Christian persecution in America

I can see why some Christians might believe they are being persecuted in America, but I think it’s a bit too soon to make that claim.  Of course there is a big push from homosexual activists (not to be confused with the average homosexual person) and secularists to purge visual Christianity from the public square.  “Go ahead and be a Christian if you want” they say, “but don’t let it influence you outside your house and church, and don’t let it be seen by others”.  That is happening.  But is it persecution?

What credibility do we have if we call what we Christians in America are undergoing by anti-Christian activists persecution if there are Christians in the world being beheaded, stoned, set on fire, and imprisoned for their professions?  If you can find it in the news you’ll see there is persecution in the world.  Real horrifying persecution.  Can we compare a lawsuit forcing a Christian business owners to put their moral convictions aside so that anti-Christian bigots can claim a hollow victory to the Coptic Christians in Egypt, or the underground Christian churches in North Korea and China?

I’m all for pushing back against activists, but I hesitate to insert hyperbolic language about such a serious state of affairs as persecution.  We will lose what credibility we do have in the eyes of the general American public, that is for sure.  Inevitably Christians claiming persecution will be viewed with the same eye-rolls we offer to Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and others on the political left when they scream racism whenever someone disagrees with President Barack Obama.

Remember when car alarms were the new thing?  When we heard an alarm we all looked to see what was happening, was someone trying to steal a car?  Eventually we realized that most alarms were false alarms and we now pay them no mind.  When the real persecution starts, I don’t want it to be viewed like the car alarm or Sharpton’s calls of racism.  I want it to create the attention it will deserve.

Anti-Christian bigots and activists will personally attack.  They will call names, they will sue, and they will lie.  That’s just fluff compared to what we could be going through.  My advice is push back, but don’t play the persecution card too soon.

Comments

  1. Persecution comes in varying degrees. Let’s look at the meaning of the word:

    Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another individual or group. Wikipedia

    hostility and ill-treatment, esp. because of race or political or religious beliefs.
    Webster’s on-line

    Persecute, as defined by 1828 Webster’s:
    “1. In a general sense, to pursue in a manner to injure, vex or afflict; to harass with unjust punishment or penalties for supposed offenses; to inflict pain from hatred or malignity.”

    “2. Appropriately, to afflict, harass or destroy for adherence to a particular creed or system of religious principles, or to a mode of worship.”

    “3. To harass with solicitations or importunity.”

    Persecuted, as defined by 1828 Webster’s (the dictionary I have at immediate access):
    “Harassed by troubles or punishments unjustly inflicted, particularly for religious opinions”

    Persecuting, as defined by 1828 Webster’s
    “Pursuing with enmity or vengeance, particularly for adhering to a particular religion.”

    Now “persecution” as defined by 1828 Webster’s
    “1. The act or practice of persecuting; the infliction of pain, punishment or death upon others unjustly, particularly for adhering to a religious creed or mode of worship, either by way of penalty or for compelling them to renounce their principles.”

    “2. The state of being persecuted.”

    Okay, with all the above definitions, to say Christians are being persecute for their stance against same-sex fake marriage, and all the homosexual agenda, is not hyperbole or exaggeration at all. It is not only the persecution by the activists, it is the full weight of the government which does the punishing. In Europe and Canada people have been jailed for speaking against homosexuality, in too many places in the world they are charged with either hate crime or hate speech for speaking against state sanctioning of homosexual behavior.

    In the USA as well as other nations business have had to close due to loss of money from fines and court costs for nothing but refusal to aid and abet same sex behavior. Other business have been forced to either close or adopt the homosexual demands (like e-harmony having to add homosexual dating services). The US military was forced to accept homosexuals into service and homosexual rape has become a major problem now. Children are indoctrinated in the public schools systems into the homosexual agenda and parents are very often no allowed to opt their children out of such indoctrination. ETC, ETC, ETC.

    This is just from the homosexual agenda. You noted other forms of persecution with government backing such as atheists removing every vestige of Christian belief from the public sphere.

