Christian persecution around the world is one of the biggest human rights issues of our lifetime. In many nations, someone who professes faith in Jesus can be arrested, tortured or even killed. Churches are illegal in many countries, or even owning a Bible.
Persecution of Christians only happens in countries far away from America, right? Wrong. It’s happening right here in the “land of the free.” In the United States, many followers of Christ are attacked due to their biblical convictions.
American Christian Persecution
I’ve encountered opposition to my perspective on this issue. Some people challenge my use of the word “persecution.” They call it an exaggeration in view of the heinous treatment of Christians in other parts of the world. They believe the disdain and criticism we experience in America aren’t worth mentioning.
On the contrary, what we’re watching unfold in America shouldn’t be swept under the rug. We need to recognize the trajectory we’re on as a nation and prepare for discrimination against Christians to become a lot less subtle, and a lot more common.
Persecution, by definition, is the act of treating somebody in a cruel and unfair way, especially because of their race, religion or political beliefs. When we consider it through this lens, some Americans’ intolerance toward Christians becomes impossible to ignore.
If we’re going to live bold and biblical Christian lives in the United States, we’re going to pay a price. Maybe it will be subtle in the form of friends distancing themselves from us. Maybe it will be more direct, affecting our opportunities for advancement in our career or the success of our business. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to us. Jesus warned us that just as the world hated Him, it will hate His followers as well.
The First Amendment protects our freedom to worship, but it doesn’t mean our society will like it, nor will taking a stand be met without repercussions.
Examples of Persecution
Several examples that we’ve seen in the last several years include:
- Businesses, such as Hobby Lobby, Chick-fil-A, and other religiously influenced institutions have been attacked by anti-Christian activists and squeezed by government pressure.
- “Big Tech” frequently suppresses Christian points of view on social media or removes it altogether.
- The FBI has been arresting pro-lifers in their homes as well as arresting people protecting pregnancy centers.
- The accreditation of evangelical schools like Gordon College in Massachusetts and Kings College in New York has been called into question. The IRS Exempt Organizations director Stephen Martin sent them letters denying nonprofit status, explaining the rejection: “The Bible teachings are typically affiliated with the [Republican Party] and candidates. This disqualifies you from exemption under IRC Section 501 (c) (3).”
- A student failed a test question because she wouldn’t back down on the truth that God created the universe. A public university ask their students on their first homework assignment to show proof God doesn’t exist.
- Justice Amy Coney Barrett was challenged as unqualified to be on the Supreme Court because of her faith.
- Then-EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, responding to situations when religious liberty and sexual liberty conflict, says, “In almost all cases, the sexual liberty should win.” and “I am having a hard time coming up with any cases in which religious liberty should win.”
There’s no question that persecution of Christians, in the form of unfair treatment, bullying and discrimination is increasing in America. My own business has been the focus of a potentially detrimental boycott and I’ve received death threats — albeit empty ones.
This contempt toward believers is not new, but as our society continues to decline in character, we must stay rooted in the Word of God and be prepared to respond with both conviction and love.
Persecution is real. When we say otherwise, we’re dismissing the reality of what Christians have faced in our nation’s history and will continue to face in this world. Despite such ill-treatment, we should press on, living with boldness and pursuing truth. We must love the Lord and be citizens reconciled to those in authority. When we’re attacked because of our faith, we must know that our firm stand for the Lord will yield an even greater blessing.