Fragile Conservatives

Yemen ProtestsAccording to Reuters, hundreds of protesters stormed the American embassy in Yemen. I have a slightly different take on this than most people.

The United States kills innocent civilians all the time. In fact, our government has now defined the enemy so that anyone within shouting distance of a bearded man can be killed. This is upsetting to anyone who hasn’t dehumanized these people. You know: it’s upsetting to non-conservatives.

But why are our embassies being protested?[1] Murder and rape? No. The conservative religious freaks have got their feeling hurt.

I don’t have much to say about any religion other than Christianity, because I don’t know about these other religions. But I know Christians to be very thinned skinned about God and all that. This seems to be the case with most other religions, especially the Abrahamic religions.

I watched some of the trailer of the controversial film. I couldn’t watch it far enough to get to the anti-Islamic stuff—it was just too painful. What I saw seemed like pretty typical conservative fear mongering about dangerous Arab terrorists. I don’t doubt that there is material in the film that is deeply offensive to these protesters. But the word is that very few of them have seen the film anyway.

This all reminds me of the brouhaha over the absence of the word “god” in the Democratic platform. Why are religious people so insecure? Do they really think that God is so fragile that he can’t deal with the fact that some people don’t worship or even believe in him? Or is it that their faith is so fragile that that they can’t deal with these challenges? I tend to think the latter.

I’ve had Christians cut off religious conversations with me because I was harming their faith. It has never worked the other way around. I have no fear that someone is going rock my world into seeing that Jesus really did die for my sins. Instead, I would welcome such an unlikely occurrence.

It is wrong to belittle another person’s faith. Respect is very important. But religious zealots suffer from the same problems as those who live in the conservative media echo chamber. They come to believe that all reasonable people believe as they do and thus anyone who disagrees must be something horrible. This is how we dehumanize outsiders and why it is important to maintain a broad social circle.

My advice to those of fragile faith is the same as my advice to children who are similarly hurt: just ignore them. The Rodney “I Don’t Get No Respect” Dangerfield[2] antics just make them sound like they are following a very shallow religious or political ideology.


[1] I’m not discussing the attack in Libya, because I’m not sure it is actually related to the protesters.

[2] Too bad they aren’t as funny as he was:

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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