    No, this is not the same as the persecution many suffer around the world as they are murdered, imprisoned, tortured, etc. But it certainly is NOT hyperbole to call it persecution.

    Persecution often starts out incremental. Look at the Jews in Germany; there were all sorts of laws persecuting them for beliefs in many, many ways before they began to be prevented from marrying non-Jews, prevented from doing business with non-jews, etc. The persecution got more and more severe slowly, as they were forced into ghettos, etc before the final solution to put them in concentration camps and then execute them.

    But it is still persecution. And Christians are indeed being persecuted. Ignoring it only gives those doing the persecuting more boldness to accelerate their persecution. It won’t go away just because it hasn’t come to martyrdom yet.

    No one I know of has ever tried to compare the persecution suffered by Americans to that of severe persecution overseas. But you can’t deny the word just because it is a different level.

  2. Glenn makes a strong case, but I tend to agree with John that it is hyperbole to call it “persecution.” It really boils down to this: do you want to use words and arguments in such a way that you give misbehaving gay activists an excuse to avoid the merits and caricature the opposition? Words matter. I say push back firmly against misbehavior on both sides — in measured words *on the merits.*

  3. The problem isn’t so much the actions of the activists as it is the actions of the governmental bodies doing their work for them.

    It is still not hyperbole to use a factual definition when calling it persecution.

    • Ok, maybe if we put it into a different perspective. It may be the case that the way Christians are treated by the American government is persecution on a technical definitional level. But I don’t think the general public applies technical definitions when they think of persecution. They think of beheadings, torture, stoning, arrest on a large scale.

      It’s like the abortion issue. Elective abortion fits the moral definition of murder. It also fits the legal definition **IF** we apply the medical and scientific definition that at conception a new living human being comes to be. But the public doesn’t see it this way. They are swayed by slogans and activists who yell. So while abortion may in fact be murder, how do we make our case effectively if in every discussion about abortion we call every pro-choicer a pro-murder advocate?

      So technicalities aside, let’s discuss the issues in ways that are more acceptable to a larger range of people. It’s better, in my opinion, to have people on our side and fill them in on the minutia and technicalities later. I think we can make a very effective case that Christians are harassed by activists and that the government enables them. So let’s go with that.

  4. Glenn, I believe you are technically correct but semantically misdirected. Your definitions are apt — but what do you gain? By insisting on the much-freighted word “persecution,” you give the misbehavers an easy out, a way to change the subject away from the tawdriness of their misbehavior and onto the silly distraction of whether Christians are paranoid. You effectively gut the real debate and make it about whether you’re misusing a word — thus gratuitously forcing Christians into a defensive posture.

    • I think you guys are wrong. If you control the language, you control the debate. The liberals learned that a long time ago. We need to get it across that it is indeed persecution when the homosexualists get to force Christians to accept what they do or suffer punishment.

      Just like a comment Kendrick made on another post about my use of the word “pervert” when describing those who practice homosexual sex, and called lacking in civility. We have become so indoctrinated in the PC world that we are afraid to call a spade a spade because someone might be offended. IF we take back the language and quit using such innocuous words as “gay” and say “pervert,” a start getting people to actually think about what they are giving approval for, perhaps we can get them to think that we shouldn’t be punished for refusal to approve it. After all, look at how we have been able to force the abortion issue by forcing people to look at the very real fact that it is a baby they are killing!

      They will character the opposition no matter what because that is what they do now and is the only argument they have.

      And even if we don’t use the word “persecution,” to say it is hyperbole to use it is just downright wrong.

  5. I agree John. One last thought if you’ll indulge me. I’m not saying the make-nice approach to vocabulary is *always* preferable. Sometimes the silly use of euphemisms (or outright misrepresentations) needs to be called out. Calling the Fort Hood massacre “workplace violence” instead of “terrorism” is a good example. Banning the use of the objectively accurate phrase “illegal immigrant” is another. My objection to “persecution” in this case is based on its tendency to debase, and distract from, the real issue.

