy cults.

Sure, they are trying to assert their viewpoints and gain political influence. Just like everyone else in a free country, its' their right to.

Many leftist groups in the America have an anti-Christian agenda, and they use the Christians as a boogie-man, to whip up their adherents for FUND RAISING purposes; "They're gonna take away abortion; they're gonna take away gay rights; they're gonna take away (fill in the blank)." The Christians are evil; donate here, donate NOW.

And yes, sometimes they do, via democracy, take away things like "gay rights" here and there, in bits and pieces. And sometimes those rights are restored, or changed or a compromise is reached, because that is what we do in a democracy. We argue till we find common ground.

We are ALLOWED to disagree and argue. It's very contentious and disagreeable at times, but I wouldn't want it any other way. The ABSENCE of disagreement would be far worse. When that happens, you know you are living in a totalitarian state.

I think most reasonable, thoughtful people would disagree with Dominionism and Theocratic government, and so do I. It's just that when I hear people rant about the iminent danger of the Dominionists, and how they must be silenced and stopped, it sounds out of proportion to reality; like someone using the boogie-man tar brush to taint all conservative Christians generally. Dominionists are on the fringe; the popular culture is against them, and I'd think it more likely they would be negated and pushed aside, than take over. That is why some of them are resisting so vehemently. I don't see their resistance as a bad thing; it's part of the political process.

Our tolerant, western culture has grown out of Christianity, and while I don't specifically refer to myself as a Christian, I like living in a Christian culture. Christianity today, is not in charge of any totalitarian theocracies that I know of. Islam is, and I'm frankly more concerned about that. It makes more sense to fear those real enemies who are actually trying to kill us, instead of a bunch of Christians who don't want to worship in liberal churches.

Source for photos: Mt. Davidson and surrounding area

Related Link:
Did the Founding Fathers intend the USA to be a Christian nation?

Kent from the blog Right from Left has informed us of a very similar situation to Mt. Davidson, which is now going on in San Diego: Judge Rules Mount Soledad Cross Proposition Unconstitutional.


juanitagf said...

"they also understand and APPRECIATE that there is a separation of church and state"

True. I wouldn't want a theocracy, there are too many gods out there that I do not agree with.

~from a conservative Christian

Gayle said...

Also from a conservative Christian: You have written an excellent article here. Actually I do not have the adequate words to express my complete appreciation of this article. You are absolutely 100% correct. Thank you for a good read and for saying something better than I could have possibly said it myself! :)

Attesa said...

Awesome post, Chas. :) I came across your blog from Patrick's. This was a terrific, well thought out article. I don't see how anyone could disagree with it - conservative Christian or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

From another CC: Awesome, wonderful post, Chas. Amen and yea verily. :)

Anonymous said...

Ditto Gayle, bonnie, attesa and jgf.

The thought of a theocracy (like Iran) even if Christian scares me as I beleive it did our "Christian" forefathers who gave us our democracy. At the same time, I don't want my politics crushed, or my pastors right to free speach crushed just because we are evangelical Christians.

Great Article!

Chas said...

Thanks for the nice comments, everyone. Creeping Totalitarianism is something I've been thinking about a lot since we left San Francisco, and I've had time to reflect on our experiences there.

SF went from being an open-minded city to being a totalitarian leftist stronghold. It seems to me that it got that way by the leftists continually talking about people they disagreed with (Republicans, Christians) in a dishonest way (didn't Lenin say that a lie repeated often enough will eventually be accepted as the truth?).

That, combined with using the tool of political correctness and the attitude of the Thought Police to control what is ALLOWED to be said, supresses any disagreement or real debate. If you go against it, there are real, tangible consequences.

Now SF is a city full of angry people who reinforce each others beliefs constantly (self-brainwashing). It's become a place of leftist extreams. I'm so glad we left. It's hard to live surrounded by angry, unhappy people, all the time. Especially when that anger gets directed at you, for not agreeing!

Kent said...

Tremendous post, Buddy.

Here in San Diego, an unhinged atheist has been trying to tear down our Mount Soledad Memorial for the past 20 years.

Sharkzfan said...

Chas, it's refreshing to read a viewpoint overflowing with intelligence, logic and reason. I appreciateed the manner in which you expressed your opinion. The unbiased approach in your writing is wonderful. Rarely does one come across an individual who can express both sides of an argument so eloquently and not have the "left" or "right" banner waving in the face of the reader. I will definitely be digging deeper into your blog.

Chas said...


I googled the Mount Soledad situation. It's very similar to the Mount Davidson senario. Only it seems that the latest decision by judge Cowett has gone against the Mt. Soledad memorial. 76 percent of the voters voted to save the memorial by donating the half acre it stands on to the park service, only to have the liberal judge void the sale:

Judge Rules Mount Soledad Cross Proposition Unconstitutional

It's sounds like another case of a liberal judge legislating from the bench against the voters.

It's interesting to note, that in San Francisco, when the Armenian group bought the land and cross on Mt. Davidson, they had to form a secular non-profit association to hold the title, and declare the cross as a memorial to Armenian Genocide Victims.

That prevented any further actions by the atheists, but I wouldn't be suprised it they try again at a later date to challenge the cross again.

I hope the fight for the Mt. Solidad Memorial continues, though it looks rather bleak at the moment.

Thanks for mentioning it, I'm going to add a link about it to the end of my article.

Chas said...


Thanks for your kind words. I really did try to be unbiased; I'm not against atheism, I just don't see how the right to not believe in somthing trumps the right to believe in something.

Many atheists I've known persue their non-belief with a religious fervor, to the point where it does seem like a religion to me; the religion of non-belief.

It's fine if they don't want to believe, but it's none of their business to enforce their views on those who have faith.

Atheists who complain that crosses offend them, are no different from religiouis bigots who complain about other religions. They are the same creature. And where in the Constitution does it say we have the right to never be offended?

The separation of church and state was never intended to be used to eliminate all references to faith from public life and property. That should be obvious to anyone who is HONEST about it. Those who are claiming it does are pushing an anti-Christian agenda to promote their own predjudices, and they are NOT being completely honest about it and the agenda they are advancing.