Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Teenage Bill of Trites

Whenever I feel a hankering for being knocked over with a feather, or striking the ground with my lower jaw, I like to check out the latest from the Wonderful World of Right-Wing Christianity. And I'm never disappointed.

Today we turn the spotlight on US evangelical youth ministry BattleCry, and in particular, its "Teenage Bill of Rights:"

We, as young Americans, assert our right to determine our future and the future of our great nation. We hold these truths as our God-given rights, and we embrace them with our hearts and our lives:

We recognize that God, our Creator, is the source of all truth.

We will live with honor, always striving to do the right thing, even when it is unpopular. We will be honest and truthful in matters large and small, regardless of the consequences.

We will take responsibility for our actions, and not point to governments, schools, celebrities, parents, or friends to justify our wrong decisions.

We recognize that we are responsible for our mistakes. We will pursue purity throughout our lives.

We will not be seduced by a fabricated idea of sex and love.

We will save our bodies and hearts for our future spouses, and once married we commit to pursue faithful and enduring relationships.

We will see through the lies of drugs and alcohol and refuse to let any chemical influence our thinking or destroy our lives.

We will respect the authorities placed in our lives, even though some may not live as honorably as they should.

We will honor our parents, teachers, and other leaders.

We will reach out with compassion to the hurting and less fortunate, both in our society and around the world.

We refuse to be absorbed with our own comforts and desires.

We recognize the value of each life, whether born or unborn, and we seek to protect those who are unable to protect themselves.

We will do our best to represent and communicate our Creator to our peers, leaders, and society as a whole.

We will work to see that every person has the opportunity to see and hear about the true nature of our God.

Um . . . this isn't a "Bill of Rights"--it's a mission statement. Thanks to the real Bill of Rights, and the "wall of separation" that these people keep insisting doesn't exist, fundlings across America are free to observe as many of the principles enumerated above as they wish. And yet they call this list of platitudes a "Bill of Rights--as if they are in some way "persecuted" by the current constitutional arrangements in that country. Yep: they're so persecuted that they're allowed to set up websites, recruit soldiers for "God's Army," and hold gun-toting quasi-fascist rallies across the country (hat-tip to Pharyngula).

(Of course, fundlings will object that the current constitutional arrangements in the US don't permit them to proselytise in public schools or force students to pray. It's called "secular liberal democracy," people. Don't like it? Go set up a theocracy somewhere, then. And don't forget the kool-aid.)

UPDATE: Truthdig has a series of articles on this movement.