  6. The use of the word persecution for folks who pay a lot of attention to politics, society/cultures outside of their own town, the words increasing use doesn’t really hold water and like John suggests, begins to mean that the sky is falling all over again etc, and it loses its value. This also goes for the free and expanding use of the words battle, shoot down, killing, war, to describe the chasm between liberals and conservatives. For those who have been to the real as opposed to the media front lines, this distills their value to mere rhetoric.

    This is the mechanism that provides for the bias, that makes it pre-impossible for us to listen to the Sharpton’s, Jackson’s, Pailins, Bachmanns or Chatfields. These people may, occasionally have something to add to the discussion but start from a persecuted position and then add special interest vulgarities along the way.

    The most defensible position regarding the immorality of persecution is that any and all legitimate persecution needs to be addressed all the time by everybody. Not just the lowest scale special interest, bias based, legal dilemma of a christian photographer who refused service. If we use both the quality and the quantity of the persecution we can address a response. In the spectrum of persecution we have the above example on the lowest end, and we have 12 year old girls being gunned downed or blinded and permanently maimed with hydrochloric acid for attempting to get an education. So if a person wants to be outraged over the photographer and ignore the now dead or maimed little girl, for me their position rings hollow and is so low on the spectrum as to be ignored. Numbers also count for something, and so considering that behaviors may graduate to systemic patterns will also play a role.

    Christians in first world countries have played the card many times over the last 200-400 years. Puritans persecuting Quakers comes to mind. This persecution covered the whole spectrum up to and including murder. The Luddittes were persecuted. Not so much for their christianity but for their social/anti-corporate ideals. The many small communities around Spelter WV have been persecuted by Dupont. The people of Love Canal were persecuted by Hooker Chemical and the city of Buffalo.

    What we may want to discuss is the social dynamic and unyielding tendencies of both sides of the culture war on some social issues. Both sides claim persecution all the time over everything. Technically, Glenn and I have been persecuting each other for months.

      • I find the stories of the bakery and the photographers to be abhorrent bullshit Glenn.

        But let me be very specific. The states intrusion is disgusting. The state should have no ability to make such an incursion into a private business. None. Zero.

        The phone calls about hoping these peoples children die is immoral and unethical by any standard of common decency.

        But the boycott is a consumers right. So if a boycott put the bakery out of business then that is the nature of any consumer group and this bakery would not be the first business to fail from such action.

        I could easily say that the behavior and tactics used beyond the boycott are morally obscene and I would caution against their use, or refuse to take part in such a boycott.

        The tactics used by this group of activists is in my opinion no different than Westboro Baptist and their tactics. They are the earmark of absolutist zealots. The whole lot can get bent.

        Is their a legal fund for the photographers? I couldn’t locate any online?

        • Westboro Baptist cult is nothing more than a terrorist organization which does indeed persecute those who practice homosexual behavior.

        • I don’t even think I’m suggesting ceding the language, which Glenn rightly points out is key to a movement’s success. If you control the language and how an issue is framed you can win without ever arguing merit. I just want to use language everyone understands.

          Boycotts in my opinion are right and wrong. I oppose organized, advertized boycotts. I support every person voting with their dollars based on information. So I support a group making information known, like how some in the food industry mistreat their stock. Or for same-sex marriage activists to make known that a photographer, DJ, cake baker, hall owner, et. al. oppose the institution, but oppose calling for boycotts. If this position is inconsistent, then what can I say, I’m inconsistent on boycotts. I just see something wrong with organizing to break someone and possibly ruin their life because you disagree with them.

          • Well I agree in tone John, but to say that citizens should’t have the right to organize a boycott would certainly make American history a lot different than it is.

            I think you greatly dislike the results of these particular instances, as do I, but to graduate to revoking individual liberties in this regard would mean that the Boston Tea Party would have come out a little differently. More recently the civil rights era was loaded with organized boycotts to great effect etc. I think the fact that these instances are not bigger business’ and have a personal face and a seemingly negative outcome is the most disconcerting part of these stories.

