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Christian Anti-Atheist Blogger Whines About “Secular” Privilege

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The United States is a secular nation. We have a secular Constitution and Bill of Rights. While America is one of the most religious nations on the face of the 6,024-year-old earth :), we have freedom of and from religion. There is a wall of separation between church and state. Christians are free to practice their religion without government interference. This freedom, however, is not absolute. Churches are expected to follow building codes, fire laws, and health and safety mandates. Worshipping a deity doesn’t exempt them from their societal duties and obligations.

These things were universally understood by believers and unbelievers alike until the advent of the modern culture war. Today, millions of Evangelicals believe the United States is a Christian nation, that there is no separation of church and state, and the teachings of the Bible should be the law of the land.

Yesterday, Michael, a Christian (Evangelical?) blogger who spends his days raging against atheism, wrote a post titled What is Secular Privilege? Here Are Ten Everyday Examples. As you shall see, Michael whines and complains about his flavor of Christianity not being given preferential treatment.

Here are excerpts from seven of his examples of secular privilege:

Your Wages Aren’t Lower Because You are Religious

While I was unable to find any solid studies that compare the income of religious vs. secular people, this Pew Research survey found that atheists and agnostics have a higher household income than members of most religions.  For example, while almost 60% of atheists have an income of more than $50,000 per year, only about 30% of Baptists do.

While the Pew data don’t measure religiosity itself, it is worth noting that the religious group with the highest household incomes also happens to be the least religious.

People Don’t Make Assumptions About Your Intelligence Because Of Your Religion

A common stereotype about religious people is that they are stupid.

You Don’t Feel Pressure To Represent Your Religion

Secular people never have to worry that if they make a mistake, people will assume they made it because secular people are less capable.  On the other hand, if you belong to a religion, a mistake (intellectual or ethical) will be used as something that represents your religion.  Being secular absolves you from this pressure to defy your religion’s stereotype so that your mistakes don’t hurt others of who share your religious faith.

Most Products Are Geared Toward You

A secular person can go into any corner convenience store to buy beer, cigarettes, lottery tickets, or other secular goods and walk out with something that suits them. Religious people will not find religious items so readily available (like pocket Bibles or kosher food), reminding them that in the eyes of mainstream culture, they are invisible.

Most Media Is Geared Toward You

Secular people can feel fairly confident that they will see people like them represented on TV, in movies, in magazines, in books, and all over the Internet. The media is clearly secular, as one can easily watch Netflix all weekend and listen to the radio in their car all week, catch a movie on a Friday night, and read the newspaper every morning without being exposed to religious messages/themes/people.

Beauty Standards Aren’t Rigged Against You Because Of Your Faith

The rigid beauty standards depicted in the media harm all women, and that harm can be due to factors other than religion. But many religious women express their faith through modesty of dress.  Some refuse to wear pants or makeup and others cover their heads.  Yet the beauty standards of most women’s magazines, fashion designers, and the various ads found throughout the media portray women who are scantily dressed with lots of makeup. Secular women don’t usually feel the same pressure to uncover themselves and paint their faces.

A secular education for your child is free.

If you are a secular parent wanting your children to have a secular education, the government provides free schooling from ages 5-18.  What’s more, these schools effectively have a zero-tolerance for any religious expression in the schools and the courts routinely enforce efforts to censor if a violation is uncovered.  On the other hand, if you want your child to have an education that includes religious considerations and values, you will have to pay large sums of money.  Assuming a modest tuition of $3000/year for K-8th grade, and $10,000/year for 9th-12th grade, religious parents can end up paying $67,000 for something that secular parents get for free.  Of course, since many religious parents cannot afford such an education, they are forced to send their children to secular schools that promote secular values and outlooks.

It would seem to me that anyone who is honestly and seriously interested in social justice would pay attention to secular privilege and seek to check it. But alas, no one in the social justice movement is willing to acknowledge even the existence of secular privilege. Could it be because the social justice movement itself champions and defends secular privilege? After all, we know in the atheist community, there is a huge overlap among anti-religious activism and social justice activism. And could it thus be that their posturing about social justice itself is just self-serving deception?

I will leave it commenters to dissect and eviscerate Michael’s whine. I do, however, want to address his claims that most products and media are geared towards secularists. My first thought was “are you fucking kidding me?” Where does Michael live? In a deep, dark cave somewhere? Everywhere I look, I see Christian churches, Christian TV, Christian radio, Christian blogs, Christian podcasts, Christian books, Christian movies, Christian kitsch, etc. I live in rural northwest Ohio. There are hundreds of Christian churches, many of them Evangelical, within 30 minutes or so of my home. Everywhere I look, I see Jesus hanging out street corners like prostitutes selling their wares.

