Christian Privilege Checklist (Laying Down the Imaginary Cross)
I initially created this list last year around Christmastime. I’ve posted it in a place or two, and I think it bears repeating.
The term “imaginary cross” does not refer to the validity of the belief system itself, but rather to the imaginary burden American Christians bear. Christianity is more or less designed to produce hysterical followers: the Bible warns them that they will be persecuted and despised - and indeed, if they’re not persecuted, they’re doing it wrong. But the world has changed quite a bit since the first century, and in many places Christianity is the most acceptable form of religion. So in the absence of real persecution, many will cry and whine about the slightest of perceived “oppression,” to the point where anything but the strictest erasure of other beliefs is seen as nothing less than full-out war.
In reality, it can be hard to openly not be Christian here in the US. The First Amendment is commonly violated to oppress non-Christians (for example, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs refusing to allow the use of a pentacle on Arlington Cemetery gravestones until 2007) and promote Christianity (for example, a Tennessee school broadcasting Christian prayers during football games and graduation ceremonies up until 2010).
Some people have dedicated their lives to spreading baseless fear and hysteria toward non-Christian religions - there’s an entire Christian subculture that would have you believe that any and every non-Christian religion (and a few Christian sects, too) are secretly run by evil Satanists who are trying to gradually desensitize people so they can eventually be converted to “hard-core” Satanism.
The 2010 film Christmas with a Capital C depicts an atheist villain who complains about a town’s Christmas display and fights to have it taken down - not because it violates the First Amendment (although it most certainly does), but because (or so it appears from the trailer) he’s simply bitter and spiteful - not necessarily an accurate representation of atheists on the whole, but an accurate representation of the way many Christians view the people they perceive as “attacking” their religion.
But enough talk. You’re probably wanting to see the checklist, so let’s get to it.
Whilst I agree that Christians in the USA and Europe are privileged, it is not in many parts of the world. Christianity is accepted by our culture (though increasingly in the UK it isn’t- I for one have been ridiculed for wearing a cross, told not to mention my religion, been rebuked by people when they found out my beliefs and had them mocked etc but whilst prejudice is getting more common, privilege still exists), but in many parts of the world it is considered to be unacceptable.
The “western” world doesn’t make up the majority. 75% of all religious discrimination is directed against Christians and one Christian is murdered for being a Christian every 5 minutes. This is across the continent of Africa, throughout the Middle East and all over Asia coming from other religious and non-religious groups. Whilst Christians are privileged in the USA and Europe, they are not globally and in most countries Christians face dire circumstances. Whilst persecution in the USA and Europe is not there against Christians, it is very much a real thing for over half of the Church.
I do agree with you about the privilege checking with the fundamentalists who claim oppression in the USA or Europe when they have been the ones who were discriminating. However I though I would point this out to you that out of the 2.1 billion Christians, just under half of that number have any privilege in society because just over half live in such oppression.
No one is saying that outside of western cultures Christians have less privilege then those w/in the US and Europe. But this is a list SPECIFICALLY for western Christians. No one is speaking for or lumping non western Christians experiences with western experiences. Also “privilege” implies systematic oppression or demonization of other groups.
Yes, you may have experienced prejudice on a personal level, but your rights to practice Christianity in western society are not being threatened.