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On Christian Privilege

I have heard quite a bit of talk about so-called "Christian Privilege" lately. Most recently, I have read about a workshop held at George Washington University in order to combat this apparent privilege that Christians have. The event was hosted by Timothy Kane, who is the university's director for inclusion initiatives, as well as a gay member of the university's LGBTQ community. His claim, as is the claim of many others, is that Christians, especially in the United States, enjoy special privileges that are not shared by other groups. I would like to take a minute to examine this claim.

Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world. Conservative estimates state that there are approximately 200 MILLION Christians around the world who are currently facing persecution for their faith [1]. Of these, conservative estimates state that over 100,000 Christians are killed for their faith each and every year [2]. This amounts to one Christian being killed for his or her religious belief every 5 minutes. While many of these happen in the Middle East, they also happen all across the world, especially in certain areas of Asia and Africa. This, however, is not all.

Many Christians, especially in Muslim-majority countries, are denied lifesaving medical care and other basic needs because of their faith. Just this week, I read of a man who was beaten to death for his faith by hospital staff when he spoke to a doctor in order to seek help for his pregnant sister, who is also a Christian. She was denied the essential medical care that she needed [3]. If anything, this was the opposite of privilege.

Some of you may be pointing out that some who make this claim only claim that Christians in the civilized world, such as the United States and Canada, enjoy such privilege. I would respond by pointing out that, if this is the case, then it is not privilege enjoyed by any person on the basis of his or her faith, but a privilege that is enjoyed by people based on where they live. In this case, we are not dealing with "Christian privilege," but something akin to "civilized privilege" or "American privilege." This being the case, why are these individuals calling it "Christian privilege?" But is the point true? Do Christians, in fact, enjoy privileges that other groups do not enjoy under, say, the United States Constitution? I would argue that Christians do not enjoy such a privilege. In fact, it becomes difficult to understand how anyone could make the claim for "Christian privilege" in a country, the Constitution of which states expressly that there are two major things prohibited by the Congress in regards to religion [4]:

1.) Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.
2.) Congress shall not prohibit the free exercise thereof.

The claim that Christians enjoy a special privilege here that other groups do not enjoy is, therefore, doubtful from the beginning. But could it be? It does not appear to be so. In fact, Christians are often targeted here in the United States for their faith, as well. One needs to look no further than the bullying of Christian cake artists in order to see this truth. Christian shop owners have, on multiple occasions, been given a choice: violate your deeply-held religious beliefs that you ground in the Bible or face public ridicule and potential fines that threaten to destroy you and your entire family. What privilege! Christians are not afforded such privileges as some in the LGBTQ community have been afforded. I, as a Christian, cannot take a Muslim caterer to court and force him to serve me pork, despite the fact that this is the equivalent of what happens to Christian bakers and florists. In addition, I cannot take an atheist to court and force him, against his will, to lend his skills to help the Church, despite this being the functional equivalent of what has been done to Christian bakers and florists.

There is one sense, however, in which Christians do enjoy a privilege. This privilege knows no geographical or racial bounds, nor any other bounds. This might be called that "Retirement Privilege" of Christianity. One day, our lives on earth will end. We will all have to cash in on a type of post-mortem retirement plan. There are several views out there in which you can place your trust. The fact is that all but one of them lead to destruction. The only one that does not end in destruction is the Christian retirement plan. You can put your trust in Buddhism, Islam, atheism, or countless other worldviews. All of these are spiritual scams, and will leave you spiritually bankrupt when it comes time to cash in. There is only one individual that will not leave you bankrupt, and that is Jesus Christ. Those who place their trust in Him will enjoy a special privilege not enjoyed by any other worldview, and will receive an inheritance. The great thing about this privilege is that anyone can enjoy it by simply placing their faith in Christ and accepting His gracious gift. To continue the analogy of the retirement account, it would be accurate to state that we cannot put anything into our post-mortem retirement account. We are so utterly poor and destitute that we cannot do this for ourselves. The good news is that Jesus Christ pays into it for anyone who accepts His gift. This gift is available to everyone because of Christ's work on the cross. You can receive this gift, this privilege, today. The choice is yours.


[4] It is also interesting, as a side note, to hear many of  the same people who claim that Christians experience some kind of special privilege also deny that the Founding Fathers, who wrote the Constitution, were Christians. This appears to come dangerously close to defeating their own case.


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