This one has been going around the progressive Christian internet, so you may have seen it already, but I wanted to link to it just in case. Rachel Held Evans has written an excellent article on why Christians in America need to drop their persecution complex. Not only is it clearly untrue that Christians are persecuted in America (and in fact enjoy quite a bit of privileged status) it is both harmful to actually spreading the Good News and insulting to Christians (and anyone else in real danger for their beliefs) who really are being persecuted around the world. Here’s one of many fine points from the article:
“Reality Check #3: Facing disagreement is not the same as facing persecution.
Conservative Christians are right about one thing: public opinion has shifted on same-sex marriage (particularly within the Church), and this means they are more likely to encounter pushback when they insist same-sex marriage ought to be illegal. Facebook friends may argue with them. Comedians may satirize them. Bloggers may write posts like these disagreeing with them. But to conflate such disagreement with the sort of persecution Jesus warned his disciples about is not only myopic, but also a slap in the face to those Christians who face very real persecution around the world. Living in a pluralistic society that also grants freedom and civil rights protection to those with whom one disagrees is not the same as religious persecution. And crying persecution every time one doesn’t get one’s way is an insult to the very real religious persecution happening in the world today. It’s no way to be a good citizen and certainly no way to advance the gospel in the world.”
And this one too:
“What the persecution complex suggests is that conservative Christians only care about bullying, oppression, and discrimination when it happens to them. If it happens to LGBT people, or to people in other religious minority groups, it is of little concern (or is tacitly supported). Compassion and advocacy are rooted in self-interest alone and Christian privilege is guarded ruthlessly, even if it comes at the expense of others.”
We live in changing times, and I get that that is hard on a lot of people. But that sense of unease, of the swell of change that some aren’t particularly happy about is not persecution. If you really want to feel persecution in America, there’s a pretty sure fire way to do it. Start standing up for the rights of the poor, homeless, and immigrants, and you will see authorities and business, even friends and neighbors and family recoil.
Anyway, none of us are perfect and we all have our blind spots. But we should work on them. This article is a good read and one that all American Christians should take to heart.