Today, just like in the book of Acts, Christians are persecuted all over the world for following Jesus. While Christian persecution takes many forms, it is defined as any hostility experienced as a result of identification with Christ.
Trends show that countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East are intensifying persecution against Christians, and perhaps the most vulnerable are Christian women, who often face double persecution for faith and gender. North Korea was ranked #1 for the 17th consecutive year as the most dangerous country for Christians on the World Watch List.
These trends make sense for many American Christians. Persecution of their religion only happens in faraway countries, right? Wrong. Christian persecution is happening right here at home, on our own soil. Many here are attacked for their faith too. While it might not be at the level of beheadings or burned down churches as seen in other places of the world, it still is a problem that is growing. Traditional Christians are facing increasing intolerance in this country through the fines, the lawsuits, the jobs lost, and the public disdain felt.
Here are some of the ways that you might be experiencing Christian persecution in America, without even realizing it.
Persecution in politics.
Many politicians in the United States get attacked for their religious beliefs. For example, Senator Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., chose negative and angry questions in an interview with Brian Buescher, an Omaha-based lawyer nominated by President Trump to sit on the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska. Buescher, a Catholic, has very traditional values. Due to his beliefs, he was subjected to scrutiny by these two senators. They tried to cast doubt on his ability to serve in public office because of his Christianity.
Traditional values are continuously trying to be removed from America. In general, the beliefs of the right are being called closed minded, however they are beliefs that are found in the Bible and have been a part of this country for years. For example, where Christian bakers are refusing to bake cakes for same-sex weddings, or those in public office are refusing to authorize same-sex wedding certificates. These people that have stood up for what they believe in were given a huge amount of negative publicity.
Furthermore, there has been consistent push to remove all traces of God from government for many years. Our Pledge of Allegiance, for example, has been repeatedly been brought up saying that “under God” needs to be taken from its text. Even American money has been brought into question, because it has “in God we trust” written on it.
Persecution on college campuses.
If you know any Christian millennial that goes to a liberal college, you might have heard about how their beliefs are judged. At campuses throughout the country, outspoken Christians are regularly demeaned, debased and targeted for their beliefs. Many times these Christian college students will hear from others about how their religion only has hateful, bigoted, and privileged believers.
Many Christian colleges themselves also have been in jeopardy lately. Recently, some have been asked to conform to secularist ideology or they will lose their accreditation. Traditional evangelical schools like Gordon College in Massachusetts and Kings College in New York are having their accreditation questioned. Some secularists are arguing that Christian colleges should never deserve accreditation, period.
Persecution in public schools.
Just like many campus colleges, public schools are getting hit as well. Student groups like InterVarsity have been kicked off campuses, and a teacher in New Jersey was suspended for giving a student a Bible. A football coach in Washington placed on leave for saying a prayer on the field at the end of a game.
Prayer in school has been a topic fought for years. Students that do choose to pray, regardless if they are told to do so by their teachers or not, are typically looked at strangely by their peers. Teachers oftentimes do not step in during these situations, as they feel that they cannot touch on such subjects. Instead, they choose to censor all religion in the classroom, letting ignorance and bullying flourish.
How can you deal with persecution?
Unfortunately, persecution against Christians in the United States is not something that is avoidable. It is something that Christians will have to deal with and understand. The key to coping and dealing with the persecution of Christians and Christianity in the U.S. is our reaction to our persecution. The key to understanding and thriving through the persecution is in reacting as Jesus Christ did. Jesus did not seek revenge on His enemies but rather, He was called to turn the other cheek. When Jesus Christ was on the cross, He prayed for forgiveness for those who put Him there. We can do the same.
Christians are different from others of the world, and those who are different tend to get judged. The followers of Christ have been persecuted from the beginning, but we can grow and overcome the negativity. Stand up for what you know is true, share Jesus with others, and ignore those who want to put you down.