            The French have a word for these sorts of behaviors: uncouth. And there is entirely too much of it going around. It is also infectious. It pervades groupthink and can easily manufacture us vs them justifications for acting like jerkoffs.

            • not that they shouldnt have the right, I just think it’s immoral and wrong to organize a boycott.

              You regularly seem to interpret my saying something is wrong or immoral as me saying it should be banned. The thing about America is wrongness and immorality is legal. You’ve done this with a few other issues too, but I don’t think it’s intentional so It doesn’t bother me. I just want to clear that up. You’re probably used to Christians wanting to legislate their sensibilities.

              I am a Conservative Christian with a significant Libertarian bent. There are a few things I’d like to pass laws against, but that’s in my perfect world.

              • Yeah, my bad. When I see the word “oppose” and equate it with the left or right I mostly think of laws and/or Amendments being made or changed.

                In my perfect world I would put Bachmann and Chris Hedges in a tiny dinghy in the middle of the Atlantic with little food and water, and videotape the outcome, whatever that may be.

  7. It is unfortunate that the word can’t be used without others assuming what isn’t intended. But is it the fault of the speaker, or those who would wish to demonize him? All so often the conservative is made to qualify every word so as not to be accused. Frankly, I’m fed up. Have been for some time. But when my words lead to accusations of hatred and bigotry, not one lying leftist has been able to back up the accusation with examples.

    It is much the same here. Say “persecute”, and rather than request and explanation, charges of paranoia are thrown about. It is the same old same old and unfortunately, when dealing with liars and deceivers, one must continue to go the extra mile.

    • The boycott in this case was threats to all who used this business. This is discussed in this excellent article discussing the history of such nasty, vicious and bigoted tactics by the homosexuals:
      http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/in-the-line-of-fire/40860-the-gay-bullies-strike-again

      • Sorry Glenn, but charisma news is as reliable a news/information source as salon or huffington post. Just special interest, agenda driven, biased, subjective extrapolation.

        • I don’t like Charisma News because it promote charismania. However, that author is a very well respected theologian.

          And, you played “poison the well” so you didn’t have to deal with the factual evidence he reported.

          • But doesn’t “any” “theologian” already arrive at homosexuality with an agenda based on bias?

            Couldn’t we say that your dismissal of the media in general and rags like the NYT or Mother Jones or Slate have been judged to be irrelevant in the same way?

            To say that his article is or contains “factual evidence”, while a.) bringing and starting from bias and b.) using terms like “vicious, militant activists to describe his subject causes immediate alarm on my part. It’s not journalism, it’s editorial fodder. I am not discounting the bakers plight, but calling into question the quality of the message and how it’s being delivered.

            • Having a bias doesnt mean the conclusions are wrong, nor the examples.

              • To clarify John, do you support any of the collective organized boycotts in the christian community? I think that at last count there were about 75 different companies/individuals/organizations being “viciously boycotted by militant activists”, sarcastic emphasis intended according to the AFA.

                We are I think, assuming that the distinction has been made that from this point forward we are not talking about targeting individuals personally but the business etc. No calls about peoples children etc.

                On AFR I hear about the evils of Home Depot and the demand that christians boycott that company for supporting gay marriage. Would you be against this sort of organized boycott?

              • No. I dont like organized boycotts. I think a lot of the boycotts organized by Christian groups are due to hypersensitivity.

        • Michael Brown has done a lot of thorough research into gay activism. I wouldnt use the site as a source either, but the author holds some credibility.

  8. I don’t understand what is “vicious” about a boycott. American as apple pie. If you don’t happen to like a particular boycott, then patronize the target business! Or find some other way to help them. Threats of violence and death wishes to children most certainly are vicious — and something that any non-deranged gay activist would certainly condemn.

