The church that cried persecution

Evangelical and fundamentalist Christians are very invested in being persecuted. Very interested. Here’s an example from a Fox News article on the whole Chick-fil-a issue:

“‘If the thought police come to Armitage Baptist Church, we will meet them at the door, respectfully, unflinchingly, willing to die on this hill holding a copy of the sacred Scriptures in one hand and a copy of the U.S. Constitution in the other,’ he said.

Pay attention, people of faith.

Dark clouds are gathering. The winds of intolerance are blowing. There’s a great storm approaching.

The days of persecution are upon us.”

There are two reasons for this, I think. First, there are a slough of verses that say that if you follow Jesus, you will be persecuted – therefore, evangelicals and fundamentalists must believe themselves persecuted or else they must not be following Jesus. The second reason has to do with evangelicals and fundamentalists’ beliefs regarding the end times – namely, the belief that America is soon to face a wide-scale persecution of Christians (for more, click here). Evangelicals and fundamentalists, therefore, expect to see the persecution of the church around every corner.

[Edit: In the rest of this post I”m going two things. First, I’m going to use snark, which I don’t usually do but I think this situation calls for. Second, because evangelicals and fundamentalists frequently pick and choose verses that support their point while ignoring context or verses that make contrasting points, I’m going to use these same problematic methods to bring to light some verses about persecution that evangelicals generally ignore.]

But for all their reliance on the Bible, evangelicals and fundamentalists seem to be missing some verses when it comes to the persecution of the church. These ones, for instance:

Matthew 5: 10-12

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Do you see that? The Bible tells Christians to rejoice when they are persecuted! Did you see all the rejoicing when the Left began its full-scale “persecution” of Chick-fil-a? Yeah, me neither.

Matthew 5: 43-44

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

“Pray for those who persecute you – and also fight back against them with everything you’ve got!” Oh wait. Did I just imagine that last part? Given how evangelicals and fundamentalists generally act, I could have sworn it was there!

Matthew 10: 23

When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another.

Which is why every evangelical and fundamentalist Christian is in the process of moving to Canada, right? Wait, they’re not? Ah well, it’s a short verse, I can see why it would be easy to miss.

Romans 12: 14

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Have you heard all those evangelicals and fundamentalists on the news lately just blessing the pants off those “homosexual bullies” who are persecuting them? No? Huh, that’s weird. Maybe you were watching the wrong station, because I could have sworn…no wait, you’re right, that’s not happening either.

I Corinthians 4: 12-14

When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;  when we are slandered, we answer kindly.

Ah ha! “Endure”! That must be the code word for “cry fowl and go eat lots of chicken”!

Endure: verb

1 [with object] suffer (something painful or difficult) patiently:it seemed impossible that anyone could endure such pain

2 [no object] remain in existence; last:these cities have endured through time

Oh. Huh. That’s really weird. That makes it sound like that verse is telling Christians to suffer patiently under persecution, but that’ can’t possibly be right. Unless…

I know I’m just picking and choosing verses here. My point is that you really can’t pick some verses about the persecution of the church – like the ones that say Christians will be persecuted if they follow Jesus and that persecution will get worse as the end times approach – and ignore others – like the ones that instruct Christians on how to handle said persecution. But, well, that’s exactly what the vast, vast majority of fundamentalists and evangelicals do. And you know what? It’s getting annoying.


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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.


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