The Persecution myth


One of the more bizarre things you will find in my former circles of the American Evangelical Church is a rich and secure belief that the church is being persecuted or that it’s only a matter of a few years before Christians in America are carted off to the FEMA camps to be re-educated and/or gassed in a new holocaust.

Despite having the freedom to worship enshrined in the constitution, despite being the dominant religion in the country, despite the lives of Christians being secure against violence, despite Christians being able to find jobs, work and support their families and contribute to their churches (which are tax exempt, I’d like to remind everyone), there exists this belief that the country is against them, that the world is closing in, that Satan is right at the gates and they are in constant danger.

Turning on the radio last night to Christian stations, as I do from time to time, I listened to a pastor tell his congregation that Christians are already being persecuted in this country and it’s only a matter of time before it will be illegal to preach ‘the gospel’.

I could find endless quotes. I remember back in the 90’s when I went to bible college, I had a teacher who shared with us stories of the black helicopters, the FEMA camps, the secret murders of Bill Clinton, and the coming martial law that he would impose that would round up all of the conservatives and Christians. He’s a pastor now too.

I do wonder where this comes from.

Is it from the words of Jesus who promised persecution in this world for his followers? Do we feel insecure or guilty that we, as American Christians, live pretty comfortable and free lives? Do we feel as if because we’re not really persecuted for our faith that our faith isn’t real? Are we so afraid that we’re willing to embrace wild fantasies where everyone and everything is against us when that is clearly not the case? Or are we afraid of admitting that Jesus’ words mainly applied to the generation for which they were written and not us?

Or are we the victims of our leadership? Much of modern evangelical Christianity is steeped in fear. The fear of an angry, less than benevolent God who barely tolerates humanity and will gleefully kill billions in His supposed future judgment before casting them into an eternal torture pit? Are our leaders continuing to bind us together as a group and keep the sheep huddled together as a flock by continuously crying wolf?

Regardless, I’d like to offer a helpful primer to those who wonder if they are being persecuted for their faith:

flowchart

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