The Persecution of Christians
Persecution is more than ISIS’ beheading or burning of members of opposing religious groups such as Christians. “Persecution” has a broader meaning and includes many less violent acts. As used in the Bible, it can mean “to systematically oppress and harass” as well. Here in America, there have been some extreme acts of hate, sure. But much more commonly we see lesser forms of persecution — forms which most Americans can agree constitute a loss of freedom in any other context.
Examples of Attacks on Christianity
- The mainstream media has taken to belittling Second Lady Karen Pence for her decision to teach art at a Christian school in Virginia. Some have even gone so far as to suggest her Secret Service detail be taken away. The school requires students, parents and staff to agree to uphold Biblical standards including those that denounce the LGBTQ lifestyle.
- Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was first suspended then fired from his position because of his Christian beliefs. Not because he sermonized those beliefs to people under his authority as chief, which could have been viewed as a violation of Federal law. No, he was denied his life-long dream of being a firefighter because he self-published a book intended to be used in a Bible study class.
- Colorado bakeshop owner, Jack Phillips, was found to have violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws when he refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding because of his Christian beliefs. He never inquired nor cared about the sexuality of customers of his walk-in bakery, however, he felt that baking (and presumably delivering) a custom cake would constitute participation in a same-sex wedding. After years of public ridicule and legal fees, the Supreme Court finally overturned the Colorado Civil-Rights Commission’s ruling.
How Should a Christian Respond to Hate?
Christians have a popular saying that may answer that question best: What would Jesus do? When met with hate, the Bible gives clear guidance on how to respond to non-violent hate, such as:
- Love them anyway [Matthew 5:43-47; Romans 12:14]
- Fulfill their needs [Romans 12:20; Luke 6:35-36]
- Accept their disdain calmly [Matthew 5:38-42; 1 Peter 3:9]
However, generally speaking, when Christians are confronted with the threat of physical harm or violence, it’s no secret that approximately 65% of Christians in America are gun owners. It appears that as a group, these Christians have no plans to make themselves easy prey or victims to hate crimes.
It seems counterintuitive to those who have been raised to fight back against wrongs, to respond in a more passive way. However, that instinct to fight back is just the first reaction, it’s not always the best.
Most people do appreciate if not practice Christian values including respect, peace and acceptance of those who don’t share your beliefs. That being said, whether on the playground or battleground, Christians are no pushovers.
Christianity is popular in most combat sports as well as our armed forces — which, incidentally, are 66% Christian. Those who don’t practice can certainly appreciate the freedoms that afford us the ability to openly practice any religion we want — and defend ourselves from those who oppress that freedom.