This misrepresentation of church and state

Posted on Nov 3 2015 - 8:40am by Holly Baer

On Thursday, Oct. 29, the city of Collins received a letter of complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation in regards to Christian statues in a publicly maintained and operated park.

I spent the first 12 years of my life living in Collins, and the vast majority of my maternal family still lives in the town.

A quick view into the dreaded comment section of the local news channel shows horrendous vitriol from the mouths of those who love Jesus and say they are his warriors.

They say: “Those nonbelievers need a city of their own to move to. Far far away from us.” With a rousing agreement: “They will have their own city, it”s called HELL.”
They say: “I think the city should take the complainer down… So no, leave it up..And GOD Bless AMERICA.”

They say: “how disgusting whoever filed this complaint should be run out of wherever they normally stay go to some country where there are other like-minded people and leave our country and our faith alone.”

From the hellish comment section, you’d think that Mississippi is the center of a God-filled theocracy. In the past few months, my former high school received complaints because of an anti-atheist rant by a history teacher, and my former school district best online casino received a cease and desist letter regarding marching band music.
Each of these things were met with loud angry protests from Christians, saying that this was clearly discrimination. The reality is much simpler.

For the first time, Christians are being required to follow the law, and they are no longer allowed to show preferential treatment to Christianity.

Being a non-believer in Mississippi is rough. We’re constantly being told that Christianity is under attack while simultaneously being treated as broken people by some members of the church. We’re told that Christianity is the single most important thing, while one of the most Christian states has some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy, new HIV infections and gonorrhea and chlamydia infections.
This isn’t meant to bash Christianity or Christians in general. Many Christians are good, kind people who work very hard to make the world a better place.

But many Christians say awful things about anyone who doesn’t believe. Many Christians take complaints about legal violations as personal attacks on Jesus. Some Christians believe an angry mob will solve any problems by eliminating those complaining.

Unfortunately, these people are just as Christian as the good people. Sometimes, the good Christians will say that these cruel people aren’t really Christians, but that isn’t fair.

We don’t get to label them “non-Christians” just because they’re mean. Even if good people could write them off as non-Christians, that continues the cycle that bad people can’t be Christian, and that all non-believers have to be corrupt and bad.
As a non-believer, I’m not convinced. If Mississippi is a hotbed of religious beauty, then it makes religion look even less appealing.


Holly Baer is a senior religious studies major from Flowood.