Fake Arrests of Ohio Ministers Designed to Sell Christian Persecution Myth
By: Hrafnkell Haraldsson
Because there is no actual footage of Christians being persecuted in this country – you know, because no Christians are actually BEING persecuted in this country – a group of Ohio ministers had to stage some arrests, employing actual cops to help them.Hint: Groups that actually get arrested don’t have to stage arrests – they can show actual footage. Guess which group that doesn’t include: Christians. Here is a short video of one arrest, just to give you an idea:
Here is the far more gratuitous full version, complete with suggestive blood graphics, set to the song “Bad Boys” – you know, “Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”
In all, three ministers – the Rev. Melford Elliott, pastor at Greater Bethel Baptist Church; the Rev. Robert Golson, pastor at Prince of Peace Baptist Church; and the Rev. Vincent Peterson, pastor at Providence Baptist Church – were “arrested” at their churches, in front of their congregations (Pope Francis will no doubt be relieved that none of his flock participated in this foolishness).
All of this was, reports the Akron Beacon Journal, “to make people more aware of what it takes for pastors to defend the Christian faith beyond preaching on Sundays.” Yes, because American pastors are regularly subject to arrest by the government while preaching to their flock. Occupational hazard, I’m afraid. Seriously, they are more likely to be shot by fellow conservatives armed to the teeth by Republican lawmakers and fired up by Fox News. A video of the “arrests” posted on the Internet made a big splash and forced Summit County Sheriff Steve Barry to explain that “the arrests were simulated as a prelude to an upcoming production at the Akron Civic Theatre.” The video, it turns out, was meant to be a marketing tool (it was a production of Larry James, who is general manager of Cleveland-based KAZ Radio Television Network). Barry said, in defense of his actions (two of his deputies were actually on duty and being paid),
“I feel we have an obligation to the community as part of our community policing and community relations. It took nothing away from their assignments and it was a good way to continue building relationships.”
Yes, because paid public employees should participate in activities that present Christianity as a persecuted religion. In fact, the Beacon Journal points out, “most parishioners were unaware that the arrests were fake.” Apologies? None from the sheriff. And Edra Frazier, marketing coordinator for production said only in defense of letting viewers think the pastors were actually being arrested, “We do, however, need to do a more adequate job of tagging the posts with production information.” Right. That’s all they did wrong. As the Friendly Atheist wrote at Patheos yesterday, “Putting on a stage play is one thing. But that church officials are reduced to staging arrests by bad-guy cops (who clearly represent the long arm of government) is the best illustration yet of how absolutely deranged the Christian persecution narrative has become.” Deranged is a good word for it.
Conservative Christianity has never been busier persecuting everything outside itself – women, the LGBT community, Muslims, ethnic minorities, atheists, secularists, Pagans and other religious minorities. We have filled the virtual pages of PoliticusUSA with post after post, tracking their activities across America. The scope of their hostility is truly staggering. They want to outlaw everything they say their Bible doesn’t approve of, they want to legalize their persecution of people they say their Bible doesn’t approve of, they want to withdraw First Amendment protections from other religions, insisting they apply only to Christianity (no matter what the First Amendment actually says). At CPAC – the Conservative Political Action Conference – this year, Media Matters reports that,
[C]onservative columnist Ken Blackwell, who also holds leadership positions at the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Family Research Council (FRC), used health care reform to compare the Obama administration to a “totalitarian” or “authoritarian” regime and conspiratorially claimed that Obamacare was designed to “destroy the family” and “silence the church.”
They claim your having health insurance is a persecution of their religion. They want to forcibly take it away from you in the name of their God. And yet, as they force your children to die for want of medication they won’t let you have, they claim themselves to be the true victims of persecution. As the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) points out, Behind the ‘Religious Freedom’ Attacks on Gay Rights Lurks a Broad Attack on Civil Rights. Yes, they are deranged. But no less dangerous for it. This video, and the activities of these pastors and these deputies, illustrate the depths to which they will sink in order to perpetrate their persecution myth on America.