Friday, April 22, 2016

Let's Take A Breath on the Wright-Patt Air Force Base Bible Removal…

(This column was published in the Dayton Daily News on April 26th, 2016...)

From the Dayton Daily News  earlier this month…

 "Wright-Patterson Medical Center has removed a Bible from a POW/MIA display after the Military Religious Freedom Foundation lodged a complaint, according to a base spokesperson."

  The social media discussions on this issue I’ve seen are pretty heavily in favor of those who feel the Bible should not have been removed. Many stated their positions on the premise that the United States is a Christian Country and the actions taken by WPAFB were just the latest in a long string of widespread, anti-Christian actions, aimed at spreading the “War on Christians.”

That’s right, the “War on Christians.”


A quick Google search tells me there’s roughly 575 churches in the Dayton area. Nationally, according to the 2010 “Religious Congregation Membership Study” there are roughly 350,000 churches in the United States. That’s seven thousand for each State. That’s 116.4 churches for every county in the country.

That’s a lot of churches.

The vast, vast majority of these churches also receive tax exempt status on their income. Instead of closing down churches and/or arresting those trying to conduct or attend services, the United States government grants them building permits and tax breaks. A rather odd “war strategy.” I don’t believe for a second anyone who plans on attending a church service this weekend in the Dayton area has any real reason to worry about being arrested, forced to confront protesters or face personal injury. You shouldn’t either.

There are Christians actually under attack in the world. Not here in the US, but in places like Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. People trying to practice their faith are being targeted, apprehended and usually sentenced to long prison terms or death. Likewise, missionaries who bravely chose to enter such lands knowing the price tag should they be caught is harsh and severe. Those people can legitimately comment on the war on their faith.

Every time I read someone’s online screed about how they and their like minded “Believers“ are the victims of this imaginary “War on Christians,” I think about those other Christians actually in  danger. It’s not some hyperbole written between sips of a Pumpkin Spice Latte by someone who sits with their feet up in a comfortable booth at Starbucks while they listen to their favorite Pandora mix on their earbuds. “That guy” isn’t under attack.

This thing at Wright-Patt AFB isn’t an attack on religion.

Given that it’s Government property, any inclusion of any one religious text like the Bible, Torah, Koran, etc. in a display like the one at the WPAFB medical clinic is best left out of it. Despite what some folks apparently think, the United States doesn’t have an army of Christian warriors. It is comprised of Americans. Christians, Jews and Muslims. Agnostics and Atheists.  White and Black. Yellow and Brown. Rich and Poor. Educated and uneducated. City kids and country kids. Men and women. Conservatives and Progressives.

Americans, all of them.

I hope, out of respect for those truly facing danger for practicing their faith, the next time someone thinks they’re a victim of religious persecution, they slow down for a second and think about those other people.

“War on Christians?”

It ain’t happening here.

Let’s take a breath.

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