This is the way it is possibly going. The first step to persecution: marginalize and stereotype opposition. The next step is ridicule and mockery (we see lots of that already, too); then legal persecution (we see more and more of this, too).
Finally, we may get to a point of actual martyrdom (not at first government-sponsored). The latter would still be quite a ways off, but it’s not inconceivable at all. History is our guide. The religion of secularism and leftism is the enemy of Christianity (hence, ultimately a spawn of Satan: not to put too fine of a point on it). That’s more and more patently obvious all the time.
I think at the point where we are about to be thrown to the lions, or just after, a true spiritual revival will kick in, just as it did in the early Church. Then we’ll start to finally see some real, substantive, massive and lasting societal change for the better. Nothing short of such a profound, life-changing revival, in my opinion, could save this stinking sewer of a dead, anti-Christian, apostate culture that we live in now.
The only bright light in all this is the possibility of a desperately needed society-wide revival: getting serious about God and stopping all the pretense and game-playing and lip service . . . making Jesus Lord of all of life (even sex and politics!). Pray for it! How badly we need that!
The trend is clear in society. Legal abortion proves that, and it’s been legal in the US for 40 years. Now the definition of marriage is toppling. That’s all antichrist. We’re getting hit from all angles. The sexual revolution has been at the forefront of the quick and drastic cultural movement away from historic Christianity.
One can place the cultural “victory” of secularism (or at least a key turning-point of such) at different points: The so-called “Enlightenment” (1770s on), religious liberalism (early 1800s), fundamentalist-modernist controversies (1920s), sexual revolution (60s), or abortion (1973).
What’s different now is that the US was far more Christian than these other countries (in recent centuries). Now even that heritage is being rapidly crumbled away and we are being marginalized. It’s ultimately a diabolical movement, led by Satan himself. I know that sounds “conspiratorial” and all, but it’s simply straightforward Christian theology (Jesus’ and Paul’s mentions of Satan and his works, etc.).
1) English so-called “Reformation” (16th century) with Henry VIII and Elizabeth slaughtering Catholics by the multiple hundreds.
2) French Revolution and “Enlightenment” (1789 and thereafter).
3) Armenian genocide (1.5 million Armenian victims in the early 1900s; though that came from an external Muslim source: the Turks).
4) Russian Revolution (1917 and thereafter).
5) Mexico, 1920s.
6) Stalin’s starving of ten million Ukrainians (1932-1933).8) Nazi Germany, 1933-1945 (not just Jews were singled out for murder, though they became the primary target; also many Christians and other groups).
These were Catholic countries, prior to the persecution (England, France, Mexico, Ukraine, Spain), or Catholic / Lutheran (Germany) or Orthodox (Russia, Armenia).
In my speculative view, such persecution in America is still many years away. But we can observe a trajectory of how these things progress, based on historical precedent (and usually they do more rapidly than my scenario, judging by the eight examples I provided).
We may possibly be spared actual physical persecution. I tend to think it will occur, however, at some point because we are too far gone for anything less to wake us up and bring about a revival. Thus, because revival is absolutely necessary, and persecution seems necessary to bring it about or foster it, in God’s providence it’ll come, in the US (I believe), just as it did in the early Church. That is, unless it is in the cards that we go down the tubes and into the dustbin of history (sooner than later), as many other countries and empires have done.
It’s implausible and unthinkable now, of course, but continuing on our present disastrous course and a lot can change indeed, and far more quickly than we may think. Could anyone have imagined in 1943, legal abortion (as a supposed constitutional “right”!) 30 years later, or same-sex “marriage” 70  years later? No, of course not. Aborted children are martyrs to the idols of the sexual revolution and the primacy of individual pleasure with no responsibility.
So we can be almost assured that unimaginable things lie ahead that we can never imagine or conceptualize now. History is our guide. People are the same people (fallen sinners) everywhere.
Real Tolerance vs. PC Pseudo-“Tolerance” [11-30-15]
See also my follow-up article, in response to a critic: