Opinion: I Would Rather My Children be Taught CRT than Christianity

Walter Rhein

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Last night I watched the 1998 film Elizabeth starring Cate Blanchet with my wife and kids. It’s an interesting historical film that led to some discussions about Henry VII and Shakespeare. As a teacher, I think it’s always essential to provide young people with appropriate context and factual information.

The film begins with some ferocious Christians burning people at the stake. Of course, the Christians felt they were doing the “right” thing because the people they were horrifically torturing to death were “sinners.”

As I watched this scene, I was reminded of the comments section on many of my articles. I am frequently subjected to insults, threats, and other forms of harassment. Many of these attacks come from self-righteous Christians who always like to insist that they, somehow, are the “victims” of persecution.

Let me be clear. I stand for tolerance and acceptance. I am anti-violence. I am anti-authoritarian. I am anti-fascism.

It is not an example of “persecution” to tell somebody they are the aggressor when they participate in hate speech against people for their sexual orientation. All you have to do is look to the media to find ample stories of radical religious leaders calling for violence against completely innocent individuals.

The persecution of the innocent in our country is getting out of control, and fanatical activists from the Christian community are one of the driving forces.

We’re seeing new laws that ban books and academic theories like CRT from schools.

We’re seeing laws that punish people with jail time for electing to dress however they want.

We’re seeing laws denying women access to life-saving healthcare, even jailing them.

In short, there is a very disturbing trend of authoritarianism. It appears our government is being leveraged as a weapon against innocent people, and that weapon is wielded by religious fanatics.

A lawmaker recently suggested that “hanging people from a tree,” or “lynching,” should be brought back. Will death by fire be next?

But perhaps the worse part of all this is how the Christian community responds with outrage to any breath of criticism. They will fabricate threats when there are none. Even as they call for people to be attacked and murdered, they will claim that they are the true victims of persecution.

It’s dishonest and ridiculous.

Perhaps one of the reasons that members of the fanatical right are so against the idea of teaching true history in our schools is because they know it will expose the crimes of the Christian church.

Remember that the Ku Klux Klan had essentially faded from existence before it affiliated itself with religion and became America’s version of the “morality” police.

Our children do have a right to be told the truth about history so they are empowered to protect themselves. The simple fact is that members of the religious community are most likely to be child groomers and abusers.

Of course, they don’t want teachers presenting the truth about history in schools. If they did that, they might be held accountable for the crimes of the past and the crimes they continue to commit to this day.

Remember that Christianity also provided one of the main defenses for slavery leading up to the Civil War. Frederick Douglass mentions it in a book that is likely banned from schools in most red states.

Today, teachers are fearful to assign the work of Frederick Douglass because they’ll lose their jobs based on false accusations of teaching CRT.

At what point will the American people wake up and recognize that this is a clear and dangerous example of government censorship? Why are we handing over so much power to violent, intolerant, and hateful individuals?

The United States is a nation that was founded on the concept of freedom. You have the freedom to wear what you want. You have the freedom to love who you want. You should have the freedom to own your own body.

The modern Christian community is working very hard to strip us of all those freedoms. They don’t allow women in positions of leadership. They blatantly violate our laws and practice discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Even members of the political right acknowledge that our laws have to matter. Why then do they allow religious groups to have these absurd exemptions? Will punishment by fire be exempted next because it constitutes “religious freedom?”

My writing is always in defense of oppressed and marginalized people who are currently subjected to violence. Rather than read my words, feel shame, and help the oppressed, the Christian community tries to usurp the narrative and present themselves as the victims.

That’s not the reality of our country.

We can’t let the slippery slope fallacy dictate how we discuss the hostile environment members of marginalized communities currently face. Too many people are content to insist, “We can’t help those people, because if we do we will become the targets of oppression.”

To me, that’s the least Christlike thing anyone can say. It’s shameful that this is the fundamental message of modern American Christians. They care only about themselves, their self-righteous beliefs, and their quest for power. Stop allowing them to censor the content of our classrooms or push our nation into authoritarianism.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI

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