Jonathan Merritt at Religion News Service has a fantastic article in which he talks about what real Christian persecution looks like:
As many as two-thirds of Christians in Iraq have fled the country to escape massacres and church burnings. There are reportedly fewer than 60 Christian churches left in the war-torn country, a fact that adds another level of critique to the prudence of waging such a conflict. Just this month, an angry mob in Pakistan torched 40 Christian homes. And even Lebanon, once a safe haven for Christians, is experiencing a mass exodus.
I think I speak for many atheists when I say I stand behind all those Christians who are dealing with those battles. They deserve better than that.
Now, on the flip side, what doesn’t qualify as persecution?
Pretty much all the stuff Christians complain about in the U.S.:
American Christians have a persecution complex. Whenever a public figure criticizes the Christian movement or offers believers in other faiths an equal voice in society, you can bet Christians will start howling. Claims about American persecution of Christians are a form of low comedy in a country where two-thirds of citizens claim to be Christians, where financial gifts to Christian churches are tax deductible, where Christian pastors can opt out of social security, and where no one is restricted from worshipping however, whenever, and wherever they wish.
Damn right. Hearing Christians complain about how tough they have it is like hearing Oprah complain about high gas prices: No one’s going to take you seriously because the rest of us play by the same rules and you have every advantage already at your disposal.
So why don’t Christians focus on the real battles instead of the fake ones? Merritt explains:
The answer, it seems, is that many of their attentions have been focused elsewhere. Some are too busy protesting Target employees who wish them “Happy Holidays” and others have been mobilizing to boycott JCPenney over selecting Ellen DeGeneres, an outspoken lesbian, to be their spokesperson. Isn’t it time that American Christians reinvest their energies in addressing the actual persecution of their brothers and sisters happening outside their borders?
That would be the sensible thing to do… but it must be hard for Christians to focus on issues like that where they’re too busy treating women, gay people, and pretty much everyone else who’s not in their club like second-class citizens.
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