I was in a discussion group recently where the topic was controversial opinions we hold. One woman, a conservative Christian, said her most controversial opinion was her belief in God. I pointed out that the vast majority of Americans believe in God and it's virtually impossible for an avowed atheist or agnostic to be elected to high office in this country. She responded that in her personal life she can't be open about her religious beliefs. (This was Lancaster County, PA, famous for its religious heritage and conservative politics.)
This feeling of grievance among conservative Christians helps account for their overwhelming support for Trump. But where does it come from? How can such a powerful group feel so oppressed?
It's not that a person's belief in god is controversial, it's that their expression of it typically has to be restricted and they call that oppression. For instance, proselytizing in the workplace will get you dragged into HR, but so will sexual harassment. The fact that both are unwanted is the specific reason for the reprimand is lost on the Christian. The outrage is in being treated similarly to the one accused of universally unacceptable behavior, while they consider their own behavior a service.
Evangelical true believers feel that the absolute certainty of their dogma entitles them to intrude on the lives of others and to impose their dogma on others to further their cause. They feel that any attempts to limit their intrusive and abusive behavior is oppression. In other words, they really don't give a damned about us and our rights, nor do they feel bound by the U.S. Constitution.
They get affirmation from their group. A feeling of persecution is a thread that runs through all of christendom from its very beginning and modern day christians feel a need to attach themselves to that thread. I am struck, and often privately offended, that every mealtime they "bless" their food with the assumption that a god gave it to them. There seems to be no regard for the millions of people in the world that die from starvation and the very idea that they have food because god thinks they deserve it directly implies that those who die of starvation do not deserve it.
Most people do not handle change well. Those that resist change are more conservative. Why can't they handle change, even though their own beliefs have changed from when they were children or from their parents view points? Some tragedy in their lives, being afraid of some thing (maybe death), some negative event(s) -- it may be a long term environmental impact (parents). How to change this? There is no way to change conservatives into liberals -- it must come from within. The same applies in reverse.
My mother is the same way, conservative x-ian, complains that her rights are being taken away, people like her are being persecuted for their beliefs, etc. As a teenager I went to church frequently and other religious events. At many of these events the attitudes were the same, the religious were being persecuted. I think it has a lot do with the passages in their bible about early christianity being persecuted by the Romans, especially what happened to their savior. I believe that it creates a martyr syndrome that they fully, completely embrace and utilize to their advantage while acting as if it does not actually exist.
I live in a small farming town in SE Pa, so I have contact with a lot of Mennonites. Despite their religiousNess, they are unbelievably cruel to their animals, as are the Amish. Also, within a 1 mile radius there are 10 churches. Talk about in the thick of it!
Started with Reagan, evangelicals started taking over the party and changing the narrative. The new rule is it's never your fault. Its high taxes, the government, the atheists, another religion or just simply liberals. All of them were supposed to be millionaires by now.
My opinion is that they feel oppressed because things sometimes don't go their way. Gay marriage is legal... Prayer in schools is out... Abortions happen... Trump was supposed to be the savior and he is just a power hungry sociopath really...
I get this from some members of my family quite often; that god isn't as important in this country as it used to be. I find this to be good news; however, the intense push to get back to the "God" era of the 50s kind of makes me giggle. Thats when we were putting people on the moon and making great science (by people who were mostly Atheists). Now we have the Arc Encounter and the Creation Museum complete with kids riding dinosaurs, sad really.
I wonder what the Millennials really believe about science and religion... Out of touch i guess.
Christians are fearful people who are afraid they will go somewhere that doesn't exist as told to them by the very rich pastors, so they do what they are told. In that way they are taken advantage of and have some feelings of oppression because there is no way out. Does that make sense?
As Louis Black would say, I can't be kind about this. If people believe in stupendously delusional things and they try to convert others to their delusion, they just might meet with some well deserved kick back and not have the capacity to fathom why and be left with feeling oppressed.
It's not that Christians are oppressed, it's that terrible, face-palm inducing, holiday churchgoing, bible cherry picking, narrow minded, ass hats like the lady you described are; and rightly so.
They're also oppressed by other Christians who'd most likely shorten my list to either misguided, or embarrassing. People like the lady you described are the ones that whenever they're speaking; one can feel the reverberation of the collective sighs in the room.
As Dylan Moran put it. "It's not that Americans are stupid, it's just that American stupid people sound more stupid than any other kind of stupid person."