Why would white evangelicals, one of the most powerful groups of people in our society – a power far in excess to their percentage of the population – feel embattled and fear “the government will interfere with their religious liberty?”
How else would they feel?
Christians are supposed to be “in the world not of the world” and to stand outside and against the awful secular world and all the worldly worldliness. Evangelical Christianity supercharges this idea.
Its backward view of sex fuels a fear of women and gay people and their families. Its backward view of faith and science fuels a fear of education (though not as much opposition to technology as one would think). Its backward view of culture and the popular superstition of sin, coupled with a desire for worldly power fuels a fear and hatred of anyone and anything outside the lines of its culture which are constantly drawn and redrawn. The things and people to be opposed include many if not most Christians and even some evangelicals (depending on the day and the minute).
Another Christian notion that evangelicals supercharge is the need to be persecuted. Jesus is supposed to have said that for him his followers would be persecuted and so victimhood has become very important. Even in a situation where Christians are not only allowed to openly be Christians and worship without hindrance in one or more of a gazillion churches in every town, where to NOT be Christian is to be a minority, Christians must STILL push the case that they are persecuted.
Michael Luciano, reporting on the recent Pew Forum poll points out: “Amazingly, white evangelicals believe there is more discrimination against them than there is against Muslims, blacks, Hispanics, Jews, and atheists.” Think about that, they answered that they face more discrimination in the USA then black people. It’s insane for them to maintain that viewpoint and they don’t disappoint.
This idea that they are a persecuted minority in a hostile land is a mantra we hear again and again from evangelicals (and other Christians) in the USA. Just like the superstition of original sin it’s horseshit.
Right wing Christians have waged a war on the larger culture for decades. They have done a fairly decent job of defining Christianity as a hatred of women, gay people, secularism and modernity. But they haven’t been able to entirely stamp out gay rights, they haven’t been able to stamp out all talk of sex, much less gotten people to stop fucking and fingering and licking and engaging in all kinds of delicious fornicating. They haven’t been able to rewrite every history book or drive science underground.
They haven’t forced everyone to kneel before them, and it chaps their ass.
Define “religious liberty” as “a need to dominate everyone else politically and culturally,” add a lust for cheap martyrdom, and you’ve got a special brand of crazy. Of course white evangelicals feel embattled and put upon, anything else wouldn’t fit with their whole kooky thing.