Persecution

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

"Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

– Matthew 5:10-12

In many times and in many places, Christians have faced persecution because of their faith.

The United States in the early 21st century is not such a time and place. Right now, as you read this, people are suffering imprisonment, disenfranchisement and physical harm because they are Christians. None of these people live in the United States.

The United States is a liberal democracy with a Constitution that guarantees freedom of conscience. This makes it a haven against religious persecution for people of all faiths and of no faith. Christians in America enjoy rights and legal protections that Christians in other parts of the world — China, North Korea, the Sudan — can only dream of.

The United States is also a country whose culture is shaped by the mores and conventions of its overwhelmingly Christian majority. This culture makes it not only acceptable, but often popular and advantageous for Christians to be outspoken and public with their professions of faith. By culture and convention, Christians in America enjoy privileges and power that their coreligionists in other countries could never dream of. When or where in history was it ever easier to profess Christianity in whatever form you might choose?

And yet scarcely a day goes by, regardless of whether or not it is "Justice Sunday," in which some group of American Christians does not claim that they are facing "persecution."

They dare to use that word.

This is delusional, pathological. These people are insane. They are my brothers and sisters in Christ — and the brothers and sisters of those Christians facing actual persecution in the world's forgotten corners — but they are insane.

When protected, privileged and pampered American Christians claim to be facing persecution they spit on the wounds of their brothers and sisters elsewhere in the world and in history who have known firsthand what religious persecution really is. They mock not only their fellow Christians in this great cloud of witnesses, but also those of other faiths who have suffered or are, now, today, suffering genuine persecution.

Such a person was recently interviewed on the PBS program "Now." He described both the real, physical suffering he experienced and how his faith in God gave him the strength to endure it:

… Nightmares come, because I stayed five days without food or water, with torture. I always have this feeling, like conscious dreams. Sometimes these scenes appear in front of my eyes, even while I am not asleep.

I put my faith in God. Our strength and our resistance come from our faith in God, especially a person who considers himself not guilty and he is the object of abuse and punishment. There were others who couldn't resist [the torture], and they gave up names of innocent people to trade for their release from prison. But God gave us the strength, and we believe in God. For a truly faithful man, God gives the person the great strength to be patient to endure the pain, abuse and insults that we were subjected to.

The man who described this persecution is named Haj Ali.

You may not recognize his name, but you've seen his picture.

Ali

  • none

    Don’t cry too much. I’m not a christian.

  • pepperjackcandy

    just like individual christians will, I’m sure, say not-so-nice things about non-christians
    Heck, I’m an individual Christian, and I’ve been known to say not-so-nice things about other individual Christians. 8-)

  • Ray

    Today, they ban you from reading the Bible aloud in class.
    Tomorrow, they burn you at the stake.
    That is one hell of a slippery slope, you’ve got to admit.

  • Ray

    “You want to talk about persecution, I bet you won’t find one shred of support from most Americans for satanism, but why don’t they have a right to their beliefs?”
    Are satanists forbidden from practising their religion? I thought the Church of Satan and Setian Satanism were both tax-exempt organisations (and both condemn illegal activities)? I’d bet Christian authorities are pretty ban-happy around satanists, but forbidden? Then again, as a practicing Satanist (which church?) I’m sure you know all this already.

  • none

    I’ve never met a satanist. I’m not one if that was your meaning. Just wondering why when I read about all the lists of persecuted religions they’re never mentioned. I do believe many of the persecuted churches preach against satan, actually encourage their children to hate him, and not just the christian ones. That’s not hatred? That’s not organized persecution? You can hate some gods but not other gods.

  • R. Mildred

    http://www.webster.edu/~woolflm/netherlands.html
    An article from 1999 about dutch resistance to Nazi occupation, with a decent mention of the “spiritual resistance” from Jehovah’s witnesses (who went into the concentration camps along with the jews, but had the option of being able to get out with a simple declaration that they wouldn’t continue jehovah’s witnessing)
    probably not relevant to persecution now that i mention it…

  • Fred

    “Ay, now am I in Arden; the more fool I”
    – As You Like It, II, iv
    Arden, your sarcasm seems to be as confusing to yourself as it is to the rest of us. Trying to make sense of whatever point it is you’re trying to make is like playing that children’s game with multiple double- and triple-negatives. You and I have both lost count of whether you’re on an odd or even number.
    And but so: What is your point? Can you tell us in simple, straightforward sentences?
    Meanwhile, you should probably put down the sarcasm. You’ve got it by the blade instead of by the handle and you’re really starting to injure yourself.

  • Ray

    “I do believe many of the persecuted churches preach against satan, actually encourage their children to hate him, and not just the christian ones. That’s not hatred? That’s not organized persecution? ”
    Okay, well when Satan starts posting here, complaining about how persecuted he feels in the US today, _him_ I’ll take seriously. Christians, not so much.
    (Then again, how do you persecute the Prince of this world?)
    (Incidentally, you should all read Lucifer, by Mike Carey. A Sandman spin-off that’s better than the original)

  • http://radio.weblogs.com/0128341/2005/06/22.html#a1167 Hogg’s Blog

    Feeling persecuted?

    So, you think American

  • Lisa Williams

    I worry about this rhetoric of “christians being persecuted” because I think when a powerful majority starts thinking of itself as persecuted it leads to dangerous uses of group and possibly state power.
    It seems to me that when certain Christians claim that they are being persecuted the cause that they are giving is that they are being required to treat people with different ideas than they have as they would treat someone who has the same ideas. It’s a sort of revolt against the Golden Rule. Someone says, we should have religious tolerance at the Air Force Academy Including, for example, not forcing people who can’t quit their job to listen to proselytizing for a brand of faith they don’t hold (after all, how would those same evangelicals feel about a co-worker who appended tracts for Islam to their emails and asked them regularly if they’d been to mosque to “try it out” yet?). Congressman Hostettler percieves this request to live and let live with non-evangelicals as “persecution.”

  • http://radio.weblogs.com/0107946/2005/06/23.html#a4460 EdCone.com

    Tough talk on Christian persecution

    Some thoughts on the “persecution” of American Christians, from the Slacktivist, via Lex .

  • http://ilx.wh3rd.net/thread.php?showall=true&msgid=6077061#6077745 I Love Everything

    Liberality for All : “FINALLY, A CONSERVATIVE COMIC BOOK!”

    Some smart bastard figured out that being victimized is unnecessary as long as people believe they’re being victimized.
    exactly. as a comment at Slacktivist put it:The glamorization of “persecution” is a component–and a vital one–of the culture “war…

  • http://ilx.wh3rd.net/thread.php?showall=true&msgid=6077061#6077745 I Love Everything

    Liberality for All : “FINALLY, A CONSERVATIVE COMIC BOOK!”

    Some smart bastard figured out that being victimized is unnecessary as long as people believe they’re being victimized.
    exactly. as a comment at Slacktivist put it:The glamorization of “persecution” is a component–and a vital one–of the culture “war…

  • Claire

     Could you track down the source of the following claim? If you plug these exact words into a search engine, you will get lots of hits where it appears without quotation marks, without attribution, and without evidence: “74% of those persecuted for their faith are Christian.” The words sometime include “in the world,” but the context is consistently global.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X