P1: The eternal competition for power is a familiar challenge present throughout history and in simple day to day social interactions. In todays society we feel the weight of certain sects of people identified by race, religion, or gender competing over who is determined superior socially. Christian Hegemony is the daily propagandistic implementation of christian beliefs and values that seek to dominate all aspects of society. Hegemony in general means the economic, social, political and cultural dominance of one group over another. In American society there is a bias towards christian values which are in place so that those identifying as Christians will have plenty of benefits over other religious groups. Christian dominance has become so normalized that secular countries such as the United States its considered invisible to many citizens. This dominance is felt mostly by the LGBT community and hinders their transition into the American Identity.
P2: Christian values refers to virtues and lessons attributed to the teachings of the christian prophet Jesus Christ. These teachings are very similar to most religions focusing mainly on how to live the most beneficial life possible while giving back to the respective community of the follower. There is no problem in adhering to the teachings of this religion the problem becomes an apparent when these ideals permeate through a culture not allowing any other kind of influence to be present. Secular countries pride themselves on being diverse and open minded but this is not the case if one groups ideas are given more reverence than others. Christian values historically have had political pull in both the liberal and conservative agendas. Conservative usage of these ideals is renamed “family values” and promote censorship of sexual content in the media, preference of the practice of abstinence, laws against regulated abortions, lack of support of all lifestyles that do not promote heteronormativity, alternative theories to the evolution of humans, laws against gay marriage, and more emphasis of prayer in daily life. The liberal agenda also uses the term “family values” which support diversity and compassion, protection of the environment and God’s creations, money for the poor, against excessive greed,supports diplomacy rather than violence, and tolerance. Although some of these values are present in other cultures and make the country a better place there is no denying a preference to values that are intrinsically Christian.
P3: Hegemony is a term that means ones group domination in an an absolute in an unbalanced way over another. Cultural hegemony refers to when the highest class of people in a society skew the virtues of a state to reflect their own personal values. In relation to christian hegemony this means that Christian values have far more precedence than they should over the population of America. The general population of the country sees these values as coming from the country and consider american ideals although they are only representative of a particular group. The problem with hegemonic practices is that its nature is not to provide equality but rather to curve power to the loudest or strongest population. An example of this silencing comes from Barner-Barry “When the religiously ethnocentric impetus was carried to its logical extreme, pagans were perceived as a danger to the welfare of the community. They were not just the misguided worshippers of false gods; they were under the influence of Satan and, thus, posed a threat to all good Christians.” These imperialistic actions silence other sources of influence and provide a one sided reality which is not equally beneficial to all parties.
P4: Legislation has been influenced by Christianity since the beginning of the United States. Many of the first laws were solely influenced by the teachings of christ as the first european settlers were searching for the safest way they could practice their specific brand of Christianity. Laws that are directly influenced by Christian values today are legislation dealing with the availability of safe abortions and the furthering of the discrimination of the gay population of the country. These laws are hegemonic in nature and do not provide a fair discourse to the laws that are selected to have power. Feelings of the LGBTQ communities are not given as much importance as the christian values that permit or deem their behavior questionable. Women that have had abortions are often demonized and their voices are not represented as decisions that solely affect them are discussed by individuals who are not. There are political platforms whose sole ideologies prioritize christian value, for example, right wing Evangelical christians and Libertarians. There is little representation for other groups and have less say in the decision making process of the country. As discussed by Barner-Barry C., in Contemporary Paganism : Minority Religions in a Majoritarian America there has been a historical push to have christian laws be considered as common law which is contradictory to the united states focus on a secular government.
P5: Hegemony has its benefits along with its shortcomings as means of holding a country together. Many say a superior and rigid system leads to less conflict and struggle because of the final nature of dominance. This can be argued because it might create conflict and encourage social unrest because certain groups feel an unfair preference to the dominating group. A hegemonic way of dealing with social unrest is to punish the group that is causing the conflict harshly without giving in to any demands proposed. This may solve the problem for the short term but may later cause distrust of the government which can lead to ultimately more tension. As stated by the Blumenfeld in “Christian Privilege and the Promotion of “Secular” and Not-So “Secular” Mainline Christianity in Public Schooling and in the Larger Society”, “It is the institutionalization of a Christian norm or standard, which establishes and perpetuates the notion that all people are or should be Christian, thereby privileging Christians and Christianity, and excluding the needs, concerns, religious cultural practices, and life experiences of people who are not Christian.” explaining how this kind of oppression at times creates a more unified state by disregarding other contradicting identities although they are present in American Society. Many citizens however, feel alienated and separated from completely embracing the American identity.
P6: This ideology presented through a broad lens makes it hard to see how this affects the individual citizen. Some real life examples of hegemony come from reactions to those who choose a lifestyle some feel not compatible to the “American lifestyle”. The murder of Arthur Warren illustrates how powerful the notion of norms can really be. Warren was an openly gay black man living in a rural community where there were other gay residents living comfortably. He was murdered by three teenage boys who proceeded after the murder to run his body over with their car to cover up the incident. Stated by Jeremy Quittner for The Advocate “In fact, Warren told friends that he had been physically and verbally attacked less than two years ago while walking past a group of local kids.” showing how far homophobic messages go reaching children before they even have a grasp on the complexities of sexuality. These seemingly harmless taunts led to a violent merciless murder of a man who did nothing wrong but be himself and the lack of guidance or warning from adults to stop this kind of behavior is telling on the worth certain identities have over others.
Barner-Barry, C.. Contemporary Paganism : Minority Religions in a Majoritarian America. New York, US: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 6 March 2017.
Blumenfeld, Warren J. “Christian Privilege and the Promotion of “Secular” and Not-So “Secular” Mainline Christianity in Public Schooling and in the Larger Society.”Www.tandfonline.com. Taylor & Francis Online, 23 Nov. 2006. Web. 6 Mar. 2017.
Quittner, J. (2000, Aug 29). To live and die in grant town: Arthur warren’s murder leaves many in west virginia wondering; what price must be paid for being openly gay in rural america? The Advocate, , 21. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.rowan.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/215750664?accountid=13605