“No I’m not!” You’re going to say. “People are trying to stop me from practicing my faith!” … Oh, really? Because from where I’m standing, you are way more privileged and respected than just about any other religious group in the world. Don’t believe me? Let’s spell it out:
Privilege is being able to openly wear a symbol of your faith in public and not be mocked, harassed, or belittled. Privilege means having everyone recognize this symbol as being sacred to you and not asking inappropriate or rude questions about why you are wearing it.
Privilege is being able to walk into any store in the country and purchase aforementioned symbol in resin-cast mass-produced form, on gold chains, or on refrigerator magnets.
Privilege is being able to discuss your religion in public without getting strange looks from the people around you.
Privilege is being able to engage in silent, self-directed prayer or meditation in public place without being stared at, harassed, or asked inappropriate questions. Privilege means having people acknowledge your prayer as a legitimate, respectable spiritual practice, even if they themselves do not wish to participate.
Privilege is having untold thousands of youth camps available for children of your faith to attend. Privilege is being able to go door to door and sell scarves and popcorn and calendars in order to raise money to send your children there.
Privilege is being able to cite passages from your holy book as points in a televised debate and have them accepted as valid fact. Privilege means having your holy book revered and respected and acknowledged as an important piece of literature, even by those who don’t share your faith.
Privilege means that the lore, legends, and parables associated with your faith are so well-known that entire TV series, books, movies, and comics are based off of it. Privilege means that this symbolism will be understandable and familiar to nearly everyone.
Privilege is being able to feel a sense of power and pride when mentioning the name of your deity to strangers or people you’ve just met. Privilege means not having to worry what people will think of you when you tell them what your religion is.
Privilege is never having to endure being called “stupid” or “backwards” or “heathen”.
The fact that a debate exists about such things as “school prayer” are even signs of privilege, since, of course, they are referring to prayer to the christian form of God.
Privilege means never curling in on yourself in fear and shame when a political candidate mentions being “all children of the same God”.
Privilege means not being invisible: time off from work is all schedule conveniently around your important religious holidays. Themed decorations are sold in large chain stores across the country. Privilege means that everyone in the country knows when and why your religious holidays occur, even those who don’t practice them.
This is why I shake my head when I hear Christian extremists whine about “religious persecution”. A 2/3rds majority of the country cannot be “persecuted”. When they refer to persecution, they don’t mean “someone is stepping on me for my beliefs”—What they mean is, “we don’t like that other people are being vocal about feeling stepped on, because that doesn’t make me feel good about myself and my beliefs”. They are angry because they are being made to feel—to consider—however momentarily, how the rest of us non-christians feel all the damn time.
And NO, before you say anything, let’s be clear about one thing: BEING MADE FUN OF FOR BEING “TOO DEVOUT” OR A “BIBLE BANGER” IS NOT THE SAME THING AS HAVING YOUR ENTIRE BELIEF SYSTEM DISMISSED, MOCKED, OR MISAPPROPRIATED BY PRETTY MUCH THE ENTIRETY OF MODERN CULTURE. That’s right, I’m lookin’ right at you, self-proclaimed Sheltered Christian Good Kids of the world.
So the next time you start to feel vaguely uncomfortable about your faith not unquestioningly and unapologetically being put before everyone else (regardless of the reason), I implore you to stop and think about all the ways in which you are, by merit of your privilege, already being put first in pretty much every way.
That’s all I have to say about that. Peace, Tumblrists.
Reblogging for posterity, because, y’know, holidays. And I’m angry.