Performative Christianity and privilege

tone-deaf and arrogant and rude

Performative Christianity is an interesting term. The  Weekly Sift guy mused about the Supreme Court case about “a football coach who led players in prayer on the 50-yard-line after games. His claim is that his prayers are private religious acts protected by the First Amendment’s free-exercise clause.”

WS links to an article by Mark Wingfield in Baptist News Global. Wingfield compares that situation to “Christians singing worship songs on a commercial airline flight.

“The common thread is performative Christianity that operates out of a place of assumed privilege. That is a privilege so taken for granted that the average American Christian has no clue they are swimming in it…

“What Christians may see as a God-ordained witnessing opportunity, the poor seatmate may see as religious assault… What if the roles were reversed and you, dear Christian, were seated next to an evangelizing Muslim or Hindu or Mormon or atheist? Would you afford them the same assumed privilege you claim for yourself? I don’t think so.

“Modern Christians must understand that we live in an increasingly pluralistic society and that assuming Christian privilege actually does more harm than good. If you want to be a good witness for Jesus, this is not the way to do it. It is tone-deaf and arrogant and rude — pretty much the opposite of every virtue of love described in 1 Corinthians 13.”

Save their souls

I was someone who grew up being taught that I was responsible for the souls of all I came across. Don’t I have to proselytize, I mean share, the Good News of Jesus Christ to these “non-believers”? I don’t want them to face eternal damnation! Never mind that these folks were indeed believers, just of Something Else. So I know those people. To some degree, I once WAS those people.

Wingfield feels, and I agree, that the coach “effectively coerced impressionable young athletes to join his midfield spectacle — a clear violation of the First Amendment.” Moreover, in demanding “a public display allegedly to give glory to God… [he was] giving glory to his own ego, not to God.”

Weekly Sift ponders: “I will be more interested in the Court’s reasoning [about the football coach] than in the decision itself. Whatever standard the justices use to find in the coach’s favor, does it apply to non-Christians, or is this yet another special right that Christians have and no one else does?”

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

One thought on “Performative Christianity and privilege”

  1. Yes, this also strikes when NPR broadcasts specifically Christian music week after week. A few times each year an alternative–during Jewish holidays. Little representation of any other faith traditions.
    A lot of Christian music is baked into western traditions–J. S. Bach, Felix Mendelssohn, and beyond. It seems time to reprogram the airwaves!

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