Countless business owners advertise the fact that the dead Jesus is their business partner. The fish sign and the cross are prominently displayed in advertising, letting local Christians know Jesus changes oil, cleans carpets, repairs cars, gives massages, and roofs/paints houses. These business owners deliberately cater to the dominant religious demographic. I’ve yet to see an ad geared towards secularists, atheists, agnostics, or other non-Christians. Why? Business is all about making money. Why limit your potential pool of customers? A smart business owner caters to everyone. Personally, I don’t support businesses that explicitly advertise themselves as Christian. I let one such business owner know I wouldn’t be frequenting his establishment. The owner let me know that he didn’t need any business from atheists and libtards. His store later went out of business. Would income from secular and atheist customers have saved his business? Probably not. The owner was an all-around asshole, so I suspect that’s the reason his business closed. That said, I did feel a sense of satisfaction when I saw his storefront empty.

Earlier this week, the Village of Ney (where I live) fielded a request for information about opening a medical marijuana facility in town (more on this in a future post). The mayor and council, all of whom are Christians, rejected the request out of hand. Why? Though left unstated, I am sure their Christian beliefs and personal moral standards led to them rejecting this request. Jesus doesn’t toke dope, right? End of discussion.

I see nothing in our secular society that limits the ability of Christians to make money, worship Jesus, or metaphorically masturbate to their heart’s content to the triune God of the Bible. Of course, Christians such as Michael want and demand more than religious freedom. They want preferential treatment. Most of all, they want every knee to bow to Jesus, the Bible, and Donald Trump. Theocracy is the goal.

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Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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18 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    Christians have so much to bear: They are informed of their uselessness and filth by the God they think wrote a book for them and they admit how miserably lost they are…. Is it any wonder that this self-harm translates into a sense of persecution in the world? My goodness, they harm themselves with their beliefs and then sense that others are not sympatico, that others believe human beings must help human beings, that ‘God(s)’ seem to reduce otherwise reasonable folk to sheep, unable to maintain their independence of thought, unable to embrace the world and respect others, fleeing common sense and Science.
    My older brother, an evangelical, says: “We shouldn’t worry at all about COVID-19. We should be ready to face God. If God calls us, we should be ready!”
    This kind of disregard for basic self-care is foundational Christianity as it is practiced in the evangelical world.
    How could it ever be possible for an evangelical to feel supported by other human beings when they have abdicated self-care, when they have decided to think of themselves as rubbish without a ‘God’. I care for my evangelical brother and want him to get vaccinated and have some protection for himself and others. But he thinks God is informing him. So now, the mandate to be vaccinated becomes unreasonable to him and Science is wrong. He is able through his denial to set aside his responsibility for himself and others and to spread the virus as if it was another common-cold and not a worldwide pandemic that has often overwhelmed our medical/hospital resources. That is okay to him. ‘God’ is on his side.
    This Michael fellow conveniently overlooks the fact that ‘religious entities’, the church, exists as tax-free in our culture. Tax-free! I’m quite sure Michael would be able to explain how that too is the Devil’s work and a plot to harm believers.
    There are those, among believers, who still retain some common sense and know that they should be vaccinated and wear masks in public situations to help defeat COVID-19. I support not their belief in a magical being but in their actions to care for themselves and others. Being a Christian does not make it impossible to care for yourself and others but it puts you at risk of being more readily exposed to evangelicals and their extreme views. Christians are apt to gang up on others and use their beliefs to defeat prgressive ideas. In Ney, the area where Bruce resides, the local government is dominated by backward Christian authorities, elected officials who reject medical marijuana access even though it has been shown to help conditions that may not respond to other meds/treatments. They reject this opportunity to help those suffering because GOD! They spread outdated ideas about cannabis and reject progressive attitudes being allowed and tested. They would prefer we go back in time and they fear and distrust progress as a the devil working in the world to fool human beings, not help them. In fact, it is the elected officials of Ney who perpetrate harm on behalf of ‘God’, using the word ‘God’ to resist allowing people to get help, to be cared for. Have these politicians done any reading about the develoments in cannabis as medicine? Of course not… They are bullies for God, thugs in uniform who are convinced they know better. They suppress freedom and wave flags to ‘prove’ they are right. They suggest the ‘real’ USA is Christian and that is their heart intent and purpose, to force all of us to comply with their vision of the world. The paranoid idea that the secular world is putting Christians in danger is more than a bit of projection: Christians put themselves at risk and then want us all to climb aboard their ship called Denial and float blissfully backward in time.

