Yesterday, Michael, a Christian (Evangelical?) blogger who spends his days raging against atheism, wrote a post titled What is Secular Privilege? Here Are Ten Everyday Examples.
This is nonsense. I clearly do not spend my days “raging against atheism.” As anyone can see, I don’t even post daily and when I do post, and when it is about atheism, there is no rage involved. None. If anyone disagrees, simply a) identify the posting filled with rage and b) cite your evidence of this “rage.”
As you shall see, Michael whines and complains about his flavor of Christianity not being given preferential treatment.
Huh? That posting about secular privilege did not involve any whining or complaining, nor was I insisting on “preferential treatment” for my “flavor of Christianity.” I explained the objective of that posting in the first two paragraphs:
When trying to better understand what white privilege is supposed to be, I discovered a series of articles that help by providing concrete examples, such as What Is White Privilege? Here Are 9 Everyday Examples by Suzannah Weiss. As I was reading through these, it occurred to me that the social justice movement has been suspiciously silent about a another form of privilege that may be just as extensive – secular privilege.
Let me use the first seven examples of white privilege from the Weiss article to show they could just as well represent examples of secular privilege (it would help to read that article before this one). I’ll start by again quoting Weiss, with a few word changes, and quote her examples with the appropriate word changes.
My posting shows that that the type of evidence used to support the notion of white privilege could just as easily be used to support the notion of secular privilege. Bruce doesn’t ever seem to grasp this point, as he never once responds to it.
So what we learn from Bruce’s description thus far is simply this – Bruce Gerencser has significant perceptual problems. I did not rage, yet he thinks he sees rage. I did not whine or complain, yet he thinks he sees whining and complaining. I am comparing white privilege to secular privilege, even to the point of quoting “her examples with the appropriate word changes,” yet he does not even notice this.
These perceptual problems quickly become serious.
Let us look at Bruce’s objections to the examples of secular privilege:
I will leave it commenters to dissect and eviscerate Michael’s whine. I do, however, want to address his claims that most products and media are geared towards secularists.
Actually, these two claims are just me mirroring the claims about white privilege:
White Privilege claim: 4. Most Products Are Geared Toward You. A white person can go into a store to buy Band-Aids, beauty products, and other items related to skin tone and walk out with something that suits them. People of color at best have a small section of products tailored toward them, reminding them that in the eyes of mainstream culture, they are invisible.
Secular Privilege claim: 4.Most Products Are Geared Toward You. A secular person can go into any corner convenience store to buy beer, cigarettes, lottery tickets, or other secular goods and walk out with something that suits them. Religious people will not find religious items so readily available (like pocket Bibles or kosher food), reminding them that in the eyes of mainstream culture, they are invisible.
White Privilege claim: 5. Most Media Is Geared Toward You. In addition to knowing I can buy products geared toward me, I can feel fairly confident that I will see people like me represented on TV, in movies, in magazines, in books, and all over the Internet. In particular, I am able to see examples of people like me succeeding, which has given me the message that I, too, can succeed.
Secular Privilege claim: 5.Most Media Is Geared Toward You. Secular people can feel fairly confident that they will see people like them represented on TV, in movies, in magazines, in books, and all over the Internet. The media is clearly secular, as one can easily watch Netflix all weekend and listen to the radio in their car all week, catch a movie on a Friday night, and read the newspaper every morning without being exposed to religious messages/themes/people.
As we can see, the evidence for secular privilege in these two examples is essentially the same as the evidence for white privilege.
Back to Bruce’s response:
My first thought was “are you fucking kidding me?” Where does Michael live? In a deep, dark cave somewhere? Everywhere I look, I see Christian churches, Christian TV, Christian radio, Christian blogs, Christian podcasts, Christian books, Christian movies, Christian kitsch, etc. I live in rural northwest Ohio. There are hundreds of Christian churches, many of them Evangelical, within 30 minutes or so of my home. Everywhere I look, I see Jesus hanging out street corners like prostitutes selling their wares.
I’m sure Bruce thinks he sees this, but as we have established above, the man has serious perceptual problems. Given he sees me raging, complaining, and whining when I am not, why think his perceptions of “Jesus hanging out street corners like prostitutes selling their wares” is accurate? Why think any of his perceptual claims are accurate? He just doesn’t have the credibility. It’s more likely that his perceptions are the melodramatic exaggerations often seen in thin-skinned atheists.
Not only can we dismiss his response(and evidence) as unreliable personal perceptions, notice how Bruce completely side-stepped every point I brought up. For example, when I note “one can easily watch Netflix all weekend and listen to the radio in their car all week, catch a movie on a Friday night, and read the newspaper every morning without being exposed to religious messages/themes/people,” there is no rebuttal as Bruce tap dances around it. For example, why not go to Netflix and point out this flurry of Christian movies or tell us about all the Christian movies playing at the theaters last weekend?
Since my perceptions are rooted in reality, he can’t.
It would seem that my posting about secular privilege struck a raw nerve. What do you call it when a secularist gets upset because you point out his/her secular privilege? Why, I think they call it…….secular fragility. lol