    And marshalart, who “threw around” any “charges of paranoia”? No one. You heard what you wanted to hear presumably because you are “fed up.” I sympathize with your frustration because Christians often do get demonized in secular conversations. But re-read my sentence. I actually called charges of paranoia “a silly distraction” — exactly where I *don’t* want the conversation to go.

    I can’t tell where, exactly, you’re directing your bile, but if I am one of the “liars and deceivers,” then welcome to further evidence of conservative Christianity’s self-marginalization in American society.

    And this is exactly the counterpoint frustration that other-than-Christians (or sometimes the wrong-kind-of-Christian) often experience trying to talk to your kind of Christian: at some point, as surely as Godwin’s Law, you consign them to delusional at best and more typically deceitful. I keep reading this blog, in part, because John tends to refrain from that kind of ridiculously dismissive rhetoric.

    • My objection is organized boycotts. Im fine with individuals boycotting. Maybe the distinction for me is the recruitment.

    • Kendrick, did you read the article and how the boycott was done? It wasn’t done like most boycotts, they went to customers and threatened them with loss of THEIR business, etc.

      Nash, the facts Brown presented are facts nevertheless. And while boycotts have been organized by Christians, I have never, ever heard of Christians threatening others as to what would happen if they don’t join their boycotts. “Help us boycott these people or we will boycott you too!” Only not as nicely said as that.

  9. John, I’m open on this. I just don’t understand (yet) your distinction between individual and organized boycotts. Certainly organized boycotts had a lot to do with civil rights advances in the ’60s. Why can’t people “organize” to fight something they find objectionable? Or perhaps you’re saying that organizing is a form of collective misbehavior — certainly legal, just not something that should occur in polite society? Help me.

    • As I said earlier I’m entirely open to the fact that this may be an inconsistency on my part. Theres something that strikes me wrong about recruiting people to financially ruin a person because you disagree with them politically.

      Maybe its because I dont liken the push for civil rights for racial equality as anything akin to the same sex marriage push. In this arena same sex marriage activists arent honest in the discussion and demonize their dissenters. Its not a principled objection, its the desire to be told your sexual proclivities are just fine and if you dont, youll pay.

  10. Fair enough. I think I understand. There certainly can be a “bully” dimension when an organized boycott is directed at a mom-and-pop operation. I don’t see how that view can lead to a consistent political formulation (there were certainly some small businesses targeted in the civil rights era), but you’re entirely honest about that conundrum and I respect that.

  11. Glenn, I think you’re correct about the nastiness of this particular boycott (though I don’t see it as per se bad to contact suppliers of an objectionable business). Where we probably still disagree is whether this boycott is symptomatic of systematic “persecution” of Christians.

    Btw, I know I was hard on you earlier. Thank you for responding civilly. You have my respect.

  12. Frankly, I boycott all the time. If I am aware of a company or business decision with which I might disagree, I will take my business elsewhere. I encourage everyone, in their personal lives, to do the same thing according to their own conscience. I just don’t organize boycotts.

    • I boycott too. But even if I agree with the position of an organized boycott, I will not join the vocal message, I’ll simply avoid the business on my own.

      • I have been doing personal boycotts for decades! Just as an example, Home Depot will never get my business again, and haven’t for quite a few years – ever since they started sponsoring “gay pride” parades.

      • Whether either of you “organize or “join the vocal message”, isn’t the effect the same?

        If you were, for example a non-organizer and just an educated consumer, via the boycott materials/marketing, would you avoid using a bakery owned by homosexuals or who supported gay marriage etc? This bakery would be driven out of business by this boycott, effectively the same way as the christian bakery. And a decrease in sales closes it down.

        • I personally wouldn’t avoid a business because it is run or owned by homosexuals. I also wouldnt avoid a business simply because they support same sex marriage. I would avoid a business which contributes to activist organizations which are hostile (not mere disagreement) to my views.

          The effect might be the same but it’s how you got there. You are going to die some day. There is a difference between being murdered and dying of natural causes because of a life you led. The end result is the same.