  2. Avatar
    Infidel753

    “while almost 60% of atheists have an income of more than $50,000 per year, only about 30% of Baptists do”

    Higher education tends to dispel religious belief, therefore highly-educated people are less likely to be religious, and higher education statistically correlates with higher income. I don’t know why Michael didn’t think of this, but I’ll tentatively refrain from assuming it’s because he’s stupid.

    “if you belong to a religion, a mistake (intellectual or ethical) will be used as something that represents your religion”

    People constantly assume that all atheists represent atheism and that bad things done by one atheist — for example, Stalin was an atheist, and Stalin was a tyrant, therefore atheism implies tyranny. Even though it’s completely ridiculous because atheism, unlike a religion isn’t a coherent ideology but merely a lack of belief in something. It’s like arguing that because Stalin didn’t believe in unicorns, his evil reflects on all people who don’t believe in unicorns.

    Products/media — I live in the largest city of the least-religious state in the US, so I don’t see the religious dominance of local media that you see in rural Ohio. Religious books and other specialized religious products are widely available, though. They aren’t predominant, but they exist.

    “most women’s magazines, fashion designers, and the various ads found throughout the media portray women who are scantily dressed with lots of makeup”

    Market forces. They’re in the business of making money. If burqas would sell magazines, they’d be full of pictures of burqas.

  3. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    I can tell you that in the Southern Baptist church I grew up in the women did NOT skimp on their makeup, and they wore the best clothing they could afford.

    I personally know doctors, lawyers, college professors, and other professionals who are religious (very few are evangelicals though – and most are private about their religious practices).

    It sounds like this guy views not being in a position of dominance as oppression. Sorry, dude, we live in a diverse nation. Not everyone wants your particular religion shoved in their faces 24/7.

    I feel like these not jobs want a fundamentalist Christian version of Saudi Arabia, and I am here to prevent them from turning my nation into that.

  4. Avatar
    Ben Berwick

    [QUOTE]While I was unable to find any solid studies that compare the income of religious vs. secular people, this Pew Research survey found that atheists and agnostics have a higher household income than members of most religions. For example, while almost 60% of atheists have an income of more than $50,000 per year, only about 30% of Baptists do.

    While the Pew data don’t measure religiosity itself, it is worth noting that the religious group with the highest household incomes also happens to be the least religious.[/QUOTE]

    I wonder if they’ve stopped to consider why non-religious people have more money? Could it be they’ve not limited their education to fields that, outside of a niche, offers little tangible real-world benefit?

  5. Avatar
    Ben Berwick

    I’m not even sure how he’s interpreted the Pew Research. The chart in his post has Jews (that he terms the least religious, for reasons I’d love for him to elaborate) has the highest earners on average by far, unless he’s looking exclusively at the $50,000-$99,000 bracket. If he’s adding together that column and the $100,000+ column, 68% of Jews (surely he counts that as religion?) earn upwards of $50,000 per year! 70% of Hindus earn the same. The Episcopal Church and Presbyterian Church also have more earners of $50,000 or more than atheists or agnostics, or does not Michael not count them as Christians? As I said, I don’t know how he’s interpreting the data and I might be flawed in my interpretation.

  6. Avatar
    BJW

    Christian products, really? Where does this dude live where he can’t find these things? Where does he exist where he can’t find Christian programming? As far as I know, most Christians of his ilk live in a bubble where they shut out non-Christians. His ideas are laughable to those of us who would prefer not to have Christianity pushed into our face every day.

  7. Avatar
    Steve Ruis

    Re “A secular education for your child is free.”

    This is true, but it is also true for Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Rastafarians, etc. Their children can get their secular education for free. I can’t imagine there would be a difference between secular physical education and Christian physical education. What about English instruction, would Christian English instruction be different? What about accounting? Physics? Chemistry?

    Can you imagine, just imagine, the chaos if the public school system were to provide religious education? What would they teach? Would they provide Jewish education to Christians, Christian education to Buddhists? And would atheists get a period off in those schools? (I have a note from my Mom!).

    Imagine if they just did Christian education. There are tens of thousands of sects of Christianity. Could any curriculum not run afoul of a large fraction of those? Are we going to have Trinity Wars again, with unitarians against trinitarians?

    Do these people even know what the Hell they are saying?

    • Avatar
      Ben Berwick

      Exactly. If they want a religious education, why should that be state-funded? Where does that end? I dread to imagine how many different Christian denominations exist within a 100 mile radius!

  8. Avatar
    John

    My initial reaction to Michael’s post is, shut the fuck up! “Help, help, I’m being repressed!”
    The income thing has already been covered here. Not to mention that when I was a Christian, we gave about 20% of our income to the church and other ministries. It wasn’t until we quit doing this that we got out of debt! We were part of the seed sowing, prosperity gospel. The only ones who prospered were the ones that people were giving money to.
    Like others have said, where the fuck do you live that you can’t find Christian products??? Every Target, Walmart, Kroger, Walgreens, etc where I live sells bibles and books by Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, TD Jakes, etc. There is Christian fiction, Christian love stories, Christian coloring books, everywhere. Not to mention a church or two every quarter mile. The city I live in has about 800 Christian flavored churches. Mosques, synagogues, Buddhist temples, and places that welcome unbelievers number less than 10 each. My public library does not have ONE book by an atheist author. Not one! Again, where does Michael live? My city is not an exception to this shit.
    As far as tv stations that I can pick up through the “air”, there are twice as many Christian channels as the others.
    And his distorted view of public schools in this country is insane. My children went to public school. EVERY teacher they had was a Christian. Every teacher I know that teaches in a 50 mile radius of where I live is a Christian. You don’t think that bleeds into how the curriculum is being taught?!?! Ugh! And, it is not the public school’s job to teach kids about religion. That is up to the parents and whatever religious group they belong to.
    Secular privilege my ass!
    This guy… wow.

  9. Avatar
    missimontana

    My public library’s atheist books selection could fit into a medium suitcase. The religious section? Two rows, 40 feet long and 7 feet high, stuffed full. My local Walmart has almost no best selling novels by famous authors, but shelves of Christian novels, self-help books, Bibles, and coloring books. And no science or atheist books. Our streaming services show a lot of religious shows. Churches everywhere, often giving out books and videos for free. Kosher food is in the supermarket for those who want it.
    But no, for people like him, nothing less than total domination of the world will ever be good enough.

  10. Avatar
    Troy

    I wish he was right, that Christians were actually oppressed, but secularism is just a pluralistic society’s way to not favor any particular religion. Everything that is done is to allow the American experiment to prosper another generation. Free education? If you have a Republic that uses democratic processes to enact laws, you must have an educated populous. We don’t allow every town to elect their own district religion, because we don’t want to be like 1700s Europe where religious wars were ubiquitous.
    Contrary to the oppressed thesis of the pastor, the miasma of the Christian majority is ever-present. It’s on the currency, and it is now the national motto. Go through the plethora of cable channels, welcome to the prosperity gospel. A church pay taxes? No way, even multi-million dollar “parsonages” are exempt. The problem is most of this “religion” is just fleecing the flock, and of course feeding the illusion that the United States is a Christian country. Guess again, signed way back in 1796 when many of the founding fathers were still living, “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” And AMEN to that!

  11. Avatar
    Astreja

    Michael, stop whining about “beauty standards.” If someone chooses to dress a certain way, fine. If the fashion community dresses differently, obviously it isn’t their fashion community and getting upset about it is a waste of time and emotional energy. No one’s forcing modest dressers to invest in clothing and makeup they don’t want, or to keep their TV on fashion shows all night.

    (Personally I can’t stand makeup, high heels or monstrously large purses, but some people can rock that look and I wish them the best.)

  12. Avatar
    Emersonian

    I like how he threw in kosher food there as an attempt to make it seem like he’s not just about Team Jesus. Dollars to doughnuts he doesn’t even know 1) any actual Jews, 2) what kosher actually means, and 3) whether or not its availability is an issue for most Jews in the US. And he doesn’t give a shit about other religions anyway–notice he didn’t reference halal food. Christianity has been the dominant cultural force in the western world for 1500 years; his whining about secularism being somehow privileged just because Christian favoritism isn’t federally supported in this country is beyond ludicrous.

  13. Avatar
    Brocken

    https://religionnews.com/2022/05/12/study-girls-raised-by-jewish-parents-outperform-christians-academically/ The person complaining about secular privilege perhaps should not have pointed to those statistics. If nothing else, if someone does decided to convert to some type of religious belief system, if this person looks at the income achievement part of non-believers and certain religious groups, that person might think ” Become a Baptist and doom myself to earning less income and my girls underperforming academically in comparison to those of Jewish parents, maybe that isn’t such a good idea”.

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Bruce Gerencser