Christians and Persecution, Then and Now

Christians and Persecution, Then and Now January 13, 2013

I find it both sad and laughable at the same time that both Protestants and Catholics are claiming that they are being persecuted when their views are no longer taken for granted by others, or they are not given access to a particular platform to promote their views.

Having recently completed a study of the Book of Revelation in my Sunday school class, the persecution of Christians during the reign of Nero is the first of many instances of real, genuine persecution that comes to mind.

Nero blamed Christians for the fire in Rome, and as a result Christians were killed, often horrifically.

Compare the past half a century and down to today. Christians have been involved in some genuinely horrific acts. Child molestation – and covering it up. Opposing racial integration. Picketing funerals. It makes peddling lies and undermining education seem minor by comparison, but some Christians have done that and continue to do that too, and much else besides.

What's my point? Today one would not have to invent trumped up charges against Christians in order to persuade people to persecute us. There are enough instances of evil perpetrated by those who wear the label, that it would be easy to tar us all with the same brush.

Yet where are the mobs trying to lynch us? Where are the crowds determined to make us into living torches set alight? Despite there being things that at least some Christians have actually done, which could lead to legitimate outrage, there are still no executions of those associated with the organizations involved.

American Christians have no idea what they are talking about when they cry persecution. And as someone married to a Romanian, and thus who experienced something which, if still not like Nero's time, was far more truly persecution than what most Americans have ever experienced, I do not find it merely inaccurate. I find it offensive. It is cheapening the term and thereby minimizing the plight of those who really do face persecution.

American Christians seem to desire persecution. And that is understandable, since the Bible says that those who truly follow Jesus and stand for righteousness will be persecuted.

The appropriate response is not to cry persecution even when not suffering it. That doesn't fool anyone.

The appropriate response is to ask what you could do to actually stand against injustice and for righteousness. Maybe if you stood in the way of big corporations and wealthy power brokers trampling on the powerless, you would find out what persecution means. Maybe if you stood with the oppressed instead of trying to get in bed with the powers that be to share in their worldly power in order to oppress others, you would realize that there are those who do face persecution, bullying, enslavement, and many other horrors in the world – and that you may have at least contributed to the climate that allows that to continue.

Maybe then, you'll have taken up your cross and begun to follow the crucified Messiah.

 

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