  13. I’m not an American, so I can’t comment on the ‘on the ground’ situation, but I would point out a couple of things:

    1) It is not persecution to reduce a groups rights so that they’re pursuant with those of other groups. It’s equalization (although it can often ‘feel’ like persecution)

    2) It is not persecution to ensure one group doesn’t persecute another group. (ie not providing goods or services to another group on the basis of skin colour, race, religion, sexuality, etc is discrimination against that group and should be prevented)

    • Stuart, am I reading correctly that you believe people should be forced to act against their conscience?

      I get the impression that the Westboro Baptist church should be able to force a homosexual photographer or caterer to do their anti-gay events? Is that right?

    • Stuart,

      Not everything should be “equalized” – that is the fairy tale of the Left.

      We all discriminate against immorality or crime on a daily basis. If I don’t want to provide photographic services for an orgy, is that persecution? If I don’t want to play music for a ceremony uniting a polygamous relationship, is that persecution?

      As standard with Leftists, you equated disapproval of behavior (homosexuality) with discrimination based on skin color (no such thing as race – we are all one human race).

      It is not persecution to withhold services. It IS persecution to demonize, seek legal action against, and punishment for those who don’t want to provide services which force personal approval of sexual perversion.

    • I’m just glad I don’t live in Canada – they have a lot more laws promoting homosexuality and much more vicious against those who dare speak against it. And don’t even think about having a 10-year-old article hanging on the wall in your restaurant if it says something is wrong with homosexual behavior -the Gaystapo was all over it.

      http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/homosexual-ministry-of-propaganda-strikes-fear-into-the-hearts-of-small-bus

  14. I, too, would not necessarily boycott a business because it is run by homosexuals. I’ve bought Elton John CD’s, for example. And merely supporting SSM would not necessarily be enough for me to boycott, either. But if the support was by virtue of, say, some decal on their window showing they support an organized effort to get SSM passed, or if they were to, say, advertise themselves as in support, I would likely do business elsewhere. I’m not going to agree with everybody about everything, but how that disagreement manifests is what determines my “boycott behavior”.

  15. John,

    Why would Westboro Baptist church want to hire someone they hate so much? Yes, my statement was general (for brevity’s sake) and assumes the basic goodness in people that they are not (at least outwardly) hateful and all other factors are equal.

    Not wanting to help WBC, falls under my second original point.

  16. Glenn,

    1 – Orgies can’t be discriminated against, so no.
    2 – Polygamy is illegal, so no.

    So, I own a bus company (privately). A ‘No Gays’ policy is OK? Or maybe, a ‘Gays sit at the back’ policy is OK?

    • Stuart,

      Homosexual behavior used to be illegal. And people don’t have to call it polygamy. I had a request to play for an Irish “hand fasting ceremony” which was described to me as a multi-party marriage. I declined and was told they understood, and thanks anyway. No charge of bigotry, etc.

      Your example of the bus is a straw man. We don’t discriminate against “gays.” We discriminate against their behavior – i.e., I have no problem providing service to people no matter what their sexual proclivities are, but I shouldn’t have to provide service if it supports or aids said sexual proclivities.

  17. John,

    I presume that person is employed by the state?

  18. There’s no difference between a black man, gay man, white heterosexual woman, or Asian polygamist using a privately run transportation service. I don’t know who they are when they step onto the bus.

    But when they say, “I’d like you to provide a service for my controversial event (whether they think it should be or not), someone might not feel comfortable with it.

    I think the WBC example is a perfect analogy. As would be one involving a Neo-Nazi gathering (Free speech: not illegal) being catered by a Jewish owned restaurant.

    The question was raised “Why would they want to hire someone who hates them?”. Good question! So, why insist that someone (who has a moral objection to whatever legal event is being held) be forced to facilitate it?

    Should a black man be forced to cater a klan rally?

    Should an atheist be forced to photograph a baptism (assuming it’s against their conscience to participate in it in any way)?

    To say that anyone MUST is to say that everyone must. Is that fairness? No. Just equality, which is a terrible substitute for